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Mixing materials, concrete and wood.

I think there are materials that combined make a perfect marriage-that expression is almost an oxymoron, but they are very close those two-wood and concrete, especially reclaimed wood and concrete.  This summer I plan to get involved with some projects implementing these materials, before I post my own work here, take a look at these amazing ideas, people are creative beyond measure I think.

Now, moulding the concrete blocks is really easy for the most part. There is a guy-Ben Uyeda that has some cool tips and tutorials, he uses Lego blocks and melamine boards to for the moulding then pours the concrete mix and gets the form to set for couple of days.  These should be reinforced with some metal rods, or metal mash to make sure the structure is sound and fit for the purpose.

Making concrete furniture is a perfect way to fit your garden or a patio, they do not need much maintenance, and really-they are hard to destroy, even for a seasoned trouble maker.

Have fun creating your own stuff.

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Office NOT boring

I have been doing some work for companies in the city, must admit-some of the offices look amazing, but for the most part-cheap crappy chipboard or mdf built white, hospital like cabinets. Really something out of  `80 with a modern twist-loads of plastic, certainly not my cup of tea. But large offices being located usually on huge floors  present a great opportunity for innovation, funky ideas and furniture that is far from boring.

Being in the office, punching numbers into computers might not be too adventurous, but having your environment custom built will certainly give you a feeling of control, and will somehow pick you out of the white cubicle crowd.

Even simple ideas, like a metal mesh on the wall to hang a mirror or some pictures on it, will change the interior completely. A big barrel turned into a spotlight or a sink will make the office space creative and maybe thus inspire more creativity in the people working in it.

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I truly believe that our very environment has a huge impact on the well-being and creativity. This is why I do not get the traditional, boxy, white, hospital like cubicles. I think that era is the thing of the past, with knowledge and availability of virtually anything today, we can create offices that will make people happy to come to work. At least, will make them a lot less miserable spending countless hours behind their desk. Worth a try I think…

Another pair of socks in that department is getting the old boss to go along with the new idea. I think young companies are a lot more able to shift the old ideas and come up with new approach. I somehow do not see some an old, law firm in the city, with people past their `60 to mount a oil barrel on their ceiling. But hey-if they do-I am here to help,until then-all youngsters out there with heads packed of ideas-call me up if you want your office to be unique and people working in it-happy and creative.

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Do not forget to pay your employees well, no amount of funky furniture or creative décor will suffice if you pay them peanuts-just a thought.

Cheerio

Traditional-trimmed up

As I get deeper into wood working, projects, see flats, houses and other properties I notice that people are-in general well tired of traditional, IKEA ( sorry) style design.

Although custom made items are not cheap,more and more clients out there decide to save some money to get something that is unique and quality at the same time. After all, it is your place, your home no matter if it is a big`ol house or a small city flat, having an option to have it YOUR way should be something worth considering.

I have been bashing cheap crap, usually mdf or chipboard made items for a while now, no point going back there, but what makes me smile is the fact, that people start to be more creative. We have passed the point where China made cheap items were literally on the menu in every house, today people steer towards originality, quality, uniqueness, something that will be a pleasure to have for a number of years.

Big reclaimed wood logs in the kitchen, rustic counter top, cabinets made out of real wood, industrial style lights etc. The possibilities are literally endless to design an interior that is just “off the wall”. With today`s market, especially in the big city-you can get anything and everything if you are determined enough. Businesses all around offer free material like pallets, all sorts of wood, and other stuff that can be turned into an eye popping furniture with some work and basic tools.

I am very glad that this is the direction that people are taking, this traditional, square, boring chipboard laminates are coming to an end, now is the time for cool stuff and if you can make it yourself out of reclaimed materials-you are in the game mister. Keep it up.

Dine with class-the “old way”

Dining table is a centre piece of every dining room,  a place where people meet and share a meal, socialize, and bring the family together. A solid table, real wood, thick top and cool chairs/bench is something I would look into. Not to bash the Ikea boys in any way, but something made out of chipboard with cheap laminate is nowhere near a proper family dining table.

These tables can be built out of reclaimed wood, as well as a fresh (dried) lumber, hard wood would be a choice for this particular project. People sitting at this table, eating, kids scratching with forks etc. Quality wood will make sure you do not have to re-finish every 6 months to get rid of all marks, dents and scratches.

