Reason # 285310 Why Landlords Suck

So obviously I live in a rental, which sucks in oh so many ways. I try to make the best of it for the time being, and being an industrious individual decided that the kitchen could use a little sprucing up. The reason? The handles on the cabinets and drawers (which are all the same incidentally, which suggests they got these on special and couldn't be bothered to actually get some knobs that matched the drawer pulls, but whatever) are all painted. That in and of itself is not so terrible (except that it kind of offends me that you would want to "ruin" a perfectly good handle in that way). However, they were painted in situ, that is to say, right on the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, with the same discount [probably] paint, presumably because it was the cheapest and easiest thing to do. This is a problem because the handles are metal. Therefore some of them look like this:



This really pisses me off. Instead of taking the time to take care of the hardware, or encourage tenants to take care of the property, they just slapped some paint on it and called it a day. It sucks more because periodically paint flakes off the handles and aside from looking ghetto I have cats and who knows what they pick up and eat off the floor.

However, two of the handles were not painted (who knows why) and looked rather nice, except for the fact that they were painted in place so there is paint around the bases of the handles:


You know where this is leading right? I thought the bare handle looked a hell of a lot better than the badly painted handles, so I thought I would do a test and see if I couldn't spruce them up a bit. First I had to get the handle off the door, which was a project all its own, since the screws were also painted over. I chipped away the paint and finally got the handle off the door (which left the inside of the door looking like crap but that's beside the point). I had read somewhere that you can sometimes boil paint off of metal and I chose to believe this, so I tried it. It didn't work. But it did make the patina alarmingly more green (which should have tipped me off because hello, I took chemistry in college). The handle looked worse now, and at this point I remembered I have some Barkeepers Helper, which is strong stuff but I only keep it because sometimes I can't get my pots 100% clean and it's the only thing I've found that has worked. Barkeeper's Helper is a cleanser that yes, contains oxalic acid, but it is like magic stuff and you can use it to polish metal. So I did. And it did.


Clearly these are some sort of copper or copper alloy handles. The nice patina should have tipped me off. But now I have one shiny handle (sans patina), one weathered handle, and fifteen (yes, fifteen) ugly-ass painted handles. Oh yeah, and two other handles that are black and don't match the others at all.


SO now what do I do? Does anyone have any suggestions? I figure I could:
  1. Ignore the shiny handle and pretend like nothing ever happened (I wouldn't be writing this post if that were a possibility).
  2. Painstakingly clean all the handles so that they are all shiny and ignore the two that don't match (they are above the fridge anyway).
  3. Clean all the paint off the handles (but don't shiny-fy them) and then paint them all with paint that is designed for metal (I have never done this before and don't know what's out there).
  4. Throw all the handles out and start over (13 doors and 6 drawers).
Keep in mind that this is a rental and I do not want to spend $200 on drawer pulls, but I have seen some cheaper handles and pulls online that don't look like too much crap for $1-$2 each. Very simple designs, but at least not painted with wood paint. In addition, because the idiots who furnished the apartment were, well, idiots, all of the handles are these 2-screw handles instead of having knobs for the doors and handles for the drawers. This means that there are two holes in all the doors, which means if I wanted to replace them with knobs I would have to fill the second hole with wood putty (not a big deal) and then paint the doors again (kindof a big deal because all the hinges are also painted in place (thanks asshole painters) plus the cabinet doors are the same weird off-white color that the rest of the apartment is, which I probably would never be able to match (and wouldn't want to anyway). 

Wanting to repaint the cabinets opens another can of worms, although maybe worth it. But, the cabinet doors seem very cheaply made (like maybe they are even plywood, I don't know, but cheap). I actually can't open one without the opposite one opening as well they have been painted so many times, so stripping the paint at least from the edges of the doors wouldn't be such a bad idea, because this little "design" trait pisses me off to no end. Although I don't know what kind of paint it is, so don't know what kind of paint remover would be required. According to my renters insurance policy the building was built in 1979, so since lead paint was banned in the US in 1978 I think it is safe to assume that there is no lead paint (I also didn't have to sign one of those statements acknowledging that I know lead paint is on the premises and that no children live here, like I did in NYC.)

Remember, it's a long weekend! I could potentially get a lot of "stuff" done... and I'm not planning on going anywhere this weekend. This whole ordeal makes me want to sit in the corner of my ghetto apartment and cry. Ideas?



At 7:43 PM, Blogger schrodinger said...

I'd go with a metal paint - who knows what the others are going to look like underneath. But beyond that suggestion I can't give you much more, as I have no experience in that department.

At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I am extraordinarily lazy, I'd choose option number 1. But since you said that really wasn't an option, I'd go with option number 2. Clean them all off and just ignore the two that don't match. You can pretend it's a design choice. =P They'll be doing the same thing on HGTV in a few months. Then when you invite guests over and they notice the different handles on the cabinets above the fridge, you can tell them you had it like that before it was trendy! And you can be the trendsetter among your friends, and they'll all come to you with home design questions.

...ok, I'll getting a bit carried away.


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