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It's time to get bidding! The Feast Watson Re-Love Project is going live.

Kristy Sadlier

Posted on October 22 2018

We’re at it again!! Just when we thought we’d taken on enough projects this year, we’ve signed up for one more… This one is different though, it has a special place in our hearts, having participated in it for three years in a row. So when the team at Feast Watson asked us again to join them for the 2018 Re-love Project, we didn’t think twice. Aside from allowing us to get our creative fix in choosing the perfect pieces and up cycling them within our norsu aesthetic, we were beyond excited to also learn that this year we were able to choose our own charity in which to donate the auction proceeds.

For those unfamiliar with the campaign, the Re-Love Project follows the up-cycling or ‘re-love’ journey of Australian designers, using a range of Feast Watson woodcare products as they transform a worn piece of timber furniture into a unique statement piece. At the end of the campaign, all items are auctioned via Instagram, with the proceeds going to the designer's charity of choice. We have chosen a charity very close to our hearts this year having both been touched by cancer amongst our family and friends recently, and having formed a close connection to Carrie's Beanies 4 Brain Cancer foundation through styling their last two campaigns, it was a natural fit for us to support this amazing cause.

We love everything that this project stands for. The ability to channel our creative energy into bringing a tired old piece of furniture back to life, while using quality products for a fabulous cause! It's a win win! Most pieces on the market these days aren’t made the way the used to be, so it’s a real treat to inject a modern take on a something classic that has been lovingly hand crafted from high-quality materials. 

There are three other seriously talented designers and stylists participating in the 2018 Re-Love project - Steve Cordony, Sarah Ellison & Nat Turnbull - and we’re feeling slightly out of our league to be in their company! 

Kristy recently sat down with the team with Feast Watson for a quick chat about our love of this special project…
Upcycling furniture is perfect for bringing unique style and character to a space. What advice would you give to people about to start an upcycling project?
In a world where cheap and poorly made furniture is becoming the next 'fast fashion', our advice would be ensure you select a quality piece to begin with. Nothing compares to a well constructed piece of furniture that has stood the test of time, so choose wisely and avoid the need for it to end up in landfill in a few years time. 
What is your favourite part about upcycling furniture? Is it there a specific process that you enjoy most?
For us, we find the whole journey quite therapeutic. We don't often take time to stop these days, so working on a project that not only forces us to sit still for longer than five minutes, but also allows us to channel our creativity is a serious dream come true. 
I'd have to say our favourite part of the process would be applying that first application of the finish, then waiting in anticipation that it's going to look just as good in the flesh as it does in your head while you're designing it!!
What did you enjoy most about the Feast Watson Re-Love project? Was there a particular stand out product that you enjoyed using?
We experimented with lots of different finishes this year - even dabbling in a bit of black which we've never done before! The product we were most surprised with, and the one that also gave us the biggest impact was the 'Stain and Varnish Liming White in Natural Buttercup' which we applied to the timber on our chair. We purchased the chair on a whim and secretly hoped the dark colour was actually a blonde timber hiding under a stain. Sadly for us, after sanding down the layers, we discovered a dark teak timber hiding underneath, and our visions for creating a softer pastel vibe for the piece were shattered. After consulting with the team at Feast Watson who recommended the tinted liming white however, we were still able to achieve the exact soft look that we were going for thanks to several coats of this product and could not been happier with the outcome.
What tips do you have for choosing an upcycling project? Is it all about the structure of the piece? 
1. Investing time in preparation is by far the most important step in the process. It’s critical to begin by bringing the piece back to its original form with lots of elbow grease (and sandpaper!). From there, the fun starts by allowing your creativity to take over and experiment with different finishes, hardware and accessories. 
2. Make sure you love the piece before you start. These projects take a lot of time, so make sure it speaks to your heart, and you are guaranteed to enjoy the process.  
3. The best part of a re-love project is that there’s no right or wrong way to tackle it. Be sure to have some fun with the process, and don’t be afraid to experiment with colours and finishes that you may ordinarily shy away from. If it doesn’t turn out the way you envisaged, don’t worry – you can always re-love it another way! 

And now to the pieces...

The Chair

Describe the piece you Re-loved? What look and feel were you going for? 
This is our absolute favourite piece! It's an original Mid-Century Danish chair with so much history, character and versatility. We were intent on finding something with a link to the Scandinavian heritage of our business, so we scoured eBay for an original piece that we could respectfully upcycle with a norsu twist. When we spotted this chair it was a no-brainer - it was absolutely stunning and there was so much potential to give it a complete transformation, so we snapped it up immediately.
The before shot...

The look and feel we were going for was something that was uniquely norsu. We find it hard to deviate from our signature blush and grey palette, and we were excited to think that the transformation could be so dramatic after seeing the chair in it's original state of the dark timber and red upholstery.
The after shot...

Where did you get your inspiration from for this piece?  
The inspiration for this piece came from our own line of norsu cushions. We make our cushions with local quality fabrics, and finish them with our signature blush leather piping. The upholstered component of this chair allowed us to create something similar, which we feel has been interpreted beautifully in this piece.
How did you go about Re-loving this piece?
1. We first removed all the red woollen fabric to allow us to work and finish the timber. 
2. We then spent a lot of time sanding this piece back in order to get a sense of the timber that was hiding underneath.

3. Once we realised the timber was teak (and not the scandi blonde oak we were hoping for), we applied  4 x coats of the Feast Watson 'Stain and Varnish Liming White in Natural Buttercup' with a brush which transformed the dark timber into a beautiful light grey colour which we knew would pair perfectly with the grey wool upholstery we had selected.

