Furniture | The Bespokesperson

Giving old furniture a vibrant new lease of life

Customised designs that ‘reawaken’ old and discarded furniture

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Giving old furniture a vibrant new lease of life

August 24 2011
Charlotte Abrahams

Quirk & Rescue is the creative vision of Ms Pink and Mr Black, a seemingly mismatched couple sporting pink and black hair (she favours bright and brash, while his taste is altogether quieter). What they share, however, is a passion for what they call “reawakening” discarded and forgotten furniture from last century.

“We don’t like the term ‘upcycling’,” Pink explains, “because it implies that we’ve just put a big price tag on some rubbish, whereas what we are doing is taking good-quality, old furniture and giving it a contemporary makeover.”

Left to their own devices, the duo create statement pieces that bring together Pink’s favourite vibrant – and often clashing – colours with Black’s simple, graphic patterns or lettering (Retro Stripe bureau, first picture, £1,850; Punk 77 coffee table, second picture, £675); but they also offer a bespoke service and are quite happy to make things they themselves don’t like.

“If someone comes to us with an idea, then it’s our job to realise their creative vision,” says Pink. “It doesn’t matter if it’s not our aesthetic because we’re not going to have to live with it, so if someone wants to put a picture of their grandmother’s Scottie dog on a piece of furniture, then we’ll do it.”

Pink and Black source furniture for the majority of their clients, though some arrive with a piece that they want revitalised – inherited furniture that’s too sentimentally important to discard but too hideous to be given house room is the most common subject. They then come up with a design together and the transformation begins.

“We strip furniture right back to the bare wood, prime it and then paint the design on by hand,” says Pink.

It is a painstaking process – a recent commission to cover a plain chest of drawers with a zebra stripe, for example, required several layers of detailed hand painting and varnishing (Zebra Crossing chest of drawers, £725). But Quirk & Rescue believe that if something is worth reloving, then it’s worth reloving well.