A Tale of Creativity and Sustainability
It was this time last year when Vinterior, the well-known online marketplace for pre-owned furniture, reached out to us with an invitation that left us humbled and excited. We were selected, along with Chloe Kempster Design and Pato Interiors, for a special campaign with Farrow & Ball, the renowned manufacturer of paints and wallpapers.
The mission? To showcase Farrow & Ball's 11 newly launched colours in a unique way by revitalizing pre-owned furniture. This collaboration was a celebration of creativity, sustainability, and the timeless appeal of vintage pieces.THE FARROW & BALL AND VINTERIOR COLLABORATION
Vinterior's devotion to all things vintage perfectly aligns with Farrow & Ball's rich history of crafting exceptional paints and wallpapers. Together, these two distinguished companies with the help of the three chosen artists, embarked on a journey to breathe new life into pre-owned furniture, offering a fresh perspective on sustainability and style.
The goal was to inspire individuals to embrace furniture refinishing as a means to preserve the environment, promoting the idea that older pieces can be reimagined to exceed the charm and aesthetics of mass-produced mediocre furniture.
The resulting collection from the artists involved reflects the diversity and richness of vintage furniture. It spans a wide range of styles, from the elegant Art Deco and timeless farmhouse aesthetics to more contemporary designs. Each item was carefully selected, painstakingly upcycled, and lovingly restored using Farrow & Ball’s Modern Eggshell paint. The collaboration provided an opportunity to not only showcase the versatility of Farrow & Ball's paint but also highlight the intrinsic beauty of the chosen pieces and the importance of creative reuse.OUR SELECTION
We handpicked five distinct pieces that exemplify the Farrow & Ball paint's adaptability while accentuating the inherent charm of our furniture. I particularly adore the combination of natural wood, especially walnut, with paint. These pieces, though in good but not perfect condition, presented an excellent opportunity to restore and enhance them, showcasing their natural beauty in part as it would have appeared when they were first created.
HOW TO SPOT THE PERFECT PIECE FOR UPCYCLING
Partway through these projects, Vinterior interviewed us and asked, "How do you spot the perfect piece for upcycling?" My response encapsulated our passion for breathing new life into old, well-crafted pieces: "What is perfect for one person isn't perfect for another. I love acquiring broken items that I can repair and restore, revealing stunning wood grains. I thrive on finding items that can be repurposed with the help and support of my partner, James. Recently, we've transformed a lifeless piano into a drinks bar, converted large bedside tables into a child's seat and bookshelf, and we are currently working on an old harmonium with the vision of turning it into a striking desk. At the heart of it, every piece you choose must have 'good bones.' It's the reason they have stood the test of time, a testament rarely said of much modern, mass-produced furniture."
THE MAGIC OF RESTORATION
Our commitment to excellence extends beyond paint selection. All our pieces undergo meticulous preparation and internal treatment at completion with a natural balm boasting a delicate citrus scent. This not only imparts a beautiful aroma but also rejuvenates and revitalizes the wood. This wood balm is available for purchase directly from HuntersMoon Workshop and finds multiple uses around the home, including leather polishing and stainless steel cleaning. It's also a very good moisturiser for your hands as it doesn't contain any harsh chemicals.
One of my personal favourites in our collection is the Kidney Shaped Desk / Dressing Table. When I found this piece, it had four wobbly Queen Anne legs, damaged veneer at the edges, cracked varnish, and huge variations in colour on its top. It had seen better days, to say the least.
I embarked on its transformation journey by stripping it of its original finish with my trusty Festool sanding kit. I then applied two coats of Farrow & Ball's Dark Tones Primer, followed by four coats of Beverly, a clean forest green. The top and drawers were stripped to reveal the stunning grain of the curl walnut veneer, which I treated with Osmo Topoil in satin, perfectly complementing the smooth finish of Farrow & Ball's Modern Eggshell paint with its subtle sheen.
FOUR DRAWER CHEST OF DRAWERS IN DUSKY PINK AND BURR WALNUT
Pink is currently en vogue in contemporary settings, and I saw an opportunity to once again embrace this trend with my "Cameo, furniture by Sklan" chest of drawers. This piece featured Queen Anne legs and had missing and damaged veneer, as well as only three fixed legs… making it a candidate for a complete overhaul and repair.
I applied Farrow & Ball's Mid Tones Primer and followed it with three coats of Templeton Pink, a warm and dusky shade from the Modern Eggshell range. The top of the unit and the four drawer fronts were fully stripped and treated with Osmo oil to display the stunning grain of the quarter-cut, burr walnut veneer, beautifully accentuated by the pink borders.
