Manoteca Pezzo Unico - Door to Table Upcycling

Posted on February 21, 2015 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm a great fan of all things Italian from architecture to design to food and even Italian detective programs such as Il commissario Montalbano (especially the Young Montalbano series - only on BBC unfortunately), Il commissario Franco Soneri, Provaci ancora prof (a teacher who detects TV series). So, when I was looking for a work table to replace my wobbly Ikea ones, I was pleasantly surprised to come across Elisa Cavani's furniture site - Manoteca. She's a creative and gifted Italian furniture maker specializing in one of a kind (pezzo unico) items including tables and wonky but endearing tricycle 'libraries' with headlamps (Il Fausto - she also gives each of her creations a name).

Much as I would love to own one of these tricycle libraries, it is her Elisa's work/study desks/tables that caught my eye - each desk is a work of beautifully functional art. When opened, a desk features a hand-sewn leather pocket and a wooden drawer. When closed, the desk can function as a dining table. The pine wood doors, hinges, and latches are all authentic early 20th century pieces. Each completed desk is a one-of-a-kind item.

Here's an example of her latest work, the Windoor, a small work/study desk made from vintage wooden window shutters.

To find out more about Elisa, go here.

To see the entire Manoteca collection, click here.

Ikea Inspired: Make a table from reclaimed wood

Posted on February 6, 2015 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (1)

Okay, okay, I know I seem to be obsessed with Ikea these days but there's a reason. I spotted this table that looks like it's made from reclaimed wood planks (look hard, it's under all the dining stuff) at Ikea's Livet Hemma site and just loved it. A perfect idea for upcycling old wood planks - if you've got any.

Despite the piles of snow (we got hit with a few storms), there's still a lot of condo construction going on around my neighbourhood (does anyone really think condos are a great real estate buy???) and, as a result, there's plenty of tossed building material to pick up if you are so inclined. I can't at the moment because I put my back out awhile ago and have to spend some time in bed although I do get up occasionally so that I don't permanently freeze into a seated position. Now, before you get your knickers in a twist, I know that's only an excuse, not a reason. The reason?  To pass the time while recuperating, I've been visiting my fav sites such as Ikea looking for some table ideas as I plan to replace the one I now have in my studio to something I like better (and yes, the current one is a cheapo Ikea one - I think I paid $25.00 for it)! 

If you want to make your own using reclaimed wood planks (if you've got 'em), British feature writer and commentator, Sophie Heawood takes on a Guardian Do Something: Creative challenge to make such a table in a video tutorial. I admit that I would leave the edges of the table more rustic, like the one shown in the Ikea photo, but Sophie's tutorial is a very good step-by-step tutorial. that even I will be able to follow. To view her video, click here.

If you'd rather have written instructions, Apartment Therapy provides the how-tos with pictures here

Spotted at Ikea - Pallet Recycling

Posted on August 27, 2014 at 5:25 AM Comments comments (0)

You know that something has gone mainstream when it shows up on Ikea's Livet Hemma site. Instead of pushing their own bed furniture, the stylists at Ikea recently featured a bed constructed from pallets peeking from under an Ikea foam mattress and colourful linen.

And in the garden, Ikea stylists also reused pallets as outdoor furniture.  Can you spot the pallets?

Back Green Garden and Street Finds

Posted on July 2, 2014 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

The housing association that maintains the grounds where we are living recently created a community garden in the back green (the communal park behing the buildings) and it's been a great hit with everyone, especially the kids. Our little guy enjoys watering the plants and eating the produce. Since he never was a great veggie fan, his Mom is happy that he enjoys the garden's fresh produce which includes carrots, lettuces, cabbages, leeks, onions, courgettes (that's zucchini to you and me!), as well as a variety of herbs and flowers. Right now only the lettuces and a few carrots are ready but he happily will much on both without much persuasian. His mom also grows a variety of herbs and veggies on their balcony and he is especially fond of the peas which he will eat raw.

Don't you just love this little toy horse? Would you believe that this was a street find? I came across the little fellow when I got on the wrong bus the other day and had to get off. While looking for the right bus, I spotted it amidst a pile of rubbish bags on the curb. Quickly looking up and down the street to see if anyone was watching, I snatched it up and high-tailed it to the nearest bus stop home. (Didn't get a funny look from the driver either, as they're used to people bringing anything and everything on board - the other day, I watched two Spanish girls lug a foldable single bed on the bus!)

Once I got the toy horse home and cleaned it up, I googled it and found similar ones made ca. 1920s. It seems it may have had a cart attached originally. His nibs immediately claimed the horse as his own and has been riding it in the garden all day!

Shoe Last/Tree Upcycling

Posted on June 14, 2014 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Awhile ago I posted a couple of ideas on recycling wood shoe trees (seems they're also called shoe lasts). Easy-peasy ideas anyone can do (if you've got them). Just to give you an idea of moe possibilities (and admittedly more elegant than mine), take a gander at this little toy 'racer' made from a recycled shoe last and toy parts.

The above litle race was created by the folks at Plum and Ashby. Don't you just love it. 

Update - Repurposing doors and shutters

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (2)


A while ago I blogged about how some folks are repurposing old doors, shutters, and windows here. Thomas Wilson and his team over at Sheds, Shacks, & Shanties repurpose windows, doors, and wood from old barns to create all kind of sheds whether for your garden or backyard. Take a peek at what they do. 

Images (c) Sheds, Shacks, & Shanties.