It all started with a walk through our neighbourhood and the discovery of a chandelier on a pile of someone’s trash. Under the cover of night, we took it home, removed the lightbulbs and the cord, freshened it up with crisp, white spray paint and put taper candles in the holders. Voila – instant patio table lighting for evening entertaining!
We love nothing more than finding a neglected item that just needs a little love and care, although that candle-holder was our first and last find in someone’s trash! We scour flea markets, swap meets and thrift stores for things that other people have given up on. We might give an item a fresh coat of paint or tighten it up if it’s loose. We might find a better use for it than its original purpose. And then we sell it for a fraction of its original value.
Antique stores are full of discarded furniture from the 1970s. Few people want these two-tiered end tables in their homes as-is, but what if there was a way to make them practical? We found one.
They are the perfect size for a child’s play table. The toddlers for whom we’ve made these tables have been thrilled to get a piece of furniture that’s just their size! Parents love them because everything goes back into the basket when it’s not in use, so it stays neat. We painted the table-top with chalkboard paint and included chalk and an eraser for hours of fun. When he’s tired of drawing, he can roll out a rubber mat to protect the chalkboard while he plays with his cars and trucks. We painted this one in a cheerful red and the same blue of the child’s bedroom.
Another frequent find at antique sales is old doorknobs. They’re often discoloured and no longer practical for their original use. But once they’ve been shined up and tightened, they’re perfect for hanging scarves, jewelry, jackets and more. We’ve made big ones and small ones, on barnboard and on wood painted a pristine white, with knobs in collections of five, three and one. They can be uniform or, as shown below, a variety of different styles.
We were kind of horrified to find high markups on plastic coat racks. Nothing matches the sturdiness of wood. So when we happened upon this forgotten rack, we tightened it up, replaced the hooks and attached a watchful owl on top. And we sold it for less than those cheap plastic imitations.
Who wants a lime green dog? No one! That’s why this cool sculpture was gathering dust on a clearance rack at a decor store. In lime green, it was weird. In goes-with-everything silver, it’s beautiful. It could even become a trophy – there’s room on the base for an engraving!
This lamp hasn’t been touched, except for a dusting. It’s a knock-off of a $3000 original by Rougier Company of Toronto, whose similar tulip lamps are now worth north of $3000. This one is valued at $600. (And it’s not for sale!)
We’re always on the hunt for items to upcycle. If you have any questions about these or any other items, please get in touch via the chat feature on this website. Thank you.