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Enclume Pot Racks
Craftsman Style Landscape Lighting
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Architectural Styles:
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Informational Topics:
Chandelier and Pendant Heights
Dry-Damp-Wet UL Ratings
Exterior Wall Mounting Lighting
About Arroyo Craftsman Finishes
Arroyo Craftsman Mailbox Installation
Door Hardware Backset and Handing Information
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Nichols Bros Stoneworks Cast Stone Installation & Care
Customizing With Arroyo Craftsman Lighting
Emtek Mortise Lock Function Options

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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Friday, May 20, 2016
Spring It Up! – Revitalizing Exterior Components


As the weather breaks and we venture out to tackle outdoor tasks from window cleaning, gutter cleaning, yard clean up, painting and more, you may have noticed that a few other items may need your attention as well!

Your exterior lighting, mailbox, house numbers, doorbell, and door hardware may be looking a little tired from the elements (the weather). They may have accumulated dust, dirt, or have become a bit discolored or faded. Good news….you may not have to replace them! How about revitalization instead?

First and importantly, know whether or not your light fixture(s), mailbox, or house numbers’ finish is intended as a living finish or not. A living finish is generally a raw or patina finish that will weather and develop its own patina naturally over time. For many folks, this is a desired look. If the finish is not an intended living finish, then it is most likely a powder coated paint finish.

Now…it is important to understand that no mater how durable a finish may be, when exposed to the “elements” for a period of time, it will shown some wear. Some manufacturers use a clear chemical lacquer finish while others, because of State EPA standards, may use a clear “water-based” lacquer finished coating. A water-based lacquer will naturally dissipate exposing the finish below it. However, even a durable powder coat finish will fade somewhat over time, particularly when fully exposed to the Sun. Some people tend to think that extreme weather is the biggest factor in affecting a finish when in reality, it is ultraviolet rays from the Sun.

A living finish can be sealed as well. Sealing a living finish will slow down or halt weathering. Keep in mind that sealing a living finish will darken the color.

So here is what you can do;

CLEANING:

Clean your light fixture, mailbox, doorbell, house numbers or door hardware with a soft cloth rag and very mild detergent such as dish-washing liquid. Then wipe completely dry immediately after cleaning. Do not use any chemicals or abrasives of any kind! A chemical can remove any possible sealer that is part of the finish.

SEAL & PROTECT:

Then you want to apply a sealer of some sort to help revive the finish and protect it from the elements. If you have some clear furniture paste wax on hand (such as Johnson's Paste Wax), you can apply a couple coats of paste wax, let it dry and wipe it off leaving a coating on the finish. If you have some lemon Pledge or even Stainless Steel Polish around, you can apply a coating of this. It will also revive and seal the finish because they typically have some silicone in it. If you are concerned about applying anything to the finish, then Endust is a safe bet because it does not have silicone. In either case, the application will darken the finish but will lighten up within a few hours or so. You should apply a sealer to all of these items at least a couple of times per year. It will prolong the life of the finish.

PLAN B - REFINISH:
So lets say none of this works to your liking. You can then consider refinishing yourself. The quickest and easiest method is to spray paint. These days, there are so many color options and spray paint types available from textured finishes to high gloss or matte. For mailboxes, house numbers, and doorbells, make sure to clean and dry well before spraying. It is best to remove the items and spray paint them in a protected area where over-spray will not affect anything. For light fixtures, uninstall them (make sure to turn the power off). If you are able to remove the glass in the light fixture easily, then that is the best method. If not, mask off the glass with painters tape. For door hardware, either remove the door hardware or mask off the door and door trim before spraying. Make sure to plug or mask the keyhole. Keep in mind that spray painting door hardware will not be a permanent fix. There will be scrapes and scratches just from normal use. In all cases, with spray painting, apply in very thin coats and let dry thoroughly in between coatings. Do not over apply making the finish too thick.

PLAN C:

If cleaning up or attempting to revitalize any of these items does not work satisfactorily, then Oak Park Home & Hardware can assist in selecting appropriate replacements. Many customers will email us a picture of where the item will be installed asking for our recommendations. Look through our site and let us know if we can help!
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Friday, April 22, 2016
Selecting House Numbers or a House Number Plaque


Selecting and installing house numbers for the home can be a daunting task “for some”. There are many styles, materials, and finishes available as well as sizes. Determining an appropriate installation location for your house numbers can add to the challenge.
Let us shine some light on some options and the task at hand.

I’m a bit of a “detail awareness personality” so I tend to notice everything from house numbers, mailboxes, and doorbells on a home or building. As I walk my dog in my own community, I sometimes entertain my mind by rating the wide variety of aesthetics of house numbers I see. My criterion includes considerations such as;

1) Is the style appropriate for the architecture of the home?

2) Is the size proportionate to the installation location or size of the building?

3) Is the finish in sync with other related elements such as the door hardware, doorbell, mailbox, door color, color of the home, or wood trim?

4) Oh….and the functionality (in this case readability).

At my lowest rating scale are house number stickers. I see it all too often. Gold and black angular stickers purchased from the local home store, and stuck on a door, mailbox, or wood trim. Vertical or angular positioning of the stickers does not help the look or functionality. It boggles the mind why someone would brand their home with crooked stickers when they are paying $1500 or more per month for the home.

At the high end of my rating scale is a thoughtful presentation of the home’s assigned number where the size, location, and overall cohesiveness of the aesthetic has a sensibility. It communicates pride in home ownership.

Where to begin….

Location…Location…Location

Assess the best possible location for the numbers. Can they be seen from the distance? Sometimes it makes best sense to locate the numbers beneath or nearby a light fixture so they can be illuminated at night. Many municipals now have codes or established ordinances where the numeral height must be a minimum height. Check with your local municipal or village.

Individual Numbers Or Number Plaque?
One word here…”Contrast”!
Keep in mind that the finish or coloration of individual house numbers must be considerably darker or lighter than the background they will be mounted to in order to read them. Does the background have a pattern such as bricks or stonework with mortar lines in between? Generally, an even color or textured background will work best. A house number plaque can provide the maximum contrast you may need.

Ease Of Installation
How many numbers do you have? If you have 3 or more numbers, keep in mind that you will need to drill from 2 to 3 holes per number. And you will need to measure for and align every number, making it challenging to get them straight or level. House number plaques typically have only from 2 to 4 holes to contend with and getting a plaque to be level is much easier. Plaques also tend to have more options for personalization.

Style
What is the style of the home? Is it Craftsman? Is it Tudor? Is it Contemporary? Try to “right-fit” the style of the house numbers or number plaque to the architectural style of the home. For example, if the home is Craftsman or Prairie in style, then there are many number fonts available in the Craftsman style. If the home is Contemporary in style, then consider a number font that is a sanserif font style. There are many number plaque designs available where the number font style takes a back seat to the overall architectural shape or style of the plaque and the plaque becomes a stylistic statement.

Is Bigger Better?
It is of course easier to see bigger numbers from the distance. But I profess that ease in visibility is more important. Contrast is the key. Think about the size of the home or building. Select a number or plaque size that looks and feels comfortable in relationship to the volume of the structure. Oversized numbers or plaque can look out of place on a smaller home. And just the opposite, too small can appear underwhelming and may not be functional on a larger home. If you are unsure, find a variety of numbers or plaque options online, print them out to scale or cut out pieces of paper to size and tape them up to the intended installation location. Or if you know how to use Photoshop (or know of someone who does), take a picture of the home, measure something on the home for scale, and insert the numbers to scale on the picture of the home. We do this all of the time for customers with lighting and it is a great visualization tool. Ask friends, family or your Designer for their opinion.

Color/Finish
There are many finishes available these days from painted finishes; living finishes, to stainless steel. Paint finishes are typically powdercoat finishes, which are durable and will not change over time. A true oil rubbed bronze finish is a hand rubbed patina finish typically applied to copper, brass or bronze. If a lacquer finish coating is applied, then it will not change over time (unless it is a water-based lacquer). Living finishes have become very popular for a variety architectural styles. Living finishes allow the environment to naturally weather the material building a patina on its surface. A developed patina can be brown, greenish or both depending upon the material and chemicals used in the finishing process.

What is the overall plan? Will you be purchasing a new light fixture, door, mailbox, and doorbell? Or will you be keeping the existing? Will you be painting the door or trim? These are important considerations when selecting a finish. Commit to a theme and work towards it. For example, is your light fixture and door hardware an oil rubbed bronze? You may want to purchase new house numbers (or plaque), doorbell and mailbox in the same or similar finish. The goal effect should be an overall cohesiveness.
 
Installation
Installing numbers or number plaque is by far easiest when mounting to wood. Many people are weary about drilling into brick, stone, or stucco but sometimes there may not be any other option or it may be the best option. When installing onto brick, it is easier to drill into the mortar in between the brick. In either case a plastic or metal anchor should be used to screw into. Your local hardware store may provide some help in determining the best type of anchor. On uneven surfaces such as stucco, you can use a number of standard washers behind the numbers or plaque before attaching, in order to achieve an even appearance. Most importantly, measure-measure-measure and use a level!

That’s It!
Selecting appropriate house numbers or number plaque for your home is worthy of some consideration. Clear number identification is a safety issue, making it easier for emergency personnel to locate the home. It helps delivery personnel to locate the home easily as well as friends and family.

House numbers or number plaques can be a way of branding the home with style and sometimes personality. The number display is also a way to show pride in home ownership and validates your investment.

Oak Park Home & Hardware has hundreds of house number and house number plaque options available. Please let us know if we can help in your decision. We are here to help!
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Why Every Detail Matters When Designing Your Home

By: Courtni Wisenbaker-Scheel



Any minimalist will tell you that every single possession and accessory in your home should serve a purpose and speak to who you are. Certainly, we don’t all need to go to such an extreme lifestyle for this sentiment to ring true, though. That is why when you are designing your home you need to take the time to consider what most represents who you are, down to the very last piece. Here are four reasons why we at Modernize know that every detail matters when it comes to designing your home.

From Piecemeal to One of a Kind
The difference between your first apartment and your current home is cohesion. Like most everyone, you probably started off with a piecemeal of hand-me-down furniture and pictures that merely filled a need. Now, though, you are able to design a home to fit your aesthetic, and nothing speaks to that more than the details. Each light fixture and faucet give a little clue into what brings you joy, so be sure those clues are telling the right story.



Finishes the Look
Each room requires very specific furniture to serve a particular function, but more attention is needed to then make that room feel like a home. Something as simple as a Lake Geneva magazine rack and a Martin Tree of Life wood panel can transform a simple living room into a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired sanctuary. Consequently, find pieces that put an exclamation point on your room by filling the spaces with style.

