Be green, re-invent and save money - Metro US

Be green, re-invent and save money

As someone who is always looking for the newest and latest things, I have something to admit: I spend late nights hunting for old furniture online and Saturday mornings visiting yard and estate sales. It’s been quite a fruitful pastime and I have furnished most of my house with other’s castaways from the past few years; beautiful cast-iron garden furniture, sunburst mirrors, vintage lamps, Persian rugs; all items that are a decorator’s dream come true.

It’s been a great time for finding treasures; the explosion of home sales means more people moving; in return needing to rid themselves of great stuff. Shopping online at places like Kijiji helps keep my treasure hunting passion alive even when the weather doesn’t allow for yard sales.

My latest purchase was a very old, three-hump camelback sofa. It had ornately carved wood legs and was covered in an off-white damask fabric. The fabric was worn from many years of a cat’s claws, but other than that in sturdy condition. I liked the sofa because of its curvy shape; a trend that is making a return to furniture. I spoke to my professional upholsterer at inVU Drapery and asked if I could have two of the three humps removed, stain the carved legs very dark and re-cover it with an updated fabric to create a modern version of the old classic sofa style. He said everything I wanted was doable, so the sofa is now being re-made, which is a much better option then the sofa ending up at a dump site.

There are many stylish refurbishing projects I plan to take on this summer; here’s a few on my list:

• Repaint the old wooden dresser that sits in my guest room: I love the size and function, but the shiny wood finish is looking outdated. A light sanding and a easy-spray coat of Rust-Oleum (I plan on painting it Kiwi Green for fun) will add punch, colour and freshness to this tired piece. Twenty dollars for two cans of spray paint and I’ll create a signature furniture piece that the guest room desperately needs. I just might paint the inside of the drawers tangerine orange for a surprise burst of colour.

• Bind an old Persian rug: I purchased an antique 8×10 rug at a yard sale last summer. The edges were tattered, but the rug had tons of character, colour and pattern. I want to add a five-inch (I have chosen dark navy as the rug has a lot blue in it) ultra suede fabric border. That will clean up the edges and add a modern touch to the rug. My local rug cleaning company will clean and sew on the border at a cost of about $225. Its a great price to pay to have the charm of an old carpet with a modern edge.

Another few weeks and I should have my curvy delight back from the upholsterers. How much will it all cost? I paid $300 for the antique sofa, $450 for fabric and $900 for reupholstering. Could I have purchased a custom-style sofa for $1,650? I bet not.

Karl Lohnes is passionate about good decor and wants to help you have a beautiful home; no matter what your budget or style.

Correction – June 8, 2010, 2:44 p.m. EST: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified inVU Drapery as inVue. It has since been correct.

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