If You Do Cremone Bolts Are You Asking for Trouble?

Hi Everyone,

Before we get into the Cremone bolts, thank you so much for the many kind messages about my new fireplace mantel that I haven’t actually purchased yet. lol

This is a two-part post. If you’ve read Part 1, please click the link below that will take you directly to Part 2. Please continue reading if you haven’t read the post or wish to refresh your memory.


Part 2 Begins Here


Something I’ve noticed, however, is that some aren’t satisfied when I’ve made a decision and want me to explore further.


However, it’s like when I got engaged, I didn’t continue to look for another husband.

I’ve already been dwelling and researching for nearly three years. The renovation is in progress. Final decisions need to be made.

Also, when I find something I love, I know it. Does it mean what I’ve chosen is the best?

Maybe, maybe not.


However, I’ve never had anything as luxurious and amazing as everything I’ve selected so far.


I don’t take it for granted and never thought I’d be able to live out these dreams. In addition, while some things are quite pricey, I’ve gotten really good at finding some seriously reduced prices on some things, especially light fixtures.

Okay, I did mention the other day that I have to have these cremone bolts from Wilmette Hardware.

Let’s leave the cheap crap aside for the time being.


Is Wilmette the only source for fine Cremone bolts?


No, but it goes back to the statement above that began with “one thing…” I found my perfect Cremone bolts, and don’t need to keep looking and looking to maybe find something for a few dollars less. I don’t have that luxury.


Laurel, every time you say Cremone bolts, it makes me think of cremation. Sorry to be so morbid. But what are they for besides looking pretty?


Okay sure. Let’s begin with how to pronounce the word “Cremone.”

It does not rhyme with Spumoni, which is how I imagined it was pronounced until fairly recently.

This is how it’s pronounced.



It is believed the first Cremone bolts were created in Italy. However, they gained rapid popularity during France’s late 18th c. neo-classical period. That was during the reign of King Louis XVI.

An image of Marie Antoinette’s room with some Cremone bolts is floating around, but it’s pretty old. They recently spent five years and untold millions restoring her Versailles tiny 14-room apartment. I hope it doesn’t start another revolution.


Cremone bolts are used on doors of all kinds and casement windows.


Those windows swing either into the room or towards the outside.

The cremone bolt has two vertical rods attached to the door or window stile. (vertical frame)


Adler Cremone Bolt - Rue Knob - Wilmette Hardware - kitchen ironmongery


Connecting the rods is a mechanism with a knob or lever (see above) that opens or closes the bolt into a thingy at the top and bottom. In other words, it locks the door.


Chown Hardware - burnished brass Cremone Bolts

Above, you can see the top thingy. Gorgeous Cremone Bolts from Chown Hardware.


BrandinoBrass on Instagram. Gorgeous Cremone Bolts

BrandinoBrass on Instagram- an architectural hardware store in Birmingham, AL.

Gorgeous Cremone Bolts!

Above, you can see the bottom locking thingy.


Some Cremone bolts are designed to connect to the opposite door if there is one.


The other option, with side-by-side doors, is to do two independently working bolts, as you see above.


Cremone Bolts for My New Kitchen Cabinets

In my case, I have to use two on the two aisle cabinets because there is a central mullion. We decided on that because this is a very tall cabinet with 67″ tall doors.

I’m not sure if I’ll have a faux thingy or not. I think the knob should go a little lower, between the first and second muntins.


As usual, I did a lot of research before choosing the Cremone bolts.


I discovered that the cheap ones are made in India. But, none of them come in polished nickel. However, comparing them to the high-end versions, they pale quickly.


Is it a mistake to get them if you want a different finish, like brass or bronze, for example?


My answer is: I don’t know. However, I’d be awfully nervous if I were specking them for a client. The thing is, they are going to make some fairly substantial holes in your cabinet doors. These Cremone bolts are not easy to replace like a knob would be, or even a handle. So, I prefer to get it right the first time.


Another thing I liked about Wilmette Hardware is that they offer trade pricing.


