Architectural rescue project to add character and excitement to your home

Hello to all of you “archaeologists” (of the salvage variety), here’s a great idea to bring the “outside” to the “inside” of your home before the weather hits and you’re “confined to rooms.”

The idea is an exterior-inspired mirror made at a very low cost from an old architectural window and a pair of shutters of complementary size and scale to the window. Generally, the window can have as many panels as you are inspired by or be a solid piece of flat glass. A really cool window and our “design idea” is created from diamond pattern windows. Put on your “creativity hats” here’s the idea:

Step 1. Find a very inspiring window that has the “patina” or antique character that inspires you. Your local salvage shop, wrecking yard, antique or thrift store, flea market, or a truly inspiring yard sale or property should provide you with a treasure for you to “recreate.”

Step 2. Add a pair of shutters from the same supply source that are complementary in scale if you want a “cottage front look” or leave the window alone if your inspiration dictates.

Step 3. Cut the caulk from the window glass with a razor and remove the glass. Take the glass to the nearest mirror store and have them cut inexpensive mirror pieces the same size as the glass. (Many times they have “wrong cuts” that they will offer you at very low prices). Home Depot will also cut mirrors for you at low prices. If you are handy, get yourself a piece of mirror glass and a glass cutter and do it yourself.

Step 4. Attach the new mirrored panels to the window frame and re-caulk the mirror around the edge of the window frame. “PRESTO / CHANGO” you have a wonderful architectural design element for your home. You will be amazed at how dramatic this element creates a sense of depth in your room.

Step 5. Add picture hooks on the back for wall mounting or screw your new mirror to the wall.

Here are some other variations to inspire you:

Variation # 1- Add a couple of shutters. Mount the shutters on either side or your “window mirror”. This will create a kind of “cabin wall” effect in the creation of your mirror.

Variation # 2- Add a flower box. A really cool idea to find or build a proportional size flower box under your mirrored window. You can buy one inexpensively at your local home improvement store or build one out of new wood (with a paint job of your choice). 1×6 redwood or cedar fence boards (less than $ 2 per 6 ‘board) work great and their rough surfaces are better with the old patina of your window mirror. Mount your planter under the window mirror (with or without) the shutters and add silk flowers or green plants and you have a little bit of the outdoors to brighten your soul (for those of you dealing with inclement winters).

I hope you enjoy this inexpensive architectural adventure to add rustic character to your home. I will send you more information and architectural ideas in the future! Stop by at any time and get inspired and educate yourself architecturally. There is great satisfaction and fun in “doing your thing and finding wonderful new uses for salvaged items. You are also doing something” ecologically sound “by salvaging reclaimed materials from the landfill!

If you live in Southern California, visit our primitive, architectural, two-acre store, Silverado Warehouse in Rainbow, California (4 mi. SW of Temecula). We will work with you personally to find new uses for great old things! Visit us online at

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