Sunday, June 24, 2012

rePURPOSING Things: Circular Saw Blades

Because of its location this gate was really difficult to photograph. But this will give you the idea. This gorgeous peacock is a a beautiful work of art...

 ...and a good break-in deterrent. Those blades are still sharp!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

rePURPOSING Things: Shoe Rack

An over-the-door canvas shoe rack never looked so good. This Chicago apartment's brick wall got quite a brightening up with the addition of this clever planter. The impact will be even bigger when the new plants grown over the sides. Easy and inexpensive

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Remote Access

With the purchase of a couple of small bins this....

. ..became this. 

The TV remote no longer gets buried under the coasters and cocktail napkins or tangled in the iPod cable.

Total time: under 10 minutes

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Yard Sale Inspiration

I stopped by a friend's house a few weeks ago and was met by this:

All these boxes, bags and baskets were destined for their yard sale.

After one Saturday morning the room was emptier...

...and their wallets were fuller.

It's great yard sale weather right now. What's stopping you?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

rePURPOSING Things: An Old Lamp Sheds New Light

This faded photo is the only one of a lamp beloved by the family matriarch. When she died no one wanted it. It was outdated and did not fit with the decor of any of the survivors' homes. But it was such a treasure to her, no one could bare to give it away .

Luckily there was an artist in the family who transformed it. Now it's a treasure in the home of the youngest generation.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Focus on a Life, not Acquisitions

Today's paper had a front page story about something I see all the time - people hanging on to more and more things as they age. Their houses get more and more crowded and they loose the serenity of their shelter.

If you are trying to help aging relatives keep their living space under control, try what  I learned: be a witness to their life. Ask them the story behind each item - where they got it, how they felt. Often after having someone else hear their story, they are ready to let it go.

Then gently ask them who they would want to have it and offer to deliver it for them. You can suggest a relative or close friend, their church, a charity or school. It could be anywhere. I have found that most times just knowing that their possession will have a home makes it easier to part with.

This can be good for both of you. They get a more serene and often safer environment and you get the gift of learning more of their history. You might be surprised!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Evaluate, Eliminate and Integrate: A Home Office

When the kids lived at home, this L-shaped desk area served its purpose. It was the perfect place for them to do homework and play computer games. But with them gone it became the catch-all corner. In this photo it is serving as a sorting area for an upcoming yard sale.

The yard sale prompted the owner to evaluate how the space was used. She eliminated the left desk and integrated the things she wanted to keep. With the desk removed - and when the neatly stacked items awaiting the yard sale are gone - this room will have a lot more floor space, perfect for when the adult kids come to visit.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Scarf Pocket

My friend Terry is a busy woman, running from here to there, carrying things. She needs an extra set of hands. So she had a great idea.

She took this scarf that she always wears...

... folded it in half, stitched a few inches up the sides and created two extra pockets.

Now when her hands are full she always has a spot for her shades and, more importantly, her coffee cup.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Closet Access

The bedroom closet in this new house was smallish and had terrible access. The sliding door blocked half of the very small space and it was frustrating trying to see what was in there.

The owners had four curtain panels on the French doors.

Eventually they decided remove the restrictive, sliding closet doors and repurpose two of the French door panels into new closet "doors."

Now, for the cost of a curtain rod, they have what appears to be matching windows...

 ...and total access to the closet contents.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

rePURPOSING Things: Water Color Box

The art teacher that showed her students this new use for the boxes that housed their used up water colors is educating kids about more than art. Hopefully they will learn to look at alternatives to tossing.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cleaning Out the Cleaning Tools

How many vacuums does one family need? The FIVE that this family had all had different functions. One was for quick clean ups, one for the stairs, one for the rugs, one for the car, one was inherited.

We tossed them all and replaced FIVE with ONE whose features easily worked on quick clean ups, stairs, rugs, car, etc. Reclaimed were storage space and time dealing with them all. Not to mention room in the appliance instruction file!

What do you have multiple versions of that you can let go?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

rePURPOSING Things: T-shirts

This is not a new idea but this is a new example of rePurposing logo t-shirts into a quilt.

This collection of t-shirts commemorates 12 plays produced annually by a summer theater company. The director wore them for the duration of the run and held on to them for sentimental reasons.

