Creating a more sustainable home often involves thinking, more than anything else. Considering what you really need, what you can use that you already have, what is out there secondhand, what could be upcycled or used in a unique way. It is about planning and thinking outside the square a little. Hilary wanted to sort out her laundry and needed something better than the hammer-lock shelves and plastic tubs she already had. She has a huge laundry, but as it is also her sewing room she needs the space! For a time, she had assumed she would just add built-in cabinetry, to match what is already in there, but it wasn’t in her budget right now. The more she thought about alternatives, the more she realised that she didn’t want built-ins because they reduce flexibility, require new materials and lack charm.
“There are plenty of vintage and antique free-standing wardrobes about on Gumtree and eBay, as not many people need them now. So I set about finding one (or two!) It’s not quite what I ended up with, but I just adore the result and wanted to share it with you” says Hilary.
She already had the table and chest of drawers, which she uses to store yarn and rolls of wrapping paper. The old ironing board was from a deceased estate and she has had it since she moved out of home 20 years ago. “Although I do a lot of sewing, my grandmother-in-laws old machine still works well. Even the washing basket is an old one from my mum!” she says.
What brought it all together and gave Hilary the storage she needed was the spectacular kitchen cabinet. She found it on Gumtree from a local home, where it had been for the last 72 years!! After a clean with hot soapy water, she buffed it up with a tinted beeswax polish. And it is just perfect! (And a perfect price of $450.)
Hilary made use of all the tins and big jars she had accumulated over the years. The benefit of the old kitchen cupboard is that it isn’t deep, like built-ins tend to be. Perfect for all the tins and jars, now filled with haberdashery and notions.
Hilary says this exercise in thinking outside the square and using existing vintage items has made her appreciate that there really are alternatives to built-in cabinetry. Although it took her a few months to find the right piece of furniture, she has retained flexibility for the future, a few thousand dollars that built-ins would have cost, and saved the planet from unnecessary new materials. The old shelves have found a more appropriate home in the garage too.
What an inspiring makeover! If you want to share your home or just a project like Hilary, please get in touch and head on over to join our Facebook page and group here. Be sure to sign up for our real homes newsletter for all the regular tips and inspiration and our Instagram here.