The best kind of recycling

I love revamping things.  One of my favorite sayings is “when in doubt….paint it!”.  I’m a big fan of junk stores, flea markets and ‘inherited’ pieces.  Over the years we’ve had friends move into older homes where  previous owners have left unwanted furniture behind.  I’ve found some of my best treasures this way. 

My friend Lisa and her husband moved into a post war home that the original owner had lived in for 40 years.  There was “an ugly mirror and a super ugly chair” left behind.  The mirror, now hangs over the fireplace in my home, the outdated brass corners painted to match the walls.  The chair found a place at my sister-in-laws house.  Our friends, Jen & Norm, moved into their place a few years ago, they had an open house 5 days after they moved in (crazy folks!).  We were invited to take a tour, on the 3rd floor, tucked in the back room there was a ’50’s hutch.  One of the windows had a crack in it.  They didn’t know what to do with it, but they did know, they didn’t want it.  I could see it white and in our cottage, I was right it looks great there.

I really thought when I was at the cottage I wouldn’t have any problems finding “junk stores” but for some reason, it was almost impossible.  There aren’t to many used furniture stores on the island, they’re all high-end antiques, expensive.  When my friend moved into her house, the previous tenants had left a small chest of drawers behind.  It was painted florescent lime green and had no hardware on it.  Her teenage son couldn’t get rid of it fast enough, traces of the lime green paint are still visible on the trim in the back of my car, where he and his friends loaded it ‘gently’ in.  The dresser is now white, has new hardware and is the perfect size for the loft in our cottage.

I think I got this way from being around my mom and grandfather, they were both antique dealers. My mother painted all her wicker, or should I say, I painted her wicker, so that made me brave to try things.  I would see how a coat of paint could transform what was a former ugly piece of furniture.

Although my budget doesn’t run to fine antiques, I’m actually happier when I can find a piece  that needs a good home, and all it takes is a little T.L.C.  Value Village is a favorite hunting spot. The other week I picked up a cute dresser for $15 dollars, it’s now been painted and is in our guest room, perfect.   Over the years I’ve painted tables, dressers, chairs, wardrobes (new from Ikea) and even lamps.  With a little imagination, little money and modicum of work, you can turn something that wasn’t great into a brand new piece, and a whole new look for your home. I like to think of this as the ultimate way to recycle and to decorate on a budget.

Today my cousin and I loaded up our cars with pieces from my Aunt and Uncle’s apartment, a very emotionally draining  job.  I now have some beautiful chairs that will be painted and re-upholstered and a cute little washstand, and a load of other little things.  The best thing about ‘recycling’ this way, although the furniture will be revamped and look very different,  it will always be a reminder to me, that they began in my Aunt & Uncle’s home.  

Dream Big,


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