The Cool Way to Repurpose: One Man’s Guide to Country Chic Living

By Leah Sullivan

Who knew repurposing could be so cool? Well, other than John Sullivan. Small-town attorney from Marshall, Michigan sure has tricks up his sleeve when it comes to repurposed home decor. Our team here at Spaces ventured to Sullivan’s five-acre farm house in Marengo Township to check out.

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Stretched across a beautifully rural area of farmland, the Sullivan property houses a home and two barns. Over his nearly twenty years owning the estate, Sullivan has surely made his renovations, repurposing all throughout. “It’s cool lookin'” Sullivan explains, referring to using repurposed materials as opposed to new. “It’s economic…it can give me an end result that works.”

Throughout the home, you’ll find repurposed materials everywhere you look. From a shoe holder made from old copper pipes, to old doors and miss-matching doorknobs. The home is filled with repurposed goods, nevertheless adding to the rustic and country chic style of Sullivan’s home.
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“You can make some neat stuff,” Sullivan adds, noting other items found on the property, including an old outhouse Sullivan created, using rusty metal shingles and old barn wood, as well as a garden shed, made of materials from Sullivan’s daughter’s old play-set. “I had a hard time just pitching that [play-set] because we had so many memories with it.”

One of the coolest features of Sullivan’s property is within one of his barns, repurposing the barn’s old steal roof as a ceiling and wall trim in the barn. Using a wood stain made up of rusty bolts and nails and white vinegar, Sullivan creates a rugged, yet very attractive look to the interior of the barn, where he spends time working on automotive projects. “It’s interesting because you apply it and you really can’t see it changing the color significantly, but then, in about ten minutes, it almost transforms the color,” Sullivan says, explaining the pine wood staining process. As for the materials? Sullivan claims that “Inevitably, if you have a shop or two, you end up accumulating stuff.”

For more inspiration as to ways you can repurpose within your own home, check out the video to see more of Sullivan’s projects.




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