Get To Know Jaharn, An Inspiring DIY Upcycler

Get To Know Jaharn, An Inspiring DIY Upcycler

Who is Jaharn and what is it that you create?

My name is Jaharn and I have a website called Smor Home, where I'm all about sharing affordable and sustainable DIY and upcycling projects for your home. My purpose is to reduce the impact of fast furniture by showing you how you can transform the pieces you already have at home with elbow grease and creativity. My process for making and upcycling is created around sustainability, repurposing and salvaging items that are destined for landfill and breathing new life into them using unexpected materials in unexpected ways.

Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?

My professional career prior to making and upcycling full-time with my website Smor Home was actually in fashion PR. I've worked in Brisbane, London and Sydney for some big brands including ACNE, Stella McCartney and General Pants.

I've always loved shopping for secondhand clothes and furniture from a young age. Every chance I got I would go thrifting and rummage through the racks at the secondhand markets and charity shops to find something cool and different to wear. When I saw something I loved and knew had potential, I pulled out my savings and brought it home to upcycle and adjust until it was perfect for me.

In my early 20s I started an online vintage store called Vintage Lover, which I also ran while I was living and working full-time in London. I would spend my weekends trawling through thrift stores, markets and boot sales to find really cool clothes to resell. Often I would have to sew fresh buttons, remove sleeves, cinch in a waist or shorten a hem until it was just perfect. It was on those sourcing trips that I would bring home an ugly bedside table that I could see had so much potential and would lovingly restore, or I would dust off a faded rattan framed mirror and give it a fresh lick of paint. I would use these as props for my shoots or keep them in my home.

When I first moved to Noosa eight years ago there weren't a lot of thrift stores, but we had a really great tip shop. And it was here that my love for upcycling furniture intensified. I was living in a small two-bedroom apartment at the time, and I would fill it with my upcycling projects as we were saving to build our own home. We ended up building our dream home five years ago but sadly I wasn't proud of the interior - it felt empty and plain, and that's because we couldn't afford to buy what we liked, and anything we could afford was low-quality fast furniture. So I continued to upcycle most of the pieces I wanted in our home for less, while saving perfectly salvageable furniture from ending up in the landfill.

After seeing the glowing reactions of my family and friends, I was encouraged to start sharing my projects on Instagram. Fast forward to today, Smor Home is everything I've ever wanted in a career and being able to make and upcycle every day is a dream!

How did you cultivate your distinct style?

I love mixing old with new, combining elements of different eras to create a home that's full of life and character.

Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?

My creative process generally starts when I am out thrifting or flipping through the pages of my favourite interior magazines. When I see something that has potential, I start thinking about how I could change it, make it or upcycle it myself. I think about all the potential steps from start to finish, and where I could use unexpected materials in unexpected ways, while always ensuring that the process is affordable, sustainable, accessible and easy to replicate. From here I'll start on the project and document the process along the way, which I share on my website and social media channels, including Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok.

More recently I launched my very own YouTube channel where I go to someone's house every month to help them upcycle a piece of furniture or home decor they don't want to throw out in favour of buying something new. It's a lot of fun and I love showing people how easy it is to make, DIY and upcycle the pieces they have around their homes.

What does your typical working day look like for you?

Every single day looks different and it's usually a blend of everything - making, upcycling, capturing and editing content, responding to client briefs, meetings, planning, research and reporting. There's a lot to do when I only have three days a week to focus solely on Smor Home. I have learned to squeeze the most out of every hour, however it's never smooth sailing. Things shift and change all the time. In saying that, I am getting better at batching my days into categories - making, shooting/filming and editing, and admin. And it's been a big help! I don't feel as scattered or overwhelmed, but it's still a work in progress.

sustainable DIY and upcycling projects for your home

What has been your favourite project to work on so far?

Asking me what my favourite project to work on is like asking me to choose my favourite child, ha! But in all honesty, they are all my favourite because every single project has taught me something new. There is a lot of creativity and problem-solving involved with every project, and while it can get a little chaotic and challenging trying to figure out everything on my own, when a project is finished and I can see the reaction people are having on my website and social media, it brings me so much joy and satisfaction. Although in saying that, here are a few of my favourites:

Round Ball Furniture

Curvy/Chunky/Wavy Furniture

Fluted Furniture

Sculptural Art

And of course, my most recent project with Spotlight for Make It Month!

Who are your biggest artistic inspirations and why?

I tend to gravitate towards interior and furniture designers, We Are Triibe, Arent&Pyke, Studio McGee, YSG, Alexander & Co., Light & Dwell, Amber Interiors, Kelly Wearstler, Flack Studio and Sarah Sherman Samuel. I also love Rachel Donath and Sarah Ellison, and I love seeing what furniture and home decor brands are up to, as well as vintage resellers such as First Dibs, Den, CCSS, Curated Spaces and Friends of Form.

Do you have a single piece of advice you'd give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?

Start now, don't worry if it's not perfect, believe in yourself, be consistent and never ever give up.

Find Jaharn here!









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