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​​Sharing the lessons learned after tackling new projects - for better or for worse. Let's sharpen our skills together!

​​This spring, I had the opportunity to staged a beautiful Ventnor beach-block home. As part of my staging services, I recommended polishing up the curb appeal with a fresh mailbox and bright flowers in the porch pots. I also recommended new entry door hardware: as the second home in from the ​​beach, the handle set had taken a beating from wind, rain, ​​​​and blowing sand.

But shopping for door hardware - for a double-door entry - proved challenging.

  • First, many local home stores don't offer the matching "dummy" set - the non-working hardware that goes on the secondary door. This means searching for hardware online, which can mean shipping costs and delays.

  • Second, a double-door set of hardware STARTS at about $300+ taxes and shipping. If you're working with a tight budget, new hardware can steal a big chunk of it!

  • Third - unanticipated BONUS CHALLENGE - it was tougher than I thought to find a replacement set that matched all of the existing holes AND decorative backer plates. The door was painted a beautiful barn red - and if the decorative plates didn't match, I would have to contend with major paint touch-ups.

After TWO attempts to find the correct hardware online, I pow-wowed with the Seller. They graciously agreed to give spray paint a try. One $5 can of paint, an old cardboard box, a piece of packing foam, and a roll of painter's tape later...and we had a refreshed entry door!

If this was HGTV, I'd tell you that this project would take 30 minutes and no cursing. But Pencil Sketch is keeping things real. There WAS cursing and I DID install and uninstall the hardware about 70 times. But the result was worth it!


High-heat Appliance Spray Paint is a nice option when painting exterior hardware like door handles, mailboxes, or light fixtures. Because it's formulated for high-heat, it stands up to the beating direct sun at the shore can give.

​​If you're removing hardware from a painted surface - like a door handle from a front door (AHEM!) - use a sharp blade to carefully score a line where the door paint meets the hardware. This should help prevent any paint stuck to the hardware from peeling off the door when you remove the parts.

​​Create your own spray booth. A large box contains overspray (so you don't accidentally paint whatever is BEHIND the door handle you're painting.) Old styrofoam is handy for standing items up straight - like heads of screws. Painter's tape covers any parts you DON'T want painted - like the interior lock mechanism.

​​Use some fine sandpaper to smooth the surface of the hardware before spraying. For example, salt air corrosion had left dimples all over the handle set. A quick buff created a smooth surface for the paint.

​​PATIENCE. Allow the hardware to dry completely before reassembling. (Again, AHEM. Patience is not my virtue.) The spray paints of today actually dry remarkably fast. Play some Candy Crush or something and wait for it to dry before touching, or you'll be spraying another coat.

​​Get creative! Spray painting an existing piece of hardware requires extra elbow grease, but is super budget-friendly with big results. (Plus - I love any idea that allows you to Refresh, Reuse, & Repurpose!)


Young House Love has some great tips for refinishing 1980's shiny brass door knobs and hinges.

The Frugal Homemaker used spray paint to give a dated light fixture a modern, colorful makeover.

Pretty Handy Girl gave an old but working ceiling fan a refresh - especially handy for shore homes with outside fans that are prone to rust.

Bloggers from A Beautiful Mess offer great recommendations on metallic spray paints.

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