Monday, November 19, 2012

The Purpose of Repurposing

We all remember learning the 3 R's sometime back in elementary school... no, not Reading, 'Riting, 'Rithmetic.  Rather, re-use, recycle... and what was the third one again?  Well, for design purposes the third "R" is repurpose, and while we are at it, reclaim and restyle.  Industrial chic has never been chic-er, going green has never been trendier, and, yes, repurposing everything from Grandma's old trunks to factory carts is the new design craze... and by new we mean re-new of course. 

The key is to take something beautiful, something you love, and use it for an entirely different purpose than what it was intended for.  

Here are some innovative ideas to inspire:  

Enter into organization through a door re-purposed as a days of the week chalkboard:

Image origin unknown.
Better yet, we love this a-DOOR-able headboard!  
Bedroom , Cool Headboard Do it Yourself Ideas : Cool Headboard Do It Yourself Old Door Headboard Diy Idea
Wedding bells will be ringing... oh wait, those aren't bells! We adore these light bulbs re-purposed as shabby chic flower vases!
Image origin unknown.
Don't forget your passport!
Image origin unknown. 
How crate-ive! DIY shelves from old wine crates.
Office in a chest...leave it to Martha.
Wood shutter desk organizer... this set is re-finished, but we also love shutters with a worn patina!
Remember how much time we spent learning how to use a card catalogue?  Here's a better and more beautiful way to use it:
Rubber ducky, you're the one.  You make upholstering an old bathtub so much fun... 
Max Bathtub Chaise from Reestore featured on
Now let's be real: even we haven't mastered the craft of re-upholstering a suitcase, so here are some of our favorite shops to satisfy our achy, re-achy hearts:

The "My Repurposed Life" Etsy shop is actually owned by a friend of Liz's who works in the fashion industry and discovered her passion for re-purposing after realizing her home looked like a page out of the Ikea catalogue!  She now spends her free time hand-crafting amazing furniture from flea market finds.  Case in point: this one-of-a-kind coffee table created from a vintage paned window!  Visit her shop at

Vintage Window Re-purposed Coffee Table at


(5219 N Clark St, 773-271-3501; Mon–Wed, Sat 11am–6pm; Thu, Fri 11am–8pm, Sun 11am–5pm.)
Owner Julie Fernstrom describes her shop as “Ralph Lauren meets a Paris flea market.” Need we say more?

(5634 N Clark St,773-506-0406; Wed–Fri 11am–6pm, Sat, Sun 11am–5pm)
How to describe this well-curated collection of vintage furniture and knick-knaces? Country charm and farmhouse fabulous!

Good Deal Garage
1552 W Olive Ave
(between Ashland Ave & Clark St)
Chicago, IL 60660
Andersonville's best kept secret...if you thought Homegoods was exciting, you haven't lived until you walk through this massive garage full of furniture.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos! Love the Martha Stewart bench re-purposed with file folders.


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