Dream Home Movement podcast with Salvage Merchants
Tread more lightly and create a beautiful sustainable spaces by using repurposed materials. Annie and Shane from Salvage Merchants show you how to repurpose materials for your next renovation or home improvement project.
In this episode we discuss:
  • What sort of materials you can use for renovation and home improvement
  • Tips you can use for your DIY repurposing projects
  • Biggest mistakes people use when they use repurposed materials
  • Creating bespoke pieces using items with sentimental value and salvaged materials
  • notes

Episode show notes


Welcome to your episode show notes. Here you’ll find:

  • Show overview
  • How to find guests and presenters 
  • Guest bio
  • Episode Transcript

Show overview

Guest Interview How to repurpose materials for renovation and home improvement with Salvage Merchants

Tread more lightly and create a beautiful sustainable spaces by using repurposed materials. Annie and Shane from Salvage Merchants show you how to repurpose materials for your next renovation or home improvement project.
In this episode we discuss:
  • What sort of materials you can use for renovation and home improvement
  • Tips you can use for your DIY repurposing projects
  • Biggest mistakes people use when they use repurposed materials
  • Creating bespoke pieces using items with sentimental value and salvaged materials
**This episode of the Dream Home Movement was recorded live at the RPPFM**


How to find guests and presenters 

Follow the Salvage Merchants
Follow the Dream Home Movement
Follow Carl and Jo Violeta

Guest bio


Husband and wife team, Shane and Annie Brereton quit their jobs in 2017 and went searching for adventure. They dreamed up Salvage Merchants on a trip down the East Coast of Australia. A desire to tread more gently led them to repurposing. With too many combined skills to mention, this dynamic duo create unique, authentic living spaces using salvaged materials. They value doing more with less, driving change through example, connection without competition and open hearted engagement with their clients and they don’t mind getting their hands dirty to create something truly beautiful for their clients!


