Up-cycled Kitchens – Save Money and The Planet

I love everything about up-cycling! It’s the designer’s invitation to demonstrate the true scope of their ability and imagination. Any designer can create a great space given an adequate budget – but sadly it the latter doesn’t grow on tress. So what do you do while you’re saving or, if you’re too over-extended to even save for a renovation?

Kathy Venabble Thidodeaux Decor for the Home Pinterest

Kitchens and baths are amongst the most desired, costly and labor intensive renos out there. The image above demonstrates several smart mechanic to save while dressing the kitchen to impress.

1) I love the idea – the piece was probably an heirloom. I think if I had done this, I might have opted to utilize the color of the cabinetry,and the soft caramel tone left to to avoid that awkward – wait a second – processing moment, so the viewer would cut to the – OK, I get it; this is great – moment. The scale is a little high, but the look, function and savings are spot on – and after all, that is the challenge of up-cycling; making the most of what you have!

2) An island-sized piece of granite may set you back for less than you think – a granite yard may be able to customize a scrap for you for the price of the edge you choose.

Vintage stoves like this one (left) the kitchen (above) that complete the look can really set you back – the one at left, completely restored at antiqueappliances.com is selling for $6400 – and forget those custom baking settings – since you’re paying more the cost of a lux range you have to prioritize lifestyle vs look. But if it’s the look you love, you can keep an eye open for a vintage diamond in the rough and have it cleaned up locally. I had a chance at a gorgeous ‘30’s turquoise stove (this one is just like it!!!)once for a song and have regretted passing it up for 10 years! The stove that got away…..

3) There are loads of moldings here, but they are not custom and may not be wood. Custom moldings eat up a kitchen budget – moldings on ceilings and crowns do not needs to be wood, and experience no wear. Why not save?

Do you have a wood sub-floor in your kitchen (or elsewhere)? What have you guys been learning all last week? COLOR! Yes, I know this is a rug – but the great pattern can easily translate onto a wood floor, and that oak tone could be the actual wood in places where it’s in better shape.

a great painted wood floor – image via indulgy

If you don’t feel comfort masking out a pattern, don’t forget Kate Spade‘s Florida boutique floor from last week’s color notes – just stay within the lines!

painted floor from Kate Spade’s Miami boutique – image Ish and Chi blog

Garage sales are great places to commandeer fabulous finds with great bones.

image via baeumchen.tumblr.com

This is staged of course; open glass doors are for people who have time to dust, which let’s face it……but imagine these items defining a color palette and spread about an eat-in kitchen!

A cabinet up-cycled with paint n- image via indulgy

I have been seen upon occasion on large-trash hauling days, trying to stuff cast-offs into an unwilling vehicle whose design defies garbage picking – but it’s worth it! Saving a piece with potential from the land fills helps everyone – and up-cycling trash is a way of spinning straw into hand-made treasure!

Garden Flowers with thrift finds – image via indulgy

Floral arrangements can style any space into a magazine cover! Don’t have a floral budget? If you are not in an urban setting, pick some road-side flowers – sweet-peas, Queen Anne’s lace, Indian paint brush, and butter and eggs look as lovely as they sound!

image via indulgy

No, I am not advocating live poultry to imbue country-kitchen atmosphere – but using shelf paper to extend the life of vintage surfaces works – as do paper bird cut-outs, which can be long lived by the simple expedient of laminating them for under $10 at Kinko’s.

This up-cycled Oregon kitchen proves yet again the virtues of simple white subway tile, and vintage finds or heirlooms.

up-cycled kitchen via oregonlive3 blog

…and the rules of design that always work, reapplied to things that have been gently loved and made all the warmer than things that come out of a new box.

Another view – up-cycled Oregon kitchen – image via oregonlive blog

Old is the new lifestyle chic – relax and have fun!

About Kimberly Latimer

My background is in fine arts. In addition to residential work in interior design, I have designed both product and packaging for childrens' retail products at Disney's Animal Kingdom and Natural History Museums in the US and Canada. I am an expert in color and my style embraces color, art and up-cycling for a green edge to design.
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2 Responses to Up-cycled Kitchens – Save Money and The Planet

  1. I love this. Why yes, that was me holding on to a cast off bankers desk in the back of a small SUV. There is a tile and granite place not too far away and I saw the coolest granite counter – It was broken – the customer was “pitching a fit” and a lady was very patiently standing behind him. The salesperson took the irate customer to the back and the patient lady asked the other salesperson – how much for that broken piece? $50.00!!! delivered! – She took it as was (it was just the end that was broken). She said it would be perfect for her future kitchen island. I loved it – almost as much as your blog. Thanks Kimberly.

    • WOW! I LOVE salvage stories, almost as much as up-cycled spaces – and I have found that $50 seems to be the standard broken price. If you like re-doing furnishings, you should know about Isabelle O’neil’s bible of tromp loi’el surfaces: http://www.amazon.com/Painted-Finish-Furniture-Decoration-Impersonators/dp/0688060706 – but beware! Japan paint should only be used outdoors; petric acid cannot be stored (it becomes volatile with age and has to be removed by an explosives expert and no, I’m not kidding) and I have substituted “flatting oil” with 100% soy cooking oil :-) Faux finishing is not for cissies!

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