Pelmets! They’re quite an old-fashioned feature, aren’t they? Most new houses don’t have them, and a lot of older houses have been redecorated in favor of newer tastes. But pelmets have another use – literally over and above just hiding unsightly curtain tracks – as you will see!
Our house is one of those high-ceilinged Victorians in Richmond Hill built on the tail-end of that era, 1901. I have no idea what the original decor looked like, because by the time we moved in, in 1985, the interior had already been completely redone in 1980. The old wooden sash windows had been replaced with galvanized steel frames, and curved steel pelmets of the sort popular at the time, had been fitted above the windows and even above several sliding doors.
A lot of people find these pelmets “old fashioned” and tacky, and rip them out in favor of modern, usually plastic alternatives. A couple of years back, I considered doing the same, but being a collector of all sorts of old curiosities, I experienced the problem experienced by most collectors: “Where the heck do I put all this crap?”
The solution to me was obvious – on top of the pelmets! Of course, the pelmets are just curved steel facades, secured to the wall with three braces which also hold the curtain tracks underneath. They had no top surface that could be used as a shelf – so I decided to make shelves for them!
It turned out to be a very easy project as all the windows and pelmets were the same dimensions, so I just cut as many wooden shelves as I needed to the same lengths from some old pine ceiling boards I had in my materials pile. they were also wide enough to cover the space from the front of the pelmet to the wall at the back.
I gave the planks a good sanding and cleaning before fitting. Then (in some cases, depending on the color scheme of the room) I applied a nice fresh coat of black gloss paint to the metal shell, and to the top and undersides of the shelves to give them a nice complete finish.
Black makes for a good match with the gray walls, and adds an extra dimension to the old pelmets.
Screwed to the braces from underneath, the wooden boards make for firm shelves fit to hold a few of my precious collectables! Also, funny enough, there doesn’t appear to be as much dust collecting up there as there was down below!
I now use our pelmets to display parts of my camera collection, my telephone collection and in the kitchen, a few choice decor items for atmosphere! Altogether, they add a level of interest to each room that was missing before!
Pictures included below!
Have a DIY day!
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