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An Old Soul, A New Love

Posted by Emily Wyss on

During the sprummer (spring/summer, I take creative liberties) months, I walk the streets of my neighbourhood and enjoy the sunlight, the warmth and the sounds. However, while those obvious pictures of perfection and happiness define sprummers for others... the most beautiful thing about sprummer to me is all the places I can find forgotten treasures.

As spring comes around, we clean our homes and start fresh. People look at their older pieces of furniture that have been scratched, worn and used and can't see beyond the imperfections. Enter: the garage sale, the side of the road, the local thrift shop, or the dump. They understand that these pieces are still strong, well-built and functional, but they grow tired of their look as their tastes change.


Pro-Tip: You can paint fabric with chalk paint and give a piece an entirely new look!

 

Pieces of furniture carry the stories of their people. The scratch on the surface from where a little boy played with his favourite toy car. The spot of red from where nail polish was splashed before a school dance. They hold our pictures, our favourite clothes, our favourite mugs we reach for to start our day.

When I look around at these discarded stories, I can't help but see the expression lines of their past and the potential they have for a new life.

Most of my personal furnishings are discarded treasures. I'm a proud freecycler. There are amazing benefits to getting your furnishings this way:

  • Older pieces are generally built with quality in mind from a time where furniture was an investment made to last. 
  • Pieces from different eras are built with unique lines, materials and characteristics that define the history of their time. Whether it be the detail oriented reproductions of the revivalist era brought to life by the industrial revolution or the strong sleek and subtle lines of pieces striving to minimize the effect of luxury during the great depression these pieces carry so much meaning in their design. 
  • You don't create new demand. New furniture production can lead to deforestation through logging. Deforestation can lead to imbalances ecologically and environmentally and some predictions state that the rain forests of the world will disappear if deforestation continues at its rate. 
  • You save money. The pieces you find will be well built and often available for under 100$. To buy these pieces new, you will often pay upwards of 500$. 
  • You get to express yourself creatively. Older pieces will often need a face lift. If you're fortunate enough to find a piece in pristine condition, you're ahead of the game. However, the vast majority of the time you will need to put a little elbow grease and soul into the piece to make it work. There are no rules and very few ways to upcycle your pieces wrongly. 
Upcycling furniture is where you get to add your touch to their story. While some makeovers require a lot of effort, there are many easy ways to really give a piece a fresh look. To a scratched top, you can découpage to cover it up. You can choose papers and imagery that suit its history to really add to its soul. For a French provincial piece, sheet music from that era would lend nicely to the effect. For a mid-century modern table, a bold retro pattern would fit the bill. 

        

    For a piece that is badly roughed up, you can paint it with Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan to really give it a new look. By adding different colours, textures and waxes to the piece you can create something that maintains the integrity of its past while making it functional again. If you really want to give it a luxurious feel, adding a metallic gilding wax will really make intricate details pop.

     It adds a new sentimentality when you get to put a piece of yourself in your furniture. If you inherited a piece of furniture from someone you deeply love but it doesn't work for your space or your needs "as is", there is nothing wrong with fixing it up. For all the reasons mentioned above, you're doing that piece a favour by giving it a new life. 

     

    Family dining room set that had been greatly loved and was starting to show. With Old Ochre and French Linen I'll be able to keep this meaningful piece around a lot longer.

     

    These discarded stories don't need to end. With some creativity and a few supplies, they get to live happily ever after.


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