Our Kind of Couple

April 14, 2009 at 3:23 pm | Posted in News | Leave a comment

old-chairThese folks would be our pals, if we knew them. “Scavenger couple decorate their entire home for free with finds from skips,” reads the headline in the Daily Mail. (“Skip” is British for “Dumpster.”)

“One thrifty couple have taken the old-fashioned maxim to its extreme by decorating their entire home with furniture plundered from skips. Paul and Pauline Allen claim they have spent no more than a few pounds completely re-fitting their Victorian home in Brighton, East Sussex. Mrs. Allen, 59, said: ‘When we moved here we had bits like a dining room table and a couple of chairs but that was it. Now it’s full to the brim with lovely pieces. It’s not stealing, or scrounging or even down to being tight. It’s just throwing things away seems almost perverse when we have a perfectly good home for it.’

“The Allens’ scavenging habit started when they moved to Brighton and started to restore their new 1890s home to its original Victorian glory. Mrs. Allen — like her husband, an illustrator — said: ‘While trying to find original fittings like doors and the bathroom suite we discovered reclaimed things were so expensive. That’s when we noticed that other people were chucking the same things out and it went from there. We haven’t bought a single new thing since.’

“Twenty years later and the couple’s house is full of period furniture gathered — with the original owners’ permission — from skips, or simply given to them….

“Mrs. Allen revealed her tips for finding good quality rubbish.

“She said: ‘The first thing to do is look out for a ‘Sold’ sign going up outside a house. You know then that pretty soon the skip’s going to arrive. Then you have to be ready and waiting to act fast as if you see something you like, if you don’t get it out it’ll soon be broken by the next layer of rubble that the builders chuck on there.'”

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