To reintroduce and restyle, first restrict

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

If you don’t your home will look more likely than not like a junk shop

Marta Gold

Designer Rosalyn Lazaruk refinished an outdoor bench in the garage of her Edmonton home.

“Re” has become the latest style buzzword for an Edmonton designer — as in reuse, repurpose and recycle to revamp the old, reintroducing it into a restyled home.

“People aren’t really wanting to reinvent their whole house,” says Rosalyn Lazaruk. “They’re just wanting to incorporate a few trends, figure out how they can use what they have and maybe make it new again, upcycle it, or sell it to purchase something new that they want. I think that has a lot to do with the economy.”

Lazaruk’s inspiration comes from her support for Habitat for Humanity and its ReStores across Canada, which raise funds for the charitable organization by reselling used home furnishings, fixtures and building materials.

The curious, unique mix that results from this upcycling fits perfectly with the current design trends, she adds.

“That’s what’s so fantastic about design right now. We’re really taking a look back at all the different design trends over the last 20, 30 or 40 years.

“We’re looking at mid-century modern pieces being paired with even some shabby chic pieces that were more of a ’90s trend, so really mixing design esthetics so that you show your personal style out of it, which is really awesome, because, then, every space is unique and not cookie-cutter.”

Lazaruk says she’s seeing many of her clients following this “upcycle” trend, as well as becoming fans of flea-market and antique shopping, something that has long been popular in eastern provinces, but has not, until now, found much favour on the Prairies. “People are finally catching on to that here, that if you put a little TLC into something old, it can be better than new.”

For her display at an Edmonton home show, Lazaruk has taken an outdoor bench and refinished it for use as a bench alongside a dining room table.

She has used glass shelving from a broken-down wall unit and installed it as a backsplash in the kitchen. A roll of copper nails intended for a nail gun will be turned into an art installation on the wall, she says.

For do-it-yourselfers, here are some of Lazaruk’s easy tips on how best to reuse, repurpose and upcycle:

– Don’t jump on the bandwagon by transforming your entire home into an eclectic mix of styles that make it look more like a junk shop than a living space. Incorporate a few new pieces, but try to be creative in their use, she suggests.

“Maybe your nightstand actually works better as a side table beside your couch, or the lamps that are in your dining room … work better in your living room,” Lazaruk says. “It can be as simple as moving things around your house and really feeling the sense of how it works.”

Be mindful of the scale and lines of the furniture, more so than the colour or era, she adds. Don’t pair a sleek chair with an overstuffed sofa. Keep things on a similar scale so no one thing overwhelms the others.

– Play with colour. “A lot of clients I have did go out and invest in quality furniture in neutral colours, and they bought the sofa, the loveseat and the matching chair. And now that we’re looking at more of this eclectic design style, they don’t want to get rid of those pieces, but how do they make it a bit more their own?” Toss in throw pillows, area rugs, artwork and small pieces of furniture in punchy, bright colours, says Lazaruk.

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How to repurpose . . .

– Brass light fixtures from the ’60s and ’70s

“Those sorts of ornate styles are in, but the metals are different or the colours are different,” says Rosalyn Lazaruk.

Get them professionally sprayed in chrome, or do it yourself with Rustoleum spray paint, which now comes in fabulous colours. Replace the shades with a more contemporary drum shade.

– Ornate dining room chandelier

Spray-paint it hot pink and hang it in a girl’s bedroom, or spray it high-gloss black for a sleek, new dining-room fixture. “Really think about how just changing the colour or the shades or the crystals on it can reinvent it for a really fun and playful space.”

– A small dresser

Use it in the entry hall for mitts, keys, etc. Put it in the bathroom for storing towels. Paint it a fun colour, or, if you like the wood, change the hardware. “I’ve wallpapered the tops of dressers and just added a custom-cut sheet of glass to the top to jazz it up,” says Lazaruk.

– A door

Add ornate legs and make a dining-room table.

– A small dining table

Cut down the legs for a new coffee table

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