IN WITH THE OLD
Give New Purposes to Reclaimed Wood, Antiques & Treasures
By Susan Fox
When Kate Smith bought her 1940s home in an established neighborhood, she immediately took to Pinterest, shelter magazines (like this one) and other inspirational sources to find ways that would allow her to celebrate the 75-year-old charmer’s historic character. But, at the same time, “dowdy” wasn’t in her vocabulary.
She first removed acoustical tiles from above to reveal a plank ceiling. Despite its asymmetrical look, she became immediately smitten with the rustic appeal.
The original ceiling and her desire to remove walls for an open-room concept led her straight down a path to salvage yards. There, she explored a whole new world. She bought two old wooden columns that were placed strategically for load-bearing support.
Smith fell in love with the idea of using reclaimed wood in other areas of her home, too. Finding a source that built furniture and shelves from reclaimed wood served her well. And at an antique store, she found old chicken feeders that now are pendant lights over her eating bar. Weekend jaunts to area shops became routine. One such outing turned up an antique door that she painted and then installed on rails for a sliding bathroom door.
In her mudroom, the old wood floor was just too haphazard in look, so she stenciled it.
Smith’s salvage ideas have made her home hers, but she isn’t the only one cultivating an eye toward finding new purposes for old things. Thinking outside the box is key. Other homeowners remodeling their circa 1892 home, for example, found a very unique kitchen backsplash — 19th-century clay roof tiles! — at the Galveston Historic Foundation Antique Warehouse.
OTHER COLLECTED IDEAS
• A barn’s small loft door becomes an interesting kitchen rack
for pots and pans.
• Fancy Victorian doors have found their way into kitchens to close off the pantry. And other antique doors have reclaimed new life as headboards — and even dining room table tops.
• Placing photographs in the various panes of windows, from a century or two past, creates a special display.
• Old ceiling tins become canvases for artwork.
• Architectural elements hang above doorways or make nice coat/hat racks.
• Tall, old shutters transform into doors or wall dividers.
• Antique rug remnants — kilims, oushaks — make elegant throw pillows.
• Crock pots, urns and tin pitchers transform into lamps.
• Large copper bowls become sinks.
• Door knobs grace walls as coat or picture hangers.
• Old lumber reincarnates into shelves, flooring and furniture.
PLACES TO EXPLORE
Matt Brooks at Coldwater Creek Barnwood Salvage in Schulenburg says his inventory of old prized Texas pines — such as Curly, Long Leaf and Loblolly — are favored by area builders, craftsmen and restaurants, such as Rudy’s Barbecue and Fadi's. Some of his inventory — lumber, country relics and some furniture — can be found via Facebook or by calling 713-299-8035.
Suzanne Kittel, owner of Discovery Architectural Antiques in Gonzales, says her two buildings, comprising 10,000-plus square feet of inventory, are filled with doors, hardware, windows, lumber, stained glass and furniture. Her team also makes furniture from reclaimed woods. Open on select days and by appointment
at 512-567-1998, www.discoverys.net .
Lynn Edmundson at Houston Historic Salvage Warehouse says they primarily offer light fixtures, windows, wrought iron, brick pavers, shiplap, lumber, roof tiles, stone and flooring in a 25,000-square-foot space. Outdoor pieces fill a 15,000-square-foot yard at 1200 National St. Open only to members on select days and by appointment at 713-553-7035. Visit www.historichouston.org for more information, as well as the warehouse’s Facebook page.
Dwayne Jones is the executive director at the Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF). He oversees GHF’s Architectural Salvage Warehouse, a 3,000-square-foot space filled with doors, windows, shutters, balusters, wood trim, lumber, light fixtures, door knobs, filaments, window pulleys and, on occasion, vintage appliances. GHF also holds classes of interest to persons restoring homes. Open on select days. Call 409-765-3452 or visit Facebook or www.galvestonhistory.org
6161 S. Loop E. Freeway
The Reclaimed Wood Shop
2102 W. 34th St.
1901 W. Alabama St.