VINTAGE LINEN CUPBOARD STORAGE IN CREAM AND WALNUT
While green had not been a personal favourite of mine, recent years have seen it grow on me. The opportunity to use Eddy for the linen cupboard and Beverly for the dressing table was too enticing to pass up. This versatile cupboard provided ample storage for linens but could just as easily serve as a drinks cabinet or a stunning hallway unit and I felt that a soft neutral colour would be perfect.
The storage cupboard was hand-painted with Farrow & Ball's White and Light Tones primer, followed by multiple coats of Eddy, a calm soft green from the Modern Eggshell range. Farrow & Ball describes it as "a delicate tone without crossing into pastel and sits at the lightest end of the greens." The top of the unit, double doors, and drawer fronts were fully stripped to showcase the walnut veneer's stunning grain, with borders to highlight, and treated with Osmo oil.
FOUR DRAWER CHEST OF DRAWERS IN DARK BLUE AND TIGER OAK
Jo’s penchant for various shades of blue whether that be cobalt, muted or dark led her to choose "Wine Dark" for her chest of drawers. This deep blue shade from Farrow & Ball's new range perfectly complemented the wood finish on the drawer fronts.
She applied Farrow & Ball's Dark Tones Primer and followed it with the deep rich blue after two coats. The four drawer fronts were fully stripped to display the stunning grain of the tiger oak veneer, further highlighted by hardwood oil.
VINTAGE WARDROBE TALLBOY IN CHARCOAL GREY AND WALNUT
Dark grey was a natural choice for my vintage double door wardrobe; having painted and restored many of these over the years, I often lean towards darker colours which seem popular for pieces like this as they fit in with both bedroom and hallway decor. In fantastic condition, it only required a thorough cleaning and stripping of the original finish with no repairs.
After two coats of Primer in Dark Tones, I hand-painted it with Farrow & Ball's Hopper Head, a charcoal grey from their Modern Eggshell range. The door fronts displayed the stunning grain of the quarter-cut walnut veneer, with a small border to highlight, then treated with Osmo oil.
BEHIND THE SCENES: THE PHOTO SHOOT
The transformation journey of these pieces was a labour of love, and to capture their essence, we prepared for a professional photo shoot in the new year. Creating a suitable staging area was essential as Vinterior wanted to showcase the pieces in a vignette style, which brought out the best in each of them.
Previously, I used to have to dismantle the dining area in our home every time I wanted to photograph any new pieces. The process of building the fold-away platform that I had envisioned in one of my dreams was an adventure in itself, though it required some additional effort from my partner, James. Some of my biggest and best ideas materialise in my dreams – although I’m not sure James would agree with me as it usually means additional work for him!
The final result was a space that would elevate the presentation of our pieces, even though it was so cold making the dream a reality.
January 2023 marked the arrival of the Vinterior team, along with their photographer. While I always take pride in the photos I capture to attract potential buyers, these shots were different. They aimed to showcase our pieces in a different style, highlighting their essence and charm in a new light. It was a memorable experience, even if our retriever Dana and my late spaniel Barnaby, who sadly passed away in February, tried to steal the spotlight, as they often did in our social media photos.
THE AFTERMATH: A RESOUNDING SUCCESS
The fruits of our labour did not go unnoticed. The five one-off pieces we had meticulously transformed sold almost immediately, and we were thrilled to receive extensive coverage in various publications and platforms, including:
GQ Magazine Online: Named one of the "Best 10 of the Week"
SheerLuxe: Featured in a piece on beginner's tips for upcycling furniture.
House Beautiful: Covered our contribution to Farrow & Ball's upcycled capsule collection.
The Times: Explored how clever use of paint can elevate old furniture.
Grazia: Shared our journey and success.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: SUSTAINABILITY AND UPCYCLING
Participating in this campaign was an honour beyond measure. To be shortlisted among hundreds of competitors and chosen by Farrow & Ball is a memory we'll carry with us forever. The rising awareness of sustainability in recent years has brought the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling to the forefront. Repurposing and restoring vintage furniture instead of relegating it to landfill is a significant step toward preserving our environment. We take pride in promoting sustainable living through our work and are excited to see major global brands like Farrow & Ball and Vinterior recognising the importance of upcycling in the future.
If you've ever considered upcycling a piece of furniture but felt unsure about doing it yourself, don't hesitate to get in touch with us. We'd be thrilled to discuss the possibilities and help bring your vision to life.
In conclusion, our journey with Farrow & Ball and Vinterior was a testament to the beauty and potential of vintage furniture, the transformative power of paint, and the importance of sustainable living. We look forward to more opportunities to create, inspire, and contribute to a greener, more sustainable world through our passion for upcycling and restoration.