KNOB APPEAL continued ....

Underscoring his point, Linda Moore of M.D. Properties says, "Hardware is functional, but itís also like the jewelry of a room."

Moore, director of client services with the Brookfield, Wis., custom builder, helps clients with the myriad decisions that go into home building, including cabinet hardware.

Most of her clients want their new homes to have a warm, comfortable look, Moore says.

"They want that lived-in welcoming look," associating that look with distressed cabinetry that sometimes has a crackle finish, she says.

Thus they choose hardware that blends in, especially knobs and handles with rustic finishes-oil-rubbed bronze, antiqued copper, pewter and satin-finish nickel and stainless steel. Oil-rubbed finishes are often called "living finishes" because the metalís patina changes with use.

"There are so many shapes and sizes that people often want threee or four matching components of the same line or collection in their kitchens," Moore says. (Most sources talked about kitchens because they tend to be the most hardware-heavy room in the house. However, all sources help customers with many different rooms, as well as with changing hardware on pieces of furniture.)

Moore says her customers sometimes choose offbeat, whimsical designs (in color or style) for cabinetry with glass panels.

Photo gallery of decorative knobs and handles

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