Have you ever lost your heart to something totally unexpected? Something you didn’t even know you wanted or needed? Oh, good, I’m so glad I’m not the only one!
One of the pieces in our house that I get the most questions about is the large antique window that I turned into a mirror for our front entry. It just so happens that this beauty stole my heart in one those “I didn’t even know I needed a giant church window” moments several years ago.
Antique/vintage markets and flea markets are some of my favorite places to shop. They provide me with more spending power and, best of all, unique items for my home. Typically I go into these shopping trips with a basic plan, but the very nature of this type of shopping venue lends itself to the surprise find and necessitates that one be open to shopping beyond your plan. I call it shopping the wildcard.
That’s what happened to me late one afternoon when I rounded the corner on the top floor of an antique store that I had stopped by on a whim and saw a giant architectural piece leaning up against a wall. Let’s face it, anything of that size deserves a moment of awe and admiration. But my reaction to the piece went way beyond reverent appreciation. It crossed right over into complete and total heart pounding, breath-stealing obsession!
The tag said that it was from an abandoned country church which seemed likely given its size, architecture and chippy painted finish. The color, however, was rather unique. This huge church window came complete with dark red, perfectly worn paint with gold accents which just so happened to work right in with the yellow and red color scheme I had going in the living room at the time. Thankful that I drove an SUV, I snagged the tag and marched myself downstairs to pay for my new found treasure.
Our entry wall had been begging for a statement piece and this church window would be just the ticket once I converted it into a mirror. The project was fairly straightforward. Since the window actually functioned, I screwed it to the window frame so that it would remain stationary. (Nobody needs a giant window swing wildly about while one is trying to work with it! ) Once it was secure I took the entire piece up the road to a glass shop to have the custom mirror cut and installed.
The finished mirror was so tall that I had to cut 1/2 inch off the legs of the table that it originally stood on. A minor sacrifice for the splendor that this magnificent architectural piece provided in the room. Since this was prior to my blogging days I don’t have any pictures of the piece in its original form () so you will have to take my word for it that it was perfection!
But, you know me, I am a girl who likes change so when it was time to make changes in the living room the church window had to be updated also. I masked off the mirror and painted the entire piece white, then sanded back the paint to show a smidgen of its red roots and a bit of raw wood as well. Though I toyed with keeping the gold accents, I decided that they would look a little too overdone against the white paint, but I did opt to keep the original gold window knob in homage to the mirrors past life.
The details are really the reason this cast off church window won my heart!
Who could blame me!!! Just look at the elaborate basket at the crown . . . .
The medallions at the top of the side columns and all the cracks in the joints . . . .
And tell me who wouldn’t be smitten with the lion heads at the bottom of the side columns . . . .
I know! Perfection, right!
While the gorgeous details provide so much interest that there is no need for further adornment that doesn’t mean I don’t dress this baby up once in a while!
It is a perfect place to drape garlands!
Or, a simple command hook on the glass, and voila, the ideal place to hang a wreath!
So fun! Right?
Here’s the bottom line . . . don’t be afraid to make a flea market treasure your very own!
Here at the cottage by the creek space mandates that large pieces provide function along with form. While the old red and gold church window was amazing just as I found it, given its size it would not have come home with me that day if it I couldn’t have made it serve a useful purpose.
In a larger home with bigger expanses of wall space to accessorize the same church window would make a stunning architectural accent simply by removing the old glass and letting the window frame shine all on its own.
Also, never forget that paint is your friend! Whether you are using it to spruce up a flea market find or, in my case, reinventing an item you already own, a little paint goes a very long way in creating a totally different look!
For those of you who asked about this amazing church window turned entry mirror, thanks for asking! There’s nothing better than surrounding yourself with treasures that have a story to tell!
Happy treasure hunting!
Hugs ’til next time!
Don’t miss out on any of the fun!
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