Restoration Day 2015: Devoted to Restoring Vintage Furniture

Restoration Day! 

At Remade in Britain, we are firm believers that second hand doesn’t mean second best! We are always encouraging the upcycling community to renovate, redesign and repurpose wherever possible, to create beautiful new designs from second hand materials. In our opinion, there’s nothing more satisfying than transforming tired, unloved objects into show-stopping creations.

So when we heard about the UK’s first ever national Restoration Day coming up on the 22nd August, launched by Preloved, we couldn’t have been more excited! Our talented Retailers are constantly amazing us with the passion, imagination and creativity used to refurbish preloved items, so we thought we’d share a few wonderfully restored beauties with you ahead of Restoration Day! We think you’ll agree, the history and individuality behind these vintage restorations is definitely something to be celebrated!

1. RE:SOURCE Vintage

As you can see from the photo on the left, this 1960’s McIntosh sideboard had suffered years of neglect before it was found and rescued by the fabulous team of upcyclers at the social enterprise ‘Re:Source Vintage’. Given a little bit of TLC, this super sleek sideboard has been brought back to its former glory, and would make a fabulous feature addition to a retro inspired home. To transform this once tired and neglected piece of vintage furniture, the volunteers at Cornwall based ‘Re:Source Vintage’ first dismantled the piece and then used good old elbow grease to strip back the beautiful teak wood to it’s original condition. The inside of the carcass was also refurbished, while the cupboard fronts were stripped back and given a re-polish. The finished item is simply stunning!

Restored 1960’s McIntosh Sideboard

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Having first earned popularity in the mid 20th century, teak wood is one of the most sought-after woods for furniture making due to its hard substance and high quality. So next time you see a vintage teak beauty that has seen better days, don’t be fooled by the dust and water marks. Grab yourself some sand paper and a bottle of polish and soon enough, you’ll have yourself a shining statement piece of furniture to take pride of place in your home!

2. Unique Vintage Industrial

When you find a vintage treasure this stunning, a simple restoration is all thats needed! The cast iron base of this unique desk comes complete with embossed circular plaques on the sides, giving it the ultimate industrial feel. Remade Retailers ‘Unique Vintage Industrial’ have cleverly topped this authentic iron base with deep reclaimed timber planks, to create the perfect work station for an industrial style pad when teamed with this vintage draughtsman’s chair. Integral casters have also been added to this reworked antique desk, to make it more practical for modern use. The upcyclers at ‘Unique Vintage Industrial’ believe in integrity, authenticity and sustainability, and pride themselves on restoring vintage pieces of furniture to help you create individual living spaces.

Upcycled Industrial Machine Table
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Remember to look out for unusual homewares that could be turned into a unique piece of furniture when topped with reclaimed wood, such as antique sewing machine tables, for example. Pallet wood is readily available and inexpensive, so why not think about creating a one of kind upcycled masterpiece by combining it with a reclaimed industrial item?

3. The Purple Finch

It’s hard to believe this upcycled shabby-chic chair was once an abandoned and unloved pub chair. Upcycled by ‘The Purple Finch’, specialists in lovingly transformed one-off pieces of furniture, this once undesirable chair is now a seat fit for a queen! The tired bare wood has been hand painted in a modern grey colour and given a stylish distressed finish. Luxurious gold leaf detailing on the legs is typical of The Purple Finch’s beautiful ornate style. The worn leather seat has been reupholstered with a French hessian bag, giving it a lovely rustic look.

Painted Hessian Upholstered Wooden Dining Chair
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With the closure of many public houses across the country, old pub furniture can often be picked up at auction houses and salvage yards for little cost. Why not grab yourself a bargain and try your hand at upcycling using fun paint techniques?

4. Jitka Brimble Furniture

Has there ever been such an eye-catching chest of drawers? The very talented Remade Retailer ‘Jitka Brimble Furniture’ takes carefully selected retro pieces of furniture and sympathetically refurbishes them using a clever technique involving original vintage fabric. To give this mid-century chest of drawers a nostalgic rehaul, ‘Jitka Brimble’ have painted the drawer surrounds a clean bright white, which perfectly offsets the boldness of colours featured in the 1970’s fabric that has been used to cover the drawer fronts. We think this unusual upcycling technique is a fantastic way to give your vintage pieces of furniture a fittingly retro restoration! Jitka Brimble’s retro range is certainly proof that bold is best!

1970’s Red Retro Fabric Chest of Drawers

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5. Goldbird

This pretty little retro side cabinet looks like it’s been picked straight out of a 1950’s beauty salon! With a sweet pink and white quilted front, stylish tapered legs and an elegant silver door handle, this original ‘Lusty’ cabinet is in great condition, despite it’s age. Covered in a vinyl fabric, this is a delicious retro piece that would bring brilliant fifties vibes to your home. Sourced by vintage enthusiasts ‘Goldbird’, Remade Retailers who have been rescuing and restoring mid-century curiosities since 2012, this beauty is perfect just as it is. Other mid-century finds may have had a more difficult life before you find them, but don’t let this put you off! A little love and attention can work wonders to bring items from bygone decades back to life. Try replacing door knobs, redoing vinyl wrapping or repainting woodwork to restore your retro treasures.

