One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. That’s an adage Leah Faulkner and Barb Kark take to heart.
The friends have a penchant for things that are rusty, dented, roughed up and well loved.
“We’ll take it off your hands,” says Kark, who doesn’t hesitate to knock on the door of a stranger if she spots something she likes discarded in a yard.
“Ninety per cent of the time people are only too happy to get rid of it.”
Faulkner got her junking bug from her mother-in-law Bertie while living in Manitoba.
She met Kark 13 years and bonded over a similar interest in all things old.
The weekend after they met, Faulkner and Kark went to the Cloverdale flea market.
It was a trip that cemented their friendship, an outing that sparked many annual “junking journeys” to source wonderful collectibles, unique primitives and vintage items.
Together the pair have been collected farmhouse treasures during road trips to Spokane, checked out numerous garage sales and rooted through many piles of “wonderful funky junk” left on the side of the road.
“It helps keep the landfill free of stuff,” says Kark, who restores the antiques and junk yard finds with Faulkner.
After filling their homes with stuff for over a decade, Faulkner and Kark decided to turn their hobby into a business a year ago, christened – The Olde Farmhouse.
People would come over and ask where we got this, says Faulkner, who has a soft spot for old cupboards.
“A lot of the times you grab stuff and you don’t know what you’ll end up using it for,” explains Faulkner, who often transforms items into something completely differently from what they were originally built for. She’s turned a mirror into a chalkboard and used antique door knobs as hook to hang jewelry on.
The friends say junking can be a full-time job – they are constantly looking for something new, or rather old.
They’ve also hooked their husbands, in-laws and siblings into junking and don’t hesitate to send them out on shopping missions.
My husband was driving other day and sent me a photograph of something dumped on the side of the road, Faulkner says with a laugh.
Both say there’s something special about owning an item – be it a chair, cupboard, lamp shade or bowl – that’s been used by someone else.
“It’s nice to know where it’s come from, what they used it for,” says Kark, reminiscing about a stool she got from an old barn that was built by a man for his wife to make it easier for her to milk cows.
“You are bringing something that was loved into your home and it makes it warm. It is not necessarily shiny and brand new.”
Faulkner, meanwhile, loves the story behind the antique cupboard she has in her kitchen, that was once used to store pies.
Every time she opens it, she thinks about the pies that were stored inside and the children who must have tried to stick their fingers in them.
“It’s just the way that it makes your home feel,” she says.