Mixing old and new styles together, such as vintage light in a modern living room or reclaimed aimed floorboards in a classic country kitchen, is a great way to add character to your home. Gone are the days, however, when you could find a treasure trove of discarded gems in a nearby skip, as builders and bargain hunters have become more savvy to the value of vintage items.
If you know where to look, it is still possible to come across some treasures, and markets, car boot sales and salvage or reclamation yards are good places to start your search. The reality is that whatever you find is unlikely to save you a great deal of money in your project, and it will take a little effort to transform it into something suitable for your interior. But by choosing to re-purpose discarded pieces, not only will you will be saving them from landfill, you’ll also be adding richness, grandeur and a real sense of pride about the attention to detail in your property. Rather than filling your home with salvaged items, consider introducing just one piece to each room to add character rather than being a slave to heritage. This could be a statement feature such as an elegant roll-top bath, a Belfast sink or a beautiful cast iron radiator.

With plumbed items, however, be sure to check the correct sized fittings are still available to match,whether that’s a valve, connecter or washer in an imperial size. The weight of some salvaged pieces can also be an issue so ensure your floor joists and walls are structurally sound enough to take items such as a cast iron bath- an experienced builder should be able to advise you.Reclaimed floorboards are also popular. They can be very appealing and may initially seem great value, but can often be a false economy as you’ll have to factor in the time weeding out the damaged unusable boards.checking for woodworm, removing nails, sanding and finishing. The delight of a final piece will often come down to the finish, and I’m often surprised when the age and patina of a piece is wiped away to create a seemingly as new’ design. Instead of using aggressive acids to strip layers of paint from fireplaces and doors, A gentler method is to use Eco Solutions’ Home Strip, which is an environmentally friendly alternative. Wherever possible, try to retain the beauty and history of your chosen item, as it will add a soft romantic feel to your home.

Real Homes Magazine 2013

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