by Tammy Taylor
When we decided to save our 1880’s barn by having a contractor come shore up the exterior, we originally asked them to remove the the old ragged exterior boards and replace them after the repairs were made. After removing these old boards it was apparent there would be nowhere near enough wood to replace the entire surface so we had them use new similarly-styled wood planks. We allowed the new wood to age for one year and then we sealed it for protection from the elements. They did an awesome job and our old barn has maintained it’s beautiful old look. (If you’d like a virtual tour of this beautiful old barn you can see it here.)
Now what to do with this old barn wood? I wanted each and every plank to be used again somehow. My husband made patio side tables, bookends, birdhouses and even a custom-made headboard for our guestroom – and we sold some of the wood for other interesting craft projects. But my favorite use of this precious wood was my mirror. Here’s what we did:
I wanted a large mirror that was styled with the old barn wood and the old barbed wire found on our ranch. I didn’t want to buy the actual mirror new (it’s an environmental thing for me) so we scoured Goodwill stores and garage sales. We finally found this large mirror at Goodwill for about $10. My husband went to work adding the barn-wood frame. We chose pieces of wood that had character, some of them still included the old square nails that I love in the barn’s construction. We found some metal hooks at a local bazaar and set them outside for a few weeks to rust, then installed them as embellishments.
Across the top he strung a piece of our 1882 Elwood barbed wire. I love that I still see this wire in some of our cross fences. It’s true what they say, they don’t make ’em like they used to! (Note: We also made some rustic wall crosses from this 1880’s barbed wire to decorate the wall)
I think the mirror turned out fantastic and I love that it contains both the old barn wood that speaks to my heart as well as the 1882 Elwood barbed wire that whispers of past life of our property.