Over the past year, Scott and I have become quite the design/build team.  We’ve made decorative mantels, built-in bookshelves, pot racks, radiator covers… everything an obsessively designed home could need.   Typically I design the item & source materials.  Scott saws, drills and and assembles with the power tools in his basement arsenal.  Then I paint his beautiful and functional creations.  It’s fun to create the finishing touches ourselves and it’s certainly easier on the budget than hiring professionals.

Here’s a slideshow of the radiator covers/ window seats that Scott made to fit the original bay windows in the  living room of our brownstone apartment.  They still need a bit of trim to finish them off and I’ll post the living room AFTER pics in about a week, so you can see the radiators in context.

The OLD radiator covers were a pretty flimsy and didn’t fit well in the space below our windows.

Scott cut the frames & seats out of poplar and bought metal sheets at Home Depot to wrap behind and over the radiators themselves to reflect heat into the room.  The top cover is sturdy enough to sit on and it rests on poplar rails that were screwed into the window frame, so the seat can be lifted off easily to vacuum inside the covers.  He left  a small gap between the bottom of the frame and the floor to allow cold air in the room to get sucked into the radiators.  The warm air is then released through the holes in the metal grill that faces the room.

We had some fantastic aluminum grills with a square link pattern made by Architectural Grilles here in Brooklyn.  I give a huge recommendation to the folks at Architectural Grilles.  They custom made several square link grilles for us in varying sizes to cover the odd vents and radiators in our steam-heated home.  They have loads of perforated metal patterns to chose from in various finishes.

Our covers are a simple design that didn’t require time consuming carpentry work.  Because they don’t have curved cuts or even mitered corners, they were an easy DIY project.   The two covers took about one day to build and the materials cost $200.  But you could spend a lot less by buying perforated metal grilles off the shelf at a big hardware store.  Here’s a link to some radiator cover images that might inspire you to create your own design.  They can really dress up a room and create additional seating, or even storage.  Are you inspired?