4. We then gave the piece a final light sand to deliver a matte-look finish

5. The chair was then re-upholstered by our dear friend Sheree from The Cullin Design with the grey wool fabric and blush leather trim

The Side Table

Describe the piece you Re-loved? What look and feel were you going for?
We were really keen to upcycle another piece that complimented the chair nicely, and were lucky enough to find this beautiful stool from the same eBay seller as the chair when we went to collect it - how brilliant! This is also an original Mid-Century piece with a huge scope to upcycle in line with our norsu aesthetic. 
As mentioned we wanted to compliment the chair with a secondary piece that we we could re-love with a similar aesthetic. This piece was originally a stool, but we could see its versatility and opted to repurpose it into a side table by chopping down the legs and reducing its height.
The before shot...
Where did you get your inspiration from for this piece?  
The inspiration for this piece came from the chair that we upcycled. When it came to designing the look for this piece, we chose to link the two pieces together by using the same blush coloured leather for the top of the table as we had used for the piping on the chair. We also chose to apply a grey finish to the timber which acted as another element to connect the pieces together.
The after shot...
How did you go about Re-loving this piece?
1. We started by removing the top of the stool in order for it to be reupholstered by gorgeous Sheree at The Cullin Design again ;). The seat of the stool was originally padded, however in order to convert it to a side table, we wanted to give the top a flat/flush look so we opted to recover the top of the table so it sat flush with the side of the stool frame.
2. We then gave the stool a good sand to remove all the old orange coloured varnish to expose the gorgeous blonde oak timber. 

3. In order to drop the height, we cut down the legs to make the piece the right height of a side table. 

4. We next applied three coats of the 'Liming White Floor Finish in Scandinavian Light' with a brush which gave the piece a beautiful light grey finish to compliment the timber colour of the chair.

5. We finished the stool by re-fitting the leather upholstered top 

The smaller pieces

The before shot...
The after shot...

The Platter

Describe the piece you Re-loved? What look and feel were you going for?
This piece is a beautiful round platter made from a light/pine timber that we purchased from the Waverley Antique Bazaar
The before shot...
Where did you get your inspiration from for this piece?  
We had a bit of fun with this piece, sourcing inspiration via our creativity and experimenting with some stripes/patterns.
The after shot...
How did you go about Re-loving this piece?
1. We spent a lot of time sanding back this piece and removing the old varnish

2. We then used some masking tape to create lines of varying widths along the whole platter

3. We then brushed on the oil based Lining White which gave a heavier coverage than the water based one

4. Finally we sealed the platter with the Clear Varnish in the Matt Finish

The Coasters

Describe the piece you Re-loved? What look and feel were you going for?
This set of four coasters were too sweet not to pass up. They were petite and beautifully shaped and made from a stunning beechwood light timber that we purchased also from the Waverley Antique Bazaar.
The before shot...
Where did you get your inspiration from for this piece?  
We wanted to transform these coasters into something that looked like they'd be sold in our store. Using the beautiful blonde timber as the base, we wanted to incorporate our signature norsu colour of blush pink into these beauties.
How did you go about Re-loving this piece?
1. We began by giving them a thorough sand to remove all of the old varnish
2. We then mixed up our own blush coloued paint by using the Feast Watson oil based liming white mixed with 2% Prooftint in Cedar 
3. We then applied the coloured paint to the centre of the coasters only using a small fine paintbrush

4. We finished off the coasters with the Clear Varnish in the Matt Finish

The Jewellery box

Describe the piece you Re-loved?
A gorgeous old antique timber jewellery box with a brass inlay detail on the top

The before shot...

What look and feel were you going for?

We wanted to experiment with some darker stains with this piece in order to create a moodier look with a sophisticated elegance that we could see comfortably sitting on a bedside table 

Where did you get your inspiration from for this piece?  
We are a little obsessed with the brass and black combo at the moment. After Nat incorporated many of these tones in the bedroom of her latest house project, we were interested in experimenting with this colour combo for one of our pieces.
The after shot...

How did you go about Re-loving this piece?
1. We started by sanding the entire box with a fine grade sandpaper (to protect the brass detail)

2. We applied several coats of Black Japan Prooftint with a rag
3. We then sanded back the brass detail to remove excess stain
4. We finished by sealing the piece with the Clear Varnish in the Matt Finish

The Bowl

Describe the piece you Re-loved? What look and feel were you going for?

This piece is a gorgeous rustic triangular shaped bowl made from an Australian hard wood that we purchased from the Waverley Antique Bazaar. We loved this bowl because it is filled with so much character in the various grains and knots in the timber.

The before shot...

Where did you get your inspiration from for this piece?  
After falling in love with the curved and natural angles on this piece, together with the character in the timber, we really wanted to let those elements speak for themselves. As a result, we decided to keep our treatments on this piece fairly minimal. 

The after shot...

How did you go about Re-loving this piece?
1. We gave the bowl a good sand with rough paper, followed by a finer grade paper.
2. We applied the Water Based Lining White with a rag to allow it to seep into the cracks, and add another depth to the piece.
3. We finished with a light sand over the top to dull the sheen of the varnish

Make them yours…

The bidding for the 2018 Re-Love Projects begins on Tuesday 23 October. Check out the Feast Watson Instagram page to bid. 

For more information on the campaign and to see the other designers pieces visit 

Photography by Amy Whitfield and video by Ash Koek. 

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