Our friend Betsy needed a coat rack, so we decided to help her out. Ron and I drove to York, PA, to visit our architectural salvage friend, Big Steverino. He travels all over the country salvaging cool stuff from old houses that are going to be torn down. We always enjoy picking through his warehouses and we never come away disappointed. This occasion was no exception: we found a really nice piece of carved walnut that would work great for Betsy’s coat rack. It was in the elaborate Eastlake style, about four feet long and 18″ wide.
Three things to keep in mind when making a coatrack like this: 1) the piece of wood has to be ornate enough to be worth hanging; 2) it has to be large enough to look like it belongs all by itself; and 3) it has to look complete — not like something that’s been torn off a larger structure. I stripped the paint off of the piece we found, then Betsy and I sanded it roughly. Betsy decided it would look good roughly finished like that, and we agreed.
We screwed in eight old wire hangers, equally spaced across the length of the piece. Then Ron used a stud finder to locate the metal studs in Betsy’s wall. He attached the wood to the wall with four lag bolts (two bolts screwed into two studs). That thing was then firmly in place. Betsy immediately hung up her coats. And we all agreed it looked great.
A project like this takes no more than an afternoon. And it can make a big difference in your room, both dressing it up and cleaning it up.