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Humans of Petit – Elise

What made you want to volunteer?

Elise I volunteered because after my University degree in Furniture and Product Design I found it very hard to get any replies from furniture design jobs due to the fact all the designing is now done via CAD. I was traditionally trained which is why I chose the course in the first place, I drew by hand and made by hand. This lead me to volunteer and Petit Miracles I needed some form of furniture creation to keep me using my hands.

How would you describe Petit Miracle Interiors?

Petit Miracles is a really nice place to be, the shop and workshop are bright and clean, everyone who works there is really friendly and helpful. The environment is relaxed which means cracking on with some upcycling is very therapeutic and enjoyable.

Have you developed new skills whilst volunteering?

I have learnt how to look at old furniture in a different way before I would chop it up and use the wood to make something new, but it has taught me to appreciate the original design, even when it is not my taste.

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Upcycling in W12 with Petit Miracles – An inspired Mother’s day present – Guest Blog

In the days before the word upcycling had been dreamt of, I was hard at work with a paintbrush, slapping the wrong paint onto unprepared surfaces, covering walls and furniture with wonkily aligned stencilling and generally making everyone wish I’d just left things alone.

This is what my son Ben was channelling when he booked me into an upcycling workshop. He got the idea past my creative sensitivities by saying it was a belated Mother’s Day treat.

Arriving for the workshop

And so we turned up for one of the Saturday workshops at the Petit Miracles hub in Shepherds Bush’s W12 Shopping Centre. Our little group had grown to four with daughter Georgina and Ben’s girlfriend Kirsty, also keen to release their hidden upcycler.  Read more

If you love books, this is a stairway to heaven – Guest blog by Toni

Although these stairs may look difficult, I can assure you, the hardest part was taking up the carpet to see what lay beneath! Living in a Victorian house, I had absolutely no idea what I might find. Although I didn’t find any secrets ‘swept under the carpet’, I did find numerous layers of paint!

After the initial shock {and a cup of tea} I tried a few methods to remove the paint.

Firstly, I tried paint strippers, far too messy and time consuming. So I decided a sander would be a much better option.

Because I wanted to varnish the treads, I had to make sure every trace of paint was removed, but for the risers as long as the finish is smooth, it should be ok.

Once all the paint’s removed have another cuppa, and give yourself a pat on the back! All the hard work’s done! Now you need to decide on a theme.

I chose my favourite books, but it can work just as well with films / CD’s etc.

Decide on a colour scheme {I tried to stick as close to the book covers as I could} This bit is relatively easy and cheap, paint your risers. I used sampler match pots for each stair.

Varnish the treads, for another option, paint the treads the same colours as your risers. {but for this option you will still need to coat the treads with a few coats of clear varnish}

Finally, the decals… I would like to take credit for the decals {book titles} but it has to go to an amazing woman on Pinterest. I emailed her the book titles I wanted and she found each book online so that she could match the font exactly.

Once they arrived, they were easy to apply. They are on tracing paper, so it’s just a case of putting in position and rubbing with a credit card until they stick.

Job done…now make a nice cup of tea and sit back and admire your work!

Thanks to Toni Connolly for this guest post
Follow her on instagram: @toni_connolly63

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Humans of Petit: Federico

My name is Federico and I am from a town just outside of Rome. I recently completed a degree in Furniture Design. The qualification involved all the stages from initial concept of a piece, right through to creation. I was offered to come to England on a 6 month internship through my college and was placed at Petit Miracles.

Here, I have learned more about commercialisation in the furniture industry but also have had the chance to learn and use different materials I had never used before; different types of paint, finishes, oils and stains. On top of all of this, I am also slowly improving my English!

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Humans of Petit: Abdul

Abdul is currently on a 6-month placement with Petit Miracles. Originally from Italy, Abdul studied furniture design with a specialized focus on construction. After 5 years studying he has decided to throw himself, not only into a working environment but also into another country, test what he has learnt.

Within a short period of time he has developed an understanding of customer needs, standards, the demands and deadlines associated with the industry.

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Humans of Petit: Kate Moore

Kate Moore – General Manager

I have always been interested in furniture and loved being creative but never really had the confidence to pursue it as a career. I saw an advert for an apprentice position at Petit Miracles and the rest is history! I am now general manager, my role includes Upholstery for the shop and bespoke orders, helping customers with their queries, making sure the shop looks beautiful and whenever I can I will be in the workshop!

Petit Miracles has given me confidence in myself and abilities and helped me grow as a person. I love working here because it’s a really creative environment, we have a great group of staff and volunteers and every day is different! My favourite piece of furniture so far has to be ‘Hattie’, a multi-media chest of drawers, one of the first pieces I worked on.

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Partnership project: Viridian housing

We have been working in partnership with housing association Viridian Housing to transform a communal area creating a warm and welcoming space for their residents.  Viridian residents volunteered to learn how to upcycle furniture and work with our team, over a span of 12 weeks the volunteers have been working very hard, learning restoration and upcycling techniques in our workshop.

Residents now have a lovingly refurbished communal area complete with upcycled treasures, It’s the first space to be redecorated under the new project Changing Spaces and the photos speak volumes. What do you think of the results?

Fancy having your space receive an overhaul?  Get in touch and see whats possible! info@petitmiracles.org.uk

Viridian photos

West12 here we come!

Finally the time has come. After our successful 6 month pop-up shop, we are opening a permanent shop back in the West12 Shopping Centre. Located on the first floor you will find the same great workshops on offer and beautiful reclaimed and upcycled wares. To make it happen we are looking for more great volunteers in the following areas:

-Tutors/trainers/teachers with furniture restoration experience.
-We are also looking to exhibit eco-friendly, upcycling fashion designers who may want to showcase their designs within our shop.
-Any and all artists/creative types that want to contribute to our pop-up shop experience.
-Qualified builders to offer DIY workshops to vulnerable adults and at risk youth. Teaching the health and safety and basic DIY tasks.
-Qualified builder to help with the set-up of the pop-up shop.

We believe that volunteering needs to be mutually beneficial. We have loads of tasks, skills needed and are happy to offer references, share your work with our wider network, and if applicable, you can use this as opportunity to enhance your portfolio.

The shop is due to open 28 January with trading to commence on 30 Jan so we we will need all the help we can get to make it happen.

Please get in touch, if you or anyone you know, who may be interested.

A link to help you find us: http://west12shopping.co.uk/

Looking forward to seeing you at the shop!