Friday, 8 February 2013

The joy of reclaimed wood

If you know the shop and design company, Retrouvius, which specialises in architectural salvage and secondhand furniture with soul, you'll know what inventive and brilliant style its founders, Maria Speake and Adam Hills have. 

I have been meaning to post a about their debut book, which came out late last year, since I fell for one of the homes featured in it. Maria and Adam designed this beautiful, warm flat with its own garden cabin for a client. Believe it or not, the location is a traffic-heavy part of north London.

The interior of the cabin, above, uses just three main materials: Derbyshire fossil limestone, hardwood flooring taken from a school, and tongue-and-groove panelling that was originally painted three different colours, and which you can see cladding the beautiful bedroom wall above. Here it is mixed with floorboards to break up the palette.

The wall shelves on the left, also above, are old church pews seats set on cast iron brackets.

The cabin doors were originally chapel partitions from Herefordshire, and you can still see the original paintwork. The front of the cabin was designed around them, and rather than double glaze them for insulation, heavy curtains hang behind them inside, in patchwork.

I think it is this kitchen, in the main flat, that I am most in love with. It looks like a very homely relaxed space, the kind of kitchen that becomes the room where everyone always is.

This look is achieved by the soft  colours: the plaster-pink tiling (hand-made Zellige tiles from Morocco with natural colour inconsistency) and the faded apple wall, and also by the warmth in the furnishings' history. The battered, non-matching chairs look so welcoming, and isn't that giant wall-fixed lamp a great alternative to the more traditional kitchen table light fitting suspended from ceiling? I now want to move my kitchen table to a wall so I can shamelessly copy this.

A rug in a kitchen can be high-maintenance if you have a relationship with your hoover like I do (there's something very satisfying about sweeping a kitchen floor...). But I keep seeing really excellent kitchen carpets and wondering if I could live with one. The colours in this one zing up the otherwise faded palette and stop it from being insipid.

If you have the wall space, this sort of shallow shelving – here, made from a old bible rests that had originally been set into the backs of church pews, stacked on top of each other – makes for a moveable art gallery, as well as a key holder.

There is a hanging cupboard concealed behind this wooden panel. The  limestone isn't in perfect condition – you can see some big scratches at the top – but that just makes it all the more interesting to look at, as with everything else here, don't you think?

Regular readers may know I am partial to rather a lot of wood panelling. Did you see this post about this interior made entirely from wood that I am a bit obsessed with? Or this one with parquet flooring on the walls? I could go on...

But in the meantime, check out Maria and Adam's book, pictured left, from which the lovely images above are taken. It is called 'Reclaiming Style' and is £19.99, published by Ryland Peters & Small www.rylandpeters.com





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