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The Canons house upcycling project

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

A heritage building furnished and decorated by the local community? Not just that, using upcycled wood, metal, fabric, paper, paint and other second hand materials to do it (that may have otherwise ended up in a landfill somewhere)! Ever heard of a project like that? We hadn’t, so we decided to try it at the Canons House in Mitcham. After the massive National Lottery Heritage funded makeover that was completed last year, this house was still bare and needed some furniture and other bits and bobs to make it come alive from the inside. The Wheel with the help of the Canons House staff empowered local groups Little A.r.k and Bee Creative arts to get this done! The Dons Local Action Group’s furniture repairer is also helping out! Truly a team effort.

Anyone in the community, regardless of their upcycling skill level is welcome to join. Entry, tea, coffee, biscuits and banter are all free! Every Wednesday and Saturday from 2 Nov 2022 to 10 Dec 2022 we welcome all the participants, do a quick tour of the house, provide a design/theme briefing (the deco has to keep with the history, look and feel of the house) and then everyone rolls up their sleeves and gets to work. Some participants have connected over smaller, quieter conversations and others over loud reverberating laughter. Whatever your style, the best part of each session is the mindfulness- everyone is just there, is present, involved and at peace- with themselves, with others around them and with their surroundings!

Here are some of the things we are upcycling - notice boards, floor and table lamps and lampshades, table runners, coasters, table mats, cushions, stationery cup holders, book exchange unit, bookshelf, urn/coffee table, coat stand, umbrella stand, corner table, fireplace decoration, footstool for little alcove, A4 frames and more. With any leftover scrap fabric we will also make reusable bags and draught excluders for those who need to keep the cold air out of their windows and doors. Once that book exchange unit is ready, we will all be able to donate books for people to enjoy with their coffee from the Canons café!

Many of the upcycling materials were collected from the work and play scrap store in Tooting- so many rolls of droolworthy leftover William Morris wallpaper and other scrap nuggets!!!

A study by the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) of the U.K states that the carbon footprint of a new upholstered footstool is around 17 kg CO2e. That is nearly the same as travelling 85-100 miles in a petrol Ford Fiesta! Imagine the amount of carbon savings from upcycling all of the above items!

Come join us for the remaining sessions. Save emissions. Upcycle. Contribute. Meet. Smile. Learn. Have fun.

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