Tells Your Life Journey
Some of the best accent pieces are ones that you have picked up throughout your life. Whether it is a quilt your grandmother made or a piece of pottery you found on a study abroad trip, these pieces are emblematic of your journey and should definitely be added in and around your home. It is details like these that personalize your home better than anything else.



Think of Every Guest
Your home isn’t just for you alone. It’s a place for family to laugh, friends to share a meal, and your children to grow up. And years down the road, if these walls could talk, they would tell of all the memorable events that happened in your home. So when you are getting bogged down by the thousands of different door knobs to choose from, take a moment to picture what it will feel like opening your door to each of your loved ones with that particular knob. Then, decisions will start to makes themselves, and the attention to detail will make your home feel inspired.

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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Friday, January 22, 2016
Creative Uses With Ceiling Medallions - Home Decorating Ideas
Creative Uses With Ceiling Medallions

Although ceiling medallions are intended as ceiling decorations or for framing a chandelier's canopy ceiling plate, there are many more alternative creative uses.

Most ceiling medallions these days are a molded urethane material making them light weight and paint-able. Ceiling medallions can be used to add texture and architectural interest for walls as well as ceilings. Consider a medallion group composition as accents in a monotone coloration for a subtle effect or pastel colors for a light Springlike feel.

Other creative uses include mirrors, picture frames, clocks, bed headboards, wreathes, and more. Get your creative on! For more creative ideas using ceiling medallions, CLICK HERE.

We now have over 128 urethane ceiling medallions available ranging from $8.50 up to $96.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THEM ALL


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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Customizing With Arroyo Craftsman Lighting
Many lighting manufacturers do not afford the luxury of customization. But since Arroyo Craftsman Lighting is made per order according to option selections, limited customization is possible.

Oak Park Home & Hardware and Tudor Furnishings has been accommodating customization requests with Arroyo Craftsman since 2001, and with great success!  We know the product line inside out and have a direct line to Arroyo Craftsman's Production Manager. Many or most online lighting dealers will not take the time with customization and quite frankly, their operators may not know the product line enough to know what can or cannot be done. Mistakes can happen and since the average production time for the lighting is from 4-6 weeks, any mistake can be costly, yet alone frustrating.

Here are just a few customization examples that we can accommodate;

Overall Heights:
Ceiling heights vary greatly. And pendants and chandeliers typically need to be hung a certain distance either from a ceiling or off from a surface. We can have any pendant or chandelier made to any overall height. We can have chain lengths added or stems, rods or tube lengths added or subtracted to achieve an overall height (extension). Arroyo Craftsman considers the overall height to be FROM THE CEILING TO VERY BOTTOM OF THE FIXTURE LANTERN(S). Arroyo Craftsman will not produce a fixture with a specified chain length or rod length. It must be an overall height. If a chain hung pendant or chandelier needs to be shorter than the standard overall height (extension), then we recommend getting the fixture with the standard overall height (extension) and simply shorten by removing chain links at the time of installation. There is an upcharge for adding length and shortening lengths from a standard overall height (extension).

Loose Fitting Bottom Glass Panels:
Many Arroyo Craftsman light fixtures can have a loose fitting bottom glass panel. This is especially advantageous for outdoor fixtures or fixtures where the sight line is direct up into the interior of the fixture. Loose fitting bottom glass panels are only available for square bottom or rectangular bottom fixtures. Otherwise, it would not be possible to tilt the glass panel upward to change out a light bulb. Bottom glass panels are not available for certain smaller size fixtures because the UL rating would become void from too much interior heat build up. You can get any glass color option for a bottom glass panel. For example, some people may select a frosted glass for the bottom glass panel while selecting the Gold White Iridescent glass for the body of the fixture. There is typically an upcharge for a bottom glass panel. We include them at no cost on larger orders (if available).

Finishes:
We can make a request for no clear lacquer on certain finishes such as the Verdigris Patina finish. The result is a finish that will begin to evolve and patina on its own more quickly. There is no upcharge for this request.

Making A Damp Rated Light Fixture To Be Wet Rated:
Some light fixtures by Arroyo Craftsman which are damp rated can be made as a wet rated fixture with a special heavily insulated cable and added silicone. These are fixtures where a cable is partially exposed such as a hooked arm wall mount fixture where a small amount of the cable exits the hook into the lantern. There is an upcharge for this modification. Click here for more information on Damp Rated versus Wet Rated lighting.

Mix and Matching Standard Parts:
On occasion, a customer will want (or need) a look from one series and a size of something else on another series. We can (and have) done this. Arroyo Craftsman will generate a drawing for us showing the modification, and provide a cost. Arroyo Craftsman will require a sign off on the drawing prior to production. Costs are based upon material costs and labor.

Custom Sizing:
We have had custom sized fixtures made from existing designs. For example, we can have a wall sconce made to a custom height or width quite easily. This may not be possible on lighting designs which have a curve or spun part in its design. Arroyo Craftsman will generate a drawing for us showing the modification, and provide a cost. Arroyo Craftsman will require a sign off on the drawing prior to production. Costs are based upon material costs and labor.

100% Custom:
Simply put....Yes!
This will be the highest cost in customization.

Please feel free in contact us for any Arroyo Craftsman Lighting customization request!:
773-836-3606 or by emaii
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Monday, July 20, 2015
Installation and Care - Frank Lloyd Wright Gardens Sprite and Statues
Oak Park Home & Hardware has been offering the Frank Lloyd Wright Midway Gardens Sprite and matching pedestal since 2001. The Sprite and pedestal are a cast cement product and only offered in its natural gray color. Oak Park Home & Hardware also offers the Frank Lloyd Wright Nakoma and Nakomis statues which are a cast reinforced sandstone material. All are designed for use in an exterior environment. There are however a wide variety of climate and weather conditions which could quite possibly affect the longevity of these items.

Installation:

When installed outdoors, we recommend placing the statues and pedestal onto a surface that will allow for some drainage such as gravel, rocks, brick pavers or similar. We do not recommend placing the statues or pedestal directly onto garden soil or mulch as this will allow the statue or pedestal to "wick" water or moisture, never allowing it to dry out.

Below are some ideas on how to handle this.

You can purchase a large planter saucer (with a drainage hole in it), fill it with coarse sand or pea gravel and partially bury it up to the rim. Or the statue or pedestal can be placed onto brick pavers which can also be partially buried. In both cases, this will allow for proper drainage.




Cleaning and care:

When installed outdoors, the statues and pedestal will naturally weather and patina over time. Many people desire a natural moss build up. If you would like to clean these items, we suggest a solution of white vinegar and water with a soft brush for cleaning. DO NOT POWER WASH THE STATUES OR PEDESTAL as a power washer is typically too powerful for the statue and pedestal to withstand the pressure and can cause damage.

If located in an extremely cold climate, it may prolong the life of the statue and pedestal if taken into a garage or closed porch area, for the Winter months.

Thank you and enjoy your Frank Lloyd Wright Statuary!
CLICK TO VIEW FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT STATUARY
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Nichols Bros Stoneworks Cast Stone Installation & Care
Installation of your cast stone planter, urn, or vase

Nichols Bros Stoneworks’ cast stone urns and vases can be quite heavy. Upon delivery, make sure to have ample personnel available to unload and install them. Medium to larger vases will require a forklift vehicle for installation. Nichols Bros Stoneworks’ cast stone is very durable but damage can easily occur if not handled properly. Make sure to not mishandle during installation. Remember, they are a cast stone product and not a natural stone. Whence installed, they are typically safe from any possible damage but there are a few common sense measures that should be considered. For example, the cast stone products will not hold up to skateboard trauma and this sort of activity will void its warranty.


It is important that the container(s) be placed onto a flat level surface with some attention to where the excess water will flow. Matching saucers for many sizes of the urns and vases are available (please inquire). The cast stone urns and vases are supplied with small square cut rubber spacers (rubber feet) to elevate it and allow water to drain correctly (see figure 1).



If you are planning to install your vase on top of a column or wall pylon, that has not yet been constructed, then you have the option of incorporating a drainage pipe into the column or wall design using a PVC pipe drain (see figure 2).


Many of the Nichols Bros Stoneworks’ cast stone urn and vase designs, are made up of 2 to 3 sections. For example, many of the Frank Lloyd Wright urns and vases have a cap that is separate from the bowl or base. The base can also be separate from the bowl section. During assembly, the sections should be secured together using a standard mason’s waterproof mortar, epoxy, or landscape adhesive. The sections can be heavy so this may require more than one person. Some customers prefer not to use an adhesive when assembling the top or cap in the event that the vase may need to be moved in the future. Sometime its sheer weight is enough for securing into place.


Cleaning


Nichols Bros Stoneworks’ cast stone products are manufactured using a dry-cast stone material that ages and behaves much like cut sandstone. You will find that it will age or patina naturally over time. Due to its natural porosity, mosses, lichen and algae’s will find the material a great place to live and within just a few years, the container will look like they are quite old. If this is a look you find desirable or compatible with its environment, then you can accelerate the process by applying a wash of yogurt, beer, or moss to the outside surface of the stone and keeping the stone wet for some time. If you prefer to keep your container(s) looking as new as possible, then applying a clear stone waterproofing sealant to the exterior of the stone (when new) and periodically cleaning it with a bleach and water solution will prevent the growth of vegetation on its surface. The use of a “low-pressure” pressure washer can be used but with much care. Do not hold the pressure washer wand nose close to the surface. A very high-pressure washer of commercial grade is not advised. Acid based masonry cleaners should be tested in an inconspicuous location of the container before its full use. An acid based masonry cleaner, if used full strength, can dissolve the cast stone material. If concerned about cleaning the surface of your cast stone product, then first try using a mix of baking soda and water with a soft brush and rinse. This may work for you just fine.

Be aware! We have noticed that some of the new premium potting soil mixes, which contain high levels of fertilizer, have a tendency to stain the outside of the cast stone products in a brown stain.


Additional Care Considerations


Nichols Bros Stoneworks’ cast stone products are capable of withstanding freezes without damage provided some measures are taken. It is possible for water saturated root and soil balls to freeze, expand, and fracture the container from the inside out. For this reason care should be taken in geographic areas where temperatures become very cold to prevent this from occurring. Consider removing any root balls from the container during dormant winter months. Many of our customers who do not decorate the planters will create covers for them and decorate on top of the cover as a precaution.

In cases where the cast stone is subjected to wide extremes in temperature, you may notice the development of small hairline cracks in the stone. These cracks are normal and due to expansion and contraction within the walls of the container. Some of this can be minimized from placing the cast stone container(s) in areas where they are not in direct sunlight (and heat up) or near sprinklers that can cool them down rapidly when hot. Care should also be taken to not wet the cast stone container down with cold water when the cast stone is extremely hot as cracking can possibly occur from thermal shock.

