When it comes to sourcing sustainable furniture, antiques are often overlooked, considered old fashioned and boring. For this reason, it was time to speak to Megan and Sally of Limewash Vintage, sisters in the business of showing just how amazing old furniture is, to discover how to turn the idea that antique furniture is old fashioned into leading the light in sustainable furniture.
For the love of country
Sister’s Sally and Megan grew up on a sheep station in Far Western NSW, their passion for old furniture was nurtured by their Mum.
“Whenever Mum had a spare minute, which was rare,
she would be stripping and sanding pieces,
to bring them back to life.”
Anything in need of a repair, their Dad would somehow find time and add his skills to the mix, it was through this process and shared knowledge their love for antiques grew.
“Growing up in the outback and being surrounded by antique furniture, fostered not only a love of the country, but also a love and appreciation of the value and beauty of old furniture with a story. I guess you could say that farming is in our blood and so too is antique furniture”
Seven years ago, Megan moved to a farming district in Western Victoria, bringing her closer to Sally. The sisters always wanted to develop a creative business they could run alongside their busy farming enterprises whilst raising the five children they have between them.
It took another three years to develop the concept Limewash Vintage, a vintage and antique furniture business run entirely on social media.
Fast furniture the unsustainable future
“Antiques are built to last for centuries”
The term “fast furniture” is commonly used to describe low cost, mass produced and poorly made furniture, ultimately resulting in a piece that has a short life cycle. Many products that fall into the category of “fast furniture” are made with engineered timbers which require off gassing from adhesives and chemicals used the in the engineering process. When exposed to moisture engineered timbers swell and rot.
Fast furniture is often fitted with plastic fittings rather than metal, when knobs or brackets break, replacements are often hard to source. Laminated flat pack style furniture cannot be sanded back to repair scratches or restyled for a change of look.
A survey conducted by E C Sustainable of more than 2,500 households in metropolitan areas, found that on average, each household disposes of around 24kg of wooden furniture per year. Approximately a third of this are soft furnishings like sofas and armchairs, and two-thirds other wooden furniture. The impact of reusing 1 large piece of furniture over 15 kg is equivalent to 42 trees absorbing CO 2 in a day. Charitable Recycling Organisation
Isn’t that a very good reason to rethink antiques and vintage furniture?
A story worth sharing
“Vintage and antiques have character, warmth
and the story worth sharing.”
How often does your flat pack fast furniture come with a story, at most you can expect an Allen key, lots of plastic and polystyrene. With one facility to recycle polystyrene in Australia, some is exported to China for recycling, most is sent to landfill.
“I have a set of timber pigeon holes rescued from the workshop on the station where I grew up. It was originally used to store parts for all sorts of station necessities like old truck parts and spares for windmills and pumps. It still bears the part names on the front of the little drawers and now takes pride of place in my kitchen. Whenever visitors drop by, this piece always draws interest and I love telling the story behind it.”
“I don’t love perfect shiny pieces, rather pieces that are imperfectly perfect with age worn patina, dents and scratches, that add to its beauty and history,” says Megan.
With care antiques can be passed down through the generations, whereas so much fast furniture ends up going to landfill. Megan and Sally love to show how vintage and rustic furniture blend well with many decors. Colonial Australian pieces such as meat safes can be repurposed for storage and miners’ couches are ideal for lounging on the back veranda with a book. Victorian and Georgian furniture such chests of drawers, writing desks and occasional tables add style, character and purpose to many rooms in the home.
As Megan said, “Antiques are built to last for centuries” and 85% of kerbside furniture won’t be recycled, with the vast majority heading straight to landfill (War on Waste), which do you see as a sustainable option?
Unique Furniture~ A carefully curated collection of beautiful antique and vintage furniture to add depth and soul to the home.
Australia’s leading waste coach, Sustainable Interior Designer Tanya Lewis aka The Eco Organiser® and author of STUFF OFF! & Ethically Declutter Your Home in 30 Days educates on the benefits of eco organising and wasting less.
Tanya love’s being invited into communities, corporations, universities and businesses to share her passion and simple actions to reduce waste and move towards a sustainable lifestyle.
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