Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reuse & Repurpose: Take Me Out!

The warming spring weather has me thinking a lot about outdoor spaces, and living in a New York apartment without one must make me yearn for one even more.

As we train our eye to find unexpected uses for thrift store finds, we often fall upon a piece that we might never think of to use beyond its intended purpose. I have to admit, this fine, leather example of a wing chair that I found at Housing Works last week doesn't naturally appeal to me. It's coloring suggests an Old English study and it's dimensions, for me in my small space, would overtake any corner of my room and draw too much attention.

One of the things I learned from the amazing David Jimenez, whose 1906 Georgian Revival mansion is featured in my book The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details, is that indoor furniture, when welcomed with an open eye and treated with a creative mind, can go right out doors, 365 days of the year.

David told me the story of being attracted to an unmatched pair of winged chairs on one of his thrifting excursions, but with a few twists and turns, would suit his ultimate purpose. He unified them with white vinyl upholstery and added decorative nail heads -- and voilĂ ! -- they lookabsolutely fresh and new. What's more, he put them out on his elegant portico, adding stately comfort and charm without worry. They are somewhat protected by the portico's roof, but any dust or grime is simply swiped away from the functional vinyl.

For more of David's awe-inspiring work, visit his website: Or to see David's feature in The Find, pick up a copy at Borders, Barnes & Noble,Amazon or Powell's.

Looking for a park bench -- not to buy -- but to lounge on!

The Elegant Thrifter

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous.

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