When Washington DC native Ron Allan began collecting doorknobs in the early 1970s, he never imagined that one day his collection would become the inspiration for two successful businesses.
In 1981, Ron and longtime friend Donetta George combined forces – and their shared passion for restoration and design – to found The Brass Knob, Washington’s premiere source for unique architectural antiques. Ron’s collection, paired with Donetta’s design and business background was the perfect equation for the store, which they opened that very same year.
Ron and Donetta opened The Brass Knob in a renovated townhouse on 18th Street in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, an area then known for its antique stores. The Brass Knob’s selection of hard-to-find chandeliers, lighting, hardware, mantels, and all types of architectural ornaments proved an instant hit among Washingtonians and national designers.
For a few years, larger architectural pieces were stored off-site and sold only by appointment. As the demand for these items grew, Ron and Donetta decided to open another location to hold large volumes of doors, bathtubs, radiators, and fencing, as well as other large-scale salvaged house parts. As a result, Ron and Donetta opened the 20,000-square-foot The Brass Knob Back Doors Warehouse in 1991. Ron and his crew salvage much of the inventory at The Back Doors Warehouse directly from buildings and homes in the Washington area.
The Brass Knob Architectural Antiques and The Brass Knob Back Doors Warehouse became two separate businesses in 2005. In 2011, Ron Allan decided to retire. The Back Doors Warehouse was closed in the spring of 2011. The Brass Knob Architectural Antiques remains in business supplying local home owners and design professionals with an array of unique items for home and business.