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A professional’s guide
to junk hunting

In my Insider column in today's New Review magazine, in the Independent on Sunday I interviewed Sarah Brunner, one of the presenters on a new TV show on Sky Arts 2, called Design Dealers

The woman is obsessed with junk – but beautiful junk or, more often, junk that looks unpromising to the untrained eye, but which she manages to turn into beautiful things for the home. Read her top tips for what sort of junk to hunt, and then what to do with it, in today's paper. Meanwhile, below, some images of her ideas to accompany her tips.

70s drum kit as shelves or side-tables. These drums aren't quite the spangly retro ones I know Sarah had in mind, but the way the green ones are hung illustrates her idea for her dream drum shelving. While the red version, chopped in half vertically is reconfigured differently to the way Sarah describes, but I quite like it as an alternative. And handily there are full DIY instructions for both over at Tom Tom Magazine. I also like them turned into side tables, top images, via the Home Jelly blog and Indulgy.

Teapots as outdoor hanging planters, via Beeldsteil
Ladder shelves, via Upcycleus

Wooden skis coat hanger, Orvis. They also sell another version, the one Sarah was describing – which you can see here

Brass instrument pendant, from the Antique Lighting blog. This is more complex than the one Sarah describes, as it has been adapted into a pendant. She simply threaded her lamp-holder through the intact instrument and propped it up, with the bulb in the open end and the wire exiting the mouthpiece. Make sure you get a lampholder with a plug and switch on it (known as an inline switch) to make things super simple. You can get rather ugly ones from Amazon, or if you'd rather go down the antique styling route, speak to the most helpful (and affordable) Urban Cottage Industries about what you're after, and they'll be able to sort you out so that it looks more like this, below, which is their version of the plastic-y Amazon one.

Suitcase chest of drawers by James Plumb, the design duo Sarah finds hugely inspiring for their creative way with what others might see as junk.

I will republish the text of the piece on the blog later this week, including a few bonus tips, so if this is your kind of thing, come back!

Also – should you require Sarah's style services for some pimping in your own pad or shop, you can contact her by email at: brunner.sarah [at]


  1. Some excellent ideas here... thanks for sharing!! Cx

  2. That was a great read - fantastic ideas. Loved the musical instruments

  3. LOVE the teapots! I shall be doing that in my tiny garden very shortly.x