To view all
Frank Lloyd Wright urns and vases.
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Monday, March 16, 2015
Planning and Executing a Fireplace or Backsplash Tile Installation


 

A tile installation project can be a challenging task for a first-timer or even a well-seasoned designer. The outcome of the finished installation will depend greatly on the depth of knowledge of the materials, the processes involved, and the many nuances inherent. This article strives to provide information and tips, as well as help prevent any possible shortfalls in the process of designing for and installing a tile installation. This information stems from my own personal experiences designing and installing for a wide variety of tile installations. In this article, we will assume that handmade tile shall be used for the project rather than standard machine-made tile found in most home improvement stores, which tend to present much less of a challenge.

 

Lets begin with the palate or planned space for tiling

 

A finished tile installation can be viewed as an overall art piece, which also serves a function. Tile installations can range widely from a fireplace surround and hearth, kitchen backsplash, bath tub/shower, foyer, wall, or for flooring. Some tile installations are for an exterior application as well. Because a fireplace surround and a kitchen backsplash are frequently a focal point, and handmade art tiles are often incorporated into the design, we will focus mostly on these.

 

Typically there is greater flexibility in new construction or renovation where demolition has occurred. Often, the tile design and layout can drive whatever else will be happening around it (so nice when that happens). It is important to remember that tiles have certain standards in sizing and this sizing can vary greatly from artist to artist or manufacturer to manufacturer. More often that not, a tile installation will take place within an existing space and have many constraints in terms of sizing, proportion, objects, and cost. These constraints may not be realized until the design layout is already in process or during the actual installation (if an accurate layout has not been done first). Other constraints may involve a new fireplace insert, existing gas valve, pot filler, or even a substrate issue. An existing palate space may also involve something that will be removed and then reinstalled over portions of the tile, after the tile has been installed. An example of this is an existing wood fireplace surround. A wood fireplace surround that cannot be removed will have greater constraints on your design, particularly if using tiles that cannot be cut. In this case, some custom tile sizes may be required in order to fill out the given space. Custom tile sizes will add cost or may not even be available with your selected tile maker.

 

It is important to mention here that a very accurate design layout should be done, based upon all of the dimensions of the palate and it’s constraints, as well as the exact dimensions of the desired or selected tiles. Grout line spacing should also be taken into consideration when laying out the design.

 

The tile

 

All tiles are not created equal!  Tile artists and tile manufacturers have differing sizes, use differing material, and their processes can differ greatly. Lets begin with the material; some tile is ceramic, some tile is porcelain, some tile is glass, and some tile may be metallic such as bronze tile. Some can be easily cut, and some tiles cannot be cut cleanly or cannot be cut at all. Some are more durable than others such as porcelain. And sadly, consistency can vary with a tile artist or tile manufacturer.

 

Standard tile sizes will vary. For example, a 6” by 6” tile may be as small as 5.75” by 5.75” with any one tile maker. Or it may be an actual 6” by 6” with another. Some tile makers will take into consideration some separation for grout lines. Some may have an actual 6” by 6” tile and smaller 3” tiles so there can be a grout line in between the 3” tiles but flush to the edge of the 6” tile. Some tiles such as decorative tiles and trim or border tiles are meant to butt up to each other and not have a grout line. Tile thicknesses will also vary. Some tiles can be as little as 3/16” thick and some can be as much as 5/8” thick or greater. So you see, there are standards that really are not standards at all. It is best to decide on the tiles you would like to use and obtain “their” actual tile sizes before starting any layout design.

 

Most tile makers have the capability of creating bull nosed edged tiles and over-glazed edged tiles. This may be required on more than one edge per tile, depending upon the layout. This will add cost to your project but can give a tile installation a finished look.

 

Mixing tiles among varying tile makers

 

On occasion, or budgeting reasons, I have used decorative tiles from one artist and solid color field tiles from another with some good results. In this instance, it is important to remember that tile sizes vary and tile thicknesses vary. For example, I have used decorative tiles that are 5/8” thick and a full 6” by 6” in size. The field tiles surrounding were only 3/8” thick and a smaller width dimension. So the grout lines were greater than they would have been if all of the tiles were by a single tile maker. The decorative tiles happened to be over-glazed on the ends so the difference in height made them look like an intentional accent. I have also used decorative tiles with a lessor thickness than the field tile. In this case, you would need to build out some thickness behind the decorative tile. This can be done by attaching a thin material to the substrate behind the tile such as luan or build up using the tile setting material (or both).

 

Make sure to order samples of tiles whenever possible to match them up and see if they will work well together. And then send the tile samples you like with your order for the tiles as a reference point for the tile maker to try and match.

 

Establish a budget

 

Save yourself some frustration by establishing a budget at the onset. Calculate a budget for installation separate from the purchase of the material. And remember, shipping of the tiles may be additional (tile is heavy). Consider using an experienced Designer regardless of how much of a creative person you are. An experienced Designer can possibly save you from some serious aesthetic and financial mistakes. They may also be able to assist in the selection of a proper tile installer, which we shall talk about later.

 

Within a tile layout design, there may be a variety of decorative tiles integrated with solid color field tiles. The decorative tiles will have more cost and you may use only a few of them in the design. But be aware, even a small amount of solid color field tile can add up having a total cost beyond your anticipated project budget. Costs for decorative tiles will vary from tile size to number of glaze colors and applications in the tile. Artist hand painted tiles will typically be at the higher end of cost. Handmade field tile costs can be from $35 per sq/ft to as much as $65 per sq/ft. Plan on $50 per sq.ft to be safe (just for the field tile portion).

 

Measure your space (palate), add it all up and don’t forget to include some overage. You may surprised at the material cost. Now is the time to determine if you can afford to do this project or if you will need to make some adjustments. It is ok to fall in love with some tile designs and wanting to use them in your project. Just make sure that you can afford them before a perfect layout design is completed and you have time and money invested.

 

There really is no standard for installation or Designer costs. It will vary from region to region, talent and experience.

 

Time frames

 

Everybody wants his or her project to happen quickly. Be prepared. This process is not a quick process. Information needs to be gathered. Questions need to be asked. Revisions may be required. Materials need to be ordered and produced. And installers need to be scheduled. It is not unusual for the production of handmade tiles to run from 6 weeks on up to 6 months. Remember….good things are worth waiting for!

 

The Layout Design Process

 

Measure the palate space and be as accurate as possible. Sketch out the space and all of its turns and crevices, jotting down the dimensions with arrows of the spaces. Don’t forget….older homes and buildings may not be level. For example, a width at the top of a fireplace surround may be different from a width at the base. Measure and take notes for everything. Too much information is not a bad thing here. If you are working with new construction, obtain dimensions from any architectural drawings and then do a field site trip and measure! Things change in the construction process. Not just sometimes, but often. Try to anticipate the worst while maintaining a positive attitude (because you are being smart).

 

So you think that you can just get some graph paper and design it yourself? Go back to the beginning of this article and read again. Remember, tile sizes vary and accuracy will play a major role in the quality of the outcome. You can certainly begin the process with graph paper. But consider using a Designer who works in CAD for at least the final layout.

 

I will not discuss design itself or aesthetic judgment. The focus of this article is on the process and helping you to avoid possible mistakes and loss of money. What you should be aware of however is that designs typically evolve. Things look different on paper. And they often look different in 3D. So be open to change and don’t get hung up on achieving exactly what you had in mind. It’s better to strive for an overall feeling or effect.

 

Using a Designer who uses CAD

 

Anyone who draws in CAD knows that it’s the best possible tool for generating accurate layouts. It also allows one to create a variety of layout variations quickly, easily, and save many versions. The best starting point is to draw out the palate based upon on all of the field dimensions. In CAD, various tiles can also be drawn out to exact dimensions based upon the tiles sizes of the tile maker(s). They can be color coded for ease in identification. Keeping in mind the desired affect, overall space, and end user wishes, the process now becomes a composition effort using the tile maker’s standard tiles sizes as much as possible, in order to avoid custom tile sizes and tile cutting. The tile composition will also incorporate exact grout line widths in between tiles. Altering grout line widths may be necessary in order to fill out a space accurately.

 

Most CAD drawings can be exported and imported into a working visualization tool such as Photoshop. I prefer Photoshop because of its power, flexibility and multi-layering capability. Quite often, you can locate tile makers’ tile designs and glaze colors online, copy, paste and size into the layout (see figure B). Ultimately, a best possible design layout and visualization tool can be generated with many variations. Whence a design layout is settled on, it’s a good idea to get a quote for all of the tiles in the design. Be sure to spell out any custom tiles in the design.



 

Design process options

 

With many of the tile layout designs that I work on, I prefer to create actual sized print outs of the finished/approved design. Over-sized print outs can be done at service centers such as Kinkos or Staples. They require a .PDF file. For larger projects the printouts may need to be created in sections. Over-sized printers and copiers typically have a roll width maximum of 48”. The actual sized print out can be brought to the site, cut and taped right onto the palate. Pretty cool huh? The actual sized print outs can also be used by the tile installer as reference in spacing, etc. The print out can be taped to a floor and the tiles assembled onto the print before installing.

 

With complex designs involving multiple tile sizes and custom tile sizes, it’s a good idea to create a “key” with the tile sizes color-coded (see figure C). This can be useful when ordering the tiles from the tile maker, as well as useful for the installer. Make sure to identify any required bull nose edges or over-glazed edged tiles.



 

The Importance Of An Experienced Tile Setter

 

I cannot stress enough just how important a tile setter can be for the success of your tile installation project. The tile setter should have experience in laying out and installing handmade tiles. Handmade tiles, unlike machine pressed tiles, can be somewhat irregular in size and the edges are not a precision straight-line edge. An experienced tile setter will know how to select tiles for placement, rotate and adjust tiles as they are set on a tile-per-tile basis. Simply put…there is a great deal of artistry and finessing on the part of the tile setter (installer) in order for the tile layout to work out properly. It is not at all unusual for a tile setter to have to make some level of adjustments in the installation process. An experienced tile setter will know how to prepare a substrate and what type of tile adhesive will be best the project based upon the substrate and the type of tile. Make sure to tell them, a lot has been invested up front in time, effort and cost and you would appreciate them carving out a proper amount of time to do the job.

 

Thank you and I certainly hope that this has been helpful for your future tile projects.

