Upcycing: Reclaimed materials add to rustic decor, Many homeowners using upcycled elements and reclaimed items in renovations and building projects, Nothing quite like the patina of reclaimed barn wood


From 1808 Magazine.

“Upcycing: Reclaimed materials add to rustic decor

“When Marty and Tim Walden started planning to remodel their 1950s-style kitchen, she dreamed of a bright, open, modern family gathering spot, designed for entertaining and togetherness.

But to juxtapose with the updated cabinets, sleek finishes and shiny appliances, Marty wanted to incorporate reclaimed materials, fitting with her rustic, repurposed decorating style.

Her dream kitchen has to-the-ceiling white cabinets, stainless steel appliances, a classic white subway tile backsplash, gray and black speckled granite countertops and a large prep island and bar overlooking the family room. Throughout the space, they incorporated rustic wood accents.

Like Marty, many homeowners are using upcycled elements and reclaimed items in their renovations and building projects. Many materials lend themselves to these types of projects: barn wood, shiplap, corrugated metal, reclaimed flooring, antique corbels and columns, ceiling tins, salvaged brick, bead board, wavy glass windows, old doors, vintage hardware and fireplace mantels.

The options are limited only by imagination and what you can find when you go out salvaging.

“A lot of folks will take architectural elements that are not even meant to be architectural elements, like olive buckets or chicken feeders, and turn them into lighting,” says Chris Bean, who has turned her passion for old stuff into a business called VINTAGEitis. She and business partner Tracy Furr find, restore, repurpose and sell vintage items at local antique shops and barn sales throughout the Triad.

Chris, who lives in Greensboro, is building a house at the beach and plans to incorporate upcycled items into the design. She’s using a reclaimed door for her pantry, and she’s found some vintage naval lighting she plans to use. She is adding decorative antique corbels to her kitchen island, and she has plans to build a mudroom storage bench using old barn wood and hooks.

While the repurposed look is a hit among homeowners, some contractors resist working with older materials.

“I think it’s normally the homeowner who has to push it,” says Janelle Robinson, who sells barn wood and teaches women’s carpentry classes through her company, Simply Janelle Designs.

Old wood can be a pain, she says. “It’s not dimensional. It’s not perfectly straight. It’s not easy to work with.”

But if you love the rustic or farmhouse look, there’s nothing quite like the patina of reclaimed barn wood.

“What we love about it, it’s not perfect,” says Marty, who shares thrifty decorating ideas on her blog, Marty’s Musings. If you’re a perfectionist, she says, perhaps using upcycled materials is not the way to go.”

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