Episode Transcript


This is an automated transcript, so it won’t be perfect

Welcome to the Dream Home movement. This’s your weekly dose of home and property inspiration. Bring you clever tips and advice from the very best experts. And really like Renno storeys with your host, Joe Violeta. Welcome back to the Dream Home Movement. You’re here with me, your host job, Violet. And tonight we are talking about repurpose ing materials for your renovation and for home improvements. So to help me of that topic, I have Anne and her husband, Shane, from salvage merchants in the studio. Now their business specialises in renovating and making over space is using salvaged and repurpose materials. They offer a solution beginning from design right through to implementation and everything in between. They’re completely hands on from beginning to end, and they don’t mind getting their hands dirty to truly crypt create beautiful, sustainable spaces for their client. Welcome to the studio. It’s lovely to have you here, and I think what we might start off where before we get stuck into the nitty gritty because we’re going to look at what sort of materials you can use when you’re repurpose ing for renovation. Home improvement. We’re going toe. I’m going to pick anyone Shane’s brains for tips that you can use and also look at mistakes that people make when they’re using repurposed materials. We’re going to look at all that stuff is loads of value in this episode. But before we get started, what led you to create a business that uses repurpose ing for renovation and home improvement? So why salvage merchants? Joe, we didn’t really have a plan, to be honest almost two years ago, we were both feeling pretty dissatisfied with the 9 to 5 grind, and we just had a desire Teo work together. We’ve got what we consider a pretty unique combined skill set, and we work really well as a team. And so this was something we wanted to have a go it. We weren’t exactly sure what salvage merchants would look like, and it has certainly changed in the two short years we’ve been going. But at the rial heart of our business was a passion to churn a little more gently on this earth and which we are doing in our home life. But doing it our business life as well. I absolutely love that, and there does seem to be a riel movement at the moment towards more sustainable living and particularly it comes to crew creating homes with here on the peninsula. There’s definitely a move towards using more environmentally friendly materials. Ram Jeff Walls, for example. So I love that. That’s one of the inspirations behind your business. So what kind of materials do you repurpose anything from furniture? Anything from building materials, doors, windows. There is so much out there to be used, and I see it every day because we look for it and it sze everywhere and everyone’s backyard or so one of the main basis off our business is to reuse repurpose. So find something that you’ve already got or something that already exists instead of going out and buying the new all the time. So we work around sourcing materials. That would be, as I said, furniture from antique shops, vintage shops, anything that takes your fancy, and you, Khun with the styles, he says you can mix all that up so we look for that and we also looked for building materials from wrecking yards, houses getting knocked down, a ll the time we see them beautiful houses knocked down and then something a big box built back up there and nothing reused, and it’s quite sad to see it all go to waste. So anything from anything from furniture at the end of the smallest piece, right up to a whole house full of full of gear that we use, that’s it. Basically. Wow. So it Khun Bay furniture. It could be building materials like tiles. Would trials are hard won. Yeah, and it’s one of the hard ones to get up. But timber flooring, skirting boards, doors, windows A ll, that sort of thing. Yes, yes, they’re pretty much anything. Get out of the house without breaking it is reusable. Wow, that’s amazing. And I greet is really sad. You do see a lot of beautiful mid century homes, older homes, beautiful with sometimes a beautiful art Deco features and they just ripped down on. We put four town houses on top of where they, which is fine, like, you know, I totally get that. We want to develop affordable housing and invest in property and all that sort of stuff. But it is sad if that’s right down and then nothing is. It’s just gone completely. Yes, so do you have any tips for people who would like to use repurpose and up cycled materials in their homes that they want to do a bit of d I y Yeah, look, I think for a lot of us, we all think everything’s too hard, and so there’s a lot of procrastination and nothing happened. So my advice, really, just like our business is, Just have a go. You know, there’s so much to be learned out there. We’re so fortunate with the Internet, with Pinterest YouTube all those avenues available, asked to us tto learn and to explore different uses S O if you’ve got something that you love and you cherish but sitting in a carbon, it’s not being used. Just jump on Pinterest, jump on some of those online sites and have a look for some ideas and you’ll find tutorials. You find all sorts of things. Teo learn how how to do things. But yeah, I guess my main advice is just have a go. Just give it a crack. What have you got to lose? And Pinterest is a great source of inspiration. It’s also Rabbit Hole. You can get E and I can actually track my life through my boards. You know, 10 years ago it was wedding staff and then it’s like baby staff. And now it’s like cleaning