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Salvaging, Upcycling, and Thrifting Transformations

Kate Keesee

Style siren & vintage queen

Founder, Salvage Dior Builder


Instagram: @salvagedior

Photos: Mark Lohman


Designing on a Budget

My audience is usually single mothers and stay-at-home moms who are trying to create beautiful homes on a very tight budget. At times this has presented quite a few challenges, because most people always associate design with large amounts of money. I give tips and share inspiration that even the tiniest budget can have such great results in a space. It’s the concept of renewing your mind and thinking outside of the box. Sometimes, the fear that it cannot be achieved on a budget becomes quite the stumbling block for those who want to style their home as they see on Pinterest or other media sources. You can create a look for less with creativity and determination.

The Joy of Thrifting

Something you will never see in my home are matching items. I never use matching lamps or furniture. I love a curated look with individual pieces. One of the reasons I love thrifting is this exact reason—to find items that will make a statement in our home. I’ve been thrifting for over 27 years, and I still love it as much as the day I started.

Design Hack: Making Your Own Tables

My favorite design hack is to find any type of table legs or some sort of base that I can use along with reclaimed wood that I can make into a table. You give me a base, and I will build you a one-of-a-kind table. Tables are always quite pricey, and sometimes in my work I can’t find exactly what I want, so it’s easier to build what I want for our home. Some of our best family memories are when we are gathered around a table I have built using recycled materials.

home design, upcycled, thrift, decor, vintage

Salvage, Upcycle & Transform

People’s unwanted items, their trash, what they get rid of or throw out has always inspired me. As I begin to look at the piece, I start to form a vision to find a way to breathe life back into it—the transformation of a curbside rescue. I guess, in a way, it’s my greatest passion to inspire others to see life in something someone deemed useless.

Free Your Mind

I love the lyrics “free your mind and the rest will follow.” So many lock up their creativity by worrying whether an idea or concept will be well received. I believe once you free your mind, all of the creative energy of your thoughts will flow.


»Create a Mood with Textiles

Anything goes! Rugs, pillows, tablecloths, and I’m a huge fan of pretty fabric shower curtains on a table.

»Tables Are a Focal Point at Any Gathering

I love to take an old wood door and put it on top of a pair of sawhorses— instant success. »Lighting is Key This is why I favor evening events. The lighting does not even have to match—lamps, string lights and an abundance of candles create a cozy warmth.

»Backdrops Are a Must

They give a feel of being somewhere else. Sometimes I will hang grass cloth from the hardware store to give a feeling of a tropical setting, and then create the rest around that. Tapestries are another great item to hang that sets a mood of being away from home.

»Service Ware

Service ware is always important. Lots of wood dishes, along with mismatched pottery and glass. I like a great mix of things I love on a table.

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