How to Make a Shutter-Door Ironing Cabinet
Use these louvered or paneled wood beauties to give your home's exterior classic character, or repurpose them as rustic indoor accents
I do my ironing in a bedroom, rather than the laundry area in my unfinished basement. I wanted a handsome cabinet to keep the board easily accessible yet concealed from view. Generic prefab ironing centers can top $400, so I decided to make my own using a $40 salvaged shutter, with a swan cutout, for the door. At 18 by 46 inches, the shutter was wide enough to hide the ironing-board insert that I planned to tuck inside the cabinet (Hafele fold-up board, $205; Rockler) and about twice as tall. The extra height left enough space above the board for a supply shelf and an iron rest. A hanging bar on the door holds freshly pressed shirts. And paint, color-matched to the existing finish on the shutter's face, unites the new and old wood.
Old Shutters Adorn Windows and More
Unlike many new, decorative shutters, which are fixed to the house in the open position, vintage ones were meant to move. They swing on hinges mounted to the window surround and are secured with tiebacks, called "shutter dogs," when not in use. The operable shutters sold at home centers today work the same way, but you'll be hard pressed to match the quality and craftsmanship of the old ones. To find these, you'll have to hit a salvage yard.
Keep in mind that old shutters are also often coated in lead paint. So you should brush on clear polyacrylic to seal the old paint, and commence repurposing.
Shown: Vintage shutters like these can be found for $25 to $75 each.