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Upcycling hobby gets royal nod for Westhill accountant

Carol sitting among her creations
Carol Gordon meant The Duke of Rothesay thanks to her love of repurposing old furniture.

We’re all looking at ways to be more sustainable and save a few pennies, faced with climate change and the soaring cost of living.

A splurge on gorgeous interior pieces for your home might seem out of the question, but styling your pad doesn’t need to be expensive.

From a pouffe made out of a tyre to a piano stool with a fascinating past, step forward Repurposed by Georgie.

The quirky business turns “the old and unloved into something more desirable,” but who is behind such lovely transformations?

Carol Gordon in her home
Carol Gordon is an accountant by day, and repurposer by night.

None other than senior accountant, Carol Gordon, who has filled her home in Westhill with all manner of beautiful things, which quite often have been saved from the skip.

Society caught up with her and found out why repurposing has changed Carol’s life for the better.

From watching to trying

“I was watching that TV show, Money For Nothing, and I remember thinking to myself how lovely the transformations looked,” said Carol, who has a helpful assistant in the form of her husband, Neil, who is a customer executive at Aberdeen Football Club.

Carol holding a glue gun to an old tyre she is turning into a pouffe
One of Carol’s most popular upcycles, a tyre turned into a pouffe.

“I got an old chest of drawers and decided to give it a go for myself.

“It went from there, and originally I was just doing it for furniture in my house.

“Then we got a flat in town and decided to rent it out. I gave the old furniture a complete spruce up, and it turned out really well.”

Next on Carol and Neil’s agenda was an upholstery course. As fate would have it, the pair got the skill under the belts just prior to lockdown.

All of Carol’s creations are one-off pieces.

“I carried on upcycling during the pandemic, and I ended up with so much stuff that I decided to start a page on social media.

“People started commenting and asking for pieces. It kept us busy and I feel I’ve learnt so much.”

But as upcyling took over Carol’s home, she was given an ultimatum by Neil. Either sell some of her creations, or call time on repurposing.

A black stool with the seat covered in jute fabric that reads Cafes do Brasil
You won’t find items like this in furniture shops.

A dose of tough love worked, and Carol headed to Studio One in Banchory, where north-east creators can display their work.

Carol never expected to brush shoulders with royalty however, after her work was noticed from an exhibition at Creative Aberdeenshire.

Furniture fit for royalty

“I was contacted and asked if I would display my work to Prince Charles at Garioch Heritage Centre,” said Carol.

“That was quite exciting, the exhibition was focused on what people had done during lockdown.

Carol holding her tools and kneeling in front of an old wooden chair
Carol even got to meet The Duke of Rothesay thanks to her newfound talent.

“It was an amazing exhibition and I had a conversation with Prince Charles as to how I got into upcycling in the first place.”

Carol’s creations are indeed fit for royalty, and she believes the secret is to see the beauty in something which has faded.

“I love the fact that I have given life to old things,” said Carol.

“Items which would usually just go into the skip. I look at things and immediately start thinking what I could do with it.”

Carol at work
An upholstering course means no job is too big for Carol

Carol is particularly proud of her rope tyre pouffes, where an ugly tyre is transformed into a work of art for someone’s living room.

“You coil the rope around the tyre repeatedly, it’s very mindful,” she said.

“When you see the finished product, of course it’s not 100% perfect.

“But if you consider the fact that the item would have otherwise been thrown away.

“Where do my ideas come from? I honestly have no idea.”

Great to freshen up solid furniture

Regardless of the source of inspiration, Carol’s designs have proved rather popular.

“The younger generation in particular like good, solid furniture,” she said.

“It’s one off pieces, rather than something which has been mass produced.

Carol sitting on a stool
Carol’s pieces have proved popular, particularly with the younger generation.

“My gin trollies seem to fly out the door, they are really popular.

“I’ve learned how to use so many tools, and using a blow torch is always good fun.”

Despite the fact that Carol’s home now resembles a furniture warehouse, she has no regrets about launching her business, although she still prefers to call it a hobby.

“I’ve always really enjoyed my day job, furniture upcycling is just a passion of mine,” she said.

“Neil is happy to be in the background. He puts furniture legs on, he’s my marketing, manufacturing and control person.

One of Carol's pouffes
Many of the pieces have been saved from landfill.

“I don’t waste anything, even scraps of fabric which I sometimes find on marketplace.

“And once you look at the finished product, be it a stool or chair, you’d never know that it was covered with repurposed material.”

To find out more, check Carol’s Facebook and Instagram.

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