Creating unique and beautiful pieces – without spending a fortune

I love a challenge and when my friend Liz asked me to help her create a display interior for her new shop Echo, I jumped at the chance! Whilst Liz’s unique products can almost sell themselves, the shop needed some shelving and display inspiration for that final wow factor.

However, the first thing that was needed was a counter. Sourcing something ready-made that was in keeping with the shop was going to cost a fortune – and with opening a shop in the middle of a pandemic, additional cost was the last thing Liz needed! As I have done many times before, I sourced an unwanted and unloved item from Ebay and used this as the basis of my design. This sideboard cost only £11.50 and we collected locally. An old piece like this was made well, so was extremely heavy (thanks again to the wonderful workmen who helped with the heavy lifting!) but perfect to transform.


Once home, I sanded it, took the doors and handles off and began painting. We made a skirt to go around the bottom and top and I created a beautiful new top out of locally sourced scaffolding wood. It may not be perfect, but we think it looks great and it cost half the price of anything else we’d seen.


Liz also wanted something to screen the interior back window which looks through to a kitchen area; something that meant she could see into the shop, but everyone couldn’t see the tea making activities! I decided that a panelled screen would work really well, and could also be used as an additional display piece  – practical and useful. I made a frame and then cut, sanded, waxed and fitted 65 individual panels made from scaffolding wood. I also added six small holes to the top of each section to hang faux foliage and hooks for other items.

Finally, Liz wanted some shelving for the shop. I’m lucky enough to also have my own designs and creations sold at Echo, and I couldn’t find anything that I thought would work (and was within budget!). The display unit for my items has four large shelves and criss-crossed smaller pieces of wood at the side to add some detail. As with all my pieces I sand and wax to a whitewashed finish. I’m so happy with the outcome and can see this as my next new range at Fern and Thistle.


I also created a range of shelving for the shop, some with the smooth and contemporary finish that I tend to favour, but I’ve also created some shelves with a more industrial look. For these I’ve left the scaffolding ends on and the finish is slightly rougher. I like the contrast between these two types of shelf and together they make the perfect backdrop for the items on display in the shop.



We’re so pleased with the overall effect; my bespoke and unique display creations work so well with the look and feel of the shop, and despite some late nights to get it all finished in time for opening day, it was definitely worth it! And just as important, we managed to do this by using existing pieces of furniture and wood; meaning that not only was this cost effective, but we’re doing our bit for the environment too. 

My range of shelves are on show and for sale in Echo. They come cut to your specified length, and in two depths. You have the option to include your own wording to the front of the shelf, to add that personal touch to your home.


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