Up-cycling….Plywood, Burlap and Re-Do it Design


quill and tray image via Dreams and Jeans

So many of you read Re-Do it Design that I am always even more astonished by the prevailing silence in contrast to your numbers, than the fact that you have all come to read this blog!

I wish more of you would comment, because when you take the time to share I learn so much from you!


image via adesignerandacontractor.blogspot

I received a really interesting overview from a reader this past weekend regarding some of what other blogs are doing in contrast to Re-Do it Design. The reader while very enthusiastic about the quality of the posts wondered if I was concerned with the number of bloggers rushing to the prevailing tide of blogs heralding the un-decorate movement toward “mommy blogs” and the “diy” blogs (burlap, wooden pallets)”. My reader wondered whether I believed it in my best interest to move more in that direction myself….

First let me say that this is the only occasion that I can recall that getting older has lived up to its fabled sage value in any manner whatsoever…. followed closely by the omissions that I am myself a mom,  and just this past Thanksgiving my table story of choice for my huge annual family Thanksgiving took place on tables dressed in brown paper, burlap, white birch and gold. It was cheap, stunning and ripe for tearless ruin. Afterwords I recycled the whole lot……so you’ll hear no bashing moms, burlap or plywood from me!

What you will hear is this – un-decorate is the anthem for which  the 2010’s will be remembered. Un-decorate is the proclamation that unites people on budgets who are tired of their watermarks for good design being based on unattainable spaces that kids and families are unable to afford nor live in without fear of breakage, soil, pet fur and life in general….I feel their pain.

But by the same token, burlap and plywood are not the answer – I know this was meant as a metaphor but read between the lines:

Elements that are not durable, or long-lived are neither lifestyle nor budget solutions.

If you cut corners and go with minimalism mixed with quick and dirty up-cycling, you’re going to contribute to the local land-fill and bust your budget with re-buying – not to mention what the hottest new decor styling fads leave out –



Where’s the storage? The orange box maybe? Mommies need real storage solutions that separate living from the ever-dominating kids’ zones. I LOVE up-cycling – at its best, its creative re-purposing at its finest, and I have done my fair share – but re-do with dignity, with a mind-set focused on durability.

Did you catch HGTV Design Star Emily Henderson’s event on One Kings Lane? I didn’t share it with you because her items went faster than the iPhone 5 – Have a look –


pieces from thrift stores comprised Emily’s sale on One Kings Lane

Say what??????

This is what design is about people  – here’s the recipe:

Combine one talented, pretty stylist with a good eye – some good local thrift store sources in a demographic area where even throw-aways are of a decent ilk – a behemoth savvy online retailer with a motivated staff and several million shoppers – and voila:

Trash to treasure….


Emily Hendersons One Kings Lane Event – re-purposed! Image via One Kings Lane

But let’s give Emily her due – she combines up-cycling and design as they were meant to co-exist, and function in your living space. Each piece is re-purposed for both style and structural integrity in mind for real living….it begins with the ability to recognize good bones:


italian sofa before side – image via Emily Henderson’s website

Nice lines…I see it….


Italian sofa and chair before – image via Emily Henderson’s website

Good and durable velvet can be fund for around $18 per yard – and it will easily tack another 5 years onto this enduring sofa that has evaded the land fill for over 30 years….allot more than can be said of anything you can find within the impeccably styled halls of IKEA…


Thrift shop to dressed to impress by Emily Henderson.

By all means – up-cycle! Keep it simple (not bare) and welcoming (as opposed to empty for over-dressed) but whatever you do – do it right. No one has ever made a design statement by flocking to what everyone is doing! Some of you are too young to remember how fabulous that the chevron pattern and flame stitch were in the ’70’s – but by the time the 80’s rolled around, no one would admit to the fact of ever liking either hot craze!

Stop by tomorrow for some more takes on timeless design – which may or may not include burlap or plywood, and will work for all moms everywhere – guaranteed!

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