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6 Salvage Projects You've Got to See

Noteworthy upcycle ideas from readers like you

They Upcycled a Factory Cart

Photo by Nat Rea

As soon as Emily Danforth and Erica Edsell of Providence, Rhode Island, saw this old mill cart, they knew it would make a perfect kitchen island for their 1900 Gothic Revival home. "Much of our renovation was inspired by our desire to repurpose funky vintage items," says Emily."We love the cart's rustic, industrial look and striking green paint."

Click through to get the lowdown on this and other "From this to that" reader transformations.

See all the winners and finalists from the Search for America's Best Remodel 2015

Factory Cart to Kitchen Island: Before

Photo by Nat Rea

"The same day we spied this old mill cart in a salvage shop, we found a slab of perfectly sized marble in a nearby antiques showroom. We knew it would make the perfect top!"

Emily Danforth and Erica Edsell, Providence, Rhode Island

Factory Cart to Kitchen Island: After

Photo by Nat Rea

"We cut down the handles to bring the cart to workstation height and laid salvaged floorboards across it to create a base to support the marble. Then we drilled through the marble and inserted dowels to reattach the handle, so it looks like the marble was always there. Now the island is the hub of our home."

Emily Danforth and Erica Edsell, Providence, Rhode Island

Copy this salvage-style look—without tracking down a factory cart—by watching our how-to on building a butcher-block island.

Doors to Daybed: Before

"I had been searching high and low for a queen-size daybed for the guest room of my 1929 Tudor. Finally, I decided to build one myself."

Karen Cooper, Decatur, Georgia

Doors to Daybed: After

"I got two solid-wood doors from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and cut one to fit the windowed corner of the room. I attached 2×4s to the doors and screwed them to a metal bed frame. The finishing touch? A coat of bright-green paint."

Karen Cooper, Decatur, Georgia

Get a similar look with our how-to on building a headboard and footboard from bifold doors.

Organ Pipes to Feature Wall: Before

"When we found five truckloads of solid-pine church organ pipes destined for the burn pile at a local farm, we had to rescue them."

John and Keri Karris, Plymouth, Indiana

Organ Pipes to Feature Wall: After

"After running a bunch through the planer in our workshop, we used the honey-toned wood to create paneling for a lodge-inspired feature wall and a faux-fireplace mantel, accented with herringbone tile."

John and Keri Karris, Plymouth, Indiana

Craft your own faux fireplace with our instructions on building a wood mantel.

Grand Piano to Kitchen Island: Before

"When we downsized our home, we didn't have space for our out-of-commission 1834 square grand piano. Karen, a pianist, came up with the idea to make it into a kitchen island."

Gary and Karen Thompson, Fort Thomas, Kentucky

Grand Piano to Kitchen Island: After

"We pulled out the nonworking soundboard and harp and removed the keys (saved for a future project), then added a brace across one end to support the stone countertop."

Gary and Karen Thompson, Fort Thomas, Kentucky

Get more inspiration for salvage-turned-island masterpieces from our kitchen island shopping guide.

Wooden Boat to Guest Bed: Before

"The idea of turning a boat into a bed came to us while driving home from our vacation house, in Old Forge, New York. We spotted a no-longer-seaworthy Penn Yan lapstrake for sale on the side of the road for $500 and couldn't pass it up."

Kevin and Mia Madtes, Schnecksville, Pennsylvania

Wooden Boat to Guest Bed: After

"We ripped out the engine and seats, cut off the back, and built a simple box frame for the mattress. As projects go, it wasn't easy, but now it's where all our guests want to sleep."

Kevin and Mia Madtes, Schnecksville, Pennsylvania

Add more sporty accessories with our shopping guide for creating a cabin-style bedroom.

Trampoline Pit to Outdoor Lounge: Before

"After struggling for 2 hours trying to extract the cinder-block walls from the outdated trampoline pit behind our new house, I had a better idea: Turn it into a cozy hangout space."

Douglas Larson, Salt Lake City

Trampoline Pit to Outdoor Lounge: After

"First, I braced the walls with 2×4s, then I built out the benches. I pulled the weeds, laid gravel, and installed a fire pit. One thing's for sure: Our family has gone through a lot of marshmallows out there."

Douglas Larson, Salt Lake City

No trampoline pit? Build a round patio and fire pit.