|Written by Vivian McInerny|
|Tuesday, January 10, 2012|
Page 5: remix
Transforming an old door into a dining table may be all good and green. But the reason such repurposing projects have taken off may be less altruistic and more selfish: We want our spaces to be personal. In this era of global design, you can travel halfway around the world only to find yourself sitting in a house that looks as alarmingly familiar as a doppelgänger. The up-cycle, repurpose or remix trend is pushback to the anonymity of low-cost mass-produced furniture and feeds the creative impulse.
In Oregon, Rejuvenation, The Rebuilding Center, Arciform, Hammer & Hand, Schoolhouse Electric and others have worked to preserve what we have and bring new life to old structures and pieces in imaginative ways.
Home Economics of Grants Pass worked with client Laurel Walters in Phoenix, Ore., to create a space that reflects her creative work in the film and photo styling industry, and suits her life-embracing personality.
“Laurel is energetic, colorful and funny — she’s led several lives including stints working with Francis Ford Coppola,” says DeWayne Lumpkin, owner of Home Economics. Cookie cutter wouldn’t cut it. They found a hardware store metal nail bin to hold odds and ends in the living room, movie marquee letters that spell out LEFT, and constructed a coffee table top from a metal tree grate with legs from old tractor parts. An oversized bowl on top of the table was created from a wooden foundry mold.
Arciform in Portland helped a client panel a ceiling with old cabinet doors, complete with doorknobs, and also transformed a metal shipping container into a tiny, wood-paneled cabin. Portland’s City Home & Antiques is refashioning a wooden church confessional into a dressing room for a shop.
Even chain stores are responding to customers’ interest in the rare or unique by adding refurbished antiques to the mix. Williams Sonoma offers dining tables made from repurposed wood so that each has a unique time-worn patina. It’s the ultimate oxymoron — mass-produced uniqueness — and looks beautiful.
The rare reclaimed and repurposed item can be provocative buttoo much of a good thing makes a very bad room. It requires an artist’s eye and sophisticated restraint to keep from tipping into “Keep Oregon Weird” territory.