I personally love thick legged tables, even a design where legs are thick and the top slightly on the thin side, just the opposite of a popular trend would make a cool house item.

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Kitchen ideas continue

I am still a bit obsessed with fitting my kitchen with reclaimed timber. I have come across these cool ideas, many of which are really easy to build. A combination of marble, stone, wood and iron seems to be the way I would design my own kitchen.

The choice of wood depends on the location, you would look more into nice hardwood for the countertops and could easily get away with cheaper soft wood for the cabinet doors and other elements not exposed to water and food.

I like the idea of fat beams on the ceiling, these can be build out of flat boards jointed in the way to mimic a fat piece of wood. Cool thing about this idea is the fact that it is light, easy to install and widely available as opposed to big log of wood being lifted and screwed onto the ceiling.

Whatever option you aim to do, reclaimed timber can be combined with many other materials. Also finish, as in varnish, stains etc. should be fit for purpose, today`s market is full of solid stuff, shop around.

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Couple of recent projects

These 2 bad boys do not have a proper post, I was too buys to shoot pics in order to make this into a post.  Both projects are made out of scaffo boards and reclaimed wood. First is a house storage my wife requested, she had few boxes and needed a shelve unit to accommodate them. Teak finish light sand and varnish.

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I had a set of really nice steel wheels in the shop, these make this look a little more on the rustic side.

Second project I had just finished was a really unique tv stand ordered by one of my frequent client. It combines on “s” like board design, only supported by one vertical board located in the back of the unit. This part is quite unique and it is not much visible, makes this unit an interesting idea. I have placed very long wood screw like rods inside to support the shelves.

I will post better pics. soon, sometimes I get too busy to properly document my work, sorry guys.

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Wall of wood

I am coming back to the idea of a rustic/pallet style wall. I have been recently to one of the clothing stores that had an amazing wall made out of pallets. Big, flat tv hanging on that wall looked off the hook, the whole project was really amazing.

Now, there is a way to make new pallet wood look this old, but this I will explain in another post. There is also couple of ways of installing planks on the wall. I personally like the idea of placing a sheet of ply on the wall-find the studs and screw it on, either on strips of wood or-if you got nice straight walls-on bare wall. The reason behind that is the comfort of installation late. What I mean by that is, that you will be able to glue/nail different length planks, this base will give you almost canvas like opportunity to play. Also, you will save yourself tons of work in case one day you want to take the whole thing down, there will be no glue, nail holes etc. to worry about.

I have a plan on fitting my bedroom wall this way in the near future, it will be much warmer as well:)

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Kitchen as an ultimate hang out place.

I have mentioned in some previous posts that from my childhood I remember guests always hanging out in the kitchen. It was that part of the house where all food was served (apart from official occasions), drinks, talks, all vibe. Not sure why really, maybe because it is a part of every house that brings us all closer to each other-family unit like scheme, never mind. These samples here are something I have found and plan on building in the very near future..

These islands come in many shapes, colours and forms.Being wheeled up ( break supported wheels) it can be moved around at ease making this piece particularity useful around the house and even a garden.

Solid finish in the form of quality varnish ( several coats) would be desirable here, as the kitchen is the place of untold varieties of spills, spices (tumeric being the notorious stainer) and whatever else you like to work with:)

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These pallet elements turned into modern furniture.

I came across these designs and honestly, I  think they do stand out, simplicity and a dash of unorthodox  thinking has brought these items quite a lot of attention.  Building process is time consuming, but baby simple and I think that is a part of its beauty.

The important aspect of this design is a colour/finish as well. Keeping light, natural colours that easily find their way into the taste of most people makes it even more desirable. Industrial markings on chip blocks bring this “loft touch” into the whole thing, I am truly impressed with this work.

Best part of that-access to the building materials…

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Hairpin legs coffee table.

This table I have done for one of my new clients. She requested a really nice pattern on the top and black/matt 14″ hairpin legs.  I have put 18mm strong, good quality ply underneath the planks and followed up with design. It was tricky to keep this pattern very well measured throughout the built, any mm each side would result with a big gap at the very end.

I applied some touches with teak stain to make these sawmill marks pop up a bit and natural oak was the final finish before applying several coats of clear/matt varnish for protection. I really like the final result, but most importantly the fact, that my client is happy.

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Bar interior, recent client.

