REPOST: Sustainable homeware: pretty, practical and upcycled – in pictures

Recycled and reclaimed materials have come a long way since their appearance in design and interiors. This article features home furniture and goods that blend function and environmental preservation in their design.

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A clean, functional design that is made entirely from the reclaimed handes of brooms, rakes and shovels. The contours of the seat and backrest reveal clean wood grain, which, matched with the clean white lines of the legs, creates a modern design that belies the humble origins of the material (Folklore, £185).

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A pared-back, elegant design made from 3-ply sustainably sourced birchwood. The shade produces a warm, natural glow when used with an energy saving lightbulb. For £20 less, you can order the same design in recyclable polypropylene (Ecocentric, £40.60).

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These stylish storage solutions are made from soft polymer felt composed of recycled plastic bottles. Great for stashing magazines, toys or shoes, they come in a range of muted colours – an artful accent to any interior (Twentytwentyone, £69).

Click here to view the whole article.

This is Elizabeth Lesar, green furniture and design enthusiast. For more articles and resources on eco-conscious design and sustainability, follow this blog.


REPOST: DIY Beautiful Barn Wood Arrow

Fancy crafting a unique wood décor for the bare walls of your home? DIY a wood arrow from barn wood pieces! Parade Magazine provides the easy steps to do so below.

I have a special place in my heart for barn wood. I love everything about it; the character, the texture, the history and the look. Pair it with galvanized metal and you have a match made in heaven. I think the two materials fit so well together that I wanted to incorporate them in this arrow project.

I really wanted this arrow to be substantial and three-dimensional. We had a couple of barn wood pieces in the garage that would enable us to make a five foot arrow. Perfect size.

To start the project, I drew the shape of the arrow I had in my mind on the back of the barn wood. Then, my husband came in and measured it to make it all symmetrical.

After all the measurements were done, I went over the pencil lines with chalk to see what we were going to end up with. I was already excited.

To make the arrow three-dimensional, my husband cut the scrap barn wood from cutting out the arrow at 1 3/4″ to use as the sides.

We used a nail gun to attach the front of the arrow to the sides.

To incorporate some galvanized metal to this arrow, I used this piece below that I have been saving for a rainy day.

What is that thing, you ask? It was a piece off of an old bird feeder that prevented squirrels from getting to the feeder. I kept it because I loved the weathered look it had and I knew I could use it for something. Now, it is going to become the sides to my barn wood arrow! I love it when a plan comes together like that.

To get the metal on the sides of the arrow, we measured and cut the metal to size with a jigsaw (fit with a metal blade). We didn’t have enough metal to fit the entire arrow in one piece, but I didn’t mind it being “patched” together.

In the end, we didn’t have that much “patching”. We were able to get all sides of the arrow covered in just five strips of metal. As you can see, it was easy to bend and mold the thin metal around the edges and corners of the arrow to get a good, tight fit.

I am over the moon with my arrow! It is so much fun to see an idea come to reality.

This barn wood arrow came together better than I imagined. Being able to take items that are destined for the landfill and repurposing them into beautiful pieces for your space is so rewarding.

Challenging your creativity and making one-of-a-kind pieces with little to no money spent makes “repurposing” a DIYer’s favorite tool.

Elizabeth Lesar is an amateur woodworker who dreams of making it big in the wood furniture industry someday. Find more woodworking projects on this blog.

REPOST: Timber! New York City’s own wood whisperer Paul Kruger turns knocks down trees into chic decor

Reclaiming wood from old houses and construction sites can be tedious, but the resulting carbon-reduced eco-furniture from the process is its own reward. This article talks about a custom furniture designer in New York who salvages fallen trees instead of second-hand lumber and uses them to make stylish, one-of-a-kind green furniture.

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Call him the wood whisperer.


Custom furniture designer Paul Kruger spends his days in Riverside Park, tracking down timber that has washed up from the Hudson River or fallen from trees. When he finds what he’s looking for, he hauls it home in a shopping cart.


“People look at me like I have three heads,” says Kruger.


But when the 33-year-old gets the wood back to his Upper West Side apartment and showroom, and eventually his Brooklyn workshop, he transforms the pieces into pricey tables, shelves, desks and lamps custom-made for clients.

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Not before getting a few splinters, though, along with some scolding. On one recent outing — as Kruger was walking slowly along Riverside Park’s bike path to meticulously survey the Hudson’s edge for wood — he was almost run over by bikers, who yelled at him to get out of the way.


But that didn’t deter him.


“Nature was always interesting to me because, growing up, I didn’t have much of it,” says Kruger, who was born and raised on the Upper West Side.


His business, Fallen Industry, is named for the fact that Kruger doesn’t chop down any trees, but instead only uses materials already cut by others or knocked down by nature. After Superstorm Sandy, he had a lot of wood to work with thanks to fallen trees.

He even saves the scraps from his own projects. “I make coasters out of Christmas tree stumps,” Kruger says. “And when we have extra wood left over from a table, typically I will throw in some coasters.”

