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Let’s Get Started! HOW TO be reuseful 3 JEN & NATE’S UPCYCLED MIX 8 A GORGEOUS BEFORE & AFTER 1 2 DIY DABBLE 1 4 CREATIVE INSPIRATION 1 6 resources 1 7


How to be Reuseful ideas on how to re-imagine the furniture you already own. It seems like as soon as the temperature starts to rise and the flowers begin to blossom my need to redecorate and rearrange my house shifts into high gear. I feel the need to move the chairs closer to the windows. I want everything to look lighter and brighter. I find myself pouring over decorating magazines and websites, drooling over new prints and patterns. Does this happen to you too? Don’t rush out and buy a new piece of furniture just yet! You can reuse, refinish and repurpose furniture you already have to give your rooms a new Spring look for almost nothing. Keep in mind, some of these photos are of my real house…the one I live in with my three messy boys, a dog and a cat. And a husband who doesn’t do windows. So, dismiss the dirty floors and dusty windowsills.



refinish it


Refinishing is much easier than you would ever think. Quality

If you love the look of Pottery Barn furniture, but not the prices,

wood furniture is expensive, so if you have a good, solid piece

you can give your current furniture the same treatment for little

of furniture it will save you money in the long run if you can find a

to nothing. I love furniture with a rustic feel. “Rustic” means that

way to make your piece work in a new way. The side table above

my 5 year old can run his hot wheels into the leg of our kitchen

was natural maple color and it would not have worked in the

table to his heart’s content giving his mother a hear attack. This

bedroom next to our mahogany bed. A fresh coat of white paint

is a great link on how to repaint furniture black with an aged look.

and it looks perfect in this space.

(I’m sure it would work with white paint too). Or this one explains



the techniques for using wax to get a worn look.

Almost everything looks better with a coat of white paint. If you


have mismatched pieces that don’t share the same finish or

I hate stripping furniture. I’ve only done it once. But it was worth

wood color, consider painting them all the same color for a more

it. If you have mostly painted pieces, one natural wood table or

unified look. I know all of the decorating magazines tell you to

buffet can keep your room from having that “matchy-matchy”

change out the hardware and knobs, but this really works. If the

look. And stripping furniture is a great alternative if you have

hardware on your kitchen cabinets or dresser drawers are mak-

a quality wood piece of furniture that you want to return to its

ing it feel a bit frumpy, change them out! You will be glad you did.

original state.

“It’s a miracle what a coat of paint can do to an old, tired, yet beautiful piece.”

reuse it If it is the clutter that is getting to you, try adding doors or shutters to your bookcases. Or use a tension rod and curtains to cover the mess. You’ll love the instant change. Covering a sofa with a slipcover might be the easiest way to update your couch. Dining room chairs are easily recovered with fabric and a staple gun or small nails. Cut the legs off a taller table to make it a shorter coffee table or a play table for a playroom. Add castors to a trunk or suitcase to make a rolling coffee table. Or add castors to a bedside table to make a small kitchen island. Take drawers out of a chest and use them as shelves. Then, add a tension rod and curtains to the dresser for a different look. Add fabric or wallpaper to the backs of bookshelves, or as curtains if cabinet doors are missing.



Jen & Nate’s Upcycled Mix Location: Toronto, Canada Size: 2 bedrooms, 800 SQFT Years lived in: 2.5 years A self-professed cheapskate, Jen doesn’t aspire to own designer pieces or follow the latest trends; she does, however, insist on sheltering only those items that speak to her or Nate personally. Jen finds charm and style in items that others see only as cast-aways, relying on an arsenal of creative interventions to help return them to their former luster. Jen shares her methods, current decor, and style crushes on her blog. She has also recently opened an online boutique, Will & Bequeath, for those of you looking to score similarly eclectic and enchanting second-hand treasures.


