Diary of A Fixer-Upper: Sweating the Small Stuff

The top knob is the elusive one from Target, which Daphne was never able to find.

You tear down a wall in the middle of your condo, rip out every cabinet, and bid every appliance farewell, and in the end, what do you get stuck on? Cabinet knobs. Three-dollar cabinet knobs.

More than a month ago, finding the perfect knob seemed like the easiest thing in the world. I was at the Target a few blocks from my place, so I dropped by the hardware aisle. I found two simple knobs I thought I would like and brought them home.

One of those knobs—a clear, acrylic number that looked like the glass door knobs I have throughout my place—was the obvious winner. I loved the sparkle and the simplicity. It was pretty, but not fussy. Decision made.

Back to Target, only to find that they’re out of those knobs. No problem, I thought—this is the Internet age. I checked the Web site, and they were out of stock. Still, not a big deal. Went to E-bay. They didn’t have them. I checked the manufacturer—nothing. I Googled every conceivable term that could possibly bring up these knobs. Nada.

This went on and on. I would have a down moment, and I’d look for the knobs. Or, I’d be at Target and I’d wander over to the hardware section to see if more came in. I even bought a handful of other knobs to see if I could find something else I liked. At some point, I realized that weeks had slipped by. Weeks! What was going on?!

The renovation is at a standstill.  Home Depot called this week to say “Oops,” they got my last cabinet in, but somehow the under-cabinet molding hasn’t shown up. My contractor is supposed to come just one more time to finish the kitchen. That’s when he will install the last chunk of countertop on the new bar, finish the cabinets and molding, and drill holes for the cabinet knobs.

I cannot overstate how much I want this project to be finished. I am ready to have my celebratory dinner party, I am dying to snap my “after” photo, and I’m more than ready to move on to the next project.

It was in that spirit that I sat down at my computer today, hellbent on finding those damn cabinet knobs. In my frustration, I braced myself to pay big bucks. The only knobs that came close to the ones I wanted were glass, not acrylic. I need 30 of the little guys, and I don’t want to pay $15 a pop.

Ultimately, the Internet came through. I finally abandoned Google and searched www.houseblogs.net instead. I didn’t find the Target knobs, but I did find these, which are very similar, mid-priced and totally returnable. They are even real glass.

Hopefully, by this time next week, I’ll have that after picture fully ready for your ohhhs and ahhhs.

If you are wondering what happened with my air conditioning debacle, I paid $250 for a fresh dose of coolant and a stern talking-to about replacing the air filter every three months. This is fantastic news, because it means that I can move on to the bathroom next instead of dropping thousands of dollars on a new air conditioner. The A/C man says it could last one or two more years, and that sounds pretty good to me.

And that’s not even all of the good news. I just learned that half my family is traveling about 600 miles to have Thanksgiving dinner at my condo, made in my NEW kitchen! The kitchen will be done by then, right? Right?

Get Our Weekend Newsletter

The best DC news, delivered straight to your inbox.
Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.