Recycle, Re-use, Renew

Our monthly bank statement arrived last week. I was horrified to see that there were almost one thousand dollars in credit card charges for stuff that I have bought for the new house in the past month. Naturally my first thought was, I have GOT to stop spending like a crazed lunatic!  But as I tried to recall just exactly what I had spent that money on, I realized that I’ve managed to furnish an entire house  with second hand or recycled furnishings and decorations, and with quite a bit of DIY for about 2000 dollars, tops.  I don’t think that one or two thousand dollars is really all that much when it comes to equipping and furnishing a previously empty 2000 sq. foot house. (Got that, hubby?) it’s actually quite reasonable and now I’m totally feeling like I should pat myself on the back.  For example, the living room sofa and chairs set used to belong to my oldest daughter. I had bought them for her as a Christmas gift several years ago when she had attempted to live on her own for a time, in a rented place with a room mate.  It was just an inexpensive living room set that cost about 200 dollars locally, brand new. After she decided to move back home, they were put in our storage room as nobody had any use for them. And there they stayed gathering dust. After giving them a good washing to get rid of the dust and the cat hairs I took them up to the new house and put them in my living room. I put a doily on the arm to cover up the cigarette burn that one of her friends (of course!) managed make on it .

The tacky little tables that had come with this set were reupholstered and turned into ottomans for the second floor sitting room. The wool area rug in front of the fireplace used to be in our city house but our elderly Schnauzer had taken to peeing on it every single morning. She was relentless. I figured that mostly for the carpet’s sake, it would be better to take it up to the other house as well.  The black laquered coffee table in the living room used to be our tv table but when we changed our huge heavy tv sets for wall mounted flat screens, I was stuck with left over tv tables. So up to the new house they went  too, and now they serve as coffee and side tables. The ash buckets next to the fireplace used to be (free) beer buckets that I just painted in different colors.

The colorful barstools at the breakfast counter used to be black. They were a bargain buy at our local home improvement center for less than 20 dollars each. I spray painted them and covered the seats with colorful fabrics. The dining room set was a second hand mahogany set that I found in our local “mercadolibre dot com” (a Latin American Ebay type site) same goes for two side chairs and some mirrors that I purchased.

Two re-upholstered side chairs that I bought second hand from a seller nearby

This solid wood Italian dresser was purchased from a neighbor who was selling several pieces of his mother’s old furniture that she had brought over from Italy. It was in perfect condition with just a minor scratch or two on the top of it. Nothing that a little bit of Old English Scratch Cover couldn’t handle. The oil painting above it was painted for me by a Colombian painter years ago. It was leaning against a wall for years, unhung, collecting cobwebs and dust. I was finally able to find a use for it.

Orb alert

All the lamps in the house were purchased at the Chinese store. Many of them were just bare skeletons, greatly reduced in price, which I re-strung  with Asfour crystals that I purchased on Ebay. All of the beds were rescued from years of storage and neglect. They are now re-laquered and re-used.

I had two of these twin beds in storage. They were the very first beds I ever bought for my sons when they were little. Both boys are all grown up and married now, but I couldn’t bear to part with the beds. They’re made out of solid Ecuadorian Cow-Tree wood and after almost three decades they only needed a bit of sanding and re-varnishing. Now my daughters have them in their rooms. Two identical solid wood Italian night tables were purchased second hand from my Italian neighbor. They were in almost new condition

The bed is a hand carved (but fairly inexpensive) Guayacan wood bed that we bought in Ecuador many years ago. I had loaned it to one of my sisters in law temporarily. When she finally returned it (ten years later) it was quite deteriorated, beat up and had gashes in the wood. It really looked like someone had chewed on it. Fortunately I was able to have it repaired at a very reasonable price. Today it looks almost as good as new. Lesson learned: Never lend anyone your beds.

An old plastic patio set was repainted in bright colors for the balcony. The refrigerator and the three flat screen tvs were free prizes that we won from the national “Imperial” beer company for volume of sales in our store. The little stainless steel stove came from my daughter’s apartment, almost brand new because she has an aversion to cooking. I had bought it for her a few years ago at a “seconds” outlet.  A seconds outlet here is an appliance store that sells imperfect (but brand new) appliances for less than half price. I’ll buy a better fitting stove in the future, but for now this little one will do very nicely.

As I looked around the whole house I realized that it’s pretty much fully furnished and  decorated, yet I have not even spent 2000 dollars on it.  I have the sudden urge to quote Martha Stewart….2000 dollars for an entire house???  That is a GOOD THING! And then some….


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6 thoughts on “Recycle, Re-use, Renew

  1. As we said money come and go but wats remain is this soooooooooo wounderful amazing things u made and did in ur home . thx for posting this beautiful pictures , u gave them new beautiful life . GOD save ur home and make u and ur family enjoy it .

  2. Damn, you’re nothing short of a miracle-worker! For a similar amount of money, I managed to get one of my balconies to look decent. You’ve transformed an entire house and made it exquisite!

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