Opposite the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, Cape Town is Katie Thompson’s delightful store Recreate. Recreate is an upcycler’s dream. It’s filled with gorgeous repurposed suitcase chairs, milk bottle lamps, clocks, bucket stools and ottoman tubs.
With a background in interior design Katie was working for an architecture firm in 2009 when she felt a pull to try something new. A self proclaimed hoarder and lover of junk, Katie wanted to start her own business but wasn’t sure exactly what to do. Upon finding a broken heart chair in her garden with two legs, half a seat and a piece for the back, Katie’s imagination was sparked. She would refresh this old chair and turn it into the kind of item people with interior designers would adore. Her dad said she was being crazy and advised her to rather write a business plan.
Katie did both, launching Recreate at the Cape Town Decorex show in 2009. The heart chair, as well as many of Katie’s other iconic pieces featured in the lounge setting she created. The show was a phenomenal success for Recreate with Katie named the recipient of the show’s Green Stand award. Recreate was propelled into the spotlight and enjoyed features in major South African decor magazines and a spot light on the South African home lifestyle show Top Billing. The overwhelming response lead to Katie opening a studio from her home as well as exhibiting at the Old Biscuit Mill market. Two years later Katie moved Recreate to it’s current location and official store front. Now 3 years old, Recreate sells locally, ships internationally and even has stockists in Amsterdam and Vienna.
The easy part is knowing what the object will become, the hard part is making it look the way I see it in my head.
Recreate and it’s customers
While Katie lovingly dreams up each creation, she has it as a rule not to get attached. The two pieces with the most sentimental value have both been sold. One, a suitcase side table was sold to a couple from the UK. The wife, a repeat Recreate customer, purchased a tripod lamp for her husband as a Christmas present. As he was going to be visiting Cape Town, the wife sent him in store to collect the package. When the husband arrived he told Katie that this store was his wife’s absolute favourite, and could she please help him pick out a Christmas present for her. Katie assisted the husband in selecting her own favourite suitcase side table as the gift for his wife. The other sentimental piece Katie sold was Recreate’s first, the heart chair which sold at Decorex.
We loved telling her about a friend’s Recreate chair and watching her light up, remembering the particular piece and hearing how much our friend loves it.
All Recreate pieces are one of a kind and Katie encourages customers to bring in their own sentimental pieces for customization. By adding her own personal touch and flair for high end finishes, Recreate’s furniture, lighting and interior accessories take on a new life; their new functions enhanced by the existing history. Once considered junk, the finished ranges end up transformed and profoundly beautiful.