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Monday, 8 August 2011

Lotty Blue Guest Post - It's Cool to Recycle...

Please welcome our very first guest blog on the Simply Staffordshire Blog - a fabulous Staffordshire business that re loves and recycles furniture. Perfect for your home & the environment. We re loved many a piece of furniture for our holiday house, not only was this the green thing to do it also meant we have a holiday house that is repeatedly called a home from home! Please enjoy Lisa's words and fabulous creative flair and the great top tips too. Here it is...

Recycle, re-use and eco-friendly are all words that we are hearing more and more these days. We are becoming more aware of the harmful effect our throw away culture is having on our world and the unnecessary waste. We are now pretty familiar with recycling our everyday rubbish and are also more contentious about recycling clothes, toys, books etc to charity shops or to resell at car boots or even to use online auction sites like eBay. But what are our thoughts towards furniture? And how can we re use old worn out second hand pieces? Here at LottyBlue I have been involved in up-cycling and restoring mid-century modern furniture for a few years but I have always loved buying and painting items for my own home.

I have been asked by Emily to write a guest blog post for her wonderful blog on Simply Staffordshire and I am delighted to be featured as I myself live in Staffordshire and it is great to promote other Staffordshire businesses. Also I would love to show Simply Staffs readers how to source great items of furniture and give some practical hints and tips that can transform an old tired piece of furniture into a useful item once again.

The decision to buy second hand

Of course there are many factors involved with buying furniture for your home, money can play a big part but also the style and the practical use of the furniture is essential or perhaps you have already got a old piece of furniture that would benefit from so much needed TLC. By reusing vintage furniture you are already being eco- friendly and saving wonderful pieces of furniture from being destroyed or used for land fill.

Where to buy Pre-Loved

1 Charity shops – there are many ways to find interesting and affordable accessories for your home. Over the years I myself have ford some lovely vintage china and glassware. We are very lucky to be living in the heart of Staffordshire the home to the world famous pottery industry. Below are some links to some local charity websites.2 Charity home stores – More and more larger stores are opening which sell large items such has furniture, electrical items, pictures and so much more. There is certainty something very satisfying when buying furniture this way. You are saving money and also being eco-friendly and of course the money is often going to very worth while local charities. Below is the link to Katharine House Big shop in Cannock which is great place to find furniture, clothes and so much more
http://www.khhospice.org.uk/pages/support-us/retail/locations/cannock-big-shop-details.php

3 Car Boots – Great places to find some interesting affordable items for your home but remember its an early start. Most people have car boot sales near them usually taking place on a Sunday morning.

4 Auctions – If you are looking for a specific item or just looking in general auctions are great places to find bargains.
Most auctions over a preview day so you can look at the different lots or even look online at the auction house website to see if there is anything of interest. Remember always set your self a budget and stick to it and don't get carried away.

http://www.cuttlestones.co.uk/ - Staffordshire Auction house in Penkridge

5 Classifieds and Online auctions sites such has eBay and Gumtree can be useful too.

(a reconditioned G Plan table...)

Recycle, Reclaim & Re-purpose


Being creative by re-using and re-imagining everyday objects in your home is certainty a great way of creating a stylish affordable home which does not cost a fortune. The 'mix and match' approach lends itself very well to incorporate vintage and antique with your modern contemporary furniture. The vintage look has been trending for many years in the fashion world, but we are seeing a return to the look and style of furniture designs from the 1940's through to the 1970's. These iconic designs are once again in vogue and are being featured in home magazines and leading high street stores. John Lewis are commissioning furniture makers to create furniture that resembles the look and style of this bygone era. Perhaps we are returning to a more simplistic lifestyle and moving away from the throw away culture.

Stylish Antique &Vintage!

For most the word vintage conjures up images of old dirty broken and dusty furniture but with a little patience and some elbow grease mixed with a bit of know how even the most worn out piece of furniture can be transformed and be given a new lease of life. The beauty of antique and vintage is that in most cases you are dealing with real wood and so can be sanded down to remove old varnish, paint and stains. I was once told by a local furniture restorer not to be afraid but to have a go as you can do no harm (or at least you can normally correct any of your attempts). I think this is so true so when you do pick up a item of furniture for a few pounds as a first project sand it down and perhaps revarnish or paint it. This can transform it and will give you confidence to try different techniques. It is very satisfying to buy preloved as you can personalise it for your own home and save money too.


Changing the look!

There are many ways of changing the look without costing a fortune and that are quite easy for beginners. Here are a few of my suggestions :

-Use of paint is a great way of creating a funky stylish look.
Show items that have been changed by using paint

Below are just some of the paint manufacturers that I personally use.

Dulux paint and Farrow & Ball
http://www.duluxdecoratorcentre.co.uk/stores/stafford -Great to get expert advice
http://www.farrow-ball.com/

- Trimmings – such as door handles and knobs can add character and style and are a quick design statement and can make a piece of furniture completely unique.


Images 1 here painted chest of draws credit to http://www.outofthedark.org.uk/outofthedark/index.html Out of the Dark.

Re staining and revarnishing

If you feel ready to have a go at restaining and varnishing then in my opinion it will be well worth the effort. I have found many online sites which offer advice and in some cases tutorials. This method is not complicated its all in the preparation time spent sanding down the item to remove old varnish properly will prove invaluable when you come to staining and varnishing, please see here for more advice about a recent project I blogged about restoring a 1950's sideboard

http://lottyblue.co.uk/2011/vintage-g-plan-sideboard-upcycledrestored/

I also find that the E-how site is very useful just type in the search box the information that you are looking for

The use of preloved for me is a life style choice the fantastic designs of the “mid-century” 1940's to the 1970's are to me truly glorious and the designs are synonymous with some of the UK's leading furniture designers. The UK, in my opinion, have often lead the way in design and manufacturing and we have seen many fantastic furniture makers such as Ercol, Nathan , Younger, Parker Knoll to name a few that have contributed so strongly to our rich furniture heritage .


Images here of leading furniture makers
I have written two posts on the UK's leading furniture manufactures here:

I feel it is our duty to keep this furniture alive for future generations to enjoy. Please think twice when you are considering buying a new piece of furniture take a look around at the preloved you might just be surprised ! I hope I have inspired you to have a go and create something wonderful!

I would love to see your projects please send me photos (lisa.oakley@lottyblue.co.uk) or comment on my blog (http://lottyblue.co.uk/blog)

1 comment:

Valea said...

Great reading about recycling. I agree with your idea about recycling and like this new trend. I strongly belive that evrrything can be reused, and protect this way furniture on sale enviroment.