In fact, I need to add them to the next edition of Laurel’s Rolodex coming out this November.


Incidentally, the day after Christmas, the prices for all my interior design guides are increasing.

For more information about my helpful interior design guides, this will take you to the introductory page, and then you’ll find links to other pages with more information.

If you are ready to order, there is a Purchase Products Page where you will be taken to Sendowl, my super-secure shopping cart.


Back to the Cremone Bolts!


A few days ago, before I knew I was getting married to a handsome cremone bolt,;];];] I contacted the owner of Wilmette Hardware, located in DesMoines, Iowa.


Wilmette Hardware is a family business that’s been around for nearly 90 years and is now located in Wilmette, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago, and currently owned by Gregory Bettenhausen.


It didn’t take long to ascertain that if this hardware company were a restaurant, it would be awarded three Michelin stars. (The highest possible ranking).


The hardware is hand-crafted by fine artisans in the United States. They use the finest materials… 

Well, you get it.

It comes with a price, for sure. But, even with my generous trade discount, it is still a stretch.

Definitely, if I had the means, I’d get everything from them!


These doors are one of the primary focal points and will be stunning. That is a great place to splurge.


If you missed the Cremone bolts in the hardware post, please go to this p, ost, and you’ll see some lovely images from Wilmette Hardware. 

I feel spending a little extra for the elements that will elevate the space immensely is worth it.


Oh, I just have to say this, and I won’t say who it is because that would be exceedingly tacky.


However, during my research, I saw a football field… errrr, kitchen (where it’s obvious that no actual cooking or washing up takes place) with 18 bright gold Cremone bolts. Oh, I could keep going, but I won’t.

Restraint is very difficult, in speech and in decorating. ;] There are so many beautiful items out there, and some people have a lot of space to fill. But, that’s how it is in some parts of our country.


But getting back to the alternatives that are the cheap, super-crap Cremone bolts made in India.


On my 67″ high, one-inch thick cabinet doors, I fear they will break in a week. 

Incidentally, we’re doing dummy bolts. That means they won’t actually bolt. That would be fine for a china cabinet not used a lot, but these doors will be, and over time, could cause unnecessary wear on the doors.

Still, the bolt is not purely decorative. I hope the long rod affixed tightly to the stile will help keep the doors nice and straight.


Geez, Laurel, I would struggle to afford the cheap ones, but isn’t there something nice for a moderate price?


Oh, I totally understand. 30 years ago, we didn’t have enough to pay for anything but our most basic needs, such as food, shelter, milk for the children, and cheap clothes from Target.

It wasn’t until 1996, when I began my own business, that we began to have a small amount of disposable income. So, believe me. I get it 100%.

After exchanging a couple of emails with Greg, I was sure this was the company I wanted to do business with.


So, let’s look at a few fantastic examples of Cremone bolts.


Darryl Carter via instagram - gorgeous tall arched pantry doors

Darryl Carter

Please read my Darryl Carter tribute post here.


southern living antique kitchen cabinets cremone bolts- photo Laurey W Glenn

This classic beauty in Southern Living with lovely antique Cremone bolts- photo Laurey W Glenn

photo by Bieke Claessens with antique Cremone Bolt

photo by Bieke Claessens with another antique Cremone Bolt

Europeans frequently paint their Cremone bolts and, like this kitchen, other hardware so it blends in.

minnie peters pilaster under architrave
Fantastic dining room by the super-talented Minnie Peters.


And one last incredibly well-done pantry by an interior designer I don’t know, Melissa Lindsay, but from my old stomping ground. She works in Westchester County, NY, and the neighboring Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Pimlico Interiors - Westchester, Fairfield County, Cremone Bolts-Butler's Pantry - Photo-Amy Vischio

Pimlico Interiors

Photo-Amy Vischio

Please follow Melissa’s gorgeous Instagram

And this will take you to Amy’s love page on Instagram


Are there any other sources for Cremone Bolts to look into besides Wilmette Hardware that might be at a lower price point?


Okay, I have found some other sources. However, I will share that on Thursday evening.

So, it would be best if you could share any sources I missed after that update comes out.