stuff, eyes happening to my life. Thea Pinterest is great. Ah, lot of because I get a lot of real life. You know, people on the show is just ordinary people that have done their own renovations and love them like YouTube. U e. But I really love that. Just give it a go. Give it a go. You offer a service where you create among your other services. You offer a service where you create bespoke pieces for your clients. What does that process involve? So, Joe, usually what happens is a client will come to us either with an idea or potentially a problem that they need solving and to give you an example way really encourage our customers to reuse things they’ve got. And we have beautiful customer that we’ve done quite a few pieces for. And she had her grandmother’s vintage mix up bench mix up and she’d seen Shane had made a similar lamp out of an old mixer in store. We used to have a little retail store, which we no longer Joe on DH. She came one day and she said, Look, I’ve got this in the cupboard and I don’t use it But I love it and it has great sentiment And I said, What? You let us turn it into a lamp on DH? She was just thrilled. It just is incredible to see how people feel and the connexion that they have. Teo really simple pieces. They don’t have to be expensive, but they create true meaning. And that’s really what we’re about. ATT. The moment chains building a beautiful outdoor table for some clients who were doing it a big outdoor renovation for and they haven’t existing table. But they don’t love it and said, What can we use and way happen? Tohave instructs, um, old timber palate pieces. Once of a better word, they were packing pieces of packing timbered. These we’ve little pieces of hacking timber and Shane’s laminate them all together and made this incredible table on bench seats, which they haven’t seen yet. So, George, if you’re listening, just stand by because it was really exciting. Further it, it’s just it’s beautiful and, you know, these are pieces of timber picked up off the side of a road actually by another customer of ours who saw them and couldn’t let them go to waste loaded them up in is you brought them down to us and he said, Hey, guys, could you we use them We said, Well, not now, but we will and we have. And that’s fantastic. Well, so that they would have ended up in landfill. Correct. And now can we just go back to the mix up? Hold on What? The mix. It became a lamb mixture like a MENSA and then e a nick so that you make cakes. We do that, um, insight still into elect. You know, the ones that used to be, oh, handled. It’s great looking pieces, but no one knows what they’re doing because it’s all electric these days. So turned into a lamp so you could have something at home that has great sentimental value. But there’s no riel everyday use for it. You’d like to be able to see it or use it or borrow, and you could go. We could got come to you and just say, this is what I’ve got what can what do you believe that one of the favourite lance that chains made was a old silver tea set. So the coffee part in the Sugar Bowl and Crema and hey stepped it all up into a beautiful, beautiful lamp. And you know that that was something that belonged to somebody that was sitting in a cupboard not being used. And now it’s enjoyed every day. I love that. That is so very clever. Are there any other very special bespoke pieces that you’ve created for a client that really stand out for year? Look, the ultimate is a complete cottage. So we were very fortunate, really Early in our business, Tio have been contacted by some some people that we knew through through other connexions and they asked us for some input into little cottage. They have down here on the Mornington Peninsula on their property and we’re looking at ways Teo utilise that space and I don’t think either of us. We’re quite sure what we’re going to do. And we put together some ideas and basically they turned around and said, Yes, Tio, what we propose, which was back in that day, a Pinterest board and with great faith and trust in us. These incredible people literally and figuratively handed us the keys to their property and said, Do what you like and we delivered them. And Airbnb business full off completely bespoke pieces. So speaking about Lance being made, they’ve got a beautiful little old bell in the on sweet that’s made from a light Sorry, that’s made from a bell. The vanity sink in the bathroom is an old jam, copper posh on DH. Pretty much everything in that cottage was either secondhand or actually belonged to the clients and had been repurposed or part from mattresses and linen, which we really don’t go second hand on fair. Everything else was created by us, so it’s a complete bespoke solution for them, and we’re just so incredibly proud of it. And so, you know, thrilled that somebody would have that trust Eunice Teo build a business for them like that. Have I seen photos of that little Jack cottage? So if you’re listening to the live show head on over Teo, either goatee instagram and go to either the Dream Home Movement page, the latest couple of posts the Jack Cottage or go to is it salvage merchants. Yet on Instagram, and I’m pretty sure that was one of your most recent posts as well was the Jack If you go on overto ira, go to both instagram accounts and have a look and you you will see just how gorgeous this piece of I think it’s like livable artwork. To be honest with you, I was really quite stunned. You may have noticed I went a little bit over the top with Instagram storeys that cottage this week. It’s gorgeous and people can stay. There certainly can, eh? So what, They just