November 27, 2012

Guest Post: Architectural Salvage

Hello again. I'm back today with a great post about repurposing old pieces and incorporating them into your home's decor. Amity really has an eye for antiques. Enjoy!

As you can tell from many of Danna's blog posts, she's a huge advocate of turning something old into something new. It seems as though that runs in the family because, over the past several years, I've developed the same passion for incorporating architectural elements or remnants of larger pieces of furniture into my overall decor. Sometimes those pieces are the main focal point of a room, while other times, I use them as a minor piece of flair. 

I have a couple of pieces of advice when you're looking for architectural pieces. First of all, imperfection is ok. In fact, it's almost encouraged. If you buy two coordinating pieces, they don't have to look exactly alike. If the paint is chipping, it adds character. Secondly, if something strikes your eye but you don't know where in your house you'll put it, buy it anyway. You will always find a place in your house for something you love. My mother gave me that tip years ago and it's never steered me wrong.
I have two sheds in my back yard that weren't emptied by the home's previous owners. Danna and I discovered some hidden gems one Christmas, and just recently, I finally made use of some old mismatched shutters. They were all painted a similar blue/green but were all different styles and sizes. I decided to clean a couple up and hang them above the bed in my guest room. After several attempts and a few choice words between me and my boyfriend, the shutters are now the main focal point in the bedroom. They accompany a canvas photograph I bought at an art auction and a Federal-style mirror finished with pale blue and gold. I also gave three of them to my mom who hung them above the bed in the master bedroom at my parent's lake house. They work vertically or horizontally and can be used as a headboard replacement or hung above the headboard. 
If you recall my first guest post, I have a collection of old bottles in my living room that are displayed on what looks like a mantel. I actually think it's the top of a dining room hutch, but I don't know for sure what the piece of furniture is. All I know is that when I saw it in an antique store in Havana, I knew I had to have it. To be honest, it wasn't in the greatest shape. I reinforced the back of it with a slim piece of wood before hanging it because I certainly didn't want it to fall on anyone sitting in the chair underneath it.
One of my favorite pieces in my house is a Chinese red bench that sits just next to my entrance. I bought it from Southern Chicks in Tallahassee. I can't say enough great things about Bobbi and her handiwork. She made the bench from a headboard and footboard of a twin bed. With just a little imagination and a few extra pieces of support wood, she made an incredible piece of furniture from a hand-me-down bed. 
I have several other little pieces around my house that had different functions in their previous lives. The basket that holds my magazines and throw blankets (next to my couch) used to be a mailman's bicycle basket. The old mailbox that hung on my front porch now hangs in my dining room. Former wrought iron grates with a peacock motif now flank either side of my living room windows. My coffee table is my grandmother's former bedroom cedar chest. 
As you can tell, I try to purchase pieces that have a story or will act as a conversation starter. My goal as a homeowner and decorator is to assemble a mix of old and new that live harmoniously in one space. It'd be terribly boring to spend all of my time at Pottery Barn and no time at Second Hand Sandy's :)

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