Grand designs: the man who turned a £700 Beetle into £5,000 of furniture

The upcycling craze is sweeping London, but one designer with the bug has taken it to the max...

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Turning unwanted objects into prized possessions instead of sending them to landfill not only protects the environment but also encourages creativity with the cheapest of raw materials.

Londoners have caught the upcycling bug in a big way as they seek items that are not only kinder to the environment but also cannot be bought on the high street, however deep their neighbour's wallet.

In the last year, Gumtree, the online classified bazaar, has had a 64 per cent rise in the number of people selling upcycled items and an astonishing 1,000 per cent rise in searches for upcycled pieces.

Designer and professional upcycler Max McMurdo has taken his passion to extremes by turning an unloved VW Beetle he paid £700 for into 20 pieces of furniture and household items worth £5,000.

From transforming a door into a headboard, to making clocks from numberplates, McMurdo didn't let anything go to waste.

“Upcycling is booming across the UK, especially amongst Londoners,” says McMurdo. “People are just much more aware of the effects of waste on the environment and it's a great way to completely re-purpose items that you would usually throw away.

“Aside from it being green and of course economical, it's also about creating unique pieces with a back story that you can't just buy off the shelf.

“Gumtree is on a mission to revolutionise the way we look at waste and I’m excited to be part of it through projects like this one. We want to show people that you can create quality items out of anything, even a run down VW Beetle. This project is a great way to share these opportunities and help people uncover their own creativity and put their hand to making something amazing.”

He worked with Gumtree to create the items and all proceeds will be matched by the company and donated to The Butterfly Tree charity to build classrooms for the children of a rural Zambian community.

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