look up Jack Cottage Instagram. It’s Jack Underscore Cottage and got the most beautiful garden surrounds Just down in Somerville on DH. It’s a really beautiful place to start. Hell over. There we go. You just get your clients a little Ah, that sounds amazing. And to be given creative licence is amazing On the topic off Airbnb Tze and bed and breakfasts and that sort of thing the peninsula is brimming with holiday rentals. I just stayed in a gorgeous one in German or a couple of weeks ago, but there’s just so many Airbnb. He’s on the peninsula, and I was doing a bit of research for this episode, and I noticed that you’ve got a service called the Elevate BNB service, which I think would be perfect for the peninsula. All these Airbnb he’s on the peninsula. So can you tell us about that that service? What? What does it involve? Sure, So it’s a service that we provide. And Jack Cottage was really eye opening for us and was footing the door to the short term rental market. And we just absolutely love it and very keen to provide experiences for people and help people that already have event. These short term rentals really elevate their experience because there are some horror storeys out. There s o the service that we offer provides. It’s going to have a look at the property and really looking at every aspect of the property, from online presence, social media presence, photography and imagery of the cottage pricing structure right through everything to do with with house manuals, all sorts of tips and tricks that we know. We’ve spent a lot of time on a lot of energy and researching thiss field. So we go and we then compare this property with other comparable listings in the immediate area. So if it’s a two bedroom sleep, small people, we would We would present a really comprehensive report of recommendations based on comparable process properties where where we feel your property could sit pricing wise. And you know what? Your occupancy should be sitting out, what sort of returns you should be getting. And from there we provide a really detailed list of recommendations of what we could do to really get you up to that stage. Because, as I’m sure you’re an Airbnb user, I’m sure you’ve looked at lots of properties online, looked at an image, and I never stayed there. Yeah, and imagery really is the first thing, and it’s an easy thing to solve. And so we help clients right through every step of that process through the having, as we say, having the pantry stopped ready to go. So that’s what we offer. We provide a report. We come down, we have a look. We provide a report, and then you can choose which recommendations you like to pursue from there. Wow, that’s like a four consultancy services. Well, that’s amazing. And so needed because the competition is fierce on the peninsula. Yes, a lot of people like to holiday here, but there are a lot of being based to compete with. But I still think you can make great money if you’ve got the right product. And yet imagery is just so important, isn’t it? Absolutely. It’s gotto feel like you’re having a break from reality. You know, you’re providing an experienced, you get experience. It’s not. You’re not just doing in somebody’s home, you know you are or rental or whatever. It’s an experience. That’s what people want. And that’s what they should be demanding for the money that they’re spending something out of the ordinary, something different and unique and spoke on DH. That’s what we help our clients create. And then they choose the recommendation, and then you go and we do and then do it all case. It’s consultancy, and then it’s the actual implementation that’s correct, so they can take on board a ll the ideas and tips that we give them and do it themselves if they work. Ideally, we like to get in there and, you know, get it looking, looking good online style, A little bit, you know, with a reasonably low budget actually just boost the sales, boost the accommodation and that’s what it’s all about. You wantto you want your business to go online and be successful. But if you haven’t got a ll these little boxes ticked. It’s really hard. A CZ, you said with with all the other ones around. It’s just so hard to get into the market. And the competition’s pretty and you’re styling is on point as well. Who’s in charge of the styling? E. Try really? D’oh! And I’ll put something on or move something. Sure, she’ll look at it and I go, What do you think? And she just gives me this little look and I go, It’s no good. So I just leave that to her most of the time. You know, right from when I get up in the morning and I’ll set up the pillows on the bed and all that sort of thing and ensure passing. Just look at it and I just still haven’t got It just happened. So that’s a no on the duo are put things together. I screw things together and now things and paint things and and she does to you. We both get into the into the tools and all that sort of thing. But stylist Shane you and I like birds of a feather soon because I just don’t know what looks good with what? That’s why I think that’s why I started this show so I could make friends. Have lots of stylists like send them photos of my housing. Is this right with you on? And he says, I want this make this like the last year she said to me, I want a Christmas tree made out of fence pickets like, you know, the old style. Oh, cool. And she said, He’s the pickets and Christmas Trail. Okay, sat down and come back and see. What do you think of this? You know, you’re not too bad, but changes and change that took it away again. Come back. What do you think? I think that’s really close. But you just