Door knobs and arthritis - the "twist" gets the boot.

The most recent task on our renovation to-do list led me to a hardware store specializing in door knobs and cabinetry hardware. While I wasn't particularly looking forward to the errand (not like meeting with a decorator to pick paint colors!), I wasn't overly concerned with the decisions before me. When it came to door hardware, I knew what I was looking for: I wanted knobs, in chrome, with a flat front, and a round base. Easy enough, right?

So when Bernadette and I walked into the store, I requested to see their version of this:
Option A
 I even knew what I didn't want:
Option B
I love the perfectly round shape of Option B, and months ago, it was my first choice. But when I sampled this knob at a friend's newly renovated home, I discovered it was difficult to fit my bony, arthritic fingers around that big bulbous knob and then turn (and that's without any joint pain to speak of.) So my original choice went by the wayside, and I moved on to option A. I'd kept the lupus factor at the forefront, like a good little lupite, and I thought I was set.

But when Bernie and I started sampling the knobs in the store, in comparison to the levers, I realized that even the easiest knob required more torque than any lever out there. So I thought. And I thought some more. And I realized given my circumstances, choosing a lever made the most sense.

So I considered this one:

Option C
 And then this one:

Option D

I ended up going with option D, because it has a thicker handle to grasp onto, and its perfectly smooth surface felt nice against my knuckles. (Mine protrude quite a bit, ready to swell at a moment's notice. Do yours?) Johnny approved of "D" via a text photo, and Bernadette and I moved on to cabinetry hardware.

Same rules applied there, and since I was now cognizant of the need for a thicker handle (I'd actually forgotten about my "skinny writing pen" rant from a few years ago), I made sure that the handles for the cabinets had a smooth surface on the inside, a thickish girth for an easy grasp, and a nice line to match the look of the kitchen. The kitchen knobs had particular requirements, too - they couldn't be too small or too flat, because that makes it hard to fit my fingers around. I just want to be able to grab and go.

The kitchen cabinetry has only been "loosely selected", so you'll have to stay tuned for pictures to come. And the cabinets themselves are still scheduled to be installed the week after next. How exciting!

As a side note, in addition to the revelation I had on the knobs, spending time at my friend's fabulous new home also clued me into the fact that a large, single door on a refrigerator is too heavy and too hard for me to open. Too much suction or too little muscle - whatever the reason, I went with a nice French Door model refrigerator that opens and closes with ease. Thanks to GG for letting me sample hers for the last few years!)


Eileen said…
Almost getting stuck in a bathroom at a "new" house soon after my PMR struck big time was quite enough to put me off knob doorhandles for life! I don't even consider them any more - and I don't have anything like the hand problems you do! Levers all the way...
Sara Gorman said…
Thanks for identifying with my doorknob woes! And I learned something new today..PMR? Polymyalgia Rheumatica, right? Glad you wrote in...take care!
Debs said…
I recently needed to pick out handles for our closet doors. The cabinet design person kept telling me the handles I picked out were "too large, they wouldn't look right." Over the years, I have gotten an inner giggle to see how the designer handles the choices we've become accustomed to making. Some are professional & classy, some try hard to convince me I won't like the handle I chose, or that my 5'5" height really will use that 83" high shelf, or I wouldn't want my kitchen cabinets hung any lower than the norm. Is it weird to want to use 2 shelves in the upper kitchen cabinets without getting a stool? Love your new handles! Decisions get easier & fast when you're this close to moving back home.
Debs said…
Correction: I'm only 5'1", not 5'5".
Sara Gorman said…
Debs - At just 5'2 1/2" :), I had them lower one of my cabinets, too! I thought about just making it work...but then I decided to make a stink. It was an easy fix, and the crown molding at the top to cover the extra few inches will look super snazzy, I'm sure. Thanks so much for sharing!!!
cody said…
I completely agree with you. I really like this article. It contains a lot of useful information. I can set up my new idea from this post. It gives in depth information
Unknown said…
I just loaded up my mind with new set of ideas from your post. I really appreciate how you fed us new information about the different specifications and types of door knobs. Thanks for sharing that, Sara! Kudos and all the best to you!

Joyce Roberson @ LockedOut-LockSmiths
Sara Gorman said…
You're welcome. Thanks for reading!
Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rodrigo Smith said…
Speaking as someone who has spent a lot of time with the elderly, and then lost use of both of his arms for a while, I would like to clear, i am not a Professional Locksmith or a door locks dealer but I only suggest lever-style doorknobs to anyone. Traditional doorknobs are a dumb design. In the future, all doors will have levers.

Popular Posts