Saturday, June 24, 2006


Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle. Having only recently moved in from furnished rental accommodation, we needed to acquire some furniture, more than usual as we also needed to equip our small holiday cottage or gite. The days of finding stylish bargains in French brocantes (second-hand shops) seem to be long gone, in our experience, and what we could find, either new or second-hand, was either too expensive, constructed from undesirable materials such as chipboard or MDF, not to our taste and, frequently, all three!
On the latest of our twice-yearly trips to England to see family and friends, we visited the Brighton & Hove Emmaus returning to France with a van full of solid but cheap furniture. We spent nearly three days sanding then oiling, waxing or painting the items sometimes adding new handles or other bits of trim.
So we’ve repaired and reused somebody’s cast-offs and ended up with some lovely, characterful furniture thanks to Emmaus—click on the link above to find your nearest.
One thing I really miss is the Brighton & Hove Wood recycling project where I used to buy most of my timber. Secondhand is sometimes better: older pine, for example, is usually closer grained, therefore better quality, and untreated. I try to grab any scrap wood I can get my hands on, pulling a really solid pallet out of one of the bins at the municipal tip today, ideal for making things like goose housing, one of the next jobs on my list. Click on this link to find your nearest wood recycling project in the UK … I’m still searching for one here!

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