Medallions, Moldings, Mirrors & more

DIY – Doors, Windows, and Pianos, oh my!

The Milwaukee NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) Foundation rummage sale was a few weeks ago. Imagine a rummage sale completely devoted to DIY people, landlords looking for bargains to upgrade properties, and Martha Stewart types looking for anything to repurpose and you have the Foundation Rummage Sale.  Here’s how it works. Association members donate items from projects, old inventory or leftovers from upgraded showrooms. Foundation President Greg Adamac graciously offers space adjacent to Milwaukee Millworks for this one-day event, and staff to help.  Items differ from year to year but we generally have doors, windows, cabinets, lighting, moldings, floor tiles, fabric—you get the idea. The Plaster Gallery donates in other ways given that rummage sales tend to make shopping a contact sport and plaster medallions aren’t made to withstand extreme shopping situations.  Thanks to the donors, volunteers and customers, the Foundation raises a lot of money which in turn is used to provide scholarships to students pursuing a career in the trades and to assist with community service projects. Essentially we raise money to help a lot of people. For more information,

The Rummage sale always gets me thinking about ways to repurpose the inventory. Since our first sale eight years ago, we’ve always had a LOT of doors. Doors have a variety of uses beyond the usual. Take this example of a repurposed panel door.

A repurposed door

A Repurposed Door

I love the simplicity, look and usefulness of this piece. All it takes is a little magnetic spray paint on weathered panel door. Instead of magnetic paint, try using chalkboard spray paint– available in either black or dark green. Either color works well with white chalk.  We used chalkboard paint on one of our pieces and had a harder time finding white chalk than finding the spray paint. Go figure.

Although the picture below isn’t a rummage sale find it is a good example of what can happen when you come across amazing diamond pane windows either alone or attached to a piece not worthy of their beauty. The windows came from a horrific cabinet. How do I know it was horrific? It was from my childhood home. But the windows were beautiful. The original cabinet—not so much. My father saw the potential with the windows and the result is the spice cabinet below.

Spice Cabinet with Lead Glass Doors

Spice Cabinet with Lead Glass Doors

The windows are simple as is the cabinet. But together they make a simple, beautiful, useful piece.

In our office we have an old and very broken square piano.  The initial idea was to restore the piano to its former state. However after many consultations with experts, both musical and craftsman, we were told it isn’t worth restoring. What do you think?

Old Square Piano

Old Square Piano

Now we’re looking to see how it can be repurposed. Not exactly like the picture below, but I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Piano Book Shelf

Piano Book Shelf

We love seeing pictures of repurposed projects so feel free to send yours our way.

Until next time.

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