Using Salvaged Items to Create Architectural Details in Your Home

Using Salvaged Items to Create Architectural Details in Your Home

by Shannon Weissleder

Old Doors are a Surefire Way to Add Character

I have remodeled and flipped dozens of homes over the last decade. The easiest and most surefire way to add character to new homes or even older homes that lack charm is to incorporate found and salvaged items. New spaces need a bit of patina to create that desired character effect. Many of these items are meant to be architectural but they don’t necessarily have to be to give the illusion of architectural interest and detail. This photo shows a pair of antique carriage house doors I purchased at a salvage yard in Denver. The doors were in rough shape, so I had to replace the broken glass and some of the wood. This made them strong again and allowed them to slide on a metal track. Next, I refinished them in black and white to tie in the other black doors I selected for that house. Below is what they looked like when they were used to separate a TV room from the family room.     I absolutely love using old doors in new spaces, and I get excited whenever I find them. I buy them even if I do not know how I will use them, because I know they will be perfect in one of my remodels. Here are some other examples of old doors I have used.

Windows Add Character too!

Besides doors, another of my favorite architectural finds are old steel warehouse windows. I found these at a salvage yard in Denver called Queen City. I sandblasted them to remove the old lead paint. Once the frame was back to raw steel, I hired a craftsman to frame them out with walnut. I also replaced the broken glass with amber colored glass for more privacy. Hung on sliding track hardware, I used this window as the door to my office. I’ve also used salvaged windows on an interior wall to let more light into the space behind the window. The picture below shows a kitchen I remodeled with a steel window for architectural interest. As a bonus, it lets light shine into the hallway behind it. The images below show how I used a window to separate the dining room from the pantry and allow light to shine into the interior of the pantry. This was a new home and not something you see everyday, which is something I strive for in my remodels. Many buyers are willing to pay more money to have original and unique details in their new home.

Incorporate Old Pieces of Furniture

Incorporate old pieces of furniture to add architectural interest on a budget. I have often incorporated old sinks into new and remodeled kitchens and bathrooms. The one pictured below was a 200-pound stone sink that was used in an art room at a local school. Here is an example of how I used an old steel cart to create a small vanity in a modern house. I scrubbed it, painted the base black and added a hole for the drain. Use your imagination! Old posts can be added to new drywall like the ones I added to this archway, which fit perfectly into this Mediterranean home. Using salvaged items to create architectural details can make all the difference. Have fun with your remodel and enjoy a home that will be unlike any other!
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