This project I have completed just recently, new pub opened up in the city, owner has also a brewery, quite good beer I must add. The interior looks really cool, all around the wood, reclaimed/scaffo theme, all comes along nicely.

The atmosphere inside is vibrant and it looks almost always busy. My part was to build a side bar, located by brick wall, a big mirror that was installed in the upstairs dining room and over the back bar shelving units.

Side bar is made out of long ( 3m each) scaffo boars, I have purchased at a local building supplies store. I have applied black spray paint and sanded through before applying a natural oak stain and varnish. Then it was placed on 33.4 mm scaffo frame, all very sturdy and looking nice I think. (blowing my own horn here).

The mirror was bought new on ebay and placed on the ply before I had scaffo boards (same finish) built around it as a frame. The challenge was to make some really flat, yet super strong mountings that would keep this baby up on the wall well secured. I have cut a metal corner into half and drilled some holes in it. One side was fitted with adjustable mounting, when you drill into a brick, it is not uncommon for the drill to slightly slip, then you put the piece up-to find out it is crooked,  then you`re in trouble trying to explain extra holes in the wall.

The over the bar shelve units-are 2, couple of meters long boxy like pieces. All built with the same material as the rest of the projects I have done here. Same finish, high enough to accommodate bottles, we had tiny room to make this work, but eventually got it all lined up nicely. The same fittings were used as for the mirror with bolts super heavy, it is not going anywhere even fully loaded.

Sorry for just few pics, but when you are working and forgot to take as you go, coming to a pub full of people and start snapping away photos, it freaks people out.

Great place, nice projects, overall super cool place.

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Big logs with the past

Still kind of obsessed with railways sleepers, there is something amazing about furniture made out of those bad boys. Combining this wood with other materials like concrete, all sorts of metal can bring modern looks into another level. This trend in design is being more present every year, I have visited many restaurants, pubs and businesses that fit their interior with this kind of work. Not to mention that anything built this way is basically forever, you would really have to try your best to damage it, nothing like cheap Ikea crap.

Sleepers come in different kinds, one that you should be looking for is hard wood, untreated and most importantly-looking great with mother mature aged looks. These can be purchased online, they are not very expensive, if you can salvage some-even better. Look for smell of diesel, as they were serving their time under tons of steel wheeling over. Make sure they free of that, then get cracking with some SHARP tools:)

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Railway sleeper in the garden

These fat bad boys are perfect material for fitting up a garden with some cool ideas. They (if used) have been through hell and back, caring tons of weight, harsh weather conditions and God knows what else, still looking amazing. They can be used for planters, benches, tables all sorts of ideas that will literally transform a boring, flat garden into something a rock star would be proud of.

These can be purchased at a local wood depot and maybe even collected for free, regardless where they come from, it is a gem for a rustic project.

Even small garden can be turn into a fabulous space with little work, best thing in this kind of project is the fact, that it requires really almost no skills, these beams stacked up on each other and connected the simplest way will suffice.

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Grey, weathered look still in demand

I have come full circle around to come back to natural, weathered, beat up looks to my project. Number of reasons why really, simplicity to recreate the mother nature is one, but the rustic, yet modern look to an old piece of wood makes the project stand out-plus it goes nicely with almost everything you have around the house.

Now, this kind of boards can be salvaged-get to the companies that handle scaffo, sometimes, they want to get rid off old boards-that is exactly what you could use for all these projects. If that is not an option-buy new scaffo boards and go to town with paints, stains, hammer and beat it up- I will  make a post on how to make those.

These thick boards can be lightly run through the thicknesser, but remember that taking too much off, will leave you with a plane looking piece of wood, then all design goes bye bye.

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Copper and wood, working fine together.

Copper pipes and connecting elements are widely available in any hardware store, like B&Q, Wickes etc. It is very easy to work with, cutting the pipes requires a specially designed knife, that is not expensive at all, rest of connectors you can purchase as needed for specific project.

Copper and rustic wood goes really nice together, any finish will look stunning, from real dark walnut to natural oak, even old scaffolding boards lightly sanded will make an eye turning project.

One thing I have noticed working with copper pipes, as you handle them, your hands having some moisture will leave some marks, looking like fatty spots, taking a high grid sand paper- 400 and up and giving it a good rub, will bring beautiful colour back to life.

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Modern look with old wood.