As he was downsizing he came across their storage box. Assembling them rag quilt style with fleece as the batting has turned them into a cozy throw full of happy memories. Plus the attractive, useful throw takes up less space than the ugly, bulky box.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

rePURPOSING THINGS: Broken Skateboards

On a nighttime walk this bench caught my eye.

Seeing skaters break their boards at a skatepark the artist got the idea to repurpose them into this colorful and comfortable bench.

During the day the bench lives in front of the Davis Barber Shop, 209 G Street, Davis, California  d strett, Davis California  f you want to try it for yourself

Sunday, March 11, 2012

rePURPOSING Things: Instruments of Violence into Instruments of Beauty

I've posted photos of jewelry made from foreign coins and other unusual materials but this is by far the most hopeful rePurposing I've ever seen.

To know what these anklets are made from you will have to click here and read the post by my friend, Sister Marilyn Lacey. While you are at it, nose around her blog a little and get a sense of the great work she is doing.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

rePURPOSING THINGS: Nuts and Bolts

Sacramento, California, seems to be brimming with whimsical bike racks made from repurposed materials. Here is yet another clever one.

Appropriately, it sits outside a small theater.

The comedy and tragedy masks are made from gears, chain, rebar, railroad nails and more.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tackling a Mess in Stages

This family moved a ton of stuff into their garage temporarily during a remodel. They must have been in a hurry because it appears things were randomly stashed with no attempt to create zones for like items.

The remodel is finished and now they have to move it all back in. What a good opportunity to evaluate, eliminate and integrate their belongings.

We started the move with some big items - the file cabinets above and the clothes racks below - and did it in stages.

Most of the clothes - costumes for theatrical productions - were consolidated into one rack:

Then, after emptying the file cabinets we removed a tall one from the home office closet...

..and replaced it with three smaller, matching ones...

...which in turn inspired the owners to whittle down the costume collection and hang it above these shorter file cabinets.

Project Plus: one pleasing closet with easy to find papers and costumes.

Project Minus: reams of paper, two clothes racks, several bags of clothes and an ugly file cabinet - which I guess makes this a Project Plus.

Check back for the progress on the rest of the garage.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

rePURPOSING Things: Tools, Golf Club and What Else?

Sacramento is brimming with clever  bike racks. Here is a new one on the refurbished R Street Corridor.

I spot a golf club and crescent wrenches. What else do you see?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

rePURPOSING Things: Shipping Containers

This was across 15th Street from Space 4 Art in San Diego's East Village.

It took me a minute to realize that it was a home, complete with courtyard entry.

It fits right into the industrial area and is a fabulous example of large-scale repurposing!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

rePURPOSING Things: Shopping Cart

I am not in any way suggesting you appropriate one from a store but if I found myself the owner of a discarded shopping cart I would most certainly change it into a chair.

I came across this at an art opening in San Diego's East Village. It is remarkably comfortable - all it needs is a little seat cushion to soften the wire grid - and fits the body well. And is it fun! After a few beers it was hard to resist a little roll around.

iPhone photos by Lisa Vella

Sunday, January 29, 2012

rePURPOSING Things: Kitchen Gear

If you have been on your own for awhile you probably have all the kitchen gear and utensils you need. What do you do when someone gives you new ones? 

I love how this home chef used her duplicates to make a lighting statement in her kitchen and honor the giver.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

rePURPOSING Things: Bicycles

I really like this fence at bicycle-themed OneSpeed restaurant in East Sacramento.

Looks as if they used most parts of a bike in it.

And the parts they didn't use for the fence they used for - what else? - a bicycle rack!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

rePURPOSING Things: Legos

Renee is a busy working mom. She was frustrated wasting time looking for a pen and paper when she had to take a note near her phone.  Looking at her kids' Legos she got the idea to make this:

She was able to customize all the compartments she needs with bricks by the cup from the Lego store. You could easily make this using one small brick bucket, about $7. A large bucket is $14.99.  Or just commandeer your kids' Legos.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

rePURPOSING Things: Building Materials

I saw this attractive fence at the office parking lot of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Central Valley in Sacramento, California. At first I didn't realize what materials they used; I just liked the design.

On closer inspection I saw it was rebar & I- beams!  Very clever and perfect for their organization.