Old wood can provide new displays

Summer is over, fall is here, and we are facing the thought of spending many months indoors again. All those projects that got put on hold while we were at the Beach are now ready to tackle.

Why not get your home in order and give it a fresh look for the season? In our older Beach homes we are constantly struggling with the problem of storage. There is never quite enough and it’s pretty easy for things to get cluttered quickly. Using reclaimed, antique, or salvaged items adds interest and character while at the same time providing functional storage and display.

Here are some ideas for shaping up your home and displaying items with style.

The Ladder Shelf

This is a great idea for shelving in a home. It looks fantastic, and is super easy and inexpensive to pull off.  Find some old wooden step ladders (there’s always a few at the Leslieville Flea) that are the same height.  The vertical space between the rungs/steps is usually perfect for shelving height. You can clean them up by sanding lightly, but leaving them ‘as is’ will show off some character and history. diy-ladder shelf

Next you will need to determine the best shelf width for your room, determined by how far apart the two ladders sit.  Measure the total width from the outside rungs of matching height on each ladder to get your overall shelf width. The width of the rungs will be your shelf depth.

For the best look, use reclaimed wood for the shelves. You can source it from many places (again, Leslieville Flea has vendors who sell this) and it usually comes in widths that will fit nicely between the rails.

Use copper tube straps to attach the underside of the shelves to the round rungs, and the shelf can be easily secured by a few screws to the underside of the flat steps.

You will have an interesting and functional shelving unit to display books, treasures and collectibles like those jars of beach glass you’ve collected over the summer.

Speaking of which, putting those shells and other vacation treasures in an old mason jar creates an instant display item. diy-jars

Picture/Art Display

If you are like me, you’ve accumulated tons of posters, art and pictures from your summer vacations. I love to bring home something to remember a trip, and then I have to figure out how to best display it.

Here is another way to use barn board or reclaimed wood for a simple idea that will showcase artwork or photos. Simply cut the board to a size that will frame your photos or art and secure them by using oversized metal tacks.  You can then easily switch the artwork up when you get tired of it and want to showcase a new item. diy-framing

You can also use an old window as an instant “picture frame” with much more character and charm.  You can secure the item by mounting it to the inside of the window directly, or you can make a backing out of art board.  Above Ground Art Supply or Midoco in the Beach have this in many colours. Mount your picture to the matt board and then secure it to the back of the window frame with tape, glue or staple gun.

Floating Shelf

Another great use of old and reclaimed wood is a floating shelf.  This gives a great contemporary, clean look.

You can find the hardware for this shelf at Lee Valley Tools (search for blind shelf supports) or at another specialty hardware supplier.  Any board you use should be at least 1 ½” thick for the hardware to work properly. diy-floating shelf

It takes a bit of precision and you have to be very exact in your measurements and installation, but the result is a sturdy and uncluttered shelf to display pictures or memorabilia.

Try one or all of these out to revive your space and ensure you don’t get bored staring at the walls this winter!

Christine Roberts, baaid is a co-founder of the Leslieville Flea (leslievilleflea.com), a designer and stylist for more than 15 years, and a builder of furniture (shes-crafty.ca)

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