Friday, December 11, 2015

Kitchen Design Ideas :: Recycled Timber

Are you thinking of renovating or building a new kitchen? Do you know what a typical kitchen is made from? 

I recommend using recycled or FSC certified timer for kitchen cabinets. This creates a unique natural look, extends the life of your kitchen, costs you less in the long term and reduces toxic off gassing. My reasons are explained in more detail later in this post. 

Here are some beautiful examples of how to use timber in your kitchen...
Photograph by Lisbeth Hjort
This kitchen uses recycled timber for the drawer and door fronts along with a stainless steel counter top. It's clean, simple and contrasts well with the white tiled floor and white walls.

Photographs by Nicole Franzen for Remodelista
These lovely rustic shelves are made from wood milled from a century-old Kentucky barn beam! The shelf brackets go unnoticed as your eye is drawn to the timber shelves and white subway tiles below.

Image from Molitli
These drawers may be a bit trickier to make but still retain a timber plank look for the wide format drawer face.

Images from Ml-hdesign
I love this natural look kitchen... They are using solid oak timber for their cabinets which works so well with the stone/plaster mix wall finish, concrete look solid surface bench top and timber island table.

Image from Piet jan van den Kommer 
These cabinet drawers are made from recycled plank style timber with a concrete look solid surface counter top.

What goes into your kitchen cabinets?

Most standard kitchen cabinets are made from a mixture of 2 pac (very hard paint), MDF, plywood, particle board, chip board and laminate. We all might want a cheap kitchen but it will come a cost to your wallet and health!

Joinery carcass & bench top substrate: 
  • Can be made from MDF plywood, particle board and chip board. Formaldehyde glues are used to make these boards and are off gassed over the life of the product. Formaldehyde is listed on the IARC- group 1 as a known Carcinogenic to humans and is also a known Asthmagen
  • You can get E0 rated board options which have much lower emissions of formaldehyde but these are not normally found in your retail kitchen showrooms.
Wear and Tear: 
  • Water leaks - These board products also do not fair well with water, they soak it up. If there is a water leak, which is highly likely in a kitchen area, the water will soak into these boards causing de-lamination, structural issues, mould issues and a hefty repair bill!
  • Quality - We all know how hard it is to repair an self assembled piece of furniture or cupboard! If the kitchen cupboard substrate is made from chip board or a particle board then there is poor potential for repeat fixing and you may end up buying a new kitchen piece!
If you stick with using recycled timber or FSC certified timber for the cupboards and drawers; you create a unique designed kitchen, increase your kitchen's life expectancy, reduce toxic off gassing and save money as you will not need to replace it in 5-7 years when things start to fall apart or have water ingress issues.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

Recycled Timber Dining Room Tables

Building furniture made from recycled timber is not just a trend but a necessity!

Most of Australian timber furniture is imported from overseas and a huge amount is taken from unsustainable logged forests and tropical rainforests. A way to stop this is to reduce our demand for cheap, mass produced, timber furniture imports and purchase furniture made in Australia and sourced from local recycled timber sources.

image via Recycled Lane
This dining room table, created by Recycle Lane, is a great example of creating a unique dining room table, made from recycled timber and a striking statement piece that sits well in this simple white kitchen. 

A problem most people have with finding the right dining room table is finding the right size table to suit their needs. By designing your own table you not only control the timber colour, finish, design and style but also the size.

You can also choose the exact timber you like by using companies like Timber Search to hep you locate various pieces of recycled timber, these are a few examples of their recycled timber stock.
image via Timber Search
When you are looking at renovating an old piece of timber furniture or buying a new piece here are a few points to think about that are better for the environment and will save you money!

Option 1 
Repair, restore or adapt something you already have. 

Option 2
Buy secondhand, recycled furniture, reclaimed or waste timber.

Option 3
Buy furniture made from locally produced FSC timber.

If you are struggling with imagining the possibilities of this approach then hiring an Interior Designer will help you create your special original piece of furniture.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Klaylife Clay Beaded Chandelier Lighting

Initially these chandeliers were created by a small group of local women, in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, lead by designer and producer Merewyn (owner of Hellooow Handmade) and Nozi.  
As demand for their creations increased they approached thier local community centre and started training local women whose lives had been impacted by HIV and needed income to support their families. Now there are over 65 employed women (and a few men), rolling beads and creating a range of these beautiful chandeliers.
Each bead is hand rolled from local clay, dried in the sun and then kiln fired before being hand dip dyed and then assembled onto a wrought iron frame. 
Watch how they are made below:

All lights are wired to Australian Standards and are available in a range of natural colours. 
images courtesy of  Claylife
These lights can now be sourced in Australia, direct from Klaylife who are a South African family based in Melbourne.

Have fun.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Nightfall Wilderness Camp & Narrows Escape

I was delighted to see, not one, but two of my past design projects featured in the Courier Mail this weekend, Nightfall Wilderness Camp (top image), in Lamington National Park and Narrow's Escape rainforest retreat in Montville (bottom rhs image), in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. For details about our design behind Narrow's Escape click here.

If you have the opportunity, these are amazing places to stay.

Have fun

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Recycled Timber Kitchen Counter, Drawers and Cupboard Doors

Image from, photo by Pernille Kaalund
Earlier this year I was designing a kitchen for a client using recycled timber for the kitchen counter and recycled painted timber for the cupboard and drawer fronts. If you wish to try this as a DIY project there are a few things to consider when sourcing the timber and designing your kitchen counter.

  • Avoid using timber that has lead paint on the surface.
  • Avoid timber that has been previously damaged by water.
  • Install a sink with a drainer to avoid wet dishes on the timber surface.
  • Use a food grade, non toxic, wax/oil sealer for the bench top.
  • Think about possible joint movement when using recycled timber.
  • Try to use recycled timber where possible. If you have to use new timber consider sourcing timber from a certified sustainable managed source.
Have fun,

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