Part 2 Begins Here

It’s Thursday evening. :]

Hi Everyone,

As promised, I’m sharing several sources with exquisite, high-quality hardware, including Cremone bolts.


While some of these might be marginally less than Wilmette, some might be even more, and there might be some overlap.


The Golden Lion is a gorgeous collection of all kinds of hardware and gets my vote for the coolest website of them all.

Kilian Hardware represents numerous brands (Baldwin, Frank Allart, etc.) and is worth looking into. However, the brands in the $200  –  $350 range are made in India. They have a distinctive look.

P.E. Guerin – Located in New York City, everything about their website evokes quality and high-end. Everyone who owns Laurel’s Rolodex already knows:

“If you have to ask how much it costs, you can’t afford it.”


Next up for beautiful Cremone Bolts is:


Von Morris – This is a super-elegant line and looks quite pricey. But, without inquiring or enquiring if we are in the U.K., ;] I don’t know for sure.

Armac Martin – I don’t believe this company has Cremone bolts. However, they have a beautiful line of hardware and include the freaking prices! Thank you! I mean, we’re going to find out sooner or later. Right? They are in the price point of DeVOL, but a product line that is at least 100 times larger. And, I counted at least 33 finishes, including a custom-painted finish!

Oh, this is only the tip of the kitchen ironmongery!


If you know of a fantastic source for Cremone bolts, please share in the comments.

But, Please note I left out the sources with the cheap Cremone Bolts, such as Signature Hardware, House of Antique Hardware, Van Dykes, Etsy, and Amazon.


Now, to be clear, I’m not saying do not order from these sources. I am cautioning that their Cremone bolts all look the same and are made in India with not-so-great materials, finishes, and designs.

Cheap Cremone Bolts made in India

Above are some of the Indian-made Cremone bolts.

I’ve seen reviews where parts were missing, etc. In addition, they don’t have polished nickel. It might be called nickel, but it doesn’t look like it. Some of the finishes look sprayed on. I’m also not fond of the pseudo-Victorian filigree patterns, and somewhat eccentric knobs almost all of them have.


One last thing. Sometimes, you will hear of a Cremone bolt referred to as an Espagnolette Bolt.


The terms are sometimes used interchangeably. I believe the primary difference is the mechanism of how it is opened, and instead of a knob or handle, there’s an interesting piece that drops down.

Wilmette Hardware has this gorgeous image of an Espagnolette bolt.


Wilmette Hardware-Espagnolette bolt handle detail
Wilmette Hardware

The full door is here.

You will not find products with this rich polished nickel on the lower quality Cremone or Espagnolette bolts. However, if you love the look at the finishes they have work for you, and there’s no way you can afford the high-end bolts, that is fine.

My only objective is to share what I’ve learned.

If you have a budget that’s more in the $7,000 $700 – $1,000 per bolt price, Baldwin is a good source, too.



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24 Responses

  1. Wow, can’t believe I’m getting into this – Looks like an Espagnolette bolt requires a pull down or up and a Cremone needs a twist clockwise or counterclockwise to open or close. If one has arthritis, the Cremone may literally be a pain. Otherwise, can’t see a clear advantage to one over the other? They both look beautiful to my eyes and sound like an exotic pastry to my ears.

  2. A little bit of linguistic stuff here. Rather contrariwise, the entry for crémone in the TLF says that it’s a synonym for espagnolette. The entry for espagnolette says sternly that there is frequent confusion between the two terms, but that they refer to two different systems. The older term is espagnolette (in use by the 1740s), whereas crémone is first attested in 1790. The exact difference is difficult to work out from the definitions, but it appears to be that the crémone is simply an iron bar that slots into the upper and lower mortises when closed; the espagnolette has hooks of some kind at the ends of the iron bar to lock the system into a closed position. As an ordinary vocabulary user, I would tend to use the term crémone for a system with a knob that turns, and espagnolette for a system with a knob that one raises, as in your last picture and comment. This is, however, entirely unscientific!

