An interview with upcyclers Furniture Magpies

I am a big fan of the Furniture Magpies and their quirky brand of upcycling. If you're not familiar with their work, you're in for a treat! Furniture Magpies drawer cabinet

What’s the most important thing to know about you?

We are furniture fanatics! We love furniture and that is what drives us to do what we do. We love rescuing unloved pieces and transforming them into new happy ones.

Describe a really good day and a really bad day in the life of the Furniture Magpies.

Any day spent in the workshop is a really good day! So the days when we get to spend the whole day making and away from our desks are always brilliant.

I would like to say we don’t really have bad days- bookwork is never our favorite and there are plenty of challenging and frustrating days in the workshop when a piece just refuses to come together - happily these are few and far between!

Furniture Magpies Lovely Legs table lamp

What inspires your ideas?

Being based in High Wycombe means we are truly lucky to have a constant supply of unwanted quality furniture – High Wycombe had a booming furniture industry until the 1960s leaving a wealth of knowledge and resources in its wake - each piece we use has its own quirks and character and we use this to inspire the final design.

Describe the process you go though to turn your ideas into products.

We work in two ways really, sometimes we agree on a piece we feel the collection needs and then set to work on finding the appropriate components, for example our ‘hang on to your drawers’ coffee table - we really wanted to make a table! Once we'd decided that and had a good root around our ‘parts’ library, a collection of small drawers were the obvious choice. Other times the original pieces dictate a new design. When I looked at the timber dining chairs we had in storage, all I could see was a dog... that is how ‘fido’ came to be. He kind of designed himself!

Furniture Magpies Fido Lamp and side table

What advice would you give to an aspiring upcycler?

Be bold and have lots of fun! We look for the potential in everything and throw nothing out! Storage is a nightmare but we always find a use for things in the end.

Which three items could you not live without?

I would love to say we could not live without our orange wool Saarinen Womb chair and foot stool, but sadly we don’t have one and still manage to survive so...

The Japanese saw - they are amazing!

Elastic hair ties - probably not the coolest designed item but very clever and being two girls in a workshop; a necessity

Our porcelain travel mugs - they look beautiful, are so so practical and often contain tea.

Furniture Magpies climbing lamp

What are you most proud of?

The piece we are most proud of is our ‘lovely legs’ climbing wall lamp, it was our first piece and is still our best seller. We are also very proud to be stocked in different retailers across the UK and Anthropologie in the US. It is always exciting seeing our work on shop floors and online!

What’s next for you? 

We are currently finishing our first home wares range, which we can’t wait to unveil! We are also working towards exhibitions in London and Paris while continuing to work hard growing and expanding our business - it is an exciting time!

Lovely Legs table lamp Furniture Magpies

And, finally, what’s your favourite colour?!

We both love the same colours and tend to swap between the two so today I choose bright orange; pantone 012C and Sua chooses lime green; pantone 376.

Furniture Magpies