Revamped Lusty Loom Bedside Table

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6. Anecdotes Design

To introduce you to another fantastic restoration technique, check out this fab 1950’s dressing table brought back to life by ‘Anecdotes Design’. With a passion for colourfully restoring mid-century treasures, Folkestone based Anecdotes Designs have used vinyl wrapping to give this G-Plan desk a much needed makeover. Although a beautiful retro shape and in good vintage condition, the dressing table was looking a little tired and uninspiring before the Anecdotes team got their hands on it. As you can see, upcycling with 50’s style vinyl is an excellent way to add bright colour to old furniture, without losing the vintage authenticity of the piece. We just love a good before and after here at Remade in Britain!

Updated G Plan 1950’s Dressing Table

7. Austameric

With their stylish tapered legs, this retro pair are unmistakably mid-century! When buying second hand chairs, make sure to check the condition of the frame even when the fabric looks a little worse for wear. Often they are in great condition, and offer the perfect excuse for an upcycling project! This stunning pair of retro chairs, refurbished by upcycling couple ‘Austameric’, is proof that a little polish and a complete reupholster can make all the difference. By restoring the wood to its former glory and upholstering the seat and back of the chairs in a funky fabric, featuring a psychedelic wave pattern, Remade Retailers ‘Austameric’ have created a pretty pair that would look perfectly at home in any modern home. The splashes of neon green and bright pink are an ideal way to add a hint of colour to your interior decor.

Pair of Retro Midcentury Dining Chairs

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8. Rag and Bone Furniture

Before it founds its way into the hands of ‘Rag and Bone Furniture’, this wooden blanket box was looking a little dark and dated. Using imagination, creativity and elbow grease, ‘Rag and Bone Furniture’ turn somewhat unloved furniture like this into unique pieces that can transform a room. After being hand painted in a lick of Annie Sloan paint and slightly distressed, Remade Retailers ‘Rag and Bone’ have used the decoupage technique to upcycle this vintage chest, highlighting the panel detailing of the piece. Decoupage simply involves cutting out pictures and using layers of varnish to glue them to your object, which could be anything from lamp shades to bed frames! Wallpaper, magazines, wrapping paper or catalogues can all be used to decoupage with, but for this bespoke blanket chest ‘Rag and Bone Furniture’ have used beautiful floral paper picked up during travels in Asia. You can’t beat some vintage florals!

Painted and Decoupaged Vintage Ottoman

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Blanket boxes provide such a handy storage solution, perfect for hiding away all your upcycling materials! How about rescuing a blanket chest before it’s too late and having a go at decoupaging? All you need is some pretty paper, a craft knife, a soft sponge and some varnish… and a little creativity!

9. Phoenix Antiques Barn

This one-off upcycled sofa is a perfect example of how second hand findings can be repurposed to take on a whole new function! Skilfully recycled from a vintage vaulting horse, this unique sofa is certainly a talking point. By adding comfortable foam cushions, which have been upholstered in a stripy bohemian fabric, this former piece of gymnastics apparatus has been given a second lease of life by vintage treasure hunters ‘Phoenix Antiques Barn’. The creativity used to reimagine this second hand vaulting horse is so impressive, and the finished article is super stylish!

Upcycled Sofa from Vintage Gymnast Vaulting Horse   
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The experts at ‘Phoenix Antiques Barn’ are pros at sourcing an eclectic mix of retro, antique and vintage furniture and homewares, but we can all keep an eye open for vintage pieces that can be rescued and recycled. Remember not to judge second hand items at first glance, with a little imagination and restoration, antique wares can be destined for new things!

10. The Vaudeville Home

Hand painting, stencil work and decoupaging techniques have all been used to transformed this solid oak console table from brown and bland to bright and sunny! Gill at ‘The Vaudeville Home’ advocates the durability, workmanship and eco-friendliness of vintage furniture, and enjoys letting her imagination run wild when reinventing furniture. This beautiful edwardian table has first been hand painted in a sunshine yellow chalk paint, then the drawers have been carefully decoupaged in a fun tropical pattern. The complementing green and coral colours of the decoupage paper have been picked out to add detailing to the elegantly shaped legs of the piece, and artistic stencil work adds interest to the sides and base. A distressed finish has been given to the edges and corners of the piece, a wonderful way to add age and character to an upcycled item!

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With the help of our fantastic Retailers, we hope we have given you a little bit of inspiration for your next restoration project! Join in the #RestorationDay celebrations on Twitter using the hastag #reloved, we’d love to see how you have refurbished, repaired and rennovated your vintage finds! For your weekly dose of upcycling inspiration, don’t forget to join the upcycling community for #RemadeHour every Wednesday evening 8-9pm!

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