Recently, I had the pleasure of working on this commission. My client had an old pine-framed mirror that she wanted spruced up based on the colour palette of Jackson Pollock’s “Summertime 9A” painting of which she had a print hanging in her living room. To see the before and after images, just follow this link.
This is a built-in alcove wardrobe I worked on earlier this year. The doors are made of 12mm birch ply. The trims and architraves are walnut-stained to match the shelving unit in the other alcove. The trim on the right hugs the chimney breast, which I always think makes a nice effect.
A client had an old mirror, which she was close to taking to the recycling centre because it didn’t much appeal to her any more. The frame was a shiny bronze colour. Not at all in line with her taste. Rather than throwing it out, I suggested giving it my “Pollock” treatment, which she had seen on one of my coat racks. This is how it turned out…
This was originally just book/display shelf. In order to be able to use it to store items that don’t necessarily want to be on display, I boxed in four of the units of this display cabinet and added plywood doors. To add a little interest I cut out a circular pattern for the handles and burned in a starburst pattern onto the doors.
This is a height-adjustable easel, which doubles up an unconventional picture stand. I used pine for the overall structure, but all the joints are made with glued 3/4 inch walnut dowel connectors. Back and front of the easel are secured and held together using, what I call, “chocolate”-dipped jute rope, as the ends are dipped in deep dark high-build oil paint. The real star of this easel for me are the cross-pins used to adjust the height of the horizontal canvas support. They are handmade using yellowpine and walnut. You just pull them out to swiftly adjust the canvas to your personal needs.
I had trouble finding a workbench that was big enough for my requirements and would fit through my door as well, so I decided to build one myself. It took me one full day including treating the wood. It will stay out here in our garden, where I will work during the summer months. Rain and weather (this is, after all, Manchester) won’t bother the bench, since all the materials are weather resistant, then treated again with biocide and anti-rot wood protective treatment. And one fine day I will give it some yacht varnish as well.
I made this small garden bench from railway sleepers. The countersunk screw holes are filled with redwood dowel plugs. The legs are long enough to be embedded securely in the ground by a third.
A client of mine had an old, slightly drab looking picture frame, which he had once bought for next to nothing in a charity shop. It had since been sitting in his clutter room, so seeing one of my ‘Norman Lewis’ coat rack design he asked me if I could spruce-up his picture frame with the same design, which was an interesting challenge.
I found this old Ivar unit in my basement and decided I’d breathe a little life into it. I bought it back in the day when I didn’t have any clue about wood treatment or wood finishing and so, after assembling it, I never once gave the IKEA pine any nourishment. It just stood there. Bare, dry pine. Oh dear, poor old flatpack. But my Ivar unit forgave me and is now so proud of its unique, one-in-a-kind look.
This is an occasional table I made out of reclaimed bathroom floorboards and an old cast-iron bird bath I found in our garden. I like the combination of cool industrial materials with the warm effect of wood as an interior design style, so wanted to try something like that with a piece of furniture.
Made at the Leeds College of Art and Design under tutorage of the furniture maker Richard Jones. From honey-pine stained ash, using traditional mortice and tenon joints. We originally built this as a mirror, but since we needed a chalkboard in the kitchen as an aide-mémoire, I turned it into a chalkboard.
This used to be an IKEA Hemnes bedside table which I inherited from my friend Laura when she moved to Paris. We had just moved into our new house and desperately needed a medicine cabinet, while at the same time we had Laura’s bedside table spare. So one Sunday afternoon I got my saw out, cut off the feet, sawed the whole piece in half, re-attaching the back, then painted it and mounted it on the wall upside down. Voilá, now we have our much needed medicine cabinet.
Built-in wardrobe spruce-up
My client Anna had this built-in pine wardrobe in her bedroom, which was too old-fashioned looking to keep as-is, but too useful to get rid of. We discussed replacing the four doors with more modern ones (maybe a different wood like ash, cherry or walnut) or simply to give the existing doors a lick of paint. Being a cheery soul, she decided to go with bold colours and a chequered look, which she had liked about my ‘100waters’ coat rack design. Now she wakes up to happy pulses of colour every morning…
My client Elbert had an unused bit of space in the stairwell between the first floor and his office in the loft conversion. He was drowning in books stacked up on the floor, so wanted me to design and build him a bespoke bookshelf which fit exactly into the available nook. We drew up a few sketches of different designs and he ultimately chose this one. For the added touch of distinction, I built this shelf entirely without the use of screws or nails, joining the pine boards with dowels. It’s incredible how many books even just a small construction like this can hold!
Railway sleepers seem to be a big trend in landscaping here in the UK. When done well I like the look of them, so I was eager to use them in one of my own landscaping projects. These have a slightly brown colour and they tone beautifully with the golden gravel we used for the adjacant path.