need this and then it’ll come together. So I’m on the tools, but she’s got putting himself down a lot. He has an incredible creative. Yeah, that is honestly the real reason why we wanted to do something together. He’s got He may not know how to fluff a pillow or use your room. That’s so he does have a really great creative eye on. So everything we do really is a combined effort way bounce ideas off off each other all the time, and I just I just want to add about that elevates service, You know, what I really want to say is at the heart of that whole service is the ethos of our business, and it is reused. And so we don’t come in and go and get rid of every piece of furniture. That’s just not who, Where about where about what else have you got? What have you got hiding in the garage that I can use? What can I say? You know, throw a lick of paint on to completely transform that. So it’s very much of the core of everything we do is our reuse repurpose philosophy. I love that, and I just love how complimentary you are of each other as well. I wish everyone could see in the studio that is like smiling. But I do really appreciate the fact that you can transform and Airbnb or a home, for example, and use stuff that you already have. We don’t realise what treasures? We’ve got it. You can buy it anymore. You just can’t find all this stuff. You can go into your stores so the name but and you could get a piece of furniture. But if you go put that piece of furniture out on the front lawn and it rains on it, it’s gone. You know where some of the old stuff is just so good. And it’s coming back in, and we are. There is a turn. There’s a really big shift, I think. And we’re right at the start of it because, you know, the planets all going Tio, you know, and we’re all going to get in and work out ways of doing it. And it’ll happen. It’s all goingto have tto happen where we all have to actually think about what we’re actually doing day to day. Yeah, yeah, we do. Yeah, And it is I feel like that shift is happening. I d’oh, it’s very slow yet, and we’re really at the start of it. But for a long time, I didn’t make a lot of changes and we didn’t as a family make a lot of changes because we all feel so overwhelmed by how much we should be doing. And then we just made a decision as a family, you know, progression over perfection, progression over perfection every day. You know, if I’m better than I was six months ago, Better than I was child months ago. We all still got a long way to go. But we’ve just got to try. Yeah, I love that message. I did have Andrea from roving refills Frankston in the studio a few months ago. She and she has a blood caught on wasteful Andrea. And she has that same message that we get too caught up with trying to be perfect when it comes to sustainability and reducing waste that then people just do that. Then they become paralysed and do nothing but small changes. They do actually add up, and they are quite significant. Don’t worry. Andrew is not. She’s not perfect. No one. Every day we’re still changing. We’re still becoming aware of what we’re doing, and we still may. We can change that now and, you know, and what a lover. And she’ll go out and forget to take the shopping bags with their and she’ll come home with a plastic shopping where get again and you know, you just come on and you know, the younger generation of you got to save themselves a cz well, but yeah, and we do. We keep making those mistakes, and sometimes you have to. You can’t bring them 20. Apple’s a bag. That’s fair enough. You just gotto practise it. I think we’re all gonna practise, and we’ll get there eventually. What are some of the mistakes that people make when they are using repurposed materials in in their home? And how can they avoid those mistakes? I think one of the biggest ones is people think it’s going to be cheaper, which is not always going to be a it. Generally it is. But if you’re going to go out and buy a sticker timber from Bunning’s, it’s quick. It’s easy. It’s reasonably cheap, and it really is. But it’s not about saving money for us. It’s more about saving the earth at the end of the day, so don’t make that mistake. You think it’s going to be cheaper because quite often you’ll go out and buy a piece and have to bring it back and modify it and change it or sand it back or painted or whatever it is S O that’s that’s the first thing it’s never, never, never, always cheap. So that’s one of the other thing would be If it’s out of your depth, just don’t do it way. Can’t do everything. We can’t do everything but have a go. If it’s something that is qualified tradesman like Electrician’s or plumber and all that sort of thing, they’re the things that don’t like to touch. I do a little bit of election electrical work, but it’s all well within my scope of skills and always get it checked by an electrician’s anyway. So I’ll get it tested and tag in the light special with my lamps and things like that s o that sze another thing have ago. But, you know, make sure you’re not well, you know, out of your depth on I think the third more third thing, I think, was if you really need it done, if the biggest mistake is if you haven’t called us, that’s a really I think that’s a thing call and we’ll get it sorted for you. You know, the D I Y things is massive. Now it’s you see it on TV. Everywhere people are getting in, getting their hands dirty and having go and it sze really a big achievement when you do something yourself and there’s plenty of help that out there A said YouTube. Get on there, you learn how to do anything. I taught myself how to play the piano off YouTube, you know, all