When you sell your goods at the farmers market, let alone three in one day each and every week, you need everything to be streamlined and simple. Our friend Claire, the baker extraordinaire behind Dozen Bakery, commissioned three sets of these saw horse tables for those very reasons. And to spiff up the look of her booths, of course!
To work within Claire’s budget, but to also keep in mind that she likes the look of old wood, we kept the material costs down by using pine and then applying a hand-rubbed oil finish to give the wood a more earthy look. We also hinged the legs to make them collapsible, allowing for easy transport. A key ingredient in a streamlined farmers markets.
If you haven’t already visited Dozen Bakery at the East, West, Franklin and Downtown markets, you are missing out on some classy treats, Claire hits that perfect balance between sweet and savory. So go indulge a little bit, treat yourself, and while you’re at it you can see our tables in action!
This was our first foray into mixing metal with rustic wood, and we rather love the result.
Karen was on the hunt for a dining room table that would fit in with the rustic modern aesthetic of the house she and her family recently moved into in East Nashville. She searched high and low, both online and in town, but couldn’t find exactly what she wanted, so she found us instead.
First and foremost, she loved the idea of a metal base with a top made out of old repurposed wood. But the table also needed to work around the existing built-in bench, the top needed to be rustic but not have too much “character” (i.e….too many places for her three year old son to shove food scraps) and the table couldn’t be too wide so as to disrupt the flow of the room, but it needed to comfortably seat six. We were excited to help her idea come to fruition and our philosophy is the the more custom the order, the better. Creative limitations are our friend.
After sending a few designs back and forth, we decided on plumbing pipe for the base since that would give it a bit of modern, industrial flair while keeping the table from feeling too woody and bulky. For the top we went with a mix of repurposed Tennessee poplar, pine and birch from Woodstock Vintage Lumber. After the glue-up we sanded down some of the milling marks (the dark stripes) so they wouldn’t take away from the beauty of the wood grain. I think we ended up with a nice balance.
After that we put a coat of shellac over the wood to create a durable seal, then we hand-rubbed two coats of wax to give it a nice matte finish. It looks great in their home and provides the perfect setting not just for dinner, but for poker night as well.
This was one of the first pieces of furniture we built together. Last fall we found two old doors and decided to build a piece around them, and that idea turned into this hutch, or as we like to call it, The Argyle Sock.
This was the beginning of our experimentation with contrasting elements. In this case, we thought it would look cool to have an unpainted oak face frame attached to a painted cabinet, specifically the color Alligator Skin. We also applied this same idea to the adjustable shelves. As a way to dress up the unfinished plywood edges of the shelves, we edged them with a strip of oak creating a two-toned effect, a look that we have since carried out in a few of our more recent projects.
Our vision for this hutch was to have cookbooks on the open side, nice dishes and wine glasses and such behind the glass door, and whatever else, be it pots and pans or things that take up precious cabinet space, in the big drawer.
At first, we didn’t know whether we would sell this piece or keep it for ourselves, and at the time we built it we didn’t have a lick of extra space in our home. But we have since moved into a house with an actual dining room so we decided to keep it to feature our most prized dining-related possessions. We’re pretty psyched to have this souvenir from our first foray into the wide world of furniture making.
We found out last night that Kevin, owner of Element Salon, passed away on June 28th. He was only 44 years old. I cannot begin to tell you how deeply saddened we are. Our business would not be what it is today if not for Kevin.
Space Lift was merely a blip of an idea a year and a half ago. We started out doing odd jobs and small remodels, taking what we could get and gaining valuable experience along the way. But we always longed for something more, hoping to hone in our focus more on the cabinetry/furniture side of things. But we had no idea where to even begin.
Then Kevin’s partner Scott called us up one day last spring wanting to get an estimate on a kitchen remodel. That simple little estimate turned out to be the start of Space Lift as we know it today.
I remember it like it was yesterday. Kevin calling Drew to tell him he and Scott had decided to put the kitchen remodel on hold and then asking Drew if we build cabinets and if so, would we be interested in building 40 of them for his salon he was opening up in Green Hills that fall. Being the fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants type of couple that we are, we said something along the lines of, “Sure! No problem!”
It didn’t matter that we had no shop to build it all in, or, if we’re getting into specifics here, a few of the major tools that are actually necessary for building cabinets, such as a cabinet shop sized table saw, and it didn’t seem to matter to Kevin either. It’s an understatement when I say that he took a big risk in hiring us. But he somehow saw something in us that we weren’t even aware of in ourselves at the time. He told us right from the get-go that he was excited because he knew we were going to do such a great job. He fully believed in us without even hardly knowing us. And that feeling is something you never forget.
I remember how excited we were when the contract was signed and the first check in our hands, that this whole thing was really going to happen. We had a real business! And it actually seemed to be heading in a direction, a direction that we wanted it to go, rather than just veering all over the place. Anyone who owns a business knows that that is no small thing. It was the first time this whole crazy business idea felt like it actually might work out. Every business gets a big break somewhere, when an unexpected path is laid out in front of you, requiring you to dive headfirst into the unknown, and ours started with Kevin and Element Salon.