Kruger started wood-carving as a therapeutic technique when he was going through a “rough patch” several years ago, juggling the hobby with jobs in advertising and bartending. But in 2012, he expanded from sculptures to bookshelves and started to gain a high-end clientele.

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“I’m a wood hoarder,” says the sculptor, who has a degree in visual arts and has watched more than 5,000 YouTube videos featuring carpenters at work. To perfect his design skills, Kruger also had to take a few math classes to refresh his memory of fractions, angles and degrees.


His unique, eco-friendly pieces were a selling point for Upper West Side couple Nicole Moore and Jim Fenyohazi.


“We wanted something that spoke to our commitment to the environment and recycling,” Moore says. “To be able to have a table that came from a tree that has fallen and given a second life made sense to us.”


But the couple had dissenting views on their dream table, made from a 12-foot-long section of a tree.


“Nicole was looking for a wider table with a matte finish, I wanted something glossy,” says Fenyohazi of their 8-foot-long walnut wood table that cost a little under $5,000 with wood from New Hampshire.


Kruger played meditator in his clients’ specific requests and even named their table “The Compromise.”


To craft it, the walnut wood was milled, kiln-dried, smoothed, shaped, joined, butterflied and sanded. To give the wood a sparkling bite and protect it from damage, Kruger used two coats of a “secret” glaze.


For Moore and Fenyohazi’s vision of modern meets nature, Kruger used a stainless steel base for the table, made with modern carbon steel.

“It meant a lot to us,” says Moore. “He was able to recycle a beautiful part of nature and bring it into our home.”


But for Kruger, work feels more like he’s living the pages of his favorite book as a teen, “Into the Wild.” Only now he gets to play with chain saws, too.


“It’s exciting for a city kid.”

This is Elizabeth Lesar – eco-warrior princess, sustainability buff, and DIY queen. Read more about green projects and environmental topics I’m interested in my blog.

Painting your green furniture shabby chic

Getting just the right distressed, vintage look on your restored furniture takes some time and effort. Here are a few tips to follow to achieve the perfect shabby chic finish on your upcycled wood project.

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Strip and sand off the current finish

Use paint stripper and a chip brush and work on removing all visible vestiges of old paint from the surface of your project piece. A brass brush and putty knife help for hard-to-reach corners.

Follow this up with two rounds of sandpaper to smoothen and prep your wood surface. Protect your eyes by wearing googles or a mask while stripping and sanding.

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Prime and paint

After choosing your desired colors, apply an appropriate shade of primer to your wooden furniture. This primer serves as a base to your chosen paint colors. After two coats of primer, sand off your project piece in spots that show wear over time.

Apply many light coats of your main color to the piece, then dry overnight. Play with various brush strokes to create texture, applying extra coats to spots you’ve chosen to show. Use sandpaper to lightly sand off the furniture evenly, making sure to expose more in your “wear” spots.

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Wax on, wax off

Apply clear wax or satin lacquer as a polish over the paint and let it dry overnight. Apply three to five coats, taking care not to rush the drying before reapplying process.

This is Elizabeth Lesar, college student and eco-warrior princess. Green projects and upcycling are a way of life for me, as my dream is to someday open a shop of bespoke green furniture. I share my visual ideas often on Pinterest.

Five ideas for homemade furniture polish

Most store-bought wood polishes contain harmful toxins that we allow to reign free in our homes. Fortunately, we can protect our lungs and bodies by eschewing these chemical cocktails completely. The following are some all-natural wood polish recipes for keeping your wood furniture clean, tidy, and super glossy, while maintaining amazing indoor air quality.

Lemon juice and olive oil

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Lemon juice has antibacterial and antiseptic qualities, whereas olive oil moisturizes and lubricates the wood, leaving a beautiful lustre and sheen. Mix one half cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice and one cup of olive oil, put in a thick liquid dispenser, and use liberally on your hardwood floors and furniture.

White vinegar and jojoba oil

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An all-purpose natural cleanser, white vinegar deodorizes and disinfects hardwood by pulling dirt out, while jojoba oil lubricates, moisturizes, and leaves a great natural shine just like regular wax does. Mix together one fourth cup of vinegar and ten drops of jojoba oil, then apply with a non-abrasive cloth when polishing.

Vanilla extract, orange, olive oil

The citric acid in oranges is a great disinfectant for wood, while the oil in orange peels is a safe solvent. Vanilla provides a light, milky scent, while olive oil polishes, protects, and lubricates wood items. Mix together the freshly squeezed juice of an orange, one cup of light olive oil, and three drops of vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into a wide mouthed bottle. Cut the orange peel into long narrow strips and insert into bottle to soak in mixture.

I’m Elizabeth Lesar, and I’m a college student and eco-warrior. I love sustainability, DIY culture, and green furniture and want to open my own shop of bespoke, eco-friendly home pieces someday. For more of my eco-oriented thoughts, updates, or opinions, follow this blog.