The radiator cover

At the end of March, the far wall of the dining room looked like this:


And now, at the end of April, it looks like this:


Still needs some curtains, but so far? Everything I was hoping it would be and more. The radiator cover makeover was an unexpected project, but my favorite change in the room. I had my paint brush poised to give it a coat of white paint when I had the flash inspiration! to paint it the same dark grey as the walls. And I wanted to paint the grate gold. When I started to take off the metal, though, it warped badly. After cursing like a sailor for adding another project to my plate, I decided to forge forward and fully replace it.



While I was at it, I also picked up a piece of wood to replace the top board. It’s just a piece of dougas fir that they cut to size for me at Home Depot.


We used the leftover supplies from the counter project to finish it in the same way: a light sanding, wiped with a tack cloth, wood conditioner, followed by two coats of Minwax in Dark Walnut and one coat of Rockler’s Salad Bowl Finish (the counters got three and four coats, respectively). It brings out the grain beautifully.


I found several patterns of sheet metal at Home Depot and picked out a geometric grid. It only came in 36″x36″ squares when I needed a 24″x36″ piece, but that also gave me an excuse to pick out a new toy: a pair of 20 gauge metal snips. They cut through the metal like butter, and I sprayed it gold with 24 Karat Gold Spray Enamel that I found at AC Moore.


The night before the party, I started to put the radiator cover back together. To be honest, it wasn’t well constructed in the first place. The boards were just nailed together on an angle, both very simple and difficult for me to replicate. I should have picked some flat braces and wood glue up at the hardware store, but I had neither and no time left to make another trip. I poked around in the basement and found some old paint stirrers. Perfect. I made do.


I attached the top board with brackets left over from the counter installation:


Eventually, I want to add molding to really finish the piece and hide some of the old warped wood, but right now, I’m so pleased with the update.






  1. yes yes yes. i’ve been hemming and hawing over what to do with my 1st floor radiator covers. the cats love them, but they so need a face lift. the wood top is the perfect thing! summer project for sure.

    1. Thank you!! I’m so smitten with the transformative powers of stain after doing our birch counters. This project was pretty easy, all things considered. Can’t wait to see your new space. I can bring over my new snips to help! 😉

      On Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 10:02 AM, The Projectory wrote:


  2. […] almost bought L brackets, to use like I did for the radiator cover, but I found this inexpensive corner clamp, which is a useful thing. I screwed them together at […]

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