Tara Dennis is one of Australia’s most familiar television faces having featured on shows including Our House, Changing Rooms, Burke’s Backyard, DIY Rescue and Renovation Rescue.

If you saw my article on the Feast Watson Re-Love Project, where eight high-profile designers up-cycle discarded furniture for charity, you will have seen the ‘before and after’ project by Tara Dennis. Well, Tara’s back. Here she talks to Don’t Call Me Penny about the challenge she faced when updating door hardware for her own home. The outcome sparkled!

Tara Dennis

Image courtesy of smh.com.au

Tara Dennis asks, is it time to strip?

Never one to shy away from a little DIY, I was quite prepared to strip the paint by hand and painstakingly buff each door handle back to some kind of former glory. With door handles removed from the doors and laid out, I realised just how long this would take so I had to find another solution.  I considered replacing with new knobs in a similar style but after searching a ton of catalogues I saw they just didn’t have the same character as the old ones.  I liked the dents and patina of our old door handles along with the fact that they were original and belonged to the building.  I needed an alternative.

Tara Dennis

Tara’s door handles before electroplating

Tara Dennis

Image courtesy of notjustahousewife.net

Renovating any place can be challenging but with an older home, the risk of damaging its character while still making it a modern, family home is high. Most door hardware had been painted to some degree and were lightly dented but overall the hardware had charm and I really wanted to keep it.

Tara Dennis suggests electroplating

I had heard about re-plating of metals as it’s something my Dad used to get done to car parts when I was young. I searched Electroplaters and found that while they are few and far between, it is a service that can be found in most major cities. The guy I used was in Artarmon, Sydney; he was super helpful and reasonably priced too.  To re-plate all of our knobs would be almost exactly the same cost to replace them with new ones; a price I was more than happy to pay to keep the original. The other bonus was none of the paint needed to be stripped, he could do that as part of the process!

Tara Dennis

Tara’s door handles after electroplating

Tara Dennis says it’s time to shine

From what I can understand, Electroplating uses an electric current through a liquid bath to form a new metal coating onto the surface.  You get to choose your finish too and there are plenty on offer including brass, copper, silver, chrome or nickel.  I chose nickel for its softer-looking finish to chrome, more fitting in this case given the age of our knobs. I was told that they will oxidise in time, a little like silver and will need the occasional polish. I like the fact that they will age gracefully and am happy with the gentle look.

Tara Dennis

The whole process took only a few days and opening the box was like receiving a little blue box from Tiffany’s (well almost). So much beauty inside! The knobs are truly spectacular now and look right at home in our home. I’m so glad we chose the road to renew rather than replace for all of the reasons stated here and it sounds odd but I get such a buzz every day from using these.  I tell everyone who visits the little story of how they came to look lovely again. They’re definitely a talking point!

Tara Dennis


Tara Dennis

Image courtesy of amoroso-design.com

Have you ever electroplated anything? How did it work out for you? Has this article given you ideas about what you CAN electroplate at your house?

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