 

About the author:

Joseph Galli is a Designer as well as owner/operator of Oak Park Home & Hardware, Inc. and Tudor Furnishings. Joseph has BFA in Industrial Design from Rochester Institute of Technology.
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Saturday, March 7, 2015
Properly Changing Your Clock Time


Daylight Saving Time:

Two times per year, most all of the US observes Daylight Saving Time (as well as some 70 countries), requiring us to adjust clocks either forward or backward (Spring ahead / Fall back). There are still portions of Arizona, Hawaii, and American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, that do not observe DST. These days, most of us have a wide variety of clocks that need changing from that microwave oven clock to a conventional wall clock. It is advisable to just change them all at one time so you do not have differing times displayed throughout the home and office. And don't forget about your car clock :-) As a reminder, it is always a good idea to also take this time to change out batteries in your home fire alarms and carbon dioxide alarms with fresh ones.

IMPORTANT! - Manually adjusting the time on an older conventional clock:

Some clock hands fit over the end of a movement stem and are secured with a threaded nut. Others (particularly on an inexpensive movement), are press fit onto the end of a movement stem and can bend or strip causing irregular time if adjusted by directly moving the hand. Many of the clocks we offer are hand-crafted but do have an inexpensive battery operated clock quartz movement. These movements do have a dial in the back for adjusting the time. Quite often, we have a customer call and say that the clock movement is no longer working and it really is because they have attempted to adjust the time by directly moving the clock hands. When the clock hands become stripped or disengaged from the stem, it will no longer work properly. Regardless of what type of clock movement you have, it is always best to change the time from the back of the movement and not from directly moving the clock hands. You will avoid possible breakage and the hassle of replacing a clock's entire movement.

When changing a digital clock, make sure to advance (or set back) the time to the proper AM/PM setting. A great way to make sure all of your clocks are in sync with time, carry your smart phone around with you while changing the times. This way, you will always have the correct time in hand.

To change the time on your smart phone, tablet, or computer,.....yes I am kidding.....no need to.....it changes automatically!

For interesting information about Daylight Saving Time

Check out all of the handcrafted clocks that we offer!

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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Mission-Craftsman Style Lighting by Arroyo Craftsman
Experience The Difference!



We don't have a memorable commercial jingle. Nor do we have extensive TV ad campaigns or magazine ads. We are a small business and specialize in a few particular styles. Our product lines are carefully selected and we know them inside and out. This allows us to work closely with our customers by phone, email or in person to ensure a favorable outcome. This makes us different from the many "white background" websites out there offering some of the same items. Many of them sell just about everything possible and do not specialize. Quite often, their customer service personnel are not knowledgeable about the products they offer resulting in order errors. Imagine waiting 4-8 weeks for your made to order item and it arriving incorrect!  We do our best to make sure this does not happen. For example, there are many options available with our lighting from multiple sizes, finishes, glass or mica, UL ratings, and more. We know the details inherent in our products and can answer any questions that our customer(s) may have. If we do not know something, then "we find out"! Yet we are able remain very competitive with pricing.

We have been offering Mission-Craftsman Style Lighting from Arroyo Craftsman since our inception in 2001. The Arroyo Craftsman lighting collection has always been one of our biggest sellers, largely in part because of their many glass, mica and metal finish options. In a single series, you can create a cohesive look in any Craftsman-Bungalow-Arts & Crafts environment. For example, within the Arroyo Craftsman Mission series or Prairie series, you can find a chandelier, wall sconce, exterior light, pendant lantern, column mount fixture, table lamp, and floor lamp all in the same theme. Our many years of experience with the Arroyo Craftsman lighting lines allows us the ability to assist our customers above and beyond any other reseller of Mission-Craftsman Style Lighting. We frequently do customized lighting designs with Arroyo Craftsman.
 
Located in Southern California, Arroyo Craftsman handcrafts each piece individually from raw brass. Some finishes take many days to cure. Their products are structurally superior and considered commercial grade. Their lighting designs are genuine and true to the style and materials they work with.
 
Arroyo Craftsman can be found in scores of architectural landmarks.
The Gamble House. Frank Lloyd Wright homes. The Grove Park Inn.
 
Arroyo Craftsman’s naturally oxidized finishes such as their Verdigris Patina, Mission Brown, Bronze, and Raw Copper are applied by hand in multiple steps and take many days to cure. Each Arroyo Craftsman product is manufactured in Baldwin Park, California by American artisans, and dated.
 
Arroyo Craftsman maintains a rich tradition that can be found in many historical landmarks. Virtually any size and application can be accommodated and we can facilitate this. Contact us for a consultation and quote.

Arroyo Craftsman Lighting model numbers (sku numbers) typically include a number that indicates a width. The width is always the widest portion of the light fixture which is often the roof or top. The extension is the overall length of either a chandelier or pendant and is from the ceiling to very bottom of the lantern(s).


 
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Sunday, February 15, 2015
Replacing Glass or Mica Diffuser Panels in an Arroyo Craftsman Light Fixture:
Replacing Glass or Mica Diffuser Panels in an Arroyo Craftsman Light Fixture:

The need to replace or change out glass or mica panels can range from a single panel replacement to multiple panel replacement. The reasons may arise from a broken panel or the desire to change out to an entirely different glass or mica for a different look or better light output.

Changing the glass or mica diffuser panels within an Arroyo Craftsman light fixture can be challenging depending upon which Arroyo Craftsman light fixture it is and whether it's an indoor or outdoor light fixture. Arroyo Craftsman will use some clear silicone adhesive to secure glass and mica panels, along with the metal tabs typically holding the panels in place. For indoor light fixtures, Arroyo Craftsman may use just a dab of the silicone in the corners. Whereas for outdoor light fixtures, they may use generous amounts of silicone. They may also use additional silicone to seal certain areas in the fixture. The bottom line is...the ease of your task of replacing the panels will depend greatly upon how much silicone was used by Arroyo Craftsman.

Replacement glass or mica panels for Arroyo Craftsman light fixtures are readily available and only available through an authorized Arroyo Craftsman dealer such as Oak Park Home & Hardware. Not all dealers will take the time to assist in ordering replacement panels. Here at Oak Park Home & Hardware, we will gladly assist and have for over 14 years. We will also replace the panels for you if you are local to us or would like to send the light fixture to us (we do charge for this service). If you are ordering new light fixtures, particularly for outdoors, you may want to order it with an additional glass panel just to have on hand in the event of an accident. We have done this at our customer's request.

The Task At Hand:

IMPORTANT: SWITCH OFF ELECTRICAL CIRCUIT BREAKER(S) BEFORE REMOVING ANY LIGHT FIXTURE!

1) Make sure that you have received the correct glass or mica panel size(s). IMPORTANT!....most all of the glasses have an outside side and an inside side. For example, the outside of the GW-Gold White Iridescent glass is the rainbow color side and the inside is glossier and a bit bumpy in texture. If you are replacing a broken panel, then simply compare your new panel to the existing ones.



2) Lay everything out in a clean environment. Use a towel or something soft to lay the fixture down onto so the finish will not become scratched.

You should have on hand the following:

- Clean sharp putty knife
- Single-sided razor blade
- Flat head screwdriver
- Soft cloth rag or paper towels
- Endust or stainless steel polish
- Clear 100% silicone adhesive
- Vacuum cleaner




3) All Arroyo Craftsman light fixtures will have small metal tabs which are bent over to hold the glass or mica in place. Some fixtures such as the Prairie series, in this pictorial example, also have metal strips that seat over the metal tabs before the metal tabs are bent over. If you have a broken glass panel, then it is advised to wear gloves when removing the glass. You may have to break the glass panel further in order to remove it. In this pictorial example, you can see that we are replacing the old mica with new glass (nothing was broken). We have bent the small metal tabs upward and removed the metal strips. You may need to use a flat head screwdriver to assist in bending the tabs.You can see that we have layed out the metal strips in the same pattern that they were removed. This may not be necessary but why risk it? After the metal strips are removed and small metal tabs bent outward, carefully remove the existing panels. Now this is where it go smoothly or not so smoothly. If the panels were installed with generous amounts of silicone, then it may be necessary to use your putty knife or single-sided razor blade FROM THE OUTSIDE along the edges of the fixture frame (and sometimes the overlay details). Carefully work it until the panel eventually becomes loose enough to pull it out. Be very careful to not scratch the finish on the outside of the fixture. It can compromise the finish causing it to corrode or be unsightly. After removing the panel(s), do your best to remove as much silicone as possible, particularly in the corners. Otherwise, the new glass or mica panel may not seat up against the edge of the fixture frame leaving a gap. This can take some time. Be patient.



4) Prepare the frame for the new panels. Vacuum it all out. With most finishes, you can wipe everything clean using a soft cloth rag and Endust or a Stainless Steel Polish. These have small amounts of silicone in them and will help clean and seal the finish. DO NOT USE ANY SOLVENTS OF ANY KIND. FOR RAW COPPER AND MISSION BROWN FINISHES: Only use a damp rag to wipe clean and it is advised to use clean white gloves as oils from your fingers can show up on these finishes and will not go away on these two finishes.



5) Install the new panels. Don't bend any tabs over at this time. Dry fit all panels into place first. You may need to slide some panels over a bit in order to get others in, etc. Make sure all panels are seated well before re-installing the metals strips and bending over tabs. Now.....if it is an outdoor fixture and exposed to the elements, you can spot some of the silicone adhesive in the corners of the panels or even along the edges before installing. Be very careful to only use small amounts and at the further most edge of the panels. Otherwise, the silicone will squeeze out onto the outside of the frame and glass or mica. If this happens, you can rub the excess silicone off only after it has completely dried (about 24 hrs). Make sure all tabs are bent over. They do not always need to be completely bent over. They just need to hold the panel in place. If you would like, you can add beads of silicone in the corners or along edges on the inside for additional securing. Just keep in mind that the more silicone that is applied, the more difficult it will be to repeat this task in the future :-) Take your time. Performing this task hastily can result in additional broken glass or mica panels.

6) Clean up. Your'e finished. Reinstall and Enjoy!

Let us know if we can order up any replacement panels for you. We'd be happy to assist!
Oak Park Home & Hardware
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Posted by Joseph     1 Comments Saturday, February 14, 2015
Framing Art Tiles Into A Tile Frame
View The YouTube Video On This

Art tiles can vary greatly in size from tile maker to tile maker. A 4 x 4 tile by Motawi Tileworks will be different from a 4 x 4 tile by another tile maker such as Lewellen Studio, Medicine Bluff Studio, or other. This is because they all use different processes to press their tiles, different material sources, varying tile thicknesses, and varying kiln and curing times. Tile thicknesses can also vary quite a bit from 1/4" up to 5/6".

Tile frames will also vary from maker to maker. Some tile frames are pre-made to accommodate a variety of tile maker's tiles. And some tile frame makers will craft their frames specific to a tile makers tile or tile size. Tile frame depths vary quite a bit, making the framing of a tile a little challenging.

