Creative Thinking - Eliza Barnes
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Creative Thinking

Eliza Barnes co-owner Paula shares the joy of repurposing items when on a tight budget.

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I believe that having no money, or very little spare cash, can make for better and more imaginative design. There’s no doubt that it’s painful and frustrating and will drive you insane, but it makes you try a little harder. It pushes you to think about your budget whilst looking for different and original ways to transform your space.

This is my favourite bit of the whole process when designing someones house. I don’t like designed items that have been handed to me on a plate with a label saying ‘cost a fortune’. I am looking for the one-off item, the quirky piece that doesn’t cost the earth.  I love to find something really obscure that had another purpose altogether and can now be used as something totally different.

So, when I found two very large glazed garage doors on ebay for £50, they really spoke to me. Let’s be clear – I don’t have a garage nor do I need garage doors.  I had no idea what I might use them for.  They were heavy, made of old scuffed wood and multi-paned with the most beautiful irregular old glass.

It seemed stupid not to get them.

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My friends scoffed. My builder hinted that I had a reclaimed door addiction (it’s possible). My daughter rolled her eyes. But I knew that one day those doors would be brought back to life and adored. Even if only by me.

From then I kept seeing similar doors all over the place. Daily. Like a hallucinating drug addict.  I saw similar doors used in an exhibition space in Paris, a shop front in Brighton. Even at Ikea.  Everywhere! And it gave me an idea for the small space project I was working on. Out came the doors to act as panels to take you into extra rooms for added space.  They seem to have gone down a storm in our new project.