I would love to have a new house with all of the character of an old one. (My house is only about 25 years old). I like to drive past the homes in the area from the late 1800's to the early 1900's to study their architectural details. Sometimes I come home with inexpensive ideas to incorporate some of these details in my own house ~to add a little historic charm. For example, we have white removable window mullions (grids) in most of our windows like these...
image from lawsonwindows.com
I don't mind them, but they are kind of ordinary. As I study at old homes, I notice that many of them look like this. (Notice that this one is missing the grids on the bottom half of the window)
pic. from finehomebuilding.com
So, I decided that I would pop out the bottom grids on my windows to recreate that same look and add a little character.
While on a trip to Utah I stopped at a store named Rodworks and picked up the iron piece that you see above the window for $25 to dress it up even more (I painted it black first). Since we have a colonial, I bought four of them to go above the windows that line the bottom of the house. With four iron architectural details in my suitcase, I was praying that I wouldn't go over the max weight limit at the airport! I actually barely made it after transfering some things to another suitcase. (My poor dear husband. ~what he puts up with!)
Anyway, on the side of our house we have this monster air conditioning unit smiling at us through the bottom portion of the window. So I knew I needed to cover up that eyesore. This was a problem because I like to keep the window coverings open during the day to let in as much natural light as possible. So, I picked up a cafe rod from walmart and sewed a quick white sheer covering for the lower half of the window.
Then, after looking through magazines, I got the idea to PAINT the mullions and window sashes BLACK to really add some character. I love how it turned out. I just got out my 1/2" paintbrush and painted them while they were still on my window with my black acrylic craft paint (I was too lazy to take them out!) Probably the easiest thing to do would be to pop them out and spray paint them with a glossy black spray paint.
Small touches of black paint can really do wonders. Many people think that black is a color only used in "modern" style homes. But if you look through pictures of older houses in magazines, many of them have dark wood or black mullions in their windows! I love the look, and it is an easy and inexpensive way to add character to existing windows!