These pictures here are of interesting design ideas, where aged wood has been incorporated with clean, white surroundings, tiles, appliances. Some of those beams are genuine fat pieces of wood, but some are built out of boards, those are much lighter and easier to install, but the effect is still remarkable.

Although this wood looks naturally aged, it has to be sealed properly, especially in the bathroom and sink areas, water getting in can do some damage over time.

Nice, wide boards put into the floor make this whole project a lot more interesting and slightly warmer as well, not an easy thing to do, considering the floors hardly ever being completely flat, but it is worth the effort I think.

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Beam of light:)

This is a really fun project, the same owner that I had made the counter for, had an idea of reclaimed wood beam, that is fit with spot lights.

I have purchased at a local reclaimed wood centre a long-3.2m beam of wood, that needed a fair amount of work to bring the natural beauty out it.

I have removed all nails, and started scraping the surface, and while I was going intense with that-a pretty colour started coming through this rough looks.

Once the surface was ready, the fun part comes in, I needed to drill fat holes, big enough to accommodate a spot light, allow enough room for the LED light bulb. That cost me a corded drill, too weak, burnt after second hole. These being kinda deep, needed a fair amount of chipping out-the old fashioned way-with a mullet and a chisel.

Spacing out the spot lights is the next step, then wiring line had to be chiselled out with only a mullet and a chisel. These projects have a lot of surprises in the form of hidden nails, using your expensive power tools to get the job done quicker might cos you dearly.

All being installed inside of this wooden beam, just few items left before delivery. I have placed some extra features that made the wiring supported, thick galvanized chain and 4 point mounts-the beam is really heavy and it will be hanging over the counter.

Few coats of clear, quality varnish and it is ready to deliver. The new, awesome, Caribbean takeaway place in Welling, London will be fitted with this light.

And this is how it ended up looking like, quite happy with that…

Really interesting project, tons of manual labour due to the nature of the material-reclaimed wood, that had some nails in it-no use of power tools, but looks nice.

Cheers

 

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Counter for a local restaurant

I have not updated my work site for a while, was super busy. I have just completed a project for a local restaurant nearby. The owner wanted a service counter, something that would function as a customer service/cashier piece. Made out or reclaimed wood (mostly) and within the theme of the dining room.

I have made a frame out of purchased timber, added some good quality plywood for the inner walls.

After that it was the time to plank the walls and internal shelves with some rustic wood, glue, nails and level-that is pretty important, if you do not control the level, you might find yourself off on one end, and the whole wall looks crooked.

We have decided that the split level will come with a wooden top, no food or water will be serving over that part, so reclaimed wood, stain and varnish will be a spot on option.

The split level is to serve as a back wall for a till, and to keep some items out of the customer way. I think this is a very functional design, looks nice as well.

All piece was varnished and lightly sanded through with some 800 grid to give this nice, rustic appearance, one coat of teak oil was applied at the end.

 

The only thing that is still to be installed, is a stone top, for the part where food will be handled, dark stone I believe is the choice, I will get some pictures soon, a lot better quality as well.

And this is how the whole project looks like inside of the restaurant. It was placed on small concrete blocks, to avoid contact with water and harsh, floor chemicals. Black, cool looking stone was installed on the part where food is served. Really nice piece, at the new, super tasty Caribbean joint, just opened in Welling, London.

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Scaffolding re invented

Scaffolding boards make a great building material, they are strong and rough, that means there is a lot of room for a creative finish. You can keep sawmill like patterns and add some nice stain, varnish, whatever you like really.

They are thick, so any project done with these bad boys will be a strong and sturdy piece. Adding some hardware will bring the work to another level, specially if you like the industrial/loft style designs.

As with most of wood work, your imagination is limitless really, one thing is worth looking into-the old, naturally aged scaffolding boards, ones that have taken a fair amount of abuse in their lifetime-that finish made by nature will be hard to replicate really. So if you see some old boards at some construction site-ask if you can have them and go to town baby, make something cool out of them.

Have fun.

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Glass and wood ideas

Reclaimed, rustic wood works pretty nice with other popular materials, glass is one of them. Some designs can accommodate dark, some plain, other frosted glass panels and make it look good. I myself have built a nice rustic table for my living room a while ago and still use it.

Remember to choose the right glass for the right project, table top must be made out of strong, maybe hardened glass, and the support location is important as well.

Even such simple ideas like a glass top over a pallet wood stands out much more than traditional furniture you can find in most of homes.

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