  3. Hi Laurel,
    I live down the road from Wilmette Hardware. Such a fun surprise to learn you’re using them for your project. They have the most gorgeous selection of hardware. If you’re ever in the area you should plan a visit. Highly recommend it! Love all the beautiful choices you’ve made!

  4. I grew up in Italy, in a house built in the early 1930s. We had those exposed bolts on all the (very graceful) windows, in Italy they’re called “Cremonese” (Cremona is a pretty northern town near the big Po river). The windows had a wooden frame and were very tall, the ceilings were over 11 feet in a house that was just average for the day. By the 1990s some of the frames had warped, and some bolts, too, had developed like a little hump, so that you had to press on them to make them slide up, or some handles were a bit tricky to turn. No one minded because these brass bolts were simple but so pretty!

    We also had wooden working shutters, which had the Espagnolette bolt (or Spagnoletta, as they say in Italy) – I think at least in Italy, the Cremonese is only an indoor bolt, and the Spagnoletta an outoor one. For whatever reason, even though these bolts were exposed to the elements day in and day out, they were always smooth and straight. Thanks to them, in the summer you could swing the shutters in and lock them together, almost shut but not quite, so the sun would be blocked but you still got fresh air – a very important feature when there’s no AC!

    It’s funny how I took these details for granted, until the house had to be renovated to make it up to code, before we sold it in 2010. It was tragic: the windows had to be thrown away, the only option allowed (because it was “green”) was the big, fat frame one now sees all over Italy, sometimes plastic, sometimes aluminum. So much thought about beauty had clearly gone into the making of the original frames and bolts, but this contemporary stuff is just ugly – it’s not simply that it’s plain, it’s that it boldly declares that to take the time to make something beautiful is a waste of time and nobody should care. I can’t bear to see that house now burdened with those clunky windows.

    Thank you for sharing so much about your renovation!

  5. Hi Laurel-

    For those of us who live in earthquake country, I’m wondering if cremone bolts would keep cupboard doors securely closed during an earthquake?


  6. I can attest that Killian Hardware in Philadelphia is a GREAT SOURCE for window & door hardware– especially hard-to-find hardware for older houses (prior to 1940), like spring bronze weatherstripping to make double-hung windows slide nicely. They even carry the “Franklin Busbybody” (aka Philadelphia Busybody)– an ingenious device said to have been invented by Ben Franklin so that the occupant of the 2nd floor sitting room can see who is knocking at the door below. Great hardware source for old-house owners.

  7. Charleston Hardware Co makes beautiful cabinet knobs and pulls as well as door hardware. Fabulous quality and great prices. They don’t make their own Cremone bolts, however. They source those from Baldwin Brass.

  8. I too am obsessed with the substance and style that cremone bolts add. I have not had the opportunity to use them, but they are a dream. I saw them all over the fine homes and chateaux in and around Paris last April and took many photos. The most prominent use was on the tall casement windows overlooking the manicured grounds and gardens.

  9. I can’t quite understand how the bolts will somehow reinforce the doors and keep them from warping. It’s not intuitive from an engineering standpoint. Sounds like wishful thinking. Particularly because wood and metal don’t react to changes in humidity over time.
    I agree that the look is striking.

  10. Lucky You !
    Because you’re able to make decisions when you have the right amount of information that satisfies the situation…. not many people can do that – they keep looking and looking and never get the project done.
    Your home will be amazing and authentically you… what a calling card…
    I enjoy all your decision making processes – and love arriving at the conclusion…
    Thanks for all you do…

  11. Dear Laurel,
    I enjoy following you blog as I learn from you. You are the designer, Its YOUR kitchen and home remodel. The rest of us are along for the ride.
    Everyone has a budget, but its different for each of us. I just want you to know how much I appreciate your insight on interior decorating.
    Being second guessed is very difficult and stressful when a decision has been made.
    Thank YOU!

  12. I lived in a house in Mexico that had no bolts or way to lock the house on the two sets of handmade French doors. We went to a hardware store and bought inexpensive cremone bolts that were meant to close a gate. The wrought iron was stunning with the warm wood, quarry tile floor, and whitewashed walls. And gave us the security and ease of use that we needed.

