Trash is a subjective kind of thing. There are some people who think a broken, overused table is garbage. ("Some people" being me, a girl that nearly flunked shop class and couldn't transform a slab of wood into a teddy bear napkin holder.) And then there are those who see a discarded lamp and think "new cabinet." One person's trash can be another person's treasure (no matter how cliche that may sound).
This becomes immediately apparent when I walk into Forever Interiors, a three-year-old furniture store in The Junction. Specializing in creative recycling, Martin Scott has made a recent living out of transforming salvaged furniture, reclaimed wood, discarded doors and floorboards into gorgeous pieces of art (it just so happens they also double as furniture).
There are ornate custom-designed cabinets (perfect as a chic booze storage option). One-of-a-kind tables, cut, sized and varnished specifically to your liking. Gorgeous vintage coat hooks made from wooden roof boards (a nice alternative to stale bathroom fixtures). And cool antique lamps and gothic-looking mirrors decorate the walls. Pricing varies depending on the level of customization you're looking for.
The store's vibe is more art gallery than stuffy old furniture shop. Everything is well organized (even though, at first glance, the space can be a tad overwhelming; it's packed from floor to ceiling with soon-to-be-transformed finds). And walking through the store with Martin (as he points out his favourite pieces, explaining the story behind each as he goes), is more about exploring the store's treasures, than him giving you a sales pitch.
Like the kitchen table made exclusively out of discarded wood and metal from a now torn-down bowling alley. Or the light-mahogany coloured bench made from discarded side tables (brought to the store by one of several garbage collectors who regularly drop stuff off for Martin). Then there are the brightly coloured neon fish, piled on a table near the store's front door (they're made out of scrap pieces of wood and aluminum siding).
My favourite find? The amazing kitchen table built entirely from church pews that used to sit in the neighbouring Victorian Presbyterian Church (a building that is being revamped into artsy lofts). It's the kind of table you dream about serving a gourmet dinner on (and the kind you envision your friends exuding envy over). Now. If only I had an apartment space big enough to showcase all of these fabulous finds. Then, I'd be in business.
Writing and photos by Sarah Kelsey