Either way, there is typically a space between the tile to be framed and the tile frame edge (in the back of the frame). You do not want a tile to fit tightly into a wood tile frame. The following is how we frame tiles into our frames. This example involves framing three 4 x 8 Motawi tiles into a triple cavity frame by Dard Hunter Studios.



1) Position tiles into frame cavities. Make sure that the tiles are right side up in the frame. Many tiles have a self-hanger built into the tile and many tile frames have a keyhole slot hanger built into the frame at the top.

2) We cut strips of corrugated cardboard for using between the tiles edge(s) and the tile frame cavity. This will help center the tile, make it snug, and allows for expansion and contraction in the wood from humidity fluctuations.

3) Cut and position the strips of cardboard. The gap size between the tiles and frame cavity will vary so you may be able to use the cardboard strips as is, or you can reduce the cardboard thickness by pressing down on it with your finger and slide it through. It can take some finagling but work them into position. You may notice that the tile does not have a completely straight edge. You can force the cardboard strips down into position using a putty knife or metal ruler.




4) Tile frames typically come with "tile clips". Tile clips are a zig-zag configuration allowing you to secure a tile into place if the tile's backside protrudes up past the back of the tile frame or if the tile is below the back of the tile frame. Some tile clips have a 1/8" offset and some have as much as 3/8". Position the tile clips either along the top or sides of the tiles. You can pre-drill holes for the screws. Or quite often, tile frames come with self-tapping screws for the clips. Self-tapping screws will start their own hole as they are screwed in. If this s the first tile you are framing a tile, then we would recommend pre-drilling for the screws. It is best to use a drill when securing the clips. We install only 2 tile clips per tile. However, when we frame tiles to be shipped to our customers, we will install as many as 4 clips per tile depending upon the tile size. This is for optimum securing for shipping.

If you find that there is a bit of air space between the tile and clip, then you can add a small piece of the cardboard between the tile and clip. Remember, the back will not be in view after hanging.



That is it! Good luck with your tile framing!

Oak Park Home & Hardware offers many art tile designs as well as tile frame options.

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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Monday, February 9, 2015
Introducing 3 New Craftsman Style Lighting Series by Arroyo Craftsman


Introducing 3 New Craftsman Style Lighting series' by Arroyo Craftsman: Greenwood, Finsbury, and Canterbury.

The Arroyo Craftsman Greenwood lighting series is a unique blend of the Craftsman style and the ranch architecture of the Southwest. The roof supports and angled overlays mimic the roof support gables used in Craftsman style homes. The Greenwood lighting series is a clean design that can work in a wide variety of architectural styles as well.

The Arroyo Craftsman Finsbury lighting series is designed for a variety of architectural styles from the Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie style to the clean contemporary Modernist style. The Arroyo Craftsman Finsbury lighting is a complete lighting series with everything from wall mount lighting, post mount lighting to hanging pendant lighting.

The Arroyo Craftsman Canterbury lighting series is perfect for the New England, Colonial or Tudor style home or building. The Arroyo Craftsman Canterbury lighting is a complete lighting series with everything from wall mount lighting, post mount lighting, hanging pendant lighting, and column or pier mount lights.

All Arroyo Craftsman Lighting is hand crafted and finished in Baldwin Park, CA (USA) and made from heavy gauge solid brass sheeting. To view all Arroyo Craftsman Lighting designs: https://www.oakparkhome-hardware.com/Light…/Arroyo_Craftsman
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Monday, May 5, 2014
Chicago Bungalow Planter Boxes
Chicago Bungalow Planter Boxes Shown Installed:

Here is a recent example of our Chicago Bungalow Planter Boxes installed within a Chicago Bungalow home. Our Chicago Bungalow Planter Box is designed specifically for the corbels integrated into the architecture of the Chicago Bungalow. The Chicago Bungalow Planter Boxes have a flat back for butting up to the wall surface. It also has flat ends for butting up to each other.

Our Chicago Bungalow Planter Box design includes a designated area for installing any 4 inch by 4 inch decorative tile (optional). In this example, the customer has installed a Bee tile by Motawi Tileworks.

The Chicago Bungalow Planter Box is made from real cast stone and offered in 5 color options.

The Chicago Bungalow Planter Box must ship via freight curbside delivery because of its weight and size. We now offer $100 flat shipping cost for 2 or more planters (lower 48 States only).

We also have available the same Planter Box which is 2-sided with a curved flange on all four side top edge.

There is a 10 year warranty on all cast stone planters Made in USA!

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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Saturday, January 4, 2014
New Arroyo Craftsman Lighting - Artisan Series
Announcing a new lighting series by Arroyo Craftsman called the Artisan series.

The new Artisan lighting series is a comfortable blend of the straight forward Craftsman style and contemporary styles. This design is characterized with vertical individual glass panels and framework. The center glass (or mica) panel has a wire mesh overlay panel in the same finish as the fixture metal finish selected. It is also available without the wire mesh overlay panels.

The Arroyo Craftsman Artisan lighting series is available in all Arroyo Craftsman metal finishes, glass and/or mica diffuser options. Fixtures are available for wet locations, damp locations, and of course dry locations for indoor use.



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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Friday, August 30, 2013
Frank Lloyd Wright Studio Vases At The Terry Trueblood Recreation Center
Oak Park Home & Hardware has recently supplied 9 (nine) Large Frank Lloyd Wright Oak Park Studio Vases for the Terry Trueblood Recreation Center in Iowa City, IA. The nine Studio Vases have been installed throughout the recreational area. The Trueblood Recreation area is 207 total acres with a lake that is 95.5 acres of surface area along the Iowa River on South Gilbert Street.

The Trueblood Recreation area is named after the city's late Parks and Recreation Director, Terry Trueblood. Trueblood lost his fight to pancreatic cancer in 2009. Before he passed, Trueblood said he wanted to turn the former sand and gravel pit into an outdoor area everyone could enjoy. The folks in Iowa are very fortunate to have such a beautiful family friendly park in the area.



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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Saturday, April 13, 2013
New Craftsman Style Garden Trellis
A Unique Craftsman Trellis!

New for Spring 2012, this Craftsman style garden trellis is perfect for a garden or yard focal point. Its beefy red cedar construction with integrated Motawi tiles set it apart from any other trellis "out there". Red cedar is highly resistant to rot and decay and will last for many years.

This Craftsman style trellis is great for that prized clematis vine or climbing rose, making it the talk of the neighborhood. Wall mount trellises are great as an architectural accent or to help cover up an unsightly wall surface.

Our Craftsman style garden trellis was designed by Oak Park Home & Hardware and crafted in Chicago by Galewood Lattice. Customization is available. Please inquire.


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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Monday, April 1, 2013
Lawn Signs for Residential or Commercial Use
Lawn Signs for Residential or Commercial Use

Oak Park Home & Hardware has added many new lawn sign designs which can be used for both residential and commercial installations. Our wood lawn signs are our own designs and offered in a variety of architectural styles, sizes and are customizable. Our wood lawn signs are made from solid red cedar and can be stained or left natural. Many of our wood lawn signs are UPS shippable. Larger signs are shipped via freight delivery (sorry...this line has been discontinued)

We have also added a line of lawn signs with aluminum frames and acrylic composite sign options. Lawn sign aluminum frames are available in either white or black and the signs are available in as many as five colors! Check out our lawn signs with aluminum frames here.



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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Thursday, October 13, 2011
International Shipping
Yes. We ship certain items to customers overseas.

Just this week, we shipped 8 Frank Lloyd Wright Dana House Vases to my customer in Australia. Shipping a product this large and this heavy was a first for us and quite a challenge.  Fortunately, we work with some fantastic manufacturers and suppliers that have the experience to facilitate such a massive task. In this case, Nichols Bros Stoneworks took care of everything for us. The 8 Frank Lloyd Wright Planter Vases were crated and shipped by ship from  the Port Of Seattle and destined for The Port Of Melbourne. Of course, the shipping cost was quite high. Interestingly,  one of the greater costs is the inspection of the wood used to build the crates. Apparently, all wood that is shipped overseas need to be inspected for contamination and pests.



We have been shipping Internationally for many years. There are certain countries in which we will not ship to however. We ship to Canada frequently and have also shipped to the UK, Japan, Australia, and Spain. If at all possible, we try to ship via USPS. This is more work for us but it can save our customers considerable costs such as Customs fees associated with shipping via UPS or FedEx.

If you are considering ordering and shipping any of our products Internationally, then please contact us for a cost estimate. We do verify the validity of all International buyers.
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Thursday, April 21, 2011
Mounting House Numbers and House Markers On Stucco
Mounting house numbers or house markers onto stucco can be a challenge. Some stucco surfaces can be very uneven, wavy, or brittle.

Most individual house numbers or house number plaques come with matching screws only.
We recommend purchasing standard plastic anchor inserts.
The house number screws will then screw into the plastic anchors.
Before drilling anything, measure twice and use a level (we cannot stress this enough).
Use a masonry drill bit for drilling your holes. Use a smaller sized drill bit first and then widen with a drill bit sized appropriate for the plastic anchors.
You can squirt some silicone adhesive or exterior grade silicone caulk into the holes to hold the anchors in more securely if you like

Now...here is the challenge....
The stucco surface is uneven.
So what you can do is use some very small washers (around the screws and behind the numbers or plaque) to raise the numbers or plaque off from the stucco surface.
You can play around with this using more washers on some screws than others in order to get an even look. Try and use brass washers if possible.

The result will be sort of a "floating" look as if it were mounted with stand offs.
But this is a far better look than a haphazard uneven appearance.

We also offer Craftsman style house number backer boards for mounting individual house numbers.


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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Selecting Proper Exterior Wall Mounting Lighting
There are varying configuration designs for exterior wall mount lighting. Some can be a completely flush to the wall mount configuration. Some are flush with the lantern portion extending outward from the flush wall mount plate. Some extend downward considerably from the center of the mounting back plate. And some have the lantern extending upward considerably from the mounting back plate. Unfortunately, the selection of your exterior wall mount lighting should not be based solely on design, style, or simply what you like. A major consideration is the position of the existing electrical mounting boxes. Of course, an electrical mounting box can be repositioned by a qualified Electrician. This may not be an easy task with home construction involving brick, stone, stucco. And with older homes, moving the electrical mounting box location may result in completely rewiring, according to local code (and may require a local permit).

All too often we see a beautiful homes' curb appeal denigrated because of poor wall mount lighting design selection. Many times we see upward lighting designs mounted way too high, downward lighting designs mounted too low and flush mount lighting mounted too high or too low. They simply look aesthetically uncomfortable. As a general rule, the lantern portion for a residential entry should be at eye level of just above eye level. Of course, this will vary greatly depending upon scale of the entry, door, sidelights, etc.

