New York Hardware's knowledgeable staff outfits builders and tinkers with an ample array of new and used decorative hardware, door and cabinet hardware, and vintage hardware. Soft lights reflect off the polished surfaces of cabinet knobs ($4–$125), distracting eyes as they trace the simple geometric designs on other bits of door hardware ($50–$4,000). Switch-plate covers ($20–$200) arm light switches with handsome suits of brushed metal, and heater vents and registers ($100–$5,000) dress up interior climate-control shafts in stylish new duds.
With a verdant variety of shrubs, trees, roses, and vines, the friendly plantologists will help you wade through the veritable ocean of foliage. Beginning green-thumbers can take advantage of a jumbo planting kit, including ample plant food, vitamin B1, and planting compost—everything a person needs to lure an unsuspecting plant into captivity ($15.97 for the regular kit; $29.97 for the jumbo kit). Advanced yard-enhancements abound in the form of trees and shrubs, such as a selection of 5-gallon citrus trees, good for accenting a living space and forming a focal point for the worship of the Lemon Pledge gods ($34.99). Armstrong can also help organic gardeners reach full-flavored nirvana with a bevy of 3-inch plant varieties ($2.99; selections vary by season and location).
With summer spreading like a bag of spilled gravy, now is the ideal time to stock up on cookware and housewares for outdoor entertaining and to get home-care projects underway. Pick up a Stanley six-piece screwdriver set for $6.99, a VPT rip hammer for $9.49, and a whole bunch of screws, anchors, and bolts (prices vary), and you'll be ready to finally mount every buffalo nickel and steel penny in your coin collection. Illuminate the newfound décor with a 12-pack of Ace light bulbs ($21.48), the better to see by as you make use of a Purdy four-piece premium paint-tray kit ($19.99). If you need to match paint to a favorite coverlet or choose a hue that complements a pleather recliner, each store offers a paint-matching service free of charge. Get keys made for $2.29 a pop.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.