upcycled decor popularity contest

Want to know what the most popular upcycled elements in my Philly Home Show room last month were?

You might be shocked.  They’re so simple…

First, the belt shelf.

Belt Shelf

Yup 2 belts and a shelf.  In this case, a very cool scalloped shelf.  People were floored by this concept.  You probably already have these items lying around.

Second, the industrial drapes, as I called them.

Indsutrial Pulley Drapes & Upholstered Headboard

That’s just 3 pulleys and a window scarf looped through them.  It made a big impact framing the bed.

Third, the minnow trap light.

Home Show - minnow bucket light

You can seriously turn anything into a light!  The minnow trap looks just like a lampshade, right?

These are all super simple and you can certainly DIY them in your own home if you are into the styles.  That is exactly why these three projects were so popular…the complicated factor is low, low, low.

And I suppose it is no surprise that they sold at the end of the show.  I do have more of the minnow trap lights though!

So my friends, look at things for what they can be.  And not necessarily just for what they are.  That is the upcycling wisdom that I’d like to impart on you today.

What have you repurposed lately?

Stop back on Wednesday.  I will be recapping my return to the convention center with a trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show last week.  I was delightfully surprised to see lots of upcycled ideas being used in the garden too!  Can’t wait to share them.

behind the scenes

Hey guys.  What an amazing experience the Philly Home Show has been.  As you read this, I am moving the remainder of the inventory from the convention center back to the shop for next weekend’s sale!  (Save the date – February 23rd)  I met so many wonderful, like minded individuals who love to repurpose and reinvent their homes.  So welcome to all of the new readers.  I hope you find some inspiration here!

I wanted to share some fun tidbits today about what goes into putting a room together at the Home Show.  As I pictured before, you start with NOTHING.  A huge open convention center room with nothing more than a concrete floor.  This is how it looked when I arrived two weeks ago.


Within the hour, the carpenters were installing walls.


They are simply sheets of 4×8 drywall erected to carve out a 12×20 sized room.  At that point, it was all mine to do what I wanted with.  Exciting.


First came paint.  Major thanks to my friend Marc from Radon-Rid who was a trooper with set up and break down.


Call him to get your radon levels tested!  And Ryan helped too of course…


Then the wall installation which consisted of vintage blueprints.  This was the most time consuming part but also the biggest impact in the room.  Because I planned to salvage the 40+ year old paper again, we very carefully and gently hung it on the wall.  It wasn’t a permanent installation.  Major thanks to my mom for helping with this tedious job.


Many people asked where I found all of these prints.  The renderings belong to Ryan’s dad – my father-in-law to be.  Each was drawn, signed and dated by him in the early 70’s.  Now you understand why I wanted to salvage as many as possible, right?  Again.  It is a bit of a time capsule.


Many retired architects and contractors commented on the installation and told me about a stash of similar drawings they have and never knew what to do with.  They don’t make ’em like this anymore with the evolution of CAD and similar programs.


Now obviously this is an extreme example of re-using the blueprints but there are other options for reuse too.  Like lining drawers with the paper.  Or just installing one accent wall.  Or a gallery wall of framed, sentimental sketches.  I always thought this would look cool in a little boy’s room or a home office to give it a little punch.  Side note, the original blueprint of hour house is permanently mounted in our cellar stairway.  It is so cool.  I just wish I could move it to a more noticeable place.

Home Show - Repurposed Frames & Vintage Vanity

Next we arranged the furniture while installing pallet wood baseboards and yardstick chair rails to break up the paint and paper.  I love how the greyed out pallets coordinated with the blue walls.  By the way, the inky blue wall color is called Ming Vase by Clark & Kensington, Ace Hardware’s line.  I am a regular at Fisher’s Ace and they kindly donated the paint.


And finally the accessories.  My favorite part.  Circa Dee’s mission mentions family heirlooms…

The mission at Circa Dee is to inspire home through repurposing, refinishing & reinventing.  Learn to give vintage, family heirlooms and found materials a new life when mixing them with modern decor.  High style never looked so eco & budget friendly.

…so I thought it was important to have some of my own in this show room.  There are a lot of little personal touches like old family photos.


These are all relatives of mine on my father’s side. My great grandparents…


This is a picture of my maternal grandmother taken right in Philadelphia decades ago.


Ryan’s thesis is tucked in this little reading corner.  Don’t worry we have extra copies to loan if you want to read up on immunology and the like.


There you have it – blueprints, family photos, thesis.  What heirlooms are subtly placed in your home?

More pictures of the finished room can be seen here.

Reclaimed Industrial Bedroom

Linking to Funky Junk Interiors

Ultimate Upcycle Challenge

Hello there!  I have so many before and after projects to share with you…one at a time.  As I’ve mentioned a zillion times now, I designed and implemented a room at the Philadelphia Home Show which consists of all vintage and repurposed decor.  The show is open through Sunday, February 10th.  I will share details of each project in the next few weeks but first I’d like to start with a project that is not in the room, however it is at the show.

Ultimate Upcycle Challenge

Habitat for Humanity’s Philadelphia ReStore hosted a challenge where each contestant went to the store and chose an item to upcycle or repurpose for another use.


Do you have a ReStore in your area?

I visit frequently to see what kind of building materials have been donated.  Sometimes there is good furniture too.  On my recent visit I found a plain headboard that I selected for my project.

headboard before

I wanted to do a basic project to display at the home show in the hopes that it would inspire new DIYers and upcyclers. On the scale of easy to difficult, this was E-Z.  No power tools required.  Just my good ol’ paint brush.  And chalk.
Upcycled Family Message Board

I painted up the trim in 2 layers for a cottagey look.  Ironstone milk paint and Emile chalk paint.  It gave a nice chippy look.  I waxed the perimeter and than applied 2 coats of chalkboard paint to the flat surface.  Instant message board.  You could hang it in the kitchen with menu items on it.  The uses are endless really.


Ok so I did need a drill after all.  But this step is totally optional.  I added 5 hooks to the chalkboard and labeled them with each family member’s name.  The addition of hooks made this message board double as a coat rack.


This headboard turned family organizer would work great by the door or in a mudroom.  It provides a place to leave messages and jackets and such…a landing area.

So anyway, I’d love to get your vote in the Ultimate Upcycle Challenge!  Just click-through to cast your vote.  You don’t even have to live in the area of visit the show.  Check out the other upcycled projects too.  There’s a lot of inspiration!  You can even bid on them if you want to take one home.  But you’d probably have to live in the area to do that.

Ultimate Upcycle Challenge

And while we’re talking about voting, a kind soul nominated Circa Dee for the Apartment Therapy Homies in the Best Home Design & Inspiration Blog category!  I’m so honored to be on this list.  You’ll see that Style by Emily Henderson is currently in the lead which is fabulous because it is one of my top fave blogs.  However, I wouldn’t mind having a few more votes!  Help me out, will you?  You can vote for more than one blog.


So enough about voting, what’s new with you?