The woman from whom we bought our spread had many, many security concerns, which is how we've ended up with ten separate keys for six doors.
She -- or whomever she hired to put in the startling array of deadbolts, chain locks, sliding surface bolts and padlocks that festoon our doors like so many piercings on a indie coffee shop barista -- was also a lady on a budget. I suspect that when she went for hardware, the primary criteria was cost, not consistency. So we've got a boatload of different doorknobs and deadbolts all made by different manufacturers in different finishes.
The different-finish thing is an aesthetic issue. The different-manufacturer thing is a logistic one; locksmiths generally prefer it if all your hardware is made by one vendor, and they will express their preferences via the money they charge you to change the locks.
So for the second time in five years, I shopped for door hardware. I'll be installing it next weekend.
When we took possession of the property, one of the first things I did was go over there sans toddler and take a room-by-room survey of the hardware: How many outlets did we have? How many light switches? What kind? How many doors? What kind of handlesets did they have?
Then I spreadsheeted all the information so I'd know exactly how many single-switch switchplates I'd need, how many privacy doorknobs, etc. per each room. I keep the shopping list in my wallet so that I can pick things up if the opportunity should arise.
According to my spreadsheet, I had to buy two deadbolts and five locking knobs for all the doors associated with my cottage. So I listed my criteria for the hardware:
-- All the same manufacturer, so as to make it easier for a locksmith to set everything to one key
-- At least two locking knobs or levers that were ADA-compliant, for the laundry room and basement doors. One of the reasons we bought the place we did was so my folks could retire out here, put down some roots, then age in place. That aging-in-place thing might include arthritis later on.
-- Black or satin nickel finish, as those are the finishes most likely to blend with whatever future paint colors we pick.
-- Free shipping if I ended up buying anything online.
Then I began surfing the Web for price comparisons.
GENERAL RULE: I don't set a budget before seeing what the actual range of prices for anything is, mostly because I am Olde and think I should be able to get five bees for that onion I've tied to my belt. In order for a budget to work, it has to be grounded in reality, and in order to get in touch with reality, I have to see what is out there, not what I think should be out there.
So I did my research to get an idea of lower and upper boundaries on the price range. Next step: Go shopping!
ANOTHER GENERAL RULE: Before I make any home-related purchase, I have to answer these questions:
1 -- Is this purchase meant to be a permanent fix or is it something I'll want to change some time in the next ten years?
2 -- Is this purchase a genuine fix for a problem or is it a stop-gap solution?
3 -- Will I see or use the item every day? Will I be happy seeing and using this item daily, or will it make me seethe a little? Can I afford to delay the purchase so as to avoid the seething?
4 -- Can I easily afford this? If not, what am I willing to personally sacrifice to afford it?
5 -- If I were to tell my husband the cost of the item, would his head explode?
These questions all determine the upper and lower limits of the price range for any item.
So! Shopping criteria in place, questions hovering in the back of my mind, I went a-clicking.
Ten hours later, here's what I ended up with:
Two Schlage Siena keyed knobs in matte black (seen at the right). Mostly because I really enjoy the egg shape. And the matte black is a tie into the original hardware on the closet and one of the bedroom doors. I'll be putting these on the kitchen door and on the door to our office building.
Two Schlage Merano keyed entry levels in satin nickel finish (seen at the left), for the laundry room and the door leading to the two spare finished rooms in the basement. The nice thing about these levels is that they are reversible, meaning that I can put them on doors that are hinged on either the right or the left. (Also, I had to pick satin nickel because these guys didn't come in matte black, and the levers that did were a tad too fussy.)
One entrance set that I am really quite smitten with: the Schlage Monaco handleset with the Danbury interior knob, in matte black. It's got everything: nice clean lines, a finish that ties into the home's original hardware, a deadbolt that has an easy-open lever on the inside.
The one drawback to the new entrance doorset is that the holes in our current front door don't match up to the holes in the doorset. But! Since our front door has many problems and will be replaced once I can finish brokering the complex communications between the door vendor and our contractor, that problem with the door and the holes will eventually work itself out.
And in the meantime, we'll be consolidating from ten keys down to a much more manageable four or so. Hooray! Baby steps!