Reinvent your home by reclaiming and restoring

PUBLISHED: 17:58 06 June 2011 | UPDATED: 19:30 20 February 2013

Andrew Grimston of French Furniture Dreams

Andrew Grimston of French Furniture Dreams

If a stagnant housing market has quashed your plans to move, don't despair. Reclamation and rethinking could be the answer to reinventing the rooms in your home

Reinvention is the name of the game. More and more companies are setting up to help you revolutionise the way your rooms look by boxing clever with the furniture you already have and reinventing your look.

Theres a new reclamation company at the Thorpe Farm Centre near Barnard Castle in County Durham, which can help you create a completely new home within a home.

French Furniture Dreams continuously proves how a rooms look can be revolutionised through wise furniture choices and the help of experts with an eye for creative design.

The latter is crucial. Whilst the recession has made us value furniture that stands the test of time and influenced our colour choices - blue and powdery grey making a huge resurgence for those seeking an urban and edgy feel and yellow and rock candy pink being hip at the other end of the scale, you cannot simply pick up a piece of furniture and paint it an on-trend colour.

A certain thought process needs to be in place pre-makeover. French Furniture Dreams specifically buys items to suit current colour trends and only paints items in colours right for their age and personality.

You cant paint a George III bureau red, yellow, or even paint it at all, says founder Andrew Grimston. But you can paint a 1930s oak bureau powder blue. Its all about picking the right colour for the right item and mixing it with the current trend in the new furniture market.

We aim to make a piece of furniture work, for whichever room needs to be revived. Dining cabinets need not be for dining rooms; a Welsh dresser kitchen unit has just been transformed into a stunning multi-coloured pastel masterpiece for a childs bedroom, now housing books, toys and clothes and finished off with sparkling handles.

Furniture is the main element in enhancing a room and helping your home harmonise with its year of build. Knowing what will and wont work is key and Andrew discovers what customers wish to achieve before he buys, paints, distresses and accessorises furniture items to fit their desire.

By incorporating the art deco, the toffee-meets-cocoa-brown, the stripped-metal-against-smooth-wood and the peeling-paint-and-polished surfaces trends, the barn is helping North East rooms change overnight.

In the kitchen, that item might be a shabby chic table that started life in a French farmhouse, or a sombre dresser painted cream in eco-friendly Farrow and Ball paints, lovingly treated to bring out the beauty of its carving and given a diva quality thanks to pink dotty handles.

Alternatively, it might be a duck-egg blue dining table with hand-painted, solid chairs, either matching or contrasting with one of the seasons in colours, for customers wanting traditional family dining experiences,
Bedroom pieces can be pastel coloured furniture to complement Cath Kidston dcor, or a lightly distressed gents robe and lovely chest with art deco edges. This is, of course, if the customer resists a stunning French armoire for long enough.

Another company which deals with items which are recycled, some rescued and restored is RE.

RE was born in a small converted workshop at the back of a filling station in Corbridge, a small market town in Northumberland, in 2003 and was followed by their first mail order catalogue in May 2004.

French Furniture Dreams can be found at the Thorpe Farm Centre, incorporating Peel House, on the A66 near Greta Bridge, County Durham. RE is at Bishops Yard, Main Street, Corbridge, Northumberland. For the websites please go to

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