Wednesday, July 28, 2010

barn living and repurposed crates

barn couch
As a life-long serial renter, my mother has had lots of wonderful opportunities to perfect her ability to create comfortable, beautiful and inviting spaces on a budget. She's a master! We've been spending so much time at her barn  this summer.  The above view is what we saw when we opened the door for dinner last night. The evening sun illuminated the couch and all the new pillows she had recently made... it just calls you to settle in and put your feet up, doesn't it? The pillows were covered with vintage fabric from her stash. We moved the original couch out to the deck. That old metal glider is happier out there and this simple (and somewhat disguised) futon is feeling perfect for all the "hanging out" we do together. My mother had dreamed of a new couch, but the reality that we had this futon already, made it hard to justify not putting it to use. Bonus: it's a great overnight bed for guests and worthy of doctoring up. The ottoman/coffee table was improvised recently and might be a keeper. Two perfectly weathered crates (garage sale 2 weekends ago) topped with a little something for summer toes.
barn ottoman
The idea came from the old sheepskin I've put on my own thrifted cushioned ottoman/coffee table this summer... but I think this particular iteration is an ingenious idea for small spaces. Slipping something soft over a couple of vintage crates  could translate to a lot of different living rooms.  When space is at a premium, furniture may need to play double duty. This solution is sturdy enough to serve as a bench, could be pulled apart for singular seating, or turned upright for an extra seat at the dining table. As a coffee table, use a tray for beverages or snacks. Do you have any furniture that plays double- duty?

editor's note:  I stopped over today and took the following shots to give a better perspective on both the crates and the square footage of the kitchen/living room.
barn crate diy

barn small space/big perspective
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  1. "Do you have any furniture that plays double- duty?" This made me laugh...if it doesn't do double-duty it doesn't belong in my house! My favorite find was a set of 4 wood storage cabinets at a store's "going out of bus" sale. Totally worth risking my life rolling them across 8th Ave NYC on the wobbly dolly the store gave to me. One, now topped with old sofa cushions, is a window seat: two stacked up became the base for a huge knick-knack cabinet I found on the street; and the last one was our coffee table for a while, but now is better used as a side table to hold all our magazines and a gorgeous picnic basket that our lovely Maya gave to us! The best part is that all four are stuffed chock full of fabric, books and china!

  2. So inviting. The light is realy so beautiful. And I love the pillows, too. Beautiful combination of colours and shapes of the leaves and flowers.

  3. we use wooden crates all the times for makeshift tables and foot rests especially in the backyard.
    Some of them have also served as props for dance routines.

  4. costumegal- love that image of you crossing a busy street with a wobbly dolly! looking forward to finding all four the next time we visit!

    Margie-dance routines?! I must remember that for the next time we need a little stage.

  5. Your mom's barn is so PRETTY. I love gazing at the photos for inspiration!

  6. *sigh...* i love that barn! i used to use an old wooden chicken coop for, at various times, a coffee table or a bookshelf. my mom has it now but i think i should get it back!

  7. I'm a sucker for a sheepskin pelt. Comfort anywhere! Good-looking space.


  8. I too love the look of the barn. You've succeeded in making a large open space feel cozy.

    We also have crates as furniture in our home. We have two tilted on their sides that we use as nightstands. The open area serves as a book and magazines shelf. I painted them the same shade of purple as the walls and they actually look pretty modern.

  9. My cat took possession of my sheepskin rug from Ikea. He looooooved it but still let me share! Your mom's barn has such a great feel to it. The perfect place to hang out in! I too prefer my furnishings to be both useful AND beautiful if at all possible.

  10. I love the fresh look and functionality of the new futon!....and Im a big fan of sheepskin and love how you incorporated the rustic look of the crates to create different textures. What an inviting space to spend a summery day!

  11. oooh, what a fine idea! we happen to have a sheepskin, and some old trunks, hmm....