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Project Fifty Five: Oh How I Love Other People’s Rubbish

May 25, 2011

Cycling home along Riverside, enjoying the sunshine and watching the rowers, I was about to go over the bridge when something caught my eye. A pile of timber leaning against the river railings, about 20 metres past the bridge, along with a black rubbish bag. Nothing out of the ordinary really, the riverboat dwellers regularly collect timber to heat their little water homes, but something made me look twice. This wasn’t just any old pile of timber, this was actually two old boat shelves, beautiful despite their yellowing varnish. I swerved past the bridge and continued on to the beckoning pile. I was in luck. There was a man on the boat on the other side of the railings, busy with some power tools, top off in the sunshine, dust and vibrations filling the air. He straightened up when he saw me, raising an eyebrow on his weather-beaten face. Inquisitive.

“is that your rubbish?” I asked him, pointing.

“Rubbish sounds so negative, it’s not rubbish if you want it!” he replied, laughing. “Though God knows how you’re going to make those ugly things look nice!” he added, watching me as I balanced a shelf on each handlebar. “Nothing a good sanding and a lick of paint won’t sort out” I replied, as I slowly made my way back to the bridge with my precious cargo, his laughter filling the air behind me.

Once I got homeย  it was hard to contain my excitement, much to the amusement of the boy and Mr. B. I had been after some thin shelves for the kitchen for ages, and finally I had them, for free! God how I love other people’s rubbish.

Here is what the shelves looked like originally:

Somehow in my excitement I only ever photographed the smaller of the two shelves before I started painting them, but they were in pretty much the same condition. The larger one I painted white and mounted above my cooker, and the smaller one I painted shocking pink (just because I could) and mounted on the wall to the right of the cooker. As I have mentioned numerous times before, my kitchen is tiny, so these two shelves bring us some much-needed shelf space and work really well in the tiny space.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. May 25, 2011 9:23 pm

    Well done! I havent found anything good in a while….pile’s of rubbish just seem to be….well, piles of rubbish these days!

  2. May 26, 2011 3:33 pm

    Love it! I am a bit of a magpie too, its amazing what you can pick up.

  3. May 26, 2011 8:19 pm

    Ooooh!! I love those! I am very fond of neat rows of jars etc. I found a really nice spice rack in one of our local charity shops a while back, I’ve been regretting not buying it. Your shelves look very nice all painted and loved, well done ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. June 1, 2011 7:41 pm

    Love it! (Anything painted pink makes me happy.)
    Your post also made me think that you should try doing chalkboard labels on those jars for your next project! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • June 1, 2011 9:05 pm

      Great minds think alike Senna, I have already bookmarked your chalkboard jars in order to do the same! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. June 2, 2011 2:33 pm

    oh wow! This is an awesome renovation. I recently took some varied scraps and made a shelf with old wood and mason jars. This looks so great, I LOVE the pink.

  6. June 6, 2011 3:40 am

    I’m not a huge fan of pink, but I think this is great and so unique for the kitchen. Nothing like free stuff!

  7. June 9, 2011 2:39 pm


    need some advice – I love all your creations and I regularly check your blog for inspiration.,

    Ive bought an Ottoman on ebay – the top needs recovering and its a lovely old hard wood shell, with cheaper soft wood panels, it looks a bit dated and not really my style – what should I use to paint it with?

    • June 9, 2011 6:38 pm

      Hi Emily, really glad to hear you like my blog and find it inspiring!
      Not sure I’m the best person to give you advice but I’ll tell you what I would do if I were renovating the ottoman. First of all I would sand it really well, then cover it in a wood primer. And then, for paint, I would just use normal emulsion and give it as many layers as it needed to look smooth all over, and then, after leaving it for 24 hours I would use a clear wood varnish to seal the whole thing. You can get a variety of clear varnishes in DIY stores, from matt to silk to gloss effect depending on how you want the finished product to look. All my painted wood furniture is done with normal emulsion paint and then covered in varnish to seal it. That way I can use tester pots of the colour I want which is far far cheaper than buying a small tin of wood paint. And emulsion and varnish don’t take nearly as long to dry as gloss paint! Hope that helps.

  8. June 11, 2011 9:22 pm

    I have a pair of these in the kitchen of my rented house, which i have hated for the last two years. I could paint them! Yours look so good ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for sharing!

  9. September 2, 2011 7:22 pm

    They are lovely! The pink is such a great colour!

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