Street Finds

Posted on September 2, 2016 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Okay, it's the end of the month and people are moving away to new locations and as a result there are tons (yes, literally), tons of old furniture littering the sidewalks of Ottawa. In just a short 7 block walk, I spotted enough furniture to furnish a few rooms - dressers, chairs, sofas, tables, etc. And all bound for the landfill. What a waste, folks. 

Here are a couple of things I found that could easily be rehabilitated and reused:

This looks like an Ikea double dresser (see below) and, upon my inspection, was in very good nick. Just a bit of wipe and it's ready to go.

I think I'd have repainted it an eggshell white had I had the energy to lug it home. You'll find plenty of examples online for redoing dressers. 

This old sofa also looked in perfect condition. A good vaccuming would probably be needed and you'd have to check if there are any residents lurking somewhere inside. This sofa could be stripped completely and reupholstered and then would better than new. Look at some of these upholstery possibilities.

You could do this if you sew using bits of material you may already have on hand:

Or this if you're more conservative:

Or even this if you're creative:

If you don't have upholstering skills, check with your local community colleges or hire someone who can and you'll have a sofa that's worth more than you can buy but it won't cost you (clever you) so much.

IDEA: Picking up furniture off the streets and transforming them into something new and wonderful would be a great side business if you've got a truck and some muscles.


Emeco Chairs - Recycled Gems

Posted on October 20, 2015 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

It’s always exciting for when I learn that a big corporation takes the environment seriously. Once such company is Emeco that started manufacturing their now famous recycled aluminium Navy 1006 Chair during World War for use in American submarines. Seventy years later, they continue making this seemingly indestructible chair.

Now Emeco and Coca-Cola have collaborated to turn PET bottles into chairs. Every weekday 10 truckloads carrying more than 20,000 PET bottles arrive for processing to a recycling plant where bottles are sorted, ground, and washed to become the primary material in Emeco’s 111 Navy Chair.

Their philosophy has been to “make something that lasts, that never needs to be recycled.”  A bit outside my budget now but I would love to have these instead of my plastic Ikea chairs.

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