The Unexpected Beauty Created by Upcycling

There can be so much unexpected beauty and reward found in an old piece of furniture. It always astonishes me what you can create with a little DIY imagination.

Habitat ReStore has a great selection of vintage and almost new furnishings, tools, and fixtures. I could easily spend an afternoon spotting what could be one-of-a-kind showstoppers if given a little added DIY flair. Perhaps the greatest reward from shopping at the ReStore is that proceeds go towards local Habitat for Humanity home building projects.

Often when I “makeover” a piece of furniture, I look at it for quite a few hours to get an idea of its shape, unique features, carvings and details. Ideally, every piece made over should have some kind of “wow” detail – something that makes it look extra, special, or custom.

Photo by Nicholas Rosaci

One of my favourite transformations was an almost brand new vanity desk (from Habitat Restore) in a simple but typical white melamine like finish. The desk was calling me to give it some real fashion from the moment I saw it. The finished result was inspired by one of the most famous fashion icons, Princess Diana, and in particular her black, white and red Moschino ensemble she wore on a visit to Canada in the 1990’s.

Photo by Nicholas Rosaci

One easy detail in particular that I loved on the vanity was the gold edging around the drawers and vanity top. I taped off the areas with masking tape to expose only areas I wanted gold and then sprayed the area with a rich Rust-Oleum metallic gold paint. The black/white and red/white houndstooth patterns may be a bit tedious to hand draw and paint but I think it was very well worth the effort. Alternatively, you can source a stencil pattern to make it easier.

I always paint the inside drawers of a piece to reveal a dramatic colour and where ever possible I like to make or use unique hardware such as artful perfume bottle caps used as stunning knobs or pulls.

There is a great satisfaction that comes from making it yourself – whether removing old fabric from a dining chair seat and re-upholstering it in a chic new print or quickly painting an old wood dresser with a bright colour to add a burst of new life. No matter the style of your home, a hand painted piece or cool “upcycle” project is a must have and can be a real showcase of your personality (and mad DIY skills), especially if it turns out really awesome – which, of course it will! I believe in you.

You can check out my latest “Upcycle Challenge” makeover along with others from some of the country’s most imaginative designers and style makers at this years Toronto Fall Home Show. Make a bid on your fave transformation and transform lives of others at the same time!

Nicholas Rosaci
Nicholas is an award winning designer who you have seen on CityLine, he is also the Canadian Home Trends Magazine DIY Editor and Principal Designer at Nicholas Rosaci Interiors.

Check out Nicholas and his tips for upcycling a special piece found at the Habitat GTA ReStore.

Upcycle Tips and Tricks With Nicholas Rosaci


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