A quick home update or a simple way to set a house apart without breaking the bank can be accomplished with a trip to a local family-owned store with locations in Overland Park and Kansas City.
Locks & Pulls has served Kansas City builders and remodeling homeowners for 30 years. Tom O’Malley started the business in 1986 when his work as a buyer for a hardware company led him to realize that many customers wanted a larger selection of door knobs, cabinet pulls and hinges than was available at most hardware stores.
Current owner John Hensley purchased the business from O’Malley five years ago but has kept the vision for offering a wide selection and reliable customer service. The company has over 3,000 pulls and hundreds of door knobs in stock and boasts that it can offer prices lower than most box stores.
The Locks & Pulls location near North Oak Trafficway and Missouri 152 has been opened for 16 years. Brad Jackson, whose father-in-law started the business, has managed the store since it opened. He offers tips on making the best hardware selections for a home.
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Q. Why do customers like what you have to offer?
A. We have niche stuff, like if you build a door that needs a larger strike plate. We have everything from a high-end, hand-made door handle that might cost over $1,500 to an inexpensive $18 door knob. We carry over 3,000 pulls in stock and can special-order 10,000 more.
We are also exclusive to double demountable hinges for kitchen cabinets. In the 1980s and 1990s that kind of hinge was used a lot in the Midwest. For people who have shiny brass and want to go to nickel on their cabinet hinges, they can come here.
Q. How should someone go about choosing the right hardware?
A. Find your color first. We try to ask the right questions to really help the customers. I always like to see pictures. I like seeing the backsplash. I like to see the granite. I like seeing the color of the cabinet. Then it gives us a better visual on what we’re working with.
Then consider the comfort and what you like. We encourage people to narrow it down to three or four pulls. Then take them home. We let them take home samples for free. Take them home and get an idea of how they will work for you. Bring them back when you decide.
Q. What about trends?
A. Colors generally follow the trends with the plumbing and the lighting fixtures.
Whatever they come out with, door hardware, door knobs and cabinet hardware is coming out after that. Right now, everyone is changing from brass to a bronze or a nickel. The polished nickel and polished chrome are going in a lot in kitchens.
All this hardware comes in door knobs as well. Everything after that is just style, whether you’re contemporary, traditional or transitional. You can mix styles. It is all personal preference.
Q. What is new in hardware?
A. Matte brass is the newest color. It is a duller brass color than you might have seen in the past. When we went to the builders show two years ago they took a solid brass door knob, sprayed all of the coating off of it and what they had was a matte brass. Everybody started copying it. You don’t see a lot of sample boards with the color on it because it just came out, but we carry it.
The shiny brass is never going to come back in style. I can’t emphasize enough when people tell me that shiny brass is coming back, it’s not. There’s a new tone of brass that’s becoming popular, but we’ll never see the brass pull with the porcelain in the middle that was popular in the 1980s. Most of the styles coming out in matte brass are very contemporary.
Q. Do you have any advice on home automation door knobs?
A. I’m not a big fan of a lot of the iPhone apps that are available, but I think keypad locks are very reliable. I have one on my front door. The problem with the apps is we are still very early on in Bluetooth capability. I can sell customers the high tech stuff if they want it. We have it available, but I would still recommend the key pads.
Q. Where would you advise people start for a quick update?
A. Get rid of your brass hardware. Try matte brass or another color you like. Start in the kitchen and the master bathroom. Update the hardware and the lights and bath accessories. It’s a quick way to update your home for not a lot of money.
We get a lot of Realtors who send customers in for a quick update. Think about it. You do not want a faded brass handle set that the client is going to touch when they walk up to the door for the very first time. That’s an easy way to update.