Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Home Improvement Projects from Reused and Upcycled Materials

Over the past couple months, Matt and I have been completing a few minor home improvement updates, upgrades and modernizations to our rental apartment. One of the most important upgrades we have made has been the mattress topper that we replaced.

Since I am not only a Greenie but a novice seamstress as well, it only seemed right to do something functional with the old one. After all, just because it had outlived its useful life on top of the bed, did not mean it could not be turned into a wonderfully functional addition to a couple areas around our home.

All I had to do was cut it up!

This bench seat came from my grandparent’s home. It was originally designed as a phone table due to the attached shelf. We placed it in a small nook in our mudroom and hung my Van Gogh “Starry Night” print above it but it just didn’t feel homey; I knew there was unlimited potential for this space.

We decided on a beach theme since both of us are beach lovers so I wanted a fabric for the cushion that would help draw attention away from the somewhat yucky vinyl floor. With a perfect sized scrap left over from a prior project, I set out to create the seat cushion.

After taking a basic measurement of the seat opening, I cut the foam to match. I then cut each fabric piece at ½ inch larger than the foam on all sides and stitched all but a three inch opening on one of the seams. The seams were pressed open and turned right side out, foam was inserted and using an inside stitch the opening was closed.

The vase was acquired at a discounted irregulars shop and the grasses are faux so they will last for ages. The sand came from a garden supply center and the blown glass starfish was a birthday gift this past June. Matt and I had taken a ride to a favorite beach spot and collected a whole slew of rocks. I also snapped a few photos of the ocean while we were there and one was pretty enough to frame.


We plan to acquire more rocks to fill in the rest of the corner behind the vase, as well as the strip of missing flooring at the far back wall and I will likely stain the bench to match the frame color.

It is true that almost all of these items are newly purchased and only the components of the cushion were reclaimed, but every time we walk in the back door now it is like we are in our own little beach sanctuary. It is calming and relaxing and that is the main thing we were going for. We both love it and know it is a design that will last through the years in our home; and it was all inspired by creating a cushion out of reclaimed materials from the hand me down bench.

Luckily however, I will find about 100 other uses for the foam pad…

The first of these projects will be as cushioning for 5 chairs around the house -- my sewing chair (being recovered) and our 4 kitchen chairs (which will be covered for the first time and using a painted drop cloth for the fabric. I will report on that one soon!)

What outdated materials have you breathed new life into?

**Please note our house is completely out of level and plumb so unfortunately everything is a little crooked.

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