Windows & Doors & Corbels...Oh My!

In a nutshell, salvage!  Using salvage around your home brings that little piece of age and history to your space.  Many people over the years have asked me how to incorporate old, salvage pieces into their decor.  My response is always the same... use what you love in your home and you will love your home!  I've used everything from old windows and doors, to corbels and fretwork. Let's dig in a little deeper and discover what is right for your home.

Photo taken by Connie Arnsman
Design by Kitty Copeland
Kitchen cabinet doors!  They are a dime a dozen. Look at places like the Habitat Restore for old cabinets with character.  For this project, I collected many sizes of doors to create this one-of-a-kind headboard that I used in a Kalamazoo Parade of Homes Tour.  The hardest part of this headboard was finding just the right doors to make the edges come out even all the way around.  To help this process, I threw in a few drawer fronts to fill gaps. Follow these steps to create your own:

*Cut a piece of 1/2" plywood to the size of your bed.  For twin use 42"w, for queen use 64"w, and for king use 80"w.  I prefer making the headboard rather tall for a dramatic effect, but you can choose whatever height fits your space.  Just be sure you can get it up your stairs before you build it!

*Paint the plywood the color that your headboard will be. Check out this post for directions on using chalk-type paints!

*Lay your doors in the pattern that you like so that they fit on your plywood. When you are happy with the results, turn one door over at a time and secure with construction adhesive. Let dry overnight.

*Carefully flip your headboard over and screw drywall screws into the corners of every door (be sure the screws are long enough to secure the doors, but not too long to pop through).  This takes time because you can't see your doors!

*Finally flip the headboard back over and paint it up! Don't forget to distress it and seal it with wax or clear coat.

Secure your headboard to the wall into studs and secure your metal bedframe into the headboard. Sleep tight :).

Photo taken by Connie Arnsman
Design by Kitty Copeland
Windows? Of course!  I've used them as hanging room dividers, message boards, art, chalkboards and more! In this home, I hung an old window to separate the kitchen from the family room without cutting off the view.  It is also used as a memo board for grocery lists with a wet-erase marker or a picture frame using two magnets sandwiching the glass.

Have you ever dealt with a wall in your home that is large and needs something to fill it up, but you don't want to spend a fortune on it? Try windows! You can find a large assortment of old windows at most resale shops, and certainly at KalamazooKitty!  Grab several shapes and sizes, but stick with one color.  If you can't find all you need in the same color, paint them using chalk-type paints!  Always be careful when handling old windows!  The glazing may have fallen out, which means the glass can fall out as well.  Also beware of lead-based paint that may already be on the window. Click here for safe handing of lead-based paints.

Design by Kitty Copeland
If possible, lay all your windows out on the floor in the configuration you like that occupies the space on your wall. Tip: measure your wall and mark that space on your floor before you begin laying out your windows.  This will ensure your configuration will fit once it is up on the wall!

I prefer to have the windows snugged up close to each other to achieve the look of a large piece of art. It will not look busy if you do it this way.

Take a picture of your layout on the floor to refer back to as you start hanging your windows. Start with a top, corner window and hang it up securely with screws into a stud or anchor. Continue to work your way across your wall one window at a time. Keep a level handy and check each window as you go.

Step back and enjoy your work!

One more quick note on windows...don't ignore the muntin bars!  Paint them and use them as art!
Photo taken by Connie Arsnman
Design by Kitty Copeland

Let's talk corbels. Some people just call them brackets, but whatever you like to call them doesn't matter, as long as you get some in your home!  Check out salvage places like The Heritage Company downtown Kalamazoo or KalamazooKitty for a great selection! I am pretty sure I could come up with a place in every room of your house for a corbel or two, but let's start with the kitchen:

*hold up shelving
*hold up an island top
*hold up upper cabinets
*hold up a hood

Design by Kitty Copeland
 Door openings are also a great place for a pair of corbels. How about under the fireplace mantle?  A shelf suspended under your TV?  Why stop there?!  A pair of corbels could become a shelf in just about any room of your house. Just top them off with a piece of barn wood, butcherblock or scrap wood you have laying around.

Lastly, doors. Barn doors, front doors, pocket doors. By now everyone knows what to do with a cool barn door or old pocket door, but just in case you've been living under a rock, head to KalamazooKitty's West Main location to see one hanging!  Need barn door hardware?  We have them in stock or can order them.  They arrive in just a few days!

Front doors make great art, too!  Hang one just about anywhere in your home to add character. Use spray adhesive or magnets to add photos to glass panes.  Attach several doors together for a headboard or turn one horizontally for a simple look.  And don't forget the obvious... Use them as a door! Your front door, basement door, bedroom door. You can also hang these on barn door hardware and use them as sliding doors to close off a room.

Photo taken by Connie Arsman, Design by Kitty Copeland

Like I said, the uses of salvage pieces in your home are endless! Be creative, have fun and add tons of character to your home! Say goodbye to build-beige-boring in your space, and hello to salvage chic!

Watch for more salvage ideas from me in the future.  I just can't get enough!

This is from Kalamazoo... to you!


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