Paint It Back

"I see that white frame and I want to paint it back...."
-Misquote of the Rolling Stones, with apologies-- only they haven't seen my living room window

My house was built at the turn of the 1900s. And while a number of things remain just as they were over 100 years ago, other things have evolved over time to suit changing tastes.

At one point, this meant someone had switched the orientation of the staircase, in order to add a coat closet underneath.

In another case, it meant someone had closed off a doorway to the kitchen from the entry hall, making a new entrance elsewhere.

And, perhaps even later, it meant blocking up the side window in my living room (which directly faces the neighbor's unsightly wall), and painting the Window Frame to Nowhere white.

The thing is, the white doesn't mean you come into the living room and think, "Window?-- What window?"

Or rather, it doesn't mean I do. Oh, I see it. I know it's there busy being not a real window and serving no actual function. Just lurking oddly on the wall.

It throws the balance of the room off. If I believed in feng and shui, I would say it was violating the two of them in some kind of purposeful anti-Zen conspiracy.

Or maybe that's just the fumes from today's project talking. It's hard to tell.

See, I've decided that the troublemaker window really needs to be painted the same type of faux woodgrain that the rest of the woodwork in that room had been done.
So, we will see how it goes in the next week. I've taped off. I've added a coat or two of a "aged oak". It's by no means finished, but I'm optimistic...
Or it could just be those fumes again.

The plan is to hang this William Morris type stained glass window panel in the center of it, once it's done, and place a few of my leafy McCoy pottery pieces on the ledge.
So, while I'm afraid today's post is probably a little anti-climactic-- as I don't have a finished project to share at the moment-- consider it a preview of things to come. Things that could look so beautiful, it will bring a shining tear to our eyes...

Or it could go so dadblasted horribly wrong, it'll make us all laugh ourselves off our chairs.

So, either way... win-win, really.

But wish me luck, would you? :)


The Lucy and Dick Show said...

I can't wait to see the finished results! If it doesn't work, try painting it the same color as the walls and invisible it!

Andrea said...

Wow Jenn, you've taken on another project that I couldn't ever have dreamed of doing. But, if it turns out as well as the fireplace you can be proud. Can't wait to see the finished result
have fun with it

Jenn Thorson said...

Lucy and Dick- In feeling it out, I think it's going to work. But that's certainly always an option!

Andrea- Oh, it's not hard really, you could totally do this, it's just a lot of ladder climbing mostly. Hopefully I'll have happy photos to show you all soon.

Alex M said...

We too have a window frame to nowhere. Ours is painted ivory...

It was a full size window at one point and now it has shelves in it. Which means it's not quite useless...

Yours is much improved.

Jenn Thorson said...

Alex- I can see where shelves would work.

I've seen people do that nicely with open brick fireplaces, too-- add a small bookshelf into it, to block the hole and make the space functional.

Colleen said...

Fantastic idea! This is going to be way too cute and a great focal point!

Melanie said...

Looks like it's going to turn out quite well. Should be an improvement anyway!

M.Bug said...

I'm anxious to see how this looks when you finish, but I am very curious about the stained glass window panel. I have been given a stained glass panel of this exact shape. My panel does not have any attached rings or hooks to hang it by. How does your panel hang? Does it have attached hangers? Do you have any suggestions on a good way to hang a panel that has only the leaded edges and no attached rings? I hate to think of trying to hang mine and having it crash to the floor! Thanks in advance for any help.

RecycleCindy said...

Oh I love the idea of adding the stained glass to the "portrait frame" there. If that doesn't work, maybe you could put a small painting in the frame to make it look as if it was hung there. Either way it's much better than the window to no where.

Jenn Thorson said...

Colleen- Thank you. I do hope so. I can picture how it should be in my mind, so hopefully it will translate into reality. :)

Melanie- Even the first coat of darker paint has been kind of a relief. It suddenly looks better just with that. Funny how color can change things.

M. Bug- Hmmm.... Mine does have rings at the top. That is really peculiar that yours doesn't have rings-- unless it had a wooden frame at some point which someone had removed? I can think of ways to hang it if you wanted to do so on a solid wall, but if you want the light shining through it, that's going to be a lot harder. Let me think about this a little. (Or maybe someone here might have some suggestions... they're smart folks.)

Cindy- I'd originally started with the painting idea, but didn't have anything that fit properly in the space-- it's a bit of a weird size. I think my stained glass plan will work-- I should probably be able to share with you all the final execution on Sunday.

ana said...

I'm anxious to see how this looks when you finish, but I am very curious about the stained glass window panel.

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M.Bug said...

My stained glass panel was a gift from some friends in New Orleans. As far as I know it was never in a frame.

We were at their courtyard for a dinner party and they were talking about wanting to get rid of things stored in the alley. They showed me what was there and I spied this stained glass panel. I was told I could have if I wanted it and free is always better than thrifting! I just had to figure how to pack it safely in our car to travel from Louisiana back to South Carolina.

So I got a beautiful stained glass panel with a fleur de lis center, good memories and a story to go with it. I want to hang it in my dining room after I paint it this Spring. I would like to suspend it in front of the window, if I can figure how to do it.

Jenn Thorson said...

M. Bug- Oh, that sounds just marvelous!! I'd suggest having a woodworker make a nice solid frame for it then. That's the best way to be assured it will remain safe and sturdy.

Then some eyescrews at the top, and chain to hang it from more eyescrews in your window.

M.Bug said...

Jenn - Thanks for that suggestion. I have thought about getting someone to make a frame for my stained glass panel. That's probably the route I will take. When I get it done, I will post a picture and let you take a look.

Jenn Thorson said...

M. Bug- Oh, that would be great.

New Orleans is such a great place to see beautiful stained glass (and other antiques). I believe it was Royale Street in the French Quarter where I spent a bit of time pressing my nose against the glass of the antique shops.

Lois said...

Jenn....what a smartie you are!
Please post pics of the finished project. I would really like to see it all done.
We had neighbours that bought an old house once and when they went to replace the front door they found out that what they thought were just old wood pieces were just really old wood pieces BUT they were covering beautiful antique stained glass door sidelights. (I think that is the word for them) They were on either side of the door and were about 8 foot in height and each was about 17" wide. The door was pronouced as the original to the house and was about 125 years old. They matched it to pictures from back when the house was built, that were found in the regional archives. Thank goodness they were having a professional carpenter doing the work and he obviously knew what he was doing. I remember him talking to my mom and telling her how shocked he was to uncover them.
Cool eh?
Anyway, good luck with the project.