My grandparents were the last inhabitants of our old house. They were not especially well-to-do, but my grandfather was handy. The combination of these two facts can be seen around the home. Probably my favorite example, which I touched on briefly in another recent post, was the repurposing of materials from the old bay window that was on the south side of the house:

Bay Window

At some point in my grandparent's occupancy that window began to leak, and my Grandpa Ray made the call to remove it and replace it. In its place he installed a large multiple pane picture window, which still occupies that space today:

Picture Window

This decision seems to have been a practical one - either the bay window was worn beyond repair, or perhaps to a degree that was beyond Ray's capabilities to rectify. In either case, however, removal of that item did not signify the end of its useful life.

Two of the windows, and their shutters, were repurposed. If you look closely at the first, older picture you can see that the house originally had an open porch entry into the back door:

Porch Close-up Old

It's since been enclosed, and a close look at the second picture shows that Ray repurposed two of those windows for service on that enclosed porch:

Porch Close-up Recent

And, not only did he repurpose the Windows, but the shutters continue to grace them on the inside:

Shutters on Porch

This seems again, eminently practical, as the porch windows face south, and the temperature in the space can otherwise heat up considerably.

This is all pretty straightforward, of course, but there is also at least one example of some real imagination and out-of-the box thinking:

Closet Doors

These shutters - which appear to be the same shutters as those on the porch - are serving as a closet door for the room that was once my grandparent's bedroom. Two of the shutters are fastened together on one side, and the other is free, to make a sort of double door.

I saw this closet door many, many times across the course of my childhood. It was so familiar to me from such an early age that I don't believe it had ever occurred to me to ask, or even wonder, why the door was made from shutters. Having been away for a while, and coming back, combined with having the old pictures of the house to compare against has given the the opportunity to begin asking, and understanding, about these things. In a lot of ways it helps me to better get to know my grandfather, who died when I was only six.

It also means that, with the closet door and the porch windows, seven of the eight shutters from the original bay window - shutters first built in 1861 - have survived to current day. This might seem a small thing to others, but to me this is a pretty cool thing.