Century-old Beauty

Here's one of my latest projects.  Maybe my favorite.

A friend gave us some window panes that are 100 years old.  100 years.   My dad just turned 90.  These windows are ten years older than he is.

Imagine the decades of weather and events and activities these panes have seen.  Pounding storms, drifting snow, and burning sunshine.  Farmers digging up potatoes and kids tearing around the corn fields.  Gardens full of sunflowers, and maybe strawberries.   I don't really know what all these windows have witnessed, but there is a rich history in this solid wood. 

These windows are worn and crusty and beautiful.  I love them.

The first thing we did with them was to display some photos at Dad's 90th birthday party.   It seemed fitting.  Vintage on vintage.

The second project was to make curtain rods from the wood.  

With one disassembled frame, we made two curtain rods to hang above our daughter's French doors.

It was delightful how simple this project was.

After the glass was carefully removed from the frame, I brushed the boards with a stiff brush to remove loose paint and solid dirt.  I spritzed them with some Spic 'n Span to clean them.   I did not remove the layers of paint; I wanted to retain the the wear and tear.

With pliers, my husband removed the pull ropes that were used to close these windows so long ago.

With an art sponge, I covered the boards with two coats of Polyacrylic to seal them, making sure to hit all the nooks and crannies.   

After they dried overnight, we attached eight decorative hooks to each board, spacing them equally apart.

I thought small, vintage glass door knobs would have looked beautiful, but I couldn't find any that were cost effective.   I would have needed sixteen. 

We found white cotton tab curtains (Martha Stewart) at Home Depot for about fourteen bucks a panel.  Most of the work on this project stemmed from repositioning the curtain tabs.  The loops were designed for a rod to slide though them sideways.  We needed loops that would hook front to back.

The alterations weren't difficult.  I gently ripped out each tab (while watching TV) and folded it in half lengthwise; I reinserted the ends of the tabs into the curtain and pinned them in place.  I sewed the length of the curtain closed to reinstall the tabs.

I actually like that the tabs are now double the fabric, as they'll carry the weight of the curtain over time.  

My husband installed the new curtain rods with long screws that went through the boards and solidly into the wall.  Those can be seen in this towel rack we made, using the same method on a shorter board.  On this board, we kept the original latch and painted it green. 

Here are some shots of the finished curtain rods in place.

To open the panels, we just transfer the loops from the inner hooks to the outer ones, as many or as few as we like. 

Don't you feel like you could just peer around this simple, gauzy curtain on a vintage rod and see Scarlett O'Hara sipping sweet tea on the lawn?

OK, maybe that's just me.  

Anyhoo...I loved this DIY project.

I have other ideas in the works too.  But, I'll think about them tomorrow.  After all, tomorruh is anothuh day.


Karen Lange said...

I love this! You are so clever and creative! :)

Mari said...

I love what you did with them. How cool to have the history in your home!

Paula said...

I love what you did with them but I have wanted one of those windows like for ages to just sit on my mantle. Intact! I can't imagine having torn them apart....

Stacey Lozano said...

Marvelous!! I adore these so so much. You did a great job!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I do like the ways you managed to use those window frames. Very clever!

Jen Forbes said...

Those curtain rod hooks are to die for! what a great idea. I love that look so much. I have a spare room that I use for the grand kids and I'm stealing that idea. Then I'm using the hangers for their clothes and towels too!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Wow, what a neat idea! Those curtain hangers have a lot of character. I'll bet your daughter loves 'em.

Jerralea said...

So unique! I bet no one else has curtains like that. I predict some copycat do it yourself projects.

Your daughter is blessed to have parents helping her spiff up her place.

Rita said...

Okay--this was a fantastic idea! Love how it turned out. And your wall hooks, too, with the green latch. 100 years old! (My dad is 92.) :)

Jennifer - The Deliberate Mom said...

Wonderful projects! What a cute way to hang tab-top curtains. Clever indeed.

Wishing you a lovely day.

Frances Stiles said...

This is such a clever idea...I am impressed!!

Natalie DeYoung said...

I love this! I love DIY stuff - in fact, my husband and I rescued 100 year old windows, sanded & repainted the trim, and did something similar to what you did with yours...

SweetMarie said...

That turned out so well! I really like how you displayed photos of your dad. :)
Did you see my blog post of the window that had the painting on the glass? I found it at a Goodwill thrift store and bought it for my son's room. He loves it! I found the artist online, pretty cool. :)

in the coop said...

You really need to come to my house. Everything is about 150 years old, and I have NO IDEA what to do with it.

Ingenious you are!