Yesterday I was driving down the road completely and utterly minding my own business.
When all of a sudden?
I saw this.
Well actually, I saw two of them, but this little corner is what touched my heart.
It was waiting for me.
It knew I would drive by and we would become friends.
It and the rest of what I found by the side of the road was in the back of the car before you could say snap crackle pop.
What it lived another life as before isn’t even really that important.
This little corner and the rest of these two amazing pieces look like this.
Well actually they first looked like this.
Two abandoned shuttters each missing one of their horizontal pieces.
They were stacked back to back.
With a sign that said this.
FREE shutters (and a table top).
I didn’t need the table top (well actually I didn’t even really need the shutters) so I left it behind.
These shutters are SO HEAVY.
They are made from real wood with the prettiest gray patina.
We lugged them home and went to work.
First they had to be cleaned.
There was a lifetime of dirt and cobwebs down in between those boards.
Then I needed to decide what to create with them. Here are all my ideas (just in case you find free shutters and need some inspiration):
- a table top to an existing base I had
- cabinet doors in the laundry room
- sliding doors in the built-ins upstairs
- two signs with painted arrows
- two cornice boards in Westleigh’s room
- add cork and make them into bulletin boards
But in the end?
I did this.
I made them into wall art in the middle room upstairs.
I looked at them and knew that they would be perfect on either side of the door leading into the landing.
This is actually my favorite kind of project because it just invents itself as you go along.
So we hung them onto the wall.
They are SUPER heavy, so we just screwed them directly into the shiplap for support. The shiplap in this room is original to the house so the walls are hard, sturdy 100-year-old wood.
But when we got them up? The gray was waaaaaay too gray. It looks like softer gray in some of these pictures, but in reality? It was really, really gray and looked a little out of place with the rest of the room.
No worries, I said.
Self, you got this.
So I pulled out leftover SW Sandbar (the color the hallway is painted) and added a little to the gray. Then I added some more and more and another layer of dry brushing until it looked like this.
But I didn’t like it.
It was too rough looking and too tan with still too much of the gray showing through (which by this time looked like blue).
So I added a layer of white paint with a little of the original gray still showing.
It was too white.
So I went back (while the white paint was still wet) and added a little bit of the SW Sandbar to warm it up.
(quick tip: it’s easy to add depth to paint while the first coat is still wet. Just make sure to keep your brush strokes in one direction and don’t add too much paint to your brush.)
And when I was done?
It looked like this.
If you look closely, you can see streaks of the light khaki and hints of the gray/blue hat give it so much more depth and personality.
So now I had two shutters painted exactly like I liked them on either side of the door.
Then brilliant idea number two popped into my brain.
What if I took these hinges?
And this khaki and white striped ribbon?
And this wreath that I made from a piece of garland?
And attached the hinge to the top of the shutter and threaded the ribbon through the hinge and tied a ribbon through it?
I already had the paint and the hinge and I made the wreath.
So the FREE project was getting even FREER.
I added a wreath to each shutter after the paint dried. We also added two wooden shelves that we already had underneath the shutters.
This free shutter?
Looks like this.
Here are a few life lessons I learned along the way:
- If see something amazing by the side of the road with a giant FREE sign on it, please come sit by me. I’ll help you figure out what to do with it.
- If a project doesn’t turn out like you want at first? Don’t stop until you turn it into what you want.
- Paint (or layers of paint) are your best friend when you are transforming something.
- Think outside the box and challenge yourself to use what you already have (like the hinge) to make your project extra special).
- One man’s trash is another man’s treasure (or beautiful handpainted wall art).
Here’s to shopping that’s free and projects that make walls happy.
Isn’t life amazing? 🙂
PS Have you ever found something by the side of the road? My shutters and I would love to hear the tale.