Sunday, September 25, 2011

Architectural Salvage

What is it and what do you do with it?

What it is is a wide piece of interior window trim that was sometimes used across the top of a window to give the window more of a presence.  It was purely decorative and with high ceilings in the older homes it made the windows more proportionate to the height of the walls.  It also added a little drama and, heaven knows, Victorian homes were all about drama.

I have been hanging on to four of these for about 10 years.  I have contemplated what to do with them and the day finally came when I actually did more than think about it.

I have a couple unpainted ones too.  One idea was to paint some lettering onto the wide flat area but I haven't come up with anything clever or perfect for that yet.  So I went with my next idea that was to cover it in fabric.

Some simple clean up was required.  It's also a good idea to determine how this will hang on the wall if that's the intent.  I think two shallow holes on each side that will allow a screw head to catch is the easiest way to go.

Next, choose your fabric.  I have had this piece for some time.  I decided to save the middle section for another project,  so I cut off one end border for this project.

Now, the next part is a bit messy and requires you to move along.  That means no stopping for pictures.  I soaked the fabric in gel medium and then smoothed it over the wood.  Let me explain here a few things that are good to know in advance.  First:  WEAR GLOVES.  Not because this is toxic but because when it dries on your skin it does not wash off.  It eventually peels off but you will look like you have a serious dry skin condition for about a week.  Secondly: change gloves midway if the medium starts to dry on the gloves.  Dried bits will flake off of your gloves and interfere with the smoothing of the fabric.    Like upholstering, you have to maneuver the fabric on the sides as it wraps around.  This is not difficult but you will have to snip the fabric in places to get it to bend smoothly. 

I thought the pattern of this fabric added interest to this piece.  But it would also be interesting to use the same fabric used elsewhere in the room.  Say, a toile that matches the curtains.  This could be striking in a bathroom as a header over an unframed vanity mirror.
I wanted to show this piece hanging on a wall with a piece of art resting on top, but good light was an issue today and I didn't feel like putting screws in one of my walls for one picture.  So I used an easel and took this picture outdoors.
(not the perfect backdrop, I know.)

I think this might work nicely in a back hall.  I may add hooks across the bottom edge for keys, a purse strap, and an umbrella.  There is room for plenty of hooks.  It might also be used to hang necklaces and chains in a bedroom or dressing room.  The top is about 2 1/2 inches wide so it could hold perfume bottles or something decorative.

If you think of a way to use this piece or have an idea for my remaining three headers, please share your ideas with me.  I would love to hear your suggestions.

The DIY Show Off

1 comment:

  1. The fabric brings a whole new life, as fabric often does.