Basement Windows Mirrors

This past Thanksgiving we were visiting with Carrie’s family in Connecticut. When we were packing to go back home to Pennsylvania, my father-in-law gave me a parting gift for my Upcycling projects.

Over 20 years ago my In-laws bought and 1800’s farm house. The farm is long gone but they have the house, and it was in need of maintenance. Over the decades they updated the electrical, furnace, built an addition, replaced wallpaper and many more projects. Recently they have been replacing the old windows.

They gave me these old basement windows. They had many coats of exterior paint on one side a few coats of interior paint on the other. The original hardware is intact and well patinaed. The wood has termite and weather damage. Now they are terrible windows but for me, a great starting point.

I took the home and started stripping off the paint while I came up with some ideas. The glass was very thin and broke easily. I wanted to salvage the glass but the glass was just too tired to continue on. Stripping off the old paint took more time. I used a no odor stripper paste that is safe for indoor use. A traditional stripper would have worked much better, but it is winter in PA and I was working in the basement not the garage. I used two treatments of the paste on each side and got the vast majority of the paint off. The wood is old and porous it absorbed moisture from the stripping so I let it dry for a full day before sanding. I used a palm sander and a dremel tool with a sanding wheel to get the paint the stripper didn’t.

I removed the hardware and cleaned it slightly. Since I was giving the wood a fresh coat of paint I figured the hardware should retain some of its distress. I painted the frames with a green exterior paint. And once dry I reattached the hardware. Since I already had a picture frame from a 6 pane window I wanted to do something else. I decided on mirrors. I measured the openings at 12” x 8” and went to Lowes. It cost me around $12 for the panes cut to size. Lowes doesn’t charge for the cutting I only paid for the mirror. The mirror fit perfectly and I mounted them with glazing points.

At this point I wasn’t sure what to do next. I thought about hanging them horizontally and putting hooks on them for coats, hats and purses but I already have something for that. Only one of them had the original hinges so I decided to attach them together and see how it looked.

I liked it as is. With the hinges it made it an interesting piece. I thought about putting it in a corner somewhere but in the end it went on the wall beside my dresser. The nice thing about this piece is that if I change my mind it is easy enough to take apart and add hooks and make into two pieces. I can also reposition the hinges rehanging a few different ways.

I mounted picture wire with a staple gun for hanging and put braces on the back to prevent it from folding otherwise it wouldn’t sit flat against the wall. I positioned the wire and braces behind the hinges so they cannot be seen.

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