It’s that time of year when coworkers complete to construct the most elaborate gingerbread houses. The time of year when teachers instruct students to “glue” graham crackers onto the side of milk cartons with frosting (does anyone still do that?) And the time of year when time-pressed people buy gingerbread house kits at the supermarket.
Of course, if you own a Victorian-era house, you’ve got another kind of gingerbread on your mind. Depending on how long the house has been standing and the number of iterations it has gone though, the original gingerbread may be weather-beaten, damaged or missing altogether. So how can you fix this?
If the gingerbread on your home is gray with peeling paint, start by removing it. Because gingerbread is an embellishment that is added to houses — not built into them — taking it down is relatively simple. Once you’ve got it down, simply sand it down, repaint it and after it dries, add it back to your home’s exterior. DO NOT try to do this without taking the gingerbread down first — sanding gingerbread while standing on a ladder is dangerous and completely unnecessary. Moreover, you’ll do a better job if you take it down first.
Gingerbread sometimes breaks. If you’ve got gingerbread with broken spindles or missing pieces, remove it and find a carpenter who can recreate and reattached the missing part.
Your home was built in the Victorian era but the gingerbread went missing long ago. Why? Maybe it disappeared around the time that Victorian architecture went out of style. Maybe it was in bad shape, and rather than restore it, the homeowners decided to just get rid of it. Or maybe they needed extra cash and decided to sell it. It doesn’t matter, really. You don’t have to have the original gingerbread to restore your house to its original Victorian glory. Salvage stores — stores that take things like porch pillars, mantle pieces and stained glass out of old houses right before they’re demolished — sell salvaged gingerbread.
If you’re shopping online, this is a good place to start. There are quite a few pieces of salvaged gingerbread on eBay also. In short, you should be able to find enough pieces in salvage to fully decorate your house and bring back its 19th century beauty!