In addition to incorrect light fixture configuration design, we often see a wrong fitted design on a home. For example, a distinctly Prairie lighting design installed on Colonial style home or on a Tudor style home can look awkward. A contemporary style light fixture installed on a grand Tudor Revival style home will also appear awkward. A misfit light fixture can be the result of selection based upon personal taste of the light fixture design without consideration of the context of the home's style. Consider consulting with a Designer or Architect when selecting exterior lighting for your home or building. Most high quality lighting made in USA is crafted based upon finish and/or glass options  and are non-returnable. Best to make certain you are selecting and ordering an appropriate lighting design and scale.

A near fool proof method that we recommend (and use) for our customers when selecting a light fixture is a "printed model" approach. In many cases, we can email an actual sized elevation drawing of a pre-selected light fixture to our customer. The printout may need to be pieced together because of size. The printout will indicate the center mounting point for mounting to the electrical box. The printout can be cut out and taped to the mounting box location on the home. Some customers will also make a crude box to the size of the fixture's projection and tape the printout to the front of the box and hold it up to the mounting location. This will provide a clear indication as to whether the scale of the fixture, mounting location for the fixture design is comfortable or appropriate.

Very often, our customers will snap a picture of the entry, and email it to us. They will provide the dimension of something in the picture and we can render in the light fixture to an approximate scale at the exact location of the mounting box. We then email this back to our customers. This can also be invaluable when selecting exterior lighting. Both methods are services we that we provide generally at no cost. You will not find this kind of service with the typical white background online stores. We know our product lines well!

We certainly hope the above information has been useful.

YOU CAN CLICK ON THE DIAGRAM BELOW FOR A LARGER VIEW.


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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Friday, March 4, 2011
Dry, Damp, and Wet Location Ratings
Light Fixture Ratings for Dry, Damp, and Wet Locations

There are distinct differences between Dry, Damp or Wet ratings. Most light fixture and ceiling fan designs sold in the United States have been tested and rated by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent product safety certification organization. Some have also been tested by Intertek and have an ETL Listed mark.

It is not uncommon to become a little confused about UL ratings, particularly when selecting or specifying for a project. The following are some basic guidelines regarding UL ratings for lighting.

Dry Rated (UL listed for Dry Locations):
A dry location is an indoor area that is not normally subject to dampness. It may include a location subject to temporary dampness provided ventilation is adequate to prevent any accumulation of moisture such as in a bathroom.

A typical dry location can include kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, foyers and hallways. A typical dry rated light fixture would be a wall sconce with an open top.

Damp Rated (UL listed for Damp Locations):
Light fixtures and fans indicated "Suitable for Damp Locations" or "Suitable for Wet Locations" can be installed and utilized in a damp location. A damp location is typically an exterior or in some cases an interior location which is periodically subject to condensation or moisture. Damp rated light fixtures may have most of the wiring encased within the metal components of the fixture design but with a portion of the wiring exposed. An example of this would be a chain hung pendant with the wiring running through the chain links into the canopy and electrical box.

A typical damp location can include bathrooms, indoor pool areas, utility rooms, or covered porch or patio.

Many of our customers select to install damp rated light fixtures in exterior locations covered by a very large overhang. However, the height of the light fixture installation location is very important in this instance. The very bottom of the light fixture should be at or above a 45 degree angle drawn from the edge of the overhang (see diagram below). The light fixture should be fully protected from water, particularly from storms.


Wet Rated (UL listed for Wet Locations):
Light fixtures and fans indicated as "Suitable for Wet Locations" should be installed and used in a wet location (indoors or outdoors). A wet location can be an indoor or exterior location in which water or other liquids may drip, splash or flow onto the electrical components of the lighting or fan. Wet rated light fixtures will typically have all wiring encased within the metal components of the fixture design.

A typical wet location can include open decks, stairwells, patios, uncovered porches, exterior walls, gazebos, pergolas, and walkways. Common light fixtures for a wet location are column mount fixtures, post mount fixtures, bollards, wall mount fixtures, deck fixtures, and line voltage landscape lighting.

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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Friday, March 4, 2011
Proper Chandelier and Pendant Heights
This is an important consideration when selecting and ordering a chandelier or pendant light. This issue comes up frequently with our customers and can potentially confuse to the point of frustration. We'll try and make it simple in the following.

Chandelier and pendant heights will vary greatly depending upon installation location as well as pendant or chandelier type. Some chandelier or pendant designs are an up-light design with an open top (inverted).  Some are designed with an open bottom or closed top and bottom.

Open Top Chandeliers And Pendants (inverted):
Most people will prefer not to view into the open top of an inverted chandelier or pendant. This may be true for two reasons.  Many people may not want to see the actual light bulb(s) or light source. Some may also prefer not to view the construction aspects of the light fixture. You may want to install your inverted light fixture at a height where an above averaged height person cannot view into the open top of the fixture design. This can be a challenge in an architectural environment where there may be a stairwell, balcony, or cat walk within the vicinity of the installation location. Consider this when selecting a light fixture design.

Open Bottom Chandeliers And Pendants:
Again, some people prefer not to view the actual light source or construction of a light fixture. In this case, a chandelier or pendant should not be installed too high. For example, for a foyer installation, you may want to consider a light fixture design that has a closed bottom. For a chandelier to be installed above a dining table, consider the vantage point from a seated position. It should be mentioned that many folks are not bothered at all by the interior view of a light fixture and appreciate the added downward brightness that an open bottom light fixture can provide.

Note:  Many chandelier and pendant designs are available with optional loose fitting bottom glass panels. Please inquire whether this option is available.

Chandeliers For A Dining Room Table Application:
There are general guidelines in determining a proper overall height (extension) of a dining table chandelier. The same applies to a pendant for a breakfast nook or table. Generally speaking, you will want the very bottom of the chandelier or pendant to be from 30" to 35" from the surface of the table. Much depends upon the design of the chandelier or pendant, as well as personal preferences. Since ceiling heights will vary greatly, this overall height will vary.

The following is the recipe for calculating a proper height...
Ceiling height minus (-) your table height minus (-) your desired distance from the table surface (30 to 35 inches).

Example:
Ceiling height of: 120 inches
Table height of: 30 inches
= 90 inches
Subtract 30 to 35 inches (lets use 32 inches)
= 58" (this is the desired overall height or extension of your chandelier or pendant)

Many of our chandeliers are made with a stem and can be made to any overall height or extension. With a stem construction design, connecting to the ceiling plate or canopy, the overall height cannot be modified after being made. Most chandeliers or pendant designs are designed with some length of chain or chain links allowing the end user to adjust the overall height or extension at the time of installation. Make sure that you are ordering your light fixture with enough stem and chain links for your ceiling height.

Pendants Above A Kitchen Island:
An island pendant should be installed at a height that is also from 30-35 inches from the counter surface but does not greatly obstruct any valued view. An important factor is the width of the island. For example, with an island that is quite wide (30 inches or more), a low hanging pendant may not get in the way of any functional activity such as food preparation. Low hanging pendants over a narrow island or an island where seating is present, may present a problem. We always suggest hanging some string from the ceiling or taping a tape measure to the ceiling and playing with varying heights in determining a comfortable pendant height. Very often, we will email an actual scale drawing of a pendant to our customers and they will print it out, cut it out and play with the height. This is a fool proof method.

Chandeliers And Pendants For General Room Installations (not above a table):
This one is a common sense approach. Make sure that the bottom of the light fixture is well above the head of a tall individual (at least 80 or more from the floor).  This one is mostly an aesthetic judgment based upon the light fixture design and ceiling height.

Foyer Pendants:
Very often,  a foyer may have an important feature such as a unique window. You may want to consider hanging a pendant at a height where it can be viewed within the window area from the exterior. Generally, a foyer pendant should be installed about 1/3 down from the ceiling to the bottom of the fixture so that the light can be dispersed evenly within the foyer space. Light dispersion will vary greatly depending upon glass type (diffuser type), quantity of light sockets, bulb type, and wattage. Many foyer pendant fixture designs can also be adjusted in height, on site. It is important that you be present at the time of installation to assist in determining a height. Do not leave this decision solely in the hands of an Electrician or Contractor. They would typically prefer that you make this decision. many foyer pendant designs may also be available with a closed bottom option.  Please inquire.

We certainly hope this information has been helpful. Please do not hesitate in contacting us if you have any questions or would like some height customization to your lighting order with us.


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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Friday, January 21, 2011
New Hand Painted Tiles and Colors by Lewellen Studio


Norm Lewellen has recently taken his entire ceramic tile line to an elevated level. Norm has redeveloped his hand painted series, and reformulated/refined his glaze colors and the result is stunning! All Lewellen ceramic tiles are now porcelain tiles which are far superior in strength, durability and has zero porosity which makes it waterproof, and therefor ideal to use around any water situation like backsplashes and outside locations.

Solid color tiles are now offered in 23 satin matte glazes and 9 transparent glossy glazes. Hand painted tiles are now offered in 7 varying background colors. Solid color field tiles are offered in all glaze colors so you can order hand painted tiles with a background color to match the field tiles. Tiles are perfect for back splashes, bathrooms, fireplaces, and for decorative purposes.

Joseph Galli, Designer and owner of Oak Park Home & Hardware and Tudor Furnishings has much design and layout experience for tile work installations. Consider us for your next project. We work remotely via email frequently. We just need photographs and exact dimensions. That's it! You can view some of our recent projects here:  FIREPLACES    BACK SPLASHES

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Posted by Joseph     1 Comments Friday, January 21, 2011
New Website Dedicated To The Tudor Style
We are proud to announce the launch of one of our new "style specific" websites..."Tudor Furnishings" (an Oak Park Home & Hardware company).



At Tudor Furnishings you will find everything Tudor for the Tudor style home, building, or castle. Our product mix is specific to the old world English Tudor style interior and exterior.

Our Tudor style lighting and Tudor style lanterns are designed and fabricated by skilled artisans and offered in many glass and finish options. Our many lighting designs are influenced by the many medieval structures of Tudor England and suitable for the many Tudor Revival style homes found throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad. We offer a vast array of Tudor Gothic style chandeliers, pendant lanterns, and exterior wall mount lighting by small USA manufacturers such as 2nd Ave Lighting, Arroyo Craftsman Lighting, and Mica Lamp Company.



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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Friday, January 21, 2011
Great Local Stained Glass Studio
If you are within the greater Chicagoland area and are ever in need of stained glass panels, repair, or restoration, then consider Curran Glass Studio, located in Berwyn, IL. Owner, John Curran has been specializing in this sort of work since 1972 (that's 38 years!).

