Remember MacGyver? Who didn't love Richard Dean Anderson, in all his bomb-detonating, aviator-jacket-wearing, mulleted glory? MacGyver was famous for making do with whatever was available to him. I have several of these "make do" projects on the house reno docket--born, in part, of budget management necessity.
Though, on paper, our total reno budget seemed pretty healthy, a large portion had to be allocated to some very unsexy things--engineering, framing, beefed-up seismic requirements in the new BC Building Code, structural fixes to an ant-eaten porch, rot remediation. I catch myself snoring as I type this. Boring, boring...
Moreover, since there's a point at which the budget becomes finite (and, sadly, no illicit currency-printing operation exists in my basement), I've watched my finishing/ furniture budget steadily dwindle to cover the growing list of unsexy stuff.
That's okay. I like a challenge. C'mon, MacGyver, turn that simple clothespin into an impressive, never-before-seen, bandit-catching apparatus--all in 12 seconds or less.
The barstool project: our new kitchen is open concept, with a dropped-down countertop long enough for three barstools. Resto Hardware et al. have a great selection of stools, but at $400+ apiece (+ shipping + an ever-worsening exchange rate on the Cdn dollar) for the ones I like, they are not in my budget.
Instead, I found a trio of stools on Used Victoria--solid wood (made in Arkansas!), with really nice lines. Cosmetically, the frames were a little beat up and the upholstery had seen better days, but at $80 for all three, I figured they'd be great project candidates.
Here's how they turned out:
Besides the obvious monetary benefit of upcycling (my project total was $110), there is something hugely rewarding about taking something old and freshening it up. First off, it makes you feel kinda handy; secondly, you discover how much BETTER the quality of older goods can often be vs. new, mass-produced stuff; lastly, you have the opportunity to create something completely one-of-a-kind.
I think I'll choose to MacGyver more often--even when I have other options.