Recycling has become a part of our everyday lives over the past few decades as our society strives to be more thoughtful stewards of our planet. However, the most effective way to lower our footprint is to reuse what we already have! Years ago it dawned on us as we were lovingly restoring our antiques that by salvaging these items we were bringing back to life beautiful, usable pieces of furniture. If we had let these treasures fall into a landfill, trees would have been cut down to create new ones. All of the items we restore took energy and resources to create. By making our pieces available through skilled restoration and preservation, antique dealers prevent the consumption of additional resources needed to recreate them. We are the original green business!
Beauchamp Antiques specializes in 18th and 19th century antiques. During this time period, trees were the main resource for creating furniture—many times even wood pegs were used over nails. The technology did not exist to create faux materials, or to harvest natural resources quickly. Trees were hand-sawn into lumber, so the end product was quite laborious to create and highly valuable. Society was thrifty with its natural resources because of the labor it took to harvest them. Today, forests are clear-cut like crops. By honoring the old ways of doing things and preserving a furnishing, we prevent more resources from being consumed. Unfortunately, much of today’s furniture is constructed with built-in obsolescence, not intended to last for long so more pieces will be purchased. Antiques were created in timeless styles and constructed to last for centuries. One 100-year old piece of antique furniture could replace 5 or more unnecessary repurchases because it was made to last—in construction, style and material.
Most of today’s furniture is created with inferior materials like press board, plastics and foam—all of which are not built for longevity or to have a low impact on the environment. They are the opposite of how we preserve antiques, skillfully restoring pieces crafted with quality materials in an earth-friendly way. We always try to preserve the original finish by hand restoring, conditioning and polishing rather than stripping and refinishing. More often than not our restoration projects consist of using or sourcing the original materials—repairing rather than replacing. These processes are possible on antiques because of the quality of the materials. The materials used in new furniture usually do not allow for refinishing.
Our philosophy applies to our antique lighting as well! We restore our chandeliers, lamps and sconces rather than replace parts with new as often as possible—except for the wiring of course. Reusing the metals and glass in these pieces prevents the additional consumption of valuable natural resources, many of which come with serious environmental impacts. Click here to learn more about how we restore antique lighting.
Trying to live an environmentally low-impact lifestyle? When you buy antiques you are perpetuating the resources originally consumed hundreds of years ago while preventing new ones from being wasted. What is greener than that?