Using Architectural Salvage in Decor
I really like old pieces of furniture. I love the craftsmanship, look, and feel of old salvage. I feel this is especially important for newer homes in order to add character. My personal preference includes a mix of old and new. I don’t want a home to feel like a museum or to be a place where people can’t touch anything in the home.
An added benefit of using salvage is that it is part of the green movement of recycle, reduce, reuse. In using salvage pieces, you are helping keep something out of a landfill.
Lastly, I also like salvage because it can make a non-custom home feel different from the neighbor’s. Most cities have the same craft and home stores, which carry many similar items. It’s nice to go into a home and see things that are original.
A word of caution, though. Some painted furniture will contain lead paint which is very dangerous if inhaled or ingested. This can be especially dangerous for small children. If you plan to do any work on a painted piece of salvage, wear gloves and a mask and work in a well ventilated area. If you plan to keep the chipped paint look, which I love, paint over the original paint to ‘seal’ in the old paint. I use General Finishes Flat Out Flat. It is a little more expensive but a little goes a long way. It dries with a wax look so it doesn’t look like there is paint on it at all. Using this, there will be no shine like you get when using most other top coats. There is a great article in Country Living magazine on “Lead Paint on Antique Furniture” if you want more information.
I found this corbel at an antique shop in McKinney, TX. I just saw it and loved it. I didn’t have a place in mind and wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I had some extra wood from a project and decided to stain the wood to make a stand for the corbel. It isn’t the nicest wood work project I have done but I knew it would be behind the glass in a high place so I wasn’t as concerned how the back looked. I had a heavy flat piece on the bottom and a thinner piece of wood to attach to the corbel. I screwed the thinner piece of wood into the back of the heavier piece and now the corbel has a stand.
Some other ideas I found while searching the web are the following.
Most place have spindles or balustrades. I used one in a vignette, but some people are turning them into lamps with easy kits you can get from the hardware store. Just remember to test for lead paint or cover the paint with a clear paint like General Finishes Flat out Flat.
If you have lots of wall space to cover, use large elements instead of putting 3 pictures in a row. I used shutters but there are many other options.
Find or use things that you love or remind you of home. We used the door out of an old bread cupboard to use as a frame. I loved it because it has the old wavy glass and still had the hardware. We found two old menus from New Orleans restaurants to put in the frame.
Also, salvage looks great in modern design as well.
I’ll leave you with pictures of the bathroom that was in an antique store/restaurant in McKinney, TX. I love how they set it up so I took pictures. This might be a little to rustic for most homes but it was beautiful.
Sorry these pictures are not very good. I will try to start bring my real camera instead of just taking pictures on my iPhone. That thing is just so handy, though! I am also planning on post a list of places I have found for good deals. Maybe we can also get a few people leaving comments on where they have found for salvage deals.