Vintage Architectual Salvage: Corbels

June 15, 2021

Today I'm sharing my love of vintage architectural salvage by way of some recent vintage church corbel finds.  

white church fall trees orange leaves

Our small village church, known as the Little Home Church by the Wayside (seen above), is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. As part of that celebration they are updating the church's infrastructure, as well as one of its outbuildings known as the Guild House (or meeting house).

Villagers were invited, via the village's Facebook page (discovered by my loving husband), to visit the Guild House before the demolition company arrived to dismantle it. The invite hinted that there might be “a memento or item of minimal value” that would be available for would-be treasure hunters like yours truly. Of course I had to go.

white faux fireplace cathedral arch mantel decor

 At the Guild House, after finding nothing of interest on the first and second floors, my husband and I retreated to the dark, unfinished basement in the hopes of finding something worth bringing home. And boy did we find it!

vintage white church corbels arches mantel

I came upon six really large, white, chippy corbels lying on the ground, thrown against the wall hiding in the shadows.

cathedral arches church corbels lambs ear garland

I knew as soon as I saw them that I had to have them. So I inspected all six of them, one by one, to determine which ones were worth saving. Some were almost completely falling apart. 

chippy white paint church corbel

But I found two of them to be in decent shape. So I put them aside and continued on with my desperate search. Desperate because I knew there would be more people coming down those rickety steps into the old basement any minute!

white column faux fireplace brick wall corbel

 The first two corbels were huge. I mean they were really tall.  

150 year old church corbel farmhouse beads

 Then I found one more corbel that took my breath away.

white chipping paint wood corbel beads

The paint and chips and nail holes were almost too good to be true.

square head nail holes white corbel 
This corbel came filled with rusty square-head nails that jutted out all over it. Square-head nails were made from the late 1700s until about 1830. Most were machine-cut and finished off by a blacksmith who squared the heads. My husband had quite a time pulling them out.
wooden bead garland decor

side view white chippy vintage corbel salvage

All told, we paid $15 per corbel for a total of  $45. If you've ever priced these things out in the wild you know that was a bargain! Just recently I saw a corbel similar to this one in a local shop priced at $125. Crazy. To say I was pleased with the purchases would be an understatement. 

Irish botanical print corbels cache pot books flowers

I later had fun rearranging the master bedroom mantel decor while leaving the corbels to flank the arches. I moved the impasto church painting in front of the cathedral arches and added a framed Irish botanical print to the mantel.

impasto church painting LED lanterns lambs ear garland


vintage chinoioserie cache pot boxwood topiary pink peonies

I also added my vintage chinoiserie cache pot filled with a boxwood topiary, along with some pink faux peonies set atop a vintage book bundle.

brass candlesticks blue white pottery boxwood flowers

dreamy fireplace vignette

I can not express just how much I love these old, architectural salvage corbels. Getting them from just any place would be a happy enough occasion. But bringing them home from the church, saving them from potentially being destroyed and lost forever - priceless.

I usually display my corbels on either side of something, like bookends. They work well with these faux vintage cathedral arches, don't you think?

vintage books corbel bookends irish botanical print cache pot

 Placing the impasto church painting in front of the arches just adds to the rustic look of this fireplace vignette.

vintage white side table corbel faux fireplace wing chair

The corbels can also stand alone as a statement piece, like this chunky corbel sitting alone on the side table. You'll notice that I'm also using a set of corbels as actual bookends on the left side of the mantel. They're faux vintage, with just the right amount of chippy white paint to make them appear to be the real deal.

white mantel vintage books balusters corbels

I also used the church corbels as part of a previous architectural salvage post about vintage balusters. It's fun to be able to mix and match different vintage elements together to create a certain shabby chic look.

floral fireplace mantel decor

white faux fireplace cathedral arch mantel decor

I am super-thrilled with my vintage architectural salvage church corbels. I don't expect I'll ever find anything again even close to them and their storied background. They're truly a slice of history I am proud to have been a part of.   

Well, that's it until next time, friends!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my

  Shabby Chic Vintage Architectural 

Salvage: Corbels

and that I've inspired you in some way.

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vintage architectural salvage corbels arches

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Leave a Comment!

Junkchiccottage said...

Oh my gosh Kathleen. SCORE!!! What great finds on the Corbels. I think you find the best stuff in the attics and basements of these old places. Those are beautiful and I would have wrestled you to find them. Good thing you got them before anyone else. Great great find. Have a great week. xoxo

Kathy said...

I love how you arranged the corbels next to the arches with the picture of the church. You arrange things so inventively! I usually only see corbels as braces to hold up shelves--I have gotten better at looking outside the box, but still have a way to go!

My thrift store addiction said...

Kathleen, these are fabulous and I love hearing their backstory! Blessings, Cecilia

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