rose sorts of things. And the other day I was out there learning how to fix my car. There’s something broke on it, and I fixed it. You know, it’s I didn’t have to send it off and pay top dollar to get it fixed. So there’s things like that. So I have a go at it on DH. Enjoy what you do, Teo. That’s what it comes down to us. We really enjoy fixing things, and I’m Mr fix it. I just love getting in there and getting something sold in solving problems for people. I love that. So the biggest mistakes. Number one, not having an understanding of your budget. When you when you embark on these projects, it just just cost it up. So you understand how much it’s going to cost and number two is trying to do things that are actually out of your depth, and that’s a message that we share a lot on the show is that day. I was great, but there are certain things that you actually need a qualified trades person. And also, I think, something that I see when I watch shame, work, a cz his apprentice. But I would quite often say to him, are We’re just, you know, we just need to pop that door on there. Or I think sometimes people underestimate that, particularly when you’re working with salvage materials. You’re starting with something that perhaps not the correct size to go in that area. It’s it’s not the correct think nurse. The hinges air in a different spot. All those sorts of things that you think way have a bit of a joke amongst ourselves. He always says, Yeah, I’ll just put it in. It’s just four screws, darling e like No, it’s not, is it? And Weigh replaced a door for a client recently in her home, and it was a full day’s work because we bought a second hand or for her, and the whole jam had to be modified and that’s fine. That’s exactly what we love doing. But I think people sometimes under Estrada, underestimate how much time and effort is involved in using salvage materials. Which brings us to mistake number three, which is not calling. So before we get to our signature questions, let’s just tell people how they can fix mistake number three, which is how would they get in contact with you so you can jump on? All our socials are at salvage merchants on Facebook and Instagram, or you can find us on our website salvage merchants dot com dot you. We’re just based in Maadi, Alex. So we’re just up the road from the peninsula and we do a lot of work down this way, and we always enjoy hopping on Peninsula linked to come down here for the day. So, yeah, just give us a call. We’d love to chat when love to visit people’s homes. We’d love to see how people live and listen to their ideas and their concepts, and we just really enjoy working. Their business attracts the most incredible people, and we’re really fortunate in that way really like minded people. So, Richard Yeah, the results are stunning. Do make sure that you pop on over and cheque out those socials and the website. All right, signature questions. What is your favourite? Thiss question was made for you. Thiss question was made for you. What is your favourite interior design or architectural style from a bygone era? Well, I’d have to say as owners are very owners are. What’s a CZ? Custodians of 150 year old church would have to say. It’s a Victorian era. We have very fortunate to have a beautiful little church out past Bella Rat that we’re currently renovating to be an Airbnb for people and just that era off. It was a really tough time in Australia, the gold rush, and we look at our little church that is five metres high, the roof at the lowest points, five minutes high, and this was all built by men from ladders with hand tools. And so just I guess for me it’s the appreciation off that the love and the dedication and the care that went into buildings of that time and they are beautiful and detailed, and it was done by hand. And that’s just incredible to may. So with all that preserving that it is incredible, isn’t it? You know, we need to preserve those sorts of buildings and that history we cannot lose that it’s so important. What does the phrase dream home mean to you? Oh, he’s looking at May E May. Well, certainly a dream. Hofer may. It’s not for walls, and it never has been. I’ve lived in beautiful homes. I’ve lived in plane, home, small homes and my dream home is the people within a on the people that I cherish. And the items within that means something to me that have value. Having said that, though, Joe I have it. I have got a bit of a Pinterest board going because we have a mutual prince Pinterest, love and Shay and I worked very hard on our Pinterest board for our dream home property that, you know in the future will look something like a rambling country estate with workshops being held and community gatherings. And that’s what our plan for our dream home is. But you know, right now we live in a factory and it’s unreal, and it contains everyone that I love. That’s my dream Home contains everyone that I love. I can’t wait to see your rambling one well again. If you want to find any in Shane, you Khun, go to salvage merchants on Instagram and Facebook or all the W’s salvage merchants dot com dot a. You got that right. Great. Thank you so much for coming in to the studio that was so informative, super valuable and really inspiring. Thank you, Joe. It’s been a real pleasure to be here, and we just love being able to get a message out to people. Thanks for joining us on the Dream home movement. Be sure to come over and say hi on Facebook and Instagram. I hope that your dream home projects are going well and I look forward to chatting with you again next week.

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