Upcycled Chic and Modern Hacks: Thrifty Ways for Stylish Homes
By Liz Bauwens and Alexandra Campbell, Photography by Simon Brown
Upcycled Chic and Modern Hacks showcases homes that have reimagined furniture as well as lucky junk shop finds, demonstrating that ‘new’ isn’t always best.
The first home James and I lived in together was a small rickety flat above a shop in the centre of Brighton’s North Laines. It was a terrific space, and came fully furnished with an antique drafting table, mustard yellow leather sofa and plush red velvet curtains that had been saved from an old cinema. The kitchen sink was a reclaimed white ceramic trough and everything was cobbled together from markets and junk shops in a genuine and effortlessly upcycled fashion.
Opening Upcycled Chic and Modern Hacks I was immediately reminded of this industrial space, and became intrigued by the market finds as well as furniture transformations this book has on offer. Using old things in new ways is definitely a trend on the rise and books such as this one prove incredibly inspiring when decorating a home. Upcycled Chic and Modern Hacks showcases homes that have reimagined furniture as well as lucky junk shop finds, demonstrating that ‘new’ isn’t always best.
Now, more than ever, mass-produced furniture available on the high street is incredibly accessible, affordable and often stylish, if not lacking some character and originality. This is where authors Liz Bauwens and Alexandra Campbell come in with their tips, tricks and furniture hacks for turning uninspired furniture (both new and old) into stylish and unique pieces.
Bauwens and Campbell aim to change the way we think about decorating and how to repurpose pieces we’ve held onto for years in order to make them into special items that we’ll want to display in our homes. By changing furniture into new and exciting pieces, Upcycled Chic and Modern Hacks contains a terrific collection of inspiring looks for giving your home a defined and unique personality.
The authors aim to demonstrate how a home can have a tremendous sense of atmosphere and vibrancy simply by repurposing older statement pieces and reconfiguring newer items in order to communicate a sense of history and style in a home.
Throughout the book, gorgeously styled photographs by Simon Brown showcase homes that have expertly reworked market finds and married them with modern pieces to make antique items adaptable for modern lifestyles. The chapter on personalising ‘store-bought’ kitchen cabinets is a must-read for first-time buyers.
There is certainly beauty in having pieces of furniture around you that contain a history to them, something that new mass-produced or ‘flat pack’ furniture lacks. Showcased in the book, homeowners Mark and Talya Rochester have a vast collection of vintage furniture and revel in the idea that each piece has ‘“Had a life before,”’ contributing to a home rich in history and personality. The long draper’s table is a feast for the eyes, and any interiors enthusiast will be delighted to see these old items repurposed to suit modern lifestyles.
Above: The portrait of the racing pigeon was painted by E.H. Windred in the 1930s, one of many that he did of racewinners as prizes for their owners. The chest came from a drugstore in Wales.
Many people collect industrial implements, such as antique mathematical instruments, scientific gauges, or old laboratory equipment, simply because such things are often surprisingly beautiful or interesting. Many of the items shown here could form a wonderful collection—they are memories of a working way of life that by and large has disappeared.
Letters from an old card game called Lexicon; a photography light from the 1940s or ’50s; a colorful stuffed parakeet; the seat of an early Singer sewing chair without its back, now used as a stool; a vintage wooden mathematical compass; a 1920s Dugdill articulating desk lamp, made of brass, for use in studios, workshops, and factories; a Victorian butterfly collection, with the colors still remarkably bright; a Toledo chair, made in the early twentieth century in the U.S. for draftsmen; a 1920s, illuminated eye-test chart from the U.S.; blocks for making up price stamps in U.K. stores before the currency was decimalized in 1971; a Singer sewing machine chair, used in an early twentieth-century garment factory; an anatomical model from a French medical school dating from around 1900.
With a sense of quality, history and rich design in the homes featured throughout this title, Upcycled Chic and Modern Hacks contains an eclectic array of homes with many different takes on upcycled style to suit your personal taste. Whether you’re interested in giving your space more character, or reworking a family heirloom to suit your lifestyle in a modern and useful way, the ideas in Upcycled Chic and Modern Hacks will offer immense inspiration to get you thinking about items and furniture in a whole new light.
Extracts taken from Upcycled Chic and Modern Hacks by Liz Bauwens & Alexandra Campbell, photography by Simon Brown, published by CICO Books rrp £19.99 www.rylandpeters.com Available in all good book shops and on Amazon