Nicole Bowman, Administrative Assistant Secondary School

“I up-cycle things. It is a way of using what you have and making it into something new. When I find things that other people have thrown out, mainly old solid wood furniture, I can visualize it in my mind as a refurbished, beautiful and personal item. As the proverb goes “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

I started investing time in this hobby when my children were small. An old set of dressers and two nightstands that I found on the side of the road when I walked my dog, were one of my first projects. Nothing was broken and it was still perfectly usable. I brought it home and sanded it carefully. My daughters decided which colors we would use to paint it. It was to become a piece of furniture for their room. They thoroughly enjoyed refurbishing and painting it with me, and used it for many more years.

Another unique item was a dining room table I made from an old discarded solid wooden door. It was a cassette door and looked like one of these old English doors. After it was sanded and repainted, I filled the little cassettes with seasonal décor or décor for specific occasions. To protect the décor, I used a plexiglass piece on top. It was an eye catcher that I sadly had to leave behind in America when we moved to Germany.

My latest project was a big accent piece in my dining area. We have a hatch between our kitchen and dining area – a typical German way to connect the two rooms (“Durchreiche”). Whilst this is very practical, I don’t like to look at a sometimes messy kitchen when we are in the dining room. So I decided to build a sliding door, which would also serve as an accent piece. It is made out of mirrors that are set in frames on a wooden background.

Over the years, I learned the best techniques via trial and error. Sometimes I get inspiration from YouTube. My family is always helping me with my projects, and it’s a great way to escape the daily routines and make something unique and beautiful with your own hands.”

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