Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Old Made New at ReFound Belfast

This week we step inside the curious universe of ReFound Belfast, a world filled with the long-forgotten remnants of lives past. Here the worn-out, the replaced, the once much loved but now neglected pieces of our lives find a new home and gain new life. At ReFound the discarded is precious and the out-dated holds potential. Daily, ugly furniture ducklings are turned into beautiful swans of interior design. And this is what it looks like, tadaaah:
#187 by artist Christine Trueman
It all started when Jill O'Neill, founder and driving force behind ReFound, returned to Belfast in 2007. Having lived and worked in places as diverse and exciting as Glasgow, New York and San Francisco, O'Neill had become fascinated by the "art of living" that she experienced abroad, the scavenging for unique pieces, the designing of your home to create something unique. Returned to Northern Ireland, O'Neill wanted to employ the same ethos of moving in and starting afresh to her new home here, but was at a loss as to where to look for the pieces. And so the idea of ReFound slowly took shape. 

Attracted by the journey of ordinary objects, I was inspired to create a space where these objects gained new life as part of the next stage of their journey. 
Jill O'Neill 
Left: Dresser by Lulabelle's House. Right: Table & Stool by Anushiya Sunda

ReFound works with local artists and designers recycling used furniture to create chic, one-of-a-kind pieces pieces which are then sold on the ReFound website, as well as in the ReFound House, their permanent retail venue in Belfast. With considerable experience in publishing and marketing, O'Neill takes care of the business side of things, while the artists are free to create - it's win-win. Although, O'Neill confesses that it can be hard to get the business-art balance right. There's always the question: how commercial should you be? "But then again" she muses, "it's about providing alternative avenues for the artists to make money." Something that is crucial in the current economic climate, when not many people are investing in art.

Above: table by Anastasija Andrejeva. Below: Telephone Table by Katie Brown Textiles

The permanent home of ReFound, the ReFound House, however, is much more than just a shop. It's a hub for 'sustainable creativity' and doubles as a studio, exhibition space and venue. Apart from furniture you'll also get beautiful home accessories at ReFound, such as these crafty birds by Hey! Homewrecker... 

Or this cute plate-art by refound designer Rachel Dickson.

For 2013 ReFound has many exciting plans, such a working to achieve a more cohesive look via a smaller artist collective and increasing the access to their space by hosting a number of creative events and collaborations. So lots of exciting stuff to look out for! ReFound also want to move further into the territory of online sales, which is great news for everyone living abroad! Lastly, ReFound will focus on the 'Repurposing' of objects as well as simply restyling them. This means that at ReFound you will soon be able to buy shelves made out of chairs, tables made out of wardrobes and benches made out of toilet seats (okay, maybe not that one).

Top Left: Tabletop animals by DavidCreative, bottom left: variety of cushionss by Larissa Watson, Goddess & Swift, Cassie Blinkey Olive Art & TeddyBaby. On the right: the Refound Suitcase shelf

The ReFound building is open every Thursday to Saturday from 10.30am to 5.30pm, but you can go look at their gorgeous furniture online on their website 24/7.

Alright, shall we look at another Before-After? Okay? Okay!

#197 by Mandie Lowry


  1. Brilliant blog post, Sarah. I would love to visit this place; we should go together some time! Thanks for posting about this great initiative.

    1. Thanks Beth! Yeah it's a great place and bang in the centre of Belfast city centre! We should... I think you can even get coffee there now... and there's two more shop, another design and a vintage place...