Curran Glass Studio Services Include:
Custom design and production of leaded art glass.
Restoration and repair of art glass windows and lamps.
Glass bending for lamp panels, cabinetry and window sashes.
Hand beveling/Machine beveling.
Wheel engraving, sand etching, painting of elaborate designs for windows and mirrors.

Pricing is very reasonable and the customer service is highly regarded.

Check out their website:
Curran Glass Studio


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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Friday, January 7, 2011
Stickley Factory Outlet Coming Soon!
Stickley Factory Outlet Coming.

I had traveled back East to visit family this past Thanksgiving and for New Years as well.
Most of my family is within the Central New York area...more specifically, Syracuse, NY which is not far from the Stickley factory in Manlius, NY.  Driving down Route 11 in North Syracuse, I noticed that an abandoned furniture showroom is becoming a Stickley Factory Outlet Store. As of January 2, 2011, it does not appear to open yet. But the showroom is chock full of beautiful Stickley furniture, rugs and accessories. There may be some great deals to be had here. We shall see. It "may" be worth making the trip! If making the trip, be sure to stop at Twin Trees for pizza. And....warning....the Winter months can be very snowy!





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Posted by Joseph     1 Comments Monday, October 4, 2010
Aspen Bay Candles For The Season
OMG!....I wished you could smell these!

We just received our shipment of Autumn Season and Holiday candles from Aspen Bay Candles.
The fragrances are just amazing. I'm burning the Orange Clove scent now and I'm loving it. Its filling the office with the sweet smell of pumpkin spice and a hint of baked apples.

What I'm really excited about are the Juniper Twig scented candles we received. They literally smell just like a fresh Christmas tree! My friend sells the line of The Thymes Frasier Fir scented candles and diffusers, which are popular during the Holiday season. Our new Aspen Bay Juniper Twig candle smells equally strong (but somewhat different).


OK...I've become a "candle-holic".  Some people only burn candles when the mood strikes, for a romantic setting, a bath, or for occasional odor masking purposes. I burn candles almost daily...while I work, while I'm at home "doing things". It drives me crazy to see people with candles scattered around the house collecting dust. Sometimes they are used only as decorative accents. I actually have a bookshelf ledge with a line-up of candles with differing scents. I love the variety and the environment(s) they create. For example, right now, I have an Orange Clove candle burning. Alongside of it, I have  an Aspen Bay Volcano candle, an Aspen Bay Vesuvius candle, and a Nouvelle Tuscan Currant candle. Everyday a different scent fills the air! Candles are meant to be used. A high quality candles such as the Aspen Bay Candle 20 oz. jar has an average burn time of over 80 hours.
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Our Annual Oak Park Avenue Sidewalk Sale!
Well we survived the intense heat of the morning and afternoon sun! All in all, the sidewalk sale was "not too bad" considering the spending adjustment of the general public. This year, we displayed our many mailbox options, house numbers, house number plaques, exterior lighting, wildflower seed gardens, and of course...tiles. As always, the tiles were the biggest hit. People seem to be instantly attracted to the colorful tiles. This year, we also had our new line of Aspen Bay Candles for sale and we sold quite a few of them. We had one of them lit and the scent just pulled people into our area.


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Posted by Joseph     1 Comments Friday, April 16, 2010
Turn That Frown Upside Down!
Surely you have seen this before? A front entry light fixture deliberately installed upside down! There are many examples of these right in my own neighborhood. But I have also seen examples of this back East and out West. Perhaps the homeowner thought the light fixture was designed for this orientation. Perhaps the fixture wasn't tightened down properly and it rotated itself 180 degrees? The most likely reason is that the homeowner purchased the fixture (or it was given to them) and the fixture just would not physically fit in its location right side up. So it gets installed upside down.

I really hate seeing this. It drives me crazy. Its like wearing your earrings upside down...wearing your shirt backwards...or installing rain gutters vertically. Its just silly. Exterior light fixtures are designed and engineered for weather and are rated for either damp or wet locations. Aesthetically, light fixtures are designed for upward or downward orientation. Many are designed to be mounted center on the electrical box. The bottom line is that front entry lighting is a very important aesthetic and functional tool that should be a "comfortable compositional element".  If it is too high, too low, too small, too large, or a misfit for the architecture, then it will always appear odd.

If you are considering a front entry light fixture, consider first printing out a picture of it and then enlarging it to exact size on a copier. Cut it out and hold it up to the installation location. This can be very helpful in determining if the fixture fits appropriately or not. We will frequently email a full size line drawing to our customers and they will print it out and hold it up to the intended installation location. This process is invaluable.

Does your home need a low cost lift?

Is your front entry tired looking?

Are you considering selling?

We cannot stress enough how important a fitting light fixture and house number or number marker is to the curb appeal of the home.

OPHH.com is now offering a number of
exterior lighting and house number marker combination packages at a very reasonable cost.
Please check them out here.


Example: Upsidedown Light Fixture                       Example: Misfit Light Fixture



Example: Tired House Number Marker (old wood background and falling apart)

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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tudor Revival Style Lighting and Hardware
The Tudor Revival architectural style had developed in America between 1890 and 1930. On occasion, I refer to the style as "The Other Craftsman Style". That is just me of course. I would be a bit partial to the style because I own and live in a Tudor style home. My home, built in 1933, is a very modest English Tudor without the characteristic high pitched roof. Some Tudors have a bit more Gothic characteristics, some a bit more Craftsman influence. Mine would be the later. I love the beautiful woodwork, English style leaded glass windows, high coved ceilings, and the cottage feel of the exterior. Yes...the rooms are small and often "dark". But I sort of like that in this climate. The informal cottage style gardens also work well with this style and lends itself to much creativity.

So why would the creator and owner of a predominantly Craftsman style business own a Tudor style home? Mostly by chance I would say. I was attracted to the "charm" and it was prevalent. Mine still has its original tile roof (please last another 80 years...please). Like most all of my customers, from "house closing" to present, it has been a LOT of major sweat equity. And I'm afraid it is not over!

Many of the homes' right here in Oak Park, River Forest, and Chicagoland in general are Tudor Revival style homes. Some are small and modest (like mine). Many are quite grand and can be considered Tudor Manor(s). When I lived on the East coast, Tudor style was also vast, particularly in the New York/Westchester area, as well as Greenwich, CT.

Many people may not realize that we offer quite a bit of lighting, hardware, and furnishings well suited to the Tudor Revival style. I have been able to incorporate much of it into my own home.

Tudor Revival Lighting:

For the more Gothic look, we have the Vintage Black Iron series, and Iron Abbey lighting by The Mica Lamp Company. Many Tudors also cross over into the Storybook architectural style (especially in CA), and the Storybook series is perfect for this. We also have ceiling fans specifically for the Tudor style.

Much of our lighting by Arroyo Craftsman is also specific to the Tudor Revival style.  The Berkeley series for example works well in any Tudor style home. The Saint George series and Valencia series are also great choices for the Tudor style home. We have had churches order some of them.



Tudor Revival Door Hardware:

Tudor Revival Door Chime Package:


Tudor Revival Doorbells:

Tudor Style Vase:


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Posted by Joseph     1 Comments Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Low Cost Kitchen Makeover - The "Light Remodel"
This is a great time of year to spend time giving the kitchen a bit of a makeover. If you are not able to execute a full scale kitchen remodel because of associated costs, then consider a "Light Remodel"! A Light Remodel can be anything from a simple cabinet reface, appliance purchase, paint, and/or new lighting, to a simple cabinet refresh and some paint.



If you have wood cabinets that have a tired stain finish, you can give the cabinets new life with a great product called Restor-A-Finish by Howard Products. We used to sell the entire line when we had a brick and mortar store and it flew out the door. People would regularly come back and give rave reviews of the product. It is available in a wide variety of colors as well as neutral. It isn't really a stain per say. It does however, penetrate the clear coat finish and smooths out scratches, water stains and evens out sun bleached stains. It really is pretty amazing stuff. I have used it myself on furniture. My sister and friends have also used it on their cabinets and interior wood trim and wow...what a difference it made. For an even greater change, consider painting your cabinets. You can also change out some of the doors with glass insert doors.

The next step in sprucing up those kitchen cabinets is to change out the door hardware. If you currently have a single hole pull, then it is very easy to change out the pulls. If you always wanted hand pulls rather than the single pull, then you can use the existing hole and drill a new hole for the hand pull. Remember, hand pulls can be mounted vertically as well as horizontally. Lets say that you want to change out your existing polished brass pulls with oil rubbed bronze pulls but your hinges are also polished brass. You can order new hinges in the bronze finish or you can simply spray paint them! My sister did. She kept the existing pulls and just painted them with a satin nickel paint.

Oak Park Home & Hardware offers some inexpensive cabinet knob designs such as the ones below. The simple square pyramid head knob is just $4.50. The mortise and tenon handles are offered in 3 finishes and start at $10.16. The octagon cast bronze knobs are just $6.15.



Another great way to bring new life into a kitchen is with new lighting. A single ceiling light can make a big statement and quite possibly bring more light into the room. Consider a ceiling light fixture with 4 sockets. 4 sockets at 60 watts each will give you a total of 240 watts of light. Many of the fixtures we offer are available in a variety of glass and finish options. A nice white glass is great for a kitchen light. Here's just a few great lights for a kitchen ceiling (remember...any glass, any finish):



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Posted by Joseph     1 Comments Saturday, February 6, 2010
New Motawi Tile Designs for 2010
New Motawi Tile Designs and Colorways for 2010



We love this time of year because many or most of our Craftsmen, manufacturers, and suppliers will introduce new product designs. In the process, many of their designs (or colors) will also become discontinued. In the case with Motawi Tileworks, new designs get added, some designs discontinued (or not offered within the gift tile line), and some colorways are no longer offered and new colorways introduced.

This year, Motawi has introduced many new tile designs and colorways. One of our favorite new designs is theMotawi 6" March Tile, which is offered in 2 colorways. Also, new is a very nice8 x 8 horizontal version of their landscape tiles. This tile can be used in a continuous horizontal fashion which is great for a fireplace design or back splash. Many of the new tiles are offered in the olive colorway, including the ever so popular 8 x 8 songbirds tile.


Motawi tiles are perfect gifts and have become very collectable. They can be framed, used on a tile easel or just hung all by themselves. Oak Park Home & Hardware offers the entire line of Motawi Gift Tiles.
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Thursday, October 22, 2009
New Hand Painted Tiles by Norm Lewellen


Artist Norm Lewellen has introduced several of his tile designs in hand painted versions.
Norm's tiles are hand pressed and hand painted by Norm. They really are quite beautiful.
The first of this series is now available! Folks...we have seen the tiles and they look just amazing framed. We expect the tiles to become highly collectible!

Let us know what you think!
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Sunday, September 20, 2009
Finished Curb Appeal Project!

