Saving and upcycling unwanted furniture

Skylar - Belle, upcycling and shabby chic store, Ipswich
Bekki Corridon and mum Sara Cashman

Skylar - Belle, upcycling and shabby chic store, Ipswich Bekki Corridon and mum Sara Cashman

Dressing tables, chairs and wardrobes in great demand

Skylar - Belle, upcycling and shabby chic store, Ipswich

Skylar - Belle, upcycling and shabby chic store, Ipswich

It wasn’t long ago that the bottom dropped out of the second-hand funiture market.

Plenty of good, solid and practical furniture wasn’t fashionable.

Dark wood furniture was no longer to modern tastes, and some pieces were much too large to be fitted comfortably into new homes.

Some ended up on the scrap heap, or was fuel for fires.

Now, however, people like Bekki Corrodon are saving and upcycling furniture pieces so that they can be used again in the modern homes of today.

And Bekki, despite being heavily pregnant, has opened her new shop Skylar-Belle, in Orwell Place.

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“I am not trying to conquer world,” she laughed, “just perhaps Orwell Place.”

She took a break from painting a unit at the rear of the shop to chat with me.

Bekki,33, and already the mother of one son, was busy on a commission piece for a customer.

She said: “I have always been artistic, and musical, and interested in making things.

“I used to watch all the makeover shows on television, when they were all the rage.

“One day, in 2010, I went to the British Heart Foundation furniture shop and bought a piece I was going to do for myself.

“I had always had a love for Laura Ashley, and I went out to get that look.

“I started selling on E-Bay and it sort of snowballed from there.

“I really enjoy it. Working with wood and painting is quite therapeutic.”

The shop is full of re-cycled furniture, tables, desks, chairs and dresser units, mainly re-styled in pastel colours.

“It is going very well. We have only been open here six weeks.

“I have a very good following on Facebook and we get a lot of repeat business.”

Pastel colours could fit in with many house decorative schemes, she said, and furniture for bedrooms was always popular, especially dressing tables.

She gets a lot of support from her family, including mum Sara and husband Miles.

“He is a great help,” she said, “There are some things I can’t do because I am pregnant. (The baby is due in December).

But it doesn’t stop her preparing furniture and painting.

After starting on the internet she sold furniture through Peggy’s Place here.

Then she had part of a shop in York Road, in East Ipswich.

“But I needed to be more central. When I saw this available I really wanted to be here.”

All sorts of furniture comes through her shop. We sat at a pine dining table that had been stripped and is still being finished off.

“The largest piece I have done is an Edwardian triple wardrobe.

“Large furniture is just too big for many modern houses. It didn’t sell very quickly.”

Despite her upcycling skills, their home own has lots of natural wood.

She said: “I surround myself all day with pastel colours. but at home we have antique pine and more heavy wood.

“I love natural wood.”

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