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Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Guest Post: DIY Ideas to Freshen Your Throwaway Furniture

Guest

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Hi Everyone! We know you may be over here shopping for new furniture, but here at Design Public, we love to mix old and new. So while you peruse for the perfect wallpaper or a new big boy bed, consider pieces you may already own to go with them. Here’s Alex Levin , a writer for Granite Transformations (a green remodeling company that advances sustainable construction practices reducing waste and recycling, such as using broken Skyy vodka bottles to make countertops), with some helpful hints about how to re-use and repurpose. take it away Alex!


In today’s economy, replacing outdated, broken or just plain ugly furniture isn’t always affordable. Furthermore, tossing old furniture also costs the earth. Learn to look beyond the finish of a piece of furniture to reveal the construction, design and material underneath. Here are some ideas to get your started.
Potential Projects:
Lightening up old pieces: Worried that your dark brown antique buffet table will look out of place in your new home – but you love the shape? Paint it a bright bold color that will play off other items in the room and throughout  your home.
Freshen up a wardrobe: Strip, sand and paint one white for child’s room. Add funky hardware (knobs and pulls can be changed out as your kids grow up).
Reupholster a sofa or chairs: Choose a fabric you like, and find a matching glossy paint for the wood frame and legs. You’ll need ribbon and adhesive glue to keep it in place, upholstery tacks and a staple gun.
Wooden tables, desks and cupboards. Whether you want to paint or sand down to restore the original finish is up to you. Kitchen cupboards gain a whole new lease of life through simple repainting, while desks can look completely
different through a coat of gloss and a new stencil design.
Getting Started
1. Evaluate your existing furniture. Make necessary repairs; fix wobbly legs, fill cracks, and take care of any other structural problems.
2. Look at the finish. Assess if you need to strip and sand before refinishing/painting.
3. Gather supplies. Round up everything from the dust cover to protect the floor to the paintbrush. You may need to purchase a few safety items, like gloves and goggles.
4. Choose a workspace. Factor in the weather, ventilation, and upcoming  in-law visits.
Upcycling: Repurpose an Old Item  to Make Something New
Here are a few ideas:
  • Place an old door atop two filing cabinets to create a hard-working desk.
  • Turn plastic bottles into chandeliers
  • Make an Adirondack chair from old baseball bats
  • Turn an iron into a bedside lamp for a unique retro look
  • Transform a clawfoot bathtub into a sofa
  • Turn a discarded dishwasher drum into a modern coffee table
Refurbishing old furniture is easier than you think, and is also a lot of fun. A few quick fixes can help your inherited old pieces fit into contemporary surroundings, save you cash and save the planet.
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Monday, September 14th, 2009

Ali’s Bathroom Makeover

Ali

Posted by Ali | View all posts by Ali
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This past Labor Day I proposed the question to my significant other, “Signifcant other, what would you like to do this holiday weekend?” His answer: “Complete our bathroom makeover.” So we did. ***disclaimer: we like the color white.

Our bathroom had been quite a sore sight…pea green walls, a sink that was cracked and looked a bit like a urinal, a tub with chipped paint, no storage…overall blahness. The ultimate low was storing our bathroom goodies in tupperware containers or plastic bags on the floor under the sink.

So, starting with the sink area we redesigned the space to provide maximum storage within a small corner of the room. The walls were painted white, a new towel hanger was installed and the tub was painted black (this part was done some time ago).

Finally, all of our orphaned toiletries have a home and I can brush my teeth with a peaceful state of mind.

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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

The Ultimate Recycler

Becky

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Today is recycling day in my ‘hood. This got me thinking about a man I think of as the ultimate recycler, Mr. Thomas Wold. Thomas has a fantastic feature in ReadyMade where he struts his creative repurposing stuff. The most recent project was inspired by this pile of salvaged pieces:

With a little magic Wold-dust, some Thomasvision, and some elbow grease, this was the result:

Bravo Thomas! To see the whole story and Thomas’s process, I highly recommend clicking over here. As a side note, ReadyMade magazine has always been cool, but lately the content has been off the charts. They feature so many ingenious and do-able D.I.Y. projects, as well as the hip and innovative people who come up with them. I especially love the features on creative types’ abodes. You can get a taste of ReadyMade right here.When I clicked over today, they had a two year subscription for the price of one special! To shop Thomas Wold’s other creations, click here.

Do you have anyone you’d like to nominate as the ultimate recycler? I just read about someone this past week who makes houses from recycled materials that reminded me of Rural Studio and Samuel Mockbee – there was an entire ceiling crafted from recycled framing store sample frame corners. As soon as I remember where I saw it, I’ll provide a link. If you know of any great links to creative recyclers or stories of your own creative recycling, please let us know in the comments!

photographs from Thomaswold.com; first photo by Thomas Wold, second photo by Markham Johnson.

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Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Ali’s DIY Shelving

Ali

Posted by Ali | View all posts by Ali
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DIY Shelving

I know we are not out of the recession yet so I thought I’d share our DIY shelving project. If you have a drill to make some holes in a few wood boards, you can make this!

Here’s what you need, all of which can  be found at your local hardware store:

*  3 fir boards (good to let these dry out a bit so sap doesn’t get all over your things)
*  6 all thread rods
*  36 sets of nuts and washers to sandwich the boards
*  6 coupling hex nuts to use as feet
*  a drill

1.) Drill holes in all four corners as well as in the center edges of the boards. We stacked all three boards on top of one another so the holes would be placed in a similar spot on each board.

2.) Put a hex nut on each rod. Add a nut/washer above the hex nut. Insert the rods in the freshly cut holes of one of the boards. Sandwich the board with another set of nuts/washers.

DIY Shelving #1

3.) Add another set of nuts/washers to each rod placing the set at the midpoint of the rod. Top it off with a board and again sandwich the wood with the nuts/washers. Continue this process for the top board.

4.) Make sure you have some bad TV on in the background. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

A Black Clawfoot Tub, Ali’s Before and After

Ali

Posted by Ali | View all posts by Ali
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My boyfriend might kick me in the shins for posting this, but I have to share our most recent bathroom before and after project. We have a very very small bathroom with an old old clawfoot tub. I love the vintage look of our tub but without a doubt it needed a little tlc. So, we patched some holes and brought out the black paint…

Here is the before:

Ali\'s tub

The transformation process:

The after!

Amazing the difference a little dab of black paint can make. She’s a beauty again!

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