We already know that timber is one of the most sustainable building materials we have. Recycled timber has the added bonus of having already had a life, and thus being part of the chain of recycle, reuse and reinvent – and it is often very beautiful due to the number of lives it has lived. There is nothing like finding a piece of furniture, or using timber from another object, to create a special place in your home. Just like the lines in the face of your grandmother, a piece of recycled timber has many stories to tell. Often, things like floorboards or timbers used in buildings, can be re-crafted to create a stunning piece of furniture with heart. The patina and strength of these timbers are unique, and create something you can treasure and pass on to future generations.
Using timber in your building, homewares and furniture, is a wonderful way to contain carbon, and to bring nature into your home. Humans love to be near timber – just think about the way you want to reach out and touch a piece of timber furniture. It has both a coolness and a warmth to it, and the grains and textures create a sensory experience. Many pieces of timber are art in themselves, just like the trees from which they came. There is nothing like the feeling of hugging a tree – I highly recommend it if you have never done it! Timber in your home has been shown to be good for your wellbeing. Always look for sustainably grown or recycled timbers.
Chris Booth from 2nd Chance Tables is someone who spends a lot of time handling recycled timber. Based in Northcote, Victoria, for the past 6 years he has been creating the most beautiful recycled timber furniture. A carpenter and woodworker from the leafy hills of the Yarra Ranges, Chris comes from a long line of engineers and makers of things, and has always loved to create with his hands. His wife is a psychologist and they have 2 very young boys. Chris says that he does not actually think he could do anything else except for this work, he is that passionate about what he does.
The business was actually started out of a combination of desire and necessity. “I was a carpenter for 10 years before this and had always wanted to make furniture but, you know, time and all that! There was a big lull in work so I started making some pieces just at home and things just took off!”. He has never looked back, but says for the first few years he kept waiting for the ground to fall out from under him but….nothing yet!
Once he got started, his love of making timber furniture was further ignited through seeing other people love the pieces he was creating for them, especially when they returned a 2nd and even 3rd time – “this really seals the deal for me”, he says. Chris says he loves coming to work each day and even though the industry can be challenging at times, there is really nothing he does not love about it. As for sustainability, this is key to the business. “We use only recycled and sustainably regrown timbers as a rule. We also hand make everything (no outsourcing at all)” explains Chris. “This was the core belief on which we started 2nd Chances”.
The work they are doing showcases the fact that beautiful and lasting pieces of furniture can be created from already used materials (after quite a bit of work, mind you!). It really is giving something a 2nd chance at life. A quick look around Chris’s own home would show you the diversity and possibility of what can be created – he walks the talk. They are yet to secure a location for a showroom, but fingers crossed it’ll be soon. Chris would love to display their ready-made pieces to the public.
In creating your own sustainable home, Chris advises that you:
- Do your research and don’t be scared.
- Remember there’s an ecofriendly option for almost EVERY building material or home furnishing these days.
- Consider that these items may be fractionally more expensive, but they’ll definitely be unique and pretty.
- Try to use recycled products and don’t use plastic bags!! Two small things that make a huge difference. It’s little things like that…also get plenty of recycled timber furniture! 😊
Chris says that they usually get lots of “wows” when people see his work. “People are blown away at the possibilities after speaking with us. It’s not just tables, we can make anything needed to suit any task. We’ve gotten some pretty awesome reviews online also (trumpet toot)!”. He has no real favorites, because he loves all of the pieces he creates! But he is particularly proud of this Walnut vinyl station – I agree that all of the things are divine!