Some of you may recall the home exterior transformation happening right here on my street (posted in August). Well we completed the project this past weekend! We did the lighting (Valencia Series), mailbox (Evergreen), custom doorbell (The Lyndhurst), the house number marker (The Hampton). To top it off, I worked with the owner in completing the landscaping (back-breaking work).
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Sunday, September 20, 2009
Japanese Lanterns Now In Bloom!



Since childhood, I've been fascinated with this plant. I remember playing in our neighbor's backyard in upstate New York, and seeing them in full bloom one early Autumn. Of course, being the inquisitive kid I was, I had to picked one and dissect it and found a plump seed inside the bright orange lantern pod.

The plant is actually a woody shrub like plant and can spread like crazy in a favorable environment.
One day, I will plant one in my own yard. According to this blog...you can keep it as a potted plant.

We love the beautiful rendition of Japanese Lanterns in the above tile by Motawi Tileworks. The colorful fruit of the Japanese Lantern is captured in this tile adaptation of Yoshiko Yamamoto's block print of the same name. It is a 6" x 6" decorative tile.

We also love this beautiful print by Dorothy Markert entitled Chinese Lanterns in a Fulper Vase.
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Thursday, September 10, 2009
Hummingbirds On The Move

For the past 4 years, at exactly this time of year, we get visitors hovering around the 10 foot line of lush Trumpet Vines in my backyard. They come like clockwork in the second week of September and stay for only 2 to 3 days. Growing up in upstate New York, I had never seen them (but I understand they were around). In fact, the first time witnessing Hummingbirds was on a trip to The Botanical Gardens in Denver, CO. There, we had to duck for cover as a wide variety of Hummingbirds darted in every direction!

My understanding is that the Hummingbirds showing up in my yard every September are juvenile Ruby Throated Hummingbirds on migration. They are just passing through. In any event, they are fastinating to watch in the short time they stay. Basically...they just eat and run (drink and run actually). They have not shown up yet as of today.

I am not sure how or when the Hummingbird became a common Arts & Crafts icon. Any comments on this would be appreciated. Hummingbirds can be appreciated year-round with our beautiful Hummingbird items scattered throughout our website. A great example of Hummingbirds captured in action are our deep relief tiles by Lewellen Studio. They are available in Bronze or Ceramic!
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Tuesday, September 1, 2009
La Canada Wildfires in California - From Our Craftsman's Home

The La Canada wildfires were only 5 miles from one of our Craftsman's home and studio last evening. The evacuation line was only 10 blocks away. We are hoping for Jim's safety and well-being during this time.
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Thursday, August 27, 2009
New 8" Ceramic Tiles and New Glaze Colors by Norm Lewellen
Norm Lewellen of Lewellen Studio has recently created and released many new ceramic tile designs in an 8 inch size. Many of the new designs draw upon Norm's love and appreciation of nature and botanical s. Norm has developed a very large body of work over the years and is well known for his deep relief tile designs which fit well within the Arts & Crafts style environment.

Over the past year, Norm had built an entirely new facility with the sole purpose of producing his high quality tiles. Solid color field tiles in varying sizes are also available in the same glaze color options as the deep relief decorative tiles. Norm has meticulously developed 27 new signature glazes. There are 8 matte glazes, 5 satin glazes, and 14 glossy glazes.

OPHH offers the entire Lewellen Studio tile collection in all glaze color options. Lewellen Studio tile is suitable for all installation purposes such as back splashes, fireplaces, as well as for framing. OPHH also offers many of the tile designs in solid cast bronze.

My personal favorite tile from this latest batch of new tiles is Raven Watch (pictured above/center).
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Posted by Joseph     1 Comments Friday, August 21, 2009
Identity Crisis! - House Numbers Gone Wild! (or is it Just Gone Missing)?


All too often, I see a home's identity in crisis. It is beyond me how someone can spend so much money for their home and neglect one simple and important thing. A home's name and registration code. Functionally, it helps in locating the home. Aesthetically, it reinforces architecture and personalization.

I see so many homes without any house numbers or house number marker at all. I see so many homes with a hint of a house number. And I see so many with outdated, tired, or poorly sized or placed numbers. To me the worse offender is the number stickers placed directly onto brick, and arranged on an angle. I really don't care for numbers on an angle. They are hard to read and I think it may have been a 50's thing. Or have you seen the number decals stuck directly onto the mailbox? I also see so many beautiful homes with a faded out wood marker that looks like it should be on someone's camp on a lake. You know...the ones with the jagged ends.

There are many great options with varying costs. Individual numbers are the least cost ranging from $12 to $42 each. Individual numbers should be placed onto a surface of the home with a background color that provides contrast from the finish of the number(s). Individual numbers are more flexible in terms of placement on the home. House number plaques or markers typically have their own contrast, and are offered in many sizes, designs, and colors. House markers can also reinforce the homes architectural style, and project the home owners style. Markers can cost as little as $54.

The bottom line is that nice house numbers or house number markers can significantly improve a homes curb appeal and make it easier for the pizza delivery guy/gal (and police and firemen) to locate your home. The cost is minimal and installation is extremely easy.

Oak Park Home & Hardware offers many INDIVIDUAL HOUSE NUMBER options as well as HOUSE NUMBER MARKER options. If you would like suggestions, send us a picture of your home via email!
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Posted by Joseph     1 Comments Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Another Home Transformation Right Here On My Street!

Here is another great example of an ongoing home exterior transformation taking place right here on my street. This home owner (Ken) wanted to improve his home's curb appeal, as well as address a deteriorating walkway. Ken had hired a contractor for the hard-scape work and I was hired for his lighting needs. After rendering a number of options, we settled on the Valencia series by Arroyo Craftsman for the post lantern and wall mount fixture. We felt it was not only appropriate for this beautiful English Tudor style home, but it also echoed the prominent turret in its architecture. We used the Gold White Iridescent glass and Bronze finish. Functionally, it provides ample lighting for the entry and walkway.

Ken was so pleased with us that he is also ordering a mailbox, new house number plaque, and we are creating a custom over-sized doorbell to replace his old vertical mail slot (see article below). Ken has also asked me to assist with the Garden-scape design!

This circa 1930 home is looking great!
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Posted by Joseph     1 Comments Monday, August 17, 2009
Replacing That Old Vertical Mail Slot with A New Mailbox or Doorbell

Here in Chicago, many of our older homes were built with a vertical mail slot with an interior access door. This is especially true for our brick Bungalows and English Tudor style homes. Unfortunately, many mail slots have become rather nonfunctional as they are typically too small for today's mail. And many of them have either lost their door flap or hinge pins. I cannot tell you how many inquiries we receive asking if we have replacements! Trouble is, there were so many different sizes and many were made specifically for the home or builder at that time. Most are cast brass.

There are options:

If your vertical mail slot is intact, you can simply purchase and install a new mailbox and secure the door flap shut.

You can have the mail slot removed and brick in (or stucco over) the cavity left from removal. You would still have the interior access door as a historic remnant. A new mailbox can then be placed over the same location or installed in an even better location. My neighbor just had this done by his tuck pointer (mason) and it looks great.

What I did with my own Tudor style home is pull out the old mail slot, stuffed the cavity with insulation, covered the cavity with a copper sheet using silicone. And I had a custom over-sized, copper doorbell made by one of our Craftsman. It is a rose design. The old doorbell was right below the mail slot so the wiring was there. We then installed a new mailbox right next to it that can accommodate mail, magazines, and such. As for the old interior mail slot access door, I just keep the dog walking apparatus in there. Sweet!
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Posted by Joseph     2 Comments Sunday, August 16, 2009
New Lighting Designs by Arroyo Craftsman - Glencoe and Woodlawn
Oak Park Home & Hardware (OPHH) has recently added 2 new lighting series' by Arroyo Craftsman.
 
Glencoe Series:  This lighting series seems perfect for a variety of architectural styles from Craftsman to Contemporary. The Glencoe series is offered in a wet rated wall mount fixture, as well as a hanging pendant, column mount fixture, and dry rated wall sconce. We sort of wished that they also came out with a wet rated version of this wall sconce. We can do custom with Arroyo Craftsman and can most likely have this wall sconce made with a closed top making it a wet rated fixture.
 
Woodlawn Series:  We have been needing a pendant design such as this for quite some time. This design will work for many of the turn of the century row homes and four square homes within the Chicago area. The metal portion is offered in all Arroyo Craftsman finishes. There is only one glass option.
 
Just a reminder....WET Rated is for a fully exposed exterior location. DAMP Rated is for exterior use in a protected area such as a large overhang or porch. DRY Rated is for interior use only. Some people do use WET and DAMP rated fixtures for interior use. The finish can make the difference in giving it an interior look or exterior look.
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Sunday, August 16, 2009
FREE Bottle of Virgin Olive Oil with Purchase Of Enclume Pot Rack


Oak Park Home & Hardware (OPHH) is providing a FREE bottle of virgin olive oil or balsamic vinegar with purchase of an Enclume Pot Rack! Olive Oil and Vinegar is provided by Olive & Well of Oak Park, IL. We think the 2 products work well together. You get to select the flavor or type of olive oil or vinegar.
 
Enclume pot racks and kitchen furniture is handmade in USA of high quality materials. Many of the pot racks are offered in a variety of finishes from Hammered Steel (least cost), Stainless Steel, Copper Plated, and Brass Plated.
 
There is also a "Value Priced" pot rack series called the "Rack It Up" series. The material is also steel but only offered in a powder coated gray finish. Pricing for the "Rack It Up" series starts at $24.99. Sorry...the "Rack It Up" series is excluded from the free olive oil offer.
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MISSION LIGHTING EXTERIOR HARDWARE INTERIOR HARDWARE KITCHEN HARDWARE HOME ACCESSORIES DOOR HARDWARE FURNITURE ITEMS GARDEN ITEMS


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Oak Park Home & Hardware specializes in lighting products in the spirit of Arts & Crafts, Mission, Prairie, Bungalow, English Tudor, Tudor Manor, and Spanish Revival styles.

We have developed unique relationships with many of our Craftsmen, and suppliers of products allowing customization for our customers. All at very competitive pricing!

© 2017 Oak Park Home & Hardware, Inc.
Oak Park Home & Hardware offer high quality lighting designs. We provide customized lighting solutions with manufacturers such as Arroyo Craftsman Lighting, Mica Lamp Company, 2nd Ave Lighting, and UltraLights Lighting.

We also offer quality lighting products with manufacturers such as Quoizel, James Mattson Coppercraft, and Lundberg Studios. Please check out our unique lighting designs in the style of Greene and Greene!

We offer handcrafted Mission style hardware, Craftsman style mailboxes, Arts & Crafts style house numbers and so much more. Please bookmark us!
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