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  • Jen Schwindt

Trash = Treasure

How do designers find interesting pieces, where do they get unique furniture and decor?

I'll admit, some of my favourite things were headed for the trash. I have found some of my best pieces of furniture at garage sales, thrift stores, antique markets or on the side of the road. Sometimes it takes someone else to see the potential with a fresh creative eye.

One of my hobbies is to refinish furniture and find new uses for old things. I plan to share these projects with you in this blog. My hope is that it will inspire you to be creative and look at things from a different perspective. My favourite thing about designing is taking the time and opportunity to look at problems from different perspectives and find creative solutions. This approach can be used with technical design problems, home décor, and many other areas in life.

Here's an quick before and after example of a dresser that I found for free on the side of the road. I double checked and asked the owner and they were happy to see it go. I loaded it into the trunk and off I went. In this case the size was exactly what I was looking for and it fit my college student budget at the time.

I'm sure my fiancé (now husband) was thrilled when I excitedly showed him the dresser and told him about the dreams I had for it….maybe skeptical is a better word.

It had its issues and was a lot of work, but this is what it looks like now…

This dresser has served us well for 8 years and continues to do so. It was ugly and gooped with paint, the pictures don't even show how bad it was. It took some serious paint stripping, but it was worth it. It is a solid wood dresser, it is sturdy, the joinery was good. Quality is important. If I was going to invest anything into it, time and (a little) money it had to be worth it. Some of the cheap particle board dressers you can buy at the stores now would not hold up as long as this little dresser has.

I put was able to put less money into this than I would purchasing something cheap to get me by. It has lasted much longer than something cheap would have; meaning a savings in the long run. Plus, it's unique and has character you don't get from the big box store purchases.

I did splurge a little on the drawer hardware. I needed to find something to cover up the large wear holes the previous hardware left. I love the patina these ones have. They work with the overall look and feel of the little dresser. I still love them and it's been years since I tackled this little project.

I hope I've inspired some of you to look at things with creative possiblities. If this isn't your thing, that's okay, be inspired and enlist the help of someone whose talents and gifts lie in this area.

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