We have four small radiators in our apartment, though for most winter days, the heat pipes servicing them would be plenty to heat the apartment. When we moved in, the radiator in the kids’ room had a simple wooden and perforated aluminum cover which was serviceable enough, but which left plenty of room for improvement. The stained wood didn’t match the painted trim and the faux-brass aluminum was unstapled in spots leaving the sheet dented in some places and bulging in others. I painted the wooden surround and the aluminum sheet as a first attempt at cleaning it up a bit, but when Calder pushed the whole sheet inward while learning to stand last winter, I decided I’d look for something to replace it. Just in time for the heat to turn on this fall, I found it. This is a small improvement that’s fairly specific to our needs, but a variation on this fix might prove useful to folks facing a similar dilemma, so here are the details:
When the radiators turned off last spring, I removed the aluminum sheet entirely and lived with it open for months before deciding on a solution. First I considered drilling simple holes in a sheet of thin plywood and painting the whole thing to look more like cabinetry. (Similar to what I did with this old dresser.) I love the simple design on these pierced pantry doors designed by deVOL kitchens and wondered if I could replicate it with enough holes for venting, but I was concerned that veneered plywood and high heat might not be an ideal combination and decided to look elsewhere. For a while I toyed with the idea of a using galvanized steel hardware cloth, but predicted that it might heat up and that little fingers would as easily find their way through it, and I worried it might read as something that should be in a country kitchen, or worse, a barnyard. I decided to skip that too. Finally, I decided to try a sheet of natural rattan. With this option, I was slightly worried about dating the room in the wrong era, but I chose a natural radio weave rattan with a square webbing, which I think ultimately feels simple and subtle enough.
The rattan ships rolled and so I soaked it for about thirty minutes to make it soft and pliable before installing. To secure it to the wooden frame, I used a staple gun and made sure to pull the rattan taut as I fastened it into place. A few hours later the rattan was dry and the sheet had tightened like a drum over the opening of the cover.
It was a small improvement with immediate room-changing results, which is all I could really hope for.
Do you have genius radiator solutions? Tell me!