Our Style: Eclectic cheapskate Inspiration I’m most inspired by failures — art attempts gone wrong, horrible old furniture put out on the curb, anything handmade that’s just a little bit wonky. Failed attempts have so much heart. They inspire me to try new things. After all, what’s the

“Throughout the couple’s home, fami art pieces can be found alongside s and thrift store finds.”

worst that could happen?

Favorite Element I tend to be in love with whatever I finished


most recently. Right now, I’m pretty into the salon wall in our hall

Biggest Challenge Turning the place from a dark, dingy,

way, and the very dark blue walls of our bedroom. In a week, I

mouse-infested cave, which it was when Nathan lived here with

may love something else more. I’m lucky. I used to tell people that

roommates — sorry, Nate — into what it is now: a cozy home.

I wanted my future home to be filled only with things I loved, and

Just making the space livable (at least, by my standards) was a

I’m doing pretty well on that front. (Do I love my vacuum cleaner?

big job and on many occasions along the way, I wished we’d just

Not particularly — the suction leaves something to be desired —

found a move-in-ready (read: clean) apartment instead, but in the

but in terms of the home’s decorative elements, I’m all set.).

end, it was worth it.

ily heirlooms and salvaged furniture

Biggest Indulgence Oddly, it’s the little stuff — decorative pieces, housewares, knickknacks, bad art — that add up. I buy it all second-hand, mostly from places like Goodwill, so no single item is a splurge, but I’m addicted, so over time, I know I’ve spent more than I should have on stuff we don’t need.

Best Advice Relax. Your home will never be perfect, and even it could be, perfection is overrated. It makes people uncomfortable. (And for goodness sake, wash your shower curtain once in while. Or at least replace the liner.)

Dream Sources This is going to make me sound like an insufferable goody goody, but even if money was no object, I’d keep shopping the way I do — at Goodwill, on Craigslist, etc.


Beautiful Before & After


Some room makeovers just make you say, “wow.” This is one of them. The room started with dingy avocado green walls, an outdated chandelier and curtains, and a floor in need of some serious love. You’ll be shocked at what they were able to do in only 3 weeks! Abbey from Aesthetic Outburst and her husband are the masters behind this spectacular renovation. They’re both artists, and you can definitely see it in their well-curated collection of largely reclaimed and vintage decor. One of the unexpected things that Abbey really likes about this house is that curtains aren’t needed; it’s tucked back off the road and very private. A French mattress for the window seat is in the works. It’s the perfect reading spot.


Inspiration Does your space need a little pick-me-up?


1 A photo wall can easily be created to make a bold statement 2 Tired of your old side board? Add a splash of colour. 3 Reupholstering a seat cover is probably the easiest way to freshen up a worn chair. 4 This lovely dining room combines simple elegence with a retro vibe 5 Bored of bland grey and taupe sofas? Try a unique hue, like pink!


Designer showcase

Neils Crains what: upcycling designer Location: Amsterdam, Nl moto: “enjoy twice” Niels Craens is a graphic designer that has completed extensive research into the advantages and disadvantages of cardboard drinking packages. In response to his findings, he created the ingenious lamp “Enjoy Twice”. For Niels Craens, this is an interesting problem as a designer to take a swing at. The words “Enjoy Twice” shine through the packages that lack aluminium. This makes the text only legible when the lamp is switched on. With this design, he gives an environmental negative a positive twist. This approach can be applied on many other aspects as well. Why go to Ikea when you can personalize your own furniture? Not only does it save money, it saves the environment as well


Resources To Rely On

Toronto By Design Modern Fullhouse Consigment The Fabulous Fine Mid Century Modern Home

Calgary G.U.F.F. Morba Designs Silver Falls Vintage Thrift Town

vancouver Junktiques Ltd. Pretty Little Things Mid Century Dweller Consignment Gallery

Montreal Cité Déco Montéal Moderne Antiqués Curiosités Jack’s

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Š Upcycle Communications Inc. 201 2

The Upcycle  

Reuse. Refinish. Repurpose.

The Upcycle  

Reuse. Refinish. Repurpose.