“Invention is the mother of necessity.” It’s a well known phrase that speaks to people being forced to figure things out for themselves. So, maybe a turn on this phrase – “Re-invention is the sister of creativity” would be an appropriate way to describe the renaissance in the re-use, re-purpose, re-claim movement. And, if it isn’t already a movement, it should be. Leafing through home decor magazines, TV shows, my Facebook newsfeed, Pinterest, Houzz, etc – it’s impossible not to run into people finding the most creative uses for what could be discarded materials.

Just a quick sweep through Pinterest uncovers a well pinned board on Repurposed Furniture showcasing incredible inventions. As there are articles in Remodelista’s “5 Quick Fixes: Repurposed Doors” , and an HGTV feature on “12 Uses for Old Furniture“.

As an interior designer, I am constantly looking for artisans working with reclaimed materials who can help me take both old or new pieces and transform them into one of a kind signature pieces. One of the great artisans I found takes discarded machine parts and re-invents them into home decor objects. The bowl and the chandelier shown below are from this talented artist.

VGI new

On many projects, it is the small details that make the biggest impact. I love The Muddy Boot in Summit, NJ for great finds on unique pieces that I can enhance with a new finish or twist. Lorie Combias has such a great eye and it’s a pleasure popping in to see what goodies I can find. Below are a few examples of how we revived some of the pieces. First, a cool cow skull where we added some glam with a metallic paint finish by Kenneth Caruso from Alternative Interiors. You will hear Kenneth’s name a lot in this post since he is the MASTER OF TRANSFORMATION!!!!! Next, we took some random letters, Kenneth refinished them with a gunmetal paint and now they call out “home” in this stylish kitchen. And last, just love this old wash basin that Lorie inset with a mirror. Thank you Muddy Boot!!

Re-inventing furniture by taking stock pieces to the next level allows me to add my signature style to a project. For the Stately Homes by the Sea Show House, I chose side tables from Henredon which had a great shape and with the craftsmanship of Heartland Woodworks and Alternative Interiors, we started by sanding, puttying and smoothing the textured surface and then applied a high gloss tomato red lacquer paint and refinished the metal base and hardware with gold leaf. Now these side tables really stand out and become statement pieces in the room. The dresser is from Lexington Furniture. As you can see from the before picture, we gave this piece a modern dose of glam by applying gold leaf and a clear lacquer topcoat to create a chevron tone on tone pattern on the face of the dresser.

VGI side table

Re-purposed Furniture

The re-claimed trend is hopefully one that is here to stay. Salvaging old materials and reusing them is a great way to limit waste. In this VGI designed Summit, NJ wine cellar, the floors from Exquisite Surfaces are reclaimed antique french oak. I loved this material so much, that I designed a custom metal frame coffee table using the reclaimed material for the top.

VGI Reclaimed floor

So we have looked at accessories and furniture that have been reincarnated but another aspect that is equally as important to me on renovation projects, is to consider the bones of a home, especially great old homes, and find a way to bring them up to date. For a teen hangout room in a VGI designed Summit, NJ home, I took what was a kids’ built-in desk area and converted it into a relaxing lounging nook with a pull out trundle bed. Now the space has a whole new look that is upbeat, cool and mod!! Perfect for teens!!

Re purposed Kids hang out room Before

Teen Hang Out room

There are tons of simple projects you can embark on this summer to take objects that may be destined for the trash and recreate them for new uses. This Buzzfeed article “35 Awesome Ways to Give New Life to Old Furniture” gives step by step instructions on simple re-purposing projects – love the Pastel Spray Painted Chairs.

DIY Re-purposed Chairs

By getting into the re-use, re-purpose, re-claim, re-invent, re-incarnate mindset – you can convert your own and everyone else’s trash into your unique treasure!!!

Happy re-incarnating.