repurposing

Three pots_6287

Few things about living abroad enchant me more than colorfully shuttered balconies with window boxes or, in this case, window pots. The combination of the turquoise shutters with the yellow pots and pink petals made me smile. I have this fantasy that someday I’m going to save a great set of shutters from their grave and find a wall somewhere in my house for them. I love the idea of shutters on a wall, maybe above a master bed?

The Europeans are huge into ‘repurposing’–taking materials that might otherwise be destined for the trash and finding new homes and new iterations for them. I love the idea. It’s a way of folding the old into the new. Some months ago, we stopped for a while at an architectural salvage yard, where you could find anything from old shutters, to antique soaking tubs, to hundreds of different kinds of old tiles from houses from who knows what century. Antique light fixtures (a personal favorite), doors of all shapes and sizes and the hardware that no doubt held them in place once. For me, those places are like secret gardens. I could stay for days.

What bit of oldness would you save from a premature death? Would you snag an old chandelier and polish or paint it?–maybe ferret out some colored chandelier crystals from a box in a salvage yard?–to replace missing crystals from the piece you’d acquired? Lay a floor with old railroad ties? Rescue a door from an old city building and hang it in the front doorway of your house? Turn an old church pew into a bench for a big kitchen table?

I’d love to know!

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Collage

Like the collage, courtesy of Miss Lavender?

Sometimes the right DIY just falls from the sky.  Or, in this case, shows up on the street.  Here in the city, people remodeling their pisos (apartments) often haul the remnants of their old life out to the street for others to claim.  An unusual practice, but one that resulted in a major find for Miss Lavender, who had been wanting for ages to create a design/idea board out of an old something-or-other.  When the Eleven O’Clock Dad found a tall, narrow, old door standing up against a tree a few blocks away, he brought it home, where it immediately acquired a new life as a Grand DIY Idea.

Fast forward a couple of months.  After undergoing a strenuous facelift, including two thorough sandings and wipe downs, the door was ready for chalkboard paint.  Two back-to-back coats, and hey!

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Ready to paint_1392

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Who knew that someone else’s throw-away could become a legit bit of happy? Total cost: about 30 euros. Nicely done, Miss Lavender. (How’s that Spanish coming?)

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