I’m not like other girls when it comes to shopping.
In fact, if I never stepped inside a mall again, I would be okay with that. Instead, you’re much more likely to find me happily digging through an antique/vintage/architectural salvage-type store any day.
Important: Be sure to wear proper protective gear when refinishing architectural salvage items. Paint found on older items most likely contains lead, which poses a dangerous health risk.
My love for reclaimed items works out well, considering we recently completed a whole house renovation. (Although – let’s get real…. do you REALLY ever finish one of those?)
I didn’t think so. 🙂
Our house was not livable when my husband bought it. Vandals had broken in while it was vacant and removed the copper plumbing and anything else of value.
Worse, the entire house was completely saturated with the most horrible pet smells you could ever imagine. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it – and hopefully never will again. It literally made your eyes water when you stepped inside.
At this point, we’ve redone just about everything – tore out all the flooring and wood trim, replaced subfloors (down to the joists) to get rid of the pet urine odors, tore out drywall, replaced windows and siding, redid fireplaces, gutted the kitchen and bathrooms… As you might imagine, the deeper into it we got, the more we found needed to be redone or replaced.
I’ll be writing extensively on this process in the weeks and months to come. But today, I want to share a relatively “quick win” that added a lot of character and charm for not a lot of money.
We have a nice-sized sunroom in the back of the house, which was originally separated from the main living room and kitchen by a set of er, past-their-prime french doors:
Not sure if this picture really does justice to what we started with, so I added some arrows to point out the heavily soiled carpet, and the warped and damaged doors. The faux-finish block pattern on the walls was dated and also damaged in spots.
We decided to remove the french doors to open it up a bit, and then my husband had a brilliant idea – instead of leaving just a big open door frame leading into this sunlit room, why not add a leaded glass transom across the top to add a little architectural interest?
(When we redid the exterior windows, we added transoms across all windows on the back of the house, so this echoed that design element).
After some searching online, we found an architectural salvage dealer about an hour away from here – and came home with the one pictured above.
With a little TLC (removed the dark brown peeling paint, filled in areas where the original wood had crumbled, sanded, repainted and framed into the newly reframed doorway) – and here is that window today: (apologies on picture quality – will take some new ones soon with better lighting).
As you can see, we replaced the heavily soiled carpet, the old windows (had to, they were in pretty bad shape), added new, larger trim (painted ‘Dover White’ by Sherwin Williams) and painted a darker color on the walls (‘Refuge’ by SW). The room still needs the finishing touches – window treatments, an area rug, etc… but it’s a lot more livable than it was.
Eventually, this will become our dining room – but for now, it’s a great place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee.
What are your thoughts on using reclaimed items (architectural salvage) to add character to newer homes? Have any projects you’d like to share? Please leave a comment below!
What a smart idea to add that transom to the entryway! I love that you now have a beautiful, spacious sun room. I hadn’t thought of it as a dining room but what a bright space to enjoy your family meals. In the meantime, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as a peaceful place to soak in the sunlight and the views.
Thank you, Sharon!
I have to admit, that transom was my husband’s idea. It turned out to be one of my favorite design elements – love the look and how it works with the new transoms added to all the windows across the back of the house.
The ‘official’ dining room is pretty small and is the darkest room in the house. It faces to the east, so it gets some morning sun, but the covered front porch blocks it quite a bit. By afternoon, it’s pretty dark. Will make a great den or small library/reading room, I think. 😉
I love that transom and what you did with the sunroom looks really warm and inviting. What is the flooring?
Hi Debra! ~ Thank you!
The floor is a dark hardwood with a hand-scraped finish (or it was designed to look that way for a more rustic effect). Dark hardwood is something I swore I would never do again, but did. It looks great — for the 3 minutes a week it isn’t covered with muddy paw prints. 🙂
We went with an engineered wood vs. a sanded-and-sealed onsite hardwood. The engineered costs a lot less, but with a big dog (80+ pound lab) – wouldn’t recommend it. His claws have done a number on it already and this product can’t be sanded down and refinished. So… I keep telling myself it adds “character.” 🙂