  13. It’s been so fun watching your process. Decision making is hard and it’s such a great feeling when you land on what you love and then allow yourself to spend the money. It feels like the clouds part and sunshine floods in.

    Ps. The “thingy” (hole) into which the rods set to lock the Cremone bolt is called a mortise. The hardware covering the mortise is a strike plate. Naming things is something I enjoy and I’ve learned so many great terms from your blog. Thank you.

  14. Laurel, I am interested in purchasing your rolodex, but have delayed because I live in Canada. Does the guide work for Canadians as well? That has been the main source of my reluctance to purchase!

    I LOVE everything you are doing in your renovation so far! It is going to look absolutely spectacular and absolutely FITTING and appropriate for the style of building you are in and the locale. Nothing drives me more crazy than people buying heritage buildings and then stripping them of all character. I am so excited that you are adding it back in. I have been loving the process and am excited for the finished result (as I am sure you are too!!)

  15. Hi Laurel, I am so fascinated with your coverage of cremone bolts — a new obsession you’ve introduced me to.
    Have you seen the Potted Boxwood video of designer Edith Anne Duncan’s house and her use of cremone bolts? Start at minute 9:36 in the video. She uses cremone bolts in the butler’s pantry and in an eye-popping kitchen custom cabinet — glass doors and all polished stainless with these bolts for china/silver storage. Beautiful. And the fascinating part is they have that soft-close feature. Love this!
    Thanks for another terrific post.

  16. Laurel,
    I love the mantle. It it is gorgeous. I’m with you when you find something that you love, you go with it. Make that decision and move onto your next project.

    Your discussion of the Cremone bolts is helpful. I was not familiar with that product. Thank you for sharing your process. It is so helpful.

  17. Hi Laurel
    I’m sure you know Van Dykes carries these but they may not be up to the standard you desire.
    I’m excited for you and I love all the details you allow us to see.
    Keep smiling and and carry on.

  18. Laurel, love the bolts and the Parisian mantle is gorgeous. Am wondering if your kitchen cabinets are in yet? Any chance of a quick peek at the progress? Have been dying to see them in place. Am sure they are beautiful.

  19. Laurel, I want to put in a plug for your interior design guides! I have them all and they are fantastic!!

    I am planning to redo my living room and spent yesterday afternoon looking at the ‘Laurel Home Paint Collection’ (I am looking at rugs today and wanted to refresh my eye on the colors I might like to use).
    I haven’t looked at them for quite a while and I kept thinking about what a LOT of work it was to put them together–and what a fabulous resource it is.

    Once I have my colors chosen (the most important part it me!) I will dive into ‘Laurel’s Rolodex’ and the ‘333 Decorating Rules & Tips You Need to Know’.

    I do have a designer to guide me -I like so many things that it is hard to know exactly WHAT goes together but it is critical to me to know the direction to go…and your guides (and all your wonderful posts) have helped me so much!!
    Thanks Laurel!!

  20. This is a type of hardware I’d never given any thought to. However, I’m in Florence, Italy for a month in an apartment overlooking the Duomo. All the windows close with these bolts which are in various finishes. Perhaps they all started brass, but have been stained, painted, scraped, etc. They all still function as intended, that is to lock the windows and shutters. Good luck on yours!

  21. HI Laurel!
    LOVE your mantle of choice. It’s a beautiful melding of the french and british designs that are all over the back bay of boston (in contrast to beacon hill, which is all federal- british). Gorgeous. I wish you’d run my crazy renovation….it could be your next blog series. More potential problems than a peace negotiation.
    Cremone bolts are so common in Paris that when I was reading your article, I looked up and saw that cremone bolts are what close my french doors/windows in my paris apartment!! So common, I didn’t even notice them before. My apartment is very simple, so are my cremone bolts, whereas in the the Musée Nissim de Camondo, they are extravagent and like chandelier earrings, demand to be noticed.
    You continue to intrigue this wannabe designer. Thank you!

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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