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Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Christmas Trees for Tree Huggers

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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Recently, a friend posted this on Facebook:

just curious to know why environmentally conscious people buy real Christmas trees? am i missing something?

I think she was; surely the carbon footprint of manufacturing, shipping and eventually disposing of fake trees is worse for the environment than tree farms, where trees are grown as crops, right? It’s ain’t exactly clear-cropping trees off a mountain (the one complaint I found about these farms is that some use pesticides, otherwise, what’s not to love about them?). Give us your two cents in the comments section.

However, there are some other solutions that should really satisfy the tree-hugging crowd either way; those that upcycle materials like bottles, cans and even over in Belgium, those throwaway extra pieces of china that no longer match anything. Here’s a peek at some very clever tree reuse projects.

1. Design Boom recently posted a 30′ -high tree in Brussels, Belgium, composed of  over 5,000 donated pieces of blue and white china. The tree is by the design firm mooz and it is super cool:

2. Over on Flickr, another lovely tree is made of bottles was beautifully shot by Flickr member gdanny:

found via rubyreusable

3. Here’s a living room tree made out of just-the-right shade of green glass bottles:

4. This outdoor beer can version could bring in a pretty penny at the metal scrap yard:

3 and 4 have been labeled “redneck Christmas trees.” I think we can come up with a much nicer name than that, though it’s eluding me at the moment, because “beer hugger tree” is not a great tagline. Let me know if you come up with a better name for them in the comments section!

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Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Guest Post: DIY Ideas to Freshen Your Throwaway Furniture

Guest

Posted by Guest | View all posts by 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.
Images:
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Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Environmental Tuesday: An Upcycling Double-Entendre

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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I was really glad we received an email from Carolina Fontoura Alzaga. She makes elegant, Victorian-style chandeliers out of recycled bike parts. I love to see projects where I have to look really hard to figure out what the parts were in their former lives.

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