How to Shop for a Door Knocker

BY GENEVIEVE KNAPP ON MAY 4TH, 2018

How to Shop for a Door Knocker

BY GENEVIEVE KNAPP ON MAY 4TH, 2018

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The anemic squeal of a doorbell doesn’t compare to the rich, reverberating thunk of a solid door knocker. And a knocker won’t go on the fritz, either. Door-knocking décor has a rich history steeped in basic functionality – in colonial times, knockers indicated people’s professions. A blacksmith had a different knocker than a tailor, and just a glance at their doors would let you know who lived there.

“I come from a generation where everyone had a doorbell but it never worked,” says Russell Cazeault, who owns Cape Cod Weathervanes in Hyannis, Mass.

“So we knocked.”

Now, “door knockers express a person’s personality,” says Donata Maggipinto, creative director for Walmart.com. “They also really define a house.” Adding a doorknocker is like picking the perfect earrings for a little black dress; it can complement the style or change the entire look. Knockers are popular gifts for newlyweds, and parents often give them when their children buy their first house.

“They can become sort of an heirloom piece to remember when you first started,” Cazeault says.

Michael Healy and Colby Smith make top-quality, handmade and artistic doorknockers out of solid, locally-cast brass. “The quality and detail on them is fantastic,” Cazeault says. Smith, who lives in Swansea, Mass., creates everything from shell-shaped knockers, horseshoe crab knockers, nautical knockers and a flip-flop shaped knocker to ones depicting flowers, pineapples and organic shapes. Healey has Western shapes like a howling coyote, and some of his combine a couple different brasses to make vibrant knockers.

The pineapple is always popular knocker shape because it’s the symbol of hospitality, Cazeault says. Anyone can find a shape they like; bears, dragonflies, and cats are popular at Restoration Hardware. But doorknockers work best when they match and compliment a house’s style. If you have a cottage, you can make a whimsical animal knocker work, Maggipinto says. On a Georgian style home, an elongated, formal-looking plate knocker goes best, and ring door knockers are great on modern houses. Colonial homes take classic bell and u-shaped knockers.

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