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Posts Tagged ‘repurposing’

The New York Times recently featured the apartment of British expats Hilary Robertson and Alastair McCowan in Brooklyn, laden with great repurposed objects in the softest of palettes. Robertson is a stylist who has worked with the furniture company Ochre and their secondary line Canvas among others, and the Ochre influence is clearly seen in this space. She even took their fantastic Chesterfield in the living room in lieu of payment for a job.

Elsewhere the couple has been ingenious with inexpensive found objects. The light fixture is a $2 trash can spray painted white and a vintage pool measuring board hangs between the windows.

Robertson is clearly a magpie and shells, glass bottles and vintage chocolate molds are gathered on this side console. A woman after my own heart!

Robertson marries old metal bases and marble tops to make consoles and will sell these in her new Brooklyn shop, Mrs. Robertson. I think this would make a great kitchen island in my beach house.

McCowan collects vintage mirrors and they are used like jewelry throughout the space. This series of arches has me humming.

The chairs were spruced up with paint, shoe polish and stapled on muslin upholstery. They look fresh from les puces, but were actually bought at Brimfield.

In a typical brownstone layout, the rooms are an enfilade and the bedroom would actually have been the back parlour.

Remember I called her a magpie? Love this!

The bedroom has another great “chandelier” – a birdcage in this case.

More mirrors on the mantle. Reminds me of these I just saw. Great to see others are addicted to aged silvered glass.

I have found numerous amazing clothing forms here in the markets. One of these days I’ll get to a post on them!

While the parlour floor is all light, bright and frothy, the English basement below has the usual brownstone drawbacks of low ceilings and minimal light. Rather than fight it, they embraced it, painting the room in chalkboard paint. It turns the mirror collection in here to sparkling jewels while also disguising the irregularities of the walls and making them disappear. Camille just posted on a similar trick in the kitchen.

I love it all! What about you?

All photos by Trevor Tondro for The New York Times. The article is here and more photos here.

Related Posts:
The Magpie Gene…Vintage Kimono and Judyth van Amringe
Shrine Sale Scorcher…Vintage Mirrors on an Extremely Hot Day
So Long Summer…Vignettes and Views Around the House
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…Vintage Etched and Engraved Plateaus
Pale & Interesting…More Mirrors From Dave Coote and Atlanta Bartlett
Perfectly Pale…Megan Morton’s Australian Home
More Pale Grey From Abroad

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The only big house project that looms on my horizon is renovating the kitchen here in Ocean Grove. Always an expensive proposition, I don’t want to undertake it lightly. Basically everything has to go – flooring (bad yellowish linoleum), appliances (almond!), and cabinets (1970s) – but I want to replace them with things that feel both special and as if they might have always been here. The key to it all is coming up with a special island that is not from a kitchen cabinet company, whether it be a baking table or my favorite, some kind of repurposed item.

I am not sure what the island in this Swedish kitchen is made from, but I love it and the whole room.

A friend across the street uses an old butcher block that belonged to her grandfather as a small island, much like the one in the photo below.

On the right side of Rachel Ashwell‘s Malibu kitchen, she uses some sort of old counter or bar as an island, with baskets holding supplies on a lower shelf.

Speaking of shabby chic, this painted work table is another favorite.

Striking a completely different note, Darryl Carter‘s kitchen with its gorgeous marble-topped antique table is to die for, although clearly a bit too formal for a beach cottage.


I do love a marble topped island though…The DIY master, Jenny Komenda at Little Green Notebook, has used an old dresser and the marble top from a vintage coffee table to make one of the most stylish (and inexpensive) repurposed islands I have seen. Check out her other recent projects, including the most amazing reupholstery tutorial here.

In my ongoing hunt to complete my house, I spent a full day up at the antique stores in Red Bank, NJ. There are numerous multi-dealer shops with great merchandise, and I’ll be doing a full “Shop Talk” post on them soon. At Monmouth Antiques Shoppes I saw this red industrial cart which would make a funky but functional island.

And while surfing, I did notice this great desk turned island over at Remodeleze.


But the piece I have been obsessing over is this vintage printer’s table currently on eBay. It has an amazing thick slab of a marble top and a few shelves and cubbies.  It even still has its original letter drawers!

I think it would be perfect in creating a kitchen with the feel of Kristen Buckingham’s, but no matter how many times I measure, it is just too big. Unlike her huge beauty, my entire kitchen is only about 9 x 12…

And speaking of the printer drawers, I saw them everywhere at the Point Pleasant and Red Bank antique shops. They have always charmed me, but have really come to my attention of late.


My friend Jamie Edwards, a former Tokyoite, is making these adorable display cases for children from vintage printer drawers, lined with washi paper and custom colored to suit your decor. You can find her EllaBeanBoxes on Etsy.

And another friend mentioned that her mom uses one flat in the narrow top dresser drawer to store jewelry. I found this photo of a great storage solution in my files too.

Ingenious, no?

Image credits:1 & 2. credit unknown, 3. via Cote de Texas, 4.via Elements of Style, 5.Elle Decor May 2008, photo credit: Simon Upton, 6. via Little Green Notebook, 7. via Remodeleze, 8, 11-14. me, 9. via eBay, 10. Elle Decor March 2009, photo credit: Simon Upton, 15-16 EllaBeanBoxes via Etsy, 17. credit unknown.

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