So we found ourselves a shop for a few months working out of the garage behind Old Made Good on McGavock, we bought the necessary tools and we got to work.
Over the next three months our lives changed forever. We hired our friend Adam to help us out a few days a week and Drew taught him invaluable woodworking skills that have helped propel him further into this line of work. His life, as well, was made better because of Kevin. During those months we found out that we can work harder than we ever thought possible, that we are capable of so much more than we had dared dream, and that 40 laminated cabinets is a LOT of cabinets and a lot of laminating.
There were ups and downs along the way as there always are when you start to see your potential. But I remember Drew and I talking about what a special, unique situation it was that both our businesses, Element Salon and Space Lift, were taking off right at the same time, even together, I guess you could say. Kevin was taking a huge risk, closing his old space and opening a new one nearly three times the size. He wasn’t playing small anymore, he was making his dreams come true, and we feel forever lucky to have been a part of it. To literally have been able to help build his vision.
After the salon things started to go back to normal, although our definition of normal had changed. We felt raw and vulnerable, like we weren’t quite sure what had happened or who we were anymore. But it’s good to feel those things, as uncomfortable as it is sometimes.
A few months later Kevin and Scott hired us to build them a sleek, modern entertainment center. And then just over a week ago we went back down to the salon to take some measurements for a bench, display case and a few more things Kevin wanted to bring the place up to the next level. Now that he’d been in the space for about six months, he was ready to settle into it a bit more.
I think back to that morning fondly. Drew was taking measurements and Kevin and I were sitting in chairs, the three of us talking about future projects he and Scott had ideas for. A screened in porch, the kitchen remodel they finally wanted to do, a cool looking shed for their backyard. We joked that we should just rename ourselves Kevin’s Personal Carpenters since that’s kind of what it felt like.
This line of work is so personal, so intimate, when you’re inside of people’s homes or businesses, collaborating, creating a vision together and then making it happen. We have been incredibly blessed this past year and a half with wonderful clients, clients that just know we can do it even when we sometimes doubt ourselves. Each project gently nudges us forward, or in the case of the salon, shoots us out of a canon, and helps us not only see our potential but actually believe in it as well.
Without a doubt we owe this business to Kevin. His belief in us, his creativity, his bold vision for his life, both at his home and in his business, was inspiring to no end. He wore it all on his sleeve, keeping no part of his personality hidden. He was a force of nature and we will miss him dearly. But we are so very, very grateful and feel so incredibly lucky to have had the time with him that we did. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to see our dreams come true.
Electrical boxes are not the prettiest things to look at which is why they’re usually hidden away in a basement or other unused part of a house. Unfortunately, during a big home renovation, the electrical box in Karen’s house had to be moved right smack dab in the middle of her kitchen wall. So she called us asking if we could build her a big magnetic chalkboard to cover up the box, but it also had to be easily moveable for when they needed to actually get in there.
I’d say the wall looks way better than before, wouldn’t you?
Magnetic chalkboard paint is not nearly as magnetic as it would like to be, so we primed and painted chalkboard paint over a piece of galvanized sheet metal. It is magnetic to the max now. Then it came time to figure out the trim. Karen didn’t want anything too new looking since her house is beautifully old and quirky, so she got her hands on a couple pieces of the old oak flooring that had just been installed in her house. Rather than having the flooring side facing out, in the spirit of keeping it really rustic looking, we flipped it around and had the rough, unsanded side as the main attraction. Once it was installed she said it looked exactly as she had imagined, which is always nice to hear. And you’d never even know that there’s an ugly electrical box lurking behind it.
Beth recently purchased a condo in the 5th and Main building in East Nashville. It’s loft style living with 25 ft ceilings and skyline views of downtown Nashville. The kitchen/living area is a wide open room that leaves the owner with a lot of room to sculpt the space in their own way.
For Beth that meant having a kitchen island that would not only create a separation between the kitchen and living room, but would also serve as her dining room table, seating six people.
From the beginning Beth wanted everything to be at bar stool height and as much as possible, to take advantage of the views of downtown. Working from that, we came up with the idea of a bar that turns into a table at the end. It was also important that the seat in front of the refrigerator leave enough room for people to walk by and not be squeezed. This lead to one of our favorite things about the design, the offset L-shaped bar/table and its leg.
Beth had mentioned wanting to somehow incorporate a curve into the design and we thought the leg would be the perfect place for it. We left the material unstained so as to highlight the fact that it serves a different purpose than the dark cabinetry, and we tied it into the cabinetry with two strips of unstained oak trim.
The final detail was finishing the small backsplash with a simple white glass tile.
It’s one thing to see the design on paper, but it’s quite another to be with it in real life. It was amazing how this one piece transformed the space into three distinct living areas, making the whole room feel cozier.