Recycled Furniture – The most creative Green Design!

At Nandina one of our defining values is investment.  We believe in investing in furniture that will stand the test of time – both in style and durability.  Furniture like our grandparents purchased.  Sofa’s that have frames that last 25 yrs and that we hand down to our children.  For many reasons this type of purchasing is rewarding – it feels good on a personal level and more so on an environmental level.  The less furniture we send to the local dump – the better off we all are.  That is why we need green interior design!

The dilemma with this philosophy is that we always have to help our clients measure the value of buying new versus recycling pieces that they already have.  If you have a classic style sofa that is still in solid condition but the fabric and cushions have seen better days it is not only economical to re-upholster, but also can fit well in a new updated design.  The more difficult challenge is thinking outside the box.  Recycling and re-using furniture that you think has no possible hope of fitting into your new project.

Recently, I have had the very good fortune to work with a wonderful client.  She and her husband purchased a lovely old plantation home in rural South Carolina.  At the time they were newlyweds, the house was in need of major updates, and it was full of Victorian style furniture from the 30’s and 40’s.  Fast forward … now with three small toddlers, a crazy schedule (they own and run a major Peach Farm operation), and the major house repairs addressed it finally was time to look at the interiors.  The house is historic but the family is young, hip and vibrant and there is a budget!   My client couldn’t envision keeping the old, dark wood, heavily carved Victorian pieces in a light filled young design. But, how could you just dump perfectly good furniture – when you don’t really have the budget to replace.

See below some of our most creative furniture re-births!

Before: 40’s era Victorian Settee

After: Weathered French style settee! A local artist hand painted and distressed the frame, we did away with the tufted back and re-enforced the cushions and then recovered with a fabulous Thibaut fabric!

Before: A pair of Drexel Heritage Chests (probably 1950’s)

After: High gloss ebony black chests – the ultimate in glamorous style! The chests were booth painted for a fraction of the cost of new chests. We reused the hardware!


Before: Look what we found in the barn – ready for the dump!

After: The perfect ottoman! We refinished the frame and then our Work Room built the upholstered top. We covered it in fabulous soft chartreuse velvet!

Before: A pair of regency style very small chairs!

After: The perfect setting for a tete-a-tete! Finish is left as is – reupholstered in an updates coordinating Thibaut fabric.

By Susan Victor

1 Comment

  1. Posted by judi mccarthy

    What a great idea having a web-site like this! Loved the article on re-puposing old furniture–lets people look at their thrash and make treasures out of them! Keep up the good work–thanks!

    Posted July 15, 2011 at 7:06 am | Reply

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