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Upcycled Chic and Modern Hacks

May 11, 2015

If you’re getting fed up with my ramblings on what I saw in Holland, I have some good news for you – we’ll have a break. I have something to show you; and that something came… from one of my favourite publishers – Cico Books.

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Here’s a wonderful new book for anyone who dreams of creating an extremely stylish home – Upcycled Chic and Modern Hacks by Liz Bauwens and Alexandra Campbell. These two ladies will introduce you to quite a few innovative ideas that might inspire you to turn your house (or flat) into that unique sanctuary that will be so much different to anything you’ve ever seen before, that will be simply your home.

I guess we should start with a few terms – upcycling and hacking. They are definitely worth remembering, as these are two new and important words in modern decorator’s dictionary. Any ideas what they mean?

Upcycling – giving an item a new lease of life by using it in a different context or turning it into something else (for e.g. imagine a blancmange mold turned into a lampshade).

Hacking – transforming an ordinary piece into something special (for e.g. you could simply change some handles on your cupboard’s doors and turn it into a unique piece).

Result? Designer look at a value-for-money price!

Material for upcycling usually can be found in chain stores, junk shops or flea markets. Everything depends on your imagination, if you can make it run freely, you can be sure you will come up with something impressive. Have a look at the cupboard in the photograph above – its doors used to be shutters! And hacking? Quite often it requires only minor and inexpensive changes that you can implement yourself. Hacking requires care and attention, rather than expertise. Yet, as Liz and Alexandra have said – “the most important bit isn’t saving money, so don’t get hung up on getting the cheapest option –  it’s all about making your home look different and giving it personality”.


As you might already know I don’t like mass produced things, that’s why I loved the nothing is wasted approach, that kept coming up in almost every story, told by the owners of the photographed houses or apartments. It seems that all you have to do is search and you will find – be it a lovely accessory for your home or an interesting décor idea. Have a look at the vase in the photograph above, apparently it came from a ceramicist who used to throw away pots he wasn’t satisfied with.

Hand-me-downs and exchanges are at the heart of upcycling, yet don’t forget that this works both ways – it might be nice to receive, but most of us have loads of stuff that we no longer find beautiful or useful, so don’t just throw something out, but see if someone else would like it. By the way, have you heard of a website called Freecycle? It’s an “entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns, it’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills” (thank you, Liz and Alexandra, for pointing it out to us).

What else to expect from this book? Heaps of useful information – from advice on applying paint on various surfaces, to search terms that you should use looking for stuff on the internet. I also loved short fragments from interior design history – found out a lot about certain pieces of furniture. As you can see Upcycled Chic and Modern Hacks isn’t just a set of beautiful interior photographs.

One last bit – you should use this book as a source of inspiration when improving your kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and even gardens. Most of the featured properties belong to artists, so expect to see lots of very creative solutions!


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All photographs taken from Upcycled Chic and Modern Hacks by Liz Bauwens and Alexandra Campbell, photography by Simon Brown, published by CICO Books, rrp £19.99

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 11, 2015 1:03 pm

    Love the boat bench! You always review such fun books. 🙂

    • May 11, 2015 7:14 pm

      I loved that boat bench too – what a wonderful idea! (I’m already wondering if I could get hold of an old boat somewhere…) I’ve seen them before on lawns filled with flowers. It seems there are quite a few ways to use them creatively.

      As for the books – they are a wonderful source of inspiration (I’m a real book worm). I’m really grateful that two publishers value my opinion and that I can share some images and ideas with you.


  2. May 11, 2015 3:07 pm

    Very cool. Thank you:)

  3. May 12, 2015 6:27 am

    very nice 🙂

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