Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Metalwork in a league of its own

Paris, France
Although fine metalwork has an international collecting base, it has always been held in particularly high regard in Continental Europe. Ample proof of this can be found at the Paris etude of Fraysse & Associes, they are selling a mammoth collection of antique metalwork compiled over the course of a lifetime by Michel Rullier. Rullier, an antique dealer, has always had a personal passion for the subject and has constantly upgraded his private collection.

The massive eclectic mix made more or less what was predicted. There was a high proportion of absentee bidding. Mme Houze believed around one in three lots were sold via the phone and virtually all the buying came from collectors. Four lots were secured by the Musee des Beaux Arts, Rouen including the exceptionally fine wrought-iron and damascened silver and gilt key, ascribed to 17th century Italy and worked along the entire shaft and ridges which crosses of St Andrew.

The Rouen Museum secured the top priced lot of the auction, the 18th century, 2ft 1in (65cm) wide wrought and engraved-iron chest from Southern Germany which fetched 46,000 Euros (£41,820). This featured a complex locking system and an elaborate cagework of foliate scrolls and leaves over the entire outer surface, with a double headed eagle to the cover.

Fraysse & Associes

Monday, March 29, 2010

Christie's green auction

Christie’s International, announces “A Bid to Save the Earth” Green Auction, which will take place on April 22, 2010 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of earth day. The Evening Sale event will be held at Christie’s, Rockefeller Center, New York and be carried live globally via Christie’s LIVE™ on www.christies.com.

Christie’s will waive all fees and commissions for the auction. Proceeds from the sale will be divided among four leading not-for-profit environmental organizations: Conservation International, Oceana, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Central Park Conservancy. Native Energy, will provide carbon offsets for the entire Green Auction.


Brighton gets European funding to start policing of SWMPs

Brighton, UK
Jonathan Essex of BioRegional said, "I think this is a first - a local authority actually planning to start inspecting SWMPs - and this would help compliance, which in turn could help a focus on reuse on both construction and demolition sites."

Brighton and Hove City Council together with SECBE will be visiting construction sites in Brighton area later this year, starting in June, to inspect Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs). It is a legal obligation for construction companies to comply with SWMP legislation.

A Site Waste Management Plan is required for all projects with a value of £300,000 and greater.

'In Brighton and Hove, Caroline Lucas MEP of the Greens won the European elections in 2009. A poll in Dec 2009 put the Greens in Brighton Pavilion on 35% of the vote, 8% ahead of the Tories with Ms Lucas running as an MP again.'

Prior to site visits SECBE and Brighton will be running a free SWMP training session on 10th May 2010 in Brighton to give companies a fair chance to prepare. This is an opportunity to understand what the legal requirements are and to learn how to build and develop a SWMP. There will be practical exercises to help delegates get to grips with how SWMPs work. There will also be potential access to other free services to help you implement SWMPs in your company.

In order to book your FREE place or for more information, please email Julian Carter on julian@secbe.org.uk or call on 0118 920 7200.

Transformed Liquid Container Trucks Into Mobile Houses

Aristide Antonas a designer from Athens is devising new ways to upcycle existing materials into dwellings. His designs reuse old trucks into apartments that can either remain stationary or stay attached to the truck and be mobile.

"We may be in the Age of Aquarius, but it seems more appropriate to say that we’re entering into the Age of Reuse, and these KEG Apartments are a prime example. Antonas and his collaborator Katerina Koutsogianni envision transforming these abandoned spaces into two-level apartments, vacation homes or even offices," said Bridgette Meinhold from Inhabitat.

Athens, Greece


English Heritage boss supports reclaimed

In the latest edition of Listed Heritage magazine Salvo posed the following question to Baroness Andrews OBE, the new chair of English Heritage:

Why does English Heritage not recommend that owners should reclaim and reuse old Victorian bricks when a historic building is altered or demolished, in line with current government policy? English Heritage's policy seems to be to encourage the bricks to be crushed.

This was a follow-up to Salvo's request for the trade to lobby MP's about English Heritage's proposed new PPS15, which neglects the need to reclaim old materials from demolition for reuse.

Here is Kay Andrews response which seems very positive:

We absolutely do advocate the reuse of authentic materials and like-for-like replacement as much as possible. If a building can't be saved then we would encourage as much as possible to be used again. The embedded energy in building materials is an important resource that should not be wasted. Re-using building materials not only retains local distinctiveness and authentication but reduces carbon emissions.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

NFDC commit to 90 per cent recycling

London UK - AT a meeting in London on 25 March 2010 the National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) pledged support, with the assistance of BRE (the former Building Research Establishment), to set a new target to recycle 90 per cent of UK non-hazardous demolition waste. This will be reviewed in 2011.

Speaking at the event, Howard Button, NFDC chief executive, said that the target is currently being exceeded by his members, but he expressed concern that it might be less achievable in future because of the increasing levels of composite and complex material to be found in more recently constructed buildings, unless more was incinerated rather than recycled.

The target was one of many set by the UK government in its Strategy for Sustainable Construction produced in 2008.

Above: Strategy for Sustainable Construction June 2008, signed by Shriti Vadera, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR), Caroline Flint Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG), Margaret Hodge, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Phil Woolas Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Ian Pearson Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills (DIUS), William Jordan Office of Government Commerce (OGC) Centre for Expertise in Sustainable Procurement, and Mike Davies Chair of the Strategic Forum for Construction.

In 2007 92 per cent of the 32m tonnes of demolition materials were either recycled and used on the site from which they were demolished or sent offsite. In order to meet their new target, NFDC members will need to divert an extra 6m tonnes from landfill by 2012. This should be relatively easy, but it was said at the meeting that there was anecdotal evidence some old industrial and office building owners were finding it cheaper to knock buildings down than pay the rates. This was good for the demolition industry, but not good for meeting targets for carbon emissions. More than one demolition person at the meeting said that there is no demand for reclaimed timber, which was suprising to the reclamation people present.

Mr. Button said that the NFDC will continue to work with other stakeholders to identify and implement solutions to maximise recovery. This will include training, reduction of environmental impacts, research, development and measurement. It was now mandatory for NFDC members to complete an annual return of volumes of materials handled.

During the meeting Salvo agreed to work with the NFDC to encourage more reclamation and reuse, including another Construction Skills Red Card Training Day for reclamation and salvage on CDM demolition sites, the last of which was more than two years ago.

Strategy for Sustainable Construction

Friday, March 26, 2010

Serious restoration

Knebworth, Herts UK
Period Living reports on how Andy Singleton undertook a eight-year renovation project of a damp waterlogged thatched cottage with no services and no road access, which he leases from the Knebworth estate. He has since transformed the timber framed building with a little help from his friends.

'Pioneer Material' at Salvo Fair 2010

Knebworth, Herts UK
The Salvo Fair special in this months Period Living focuses on the spirit of adventure of textiles dealer Maud Lomberg. Maud discusses her passion for linen and how she sources handwoven textiles from Hungary for her business Beyond France.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Alex Puddy over the moon at £853k result

Above: A relaxed-looking Alex Puddy two days before the sale at Christie's South Kensington

London UK - "IT went well", Alex Puddy said after the sale of the Adrian and Suzy Puddy Collection at Christie's South Kensington, "you shoot for the stars in your mind, and I would have loved it to have reached a million, but I am absolutely over the moon. The business side of things went well too. It was also interesting that quite a few old clients came, who had only seen us at Olympia or Chelsea, and expressed surprise that they didn't really know we had that much stock."

The 230 lot sale, which took place on Wednesday 10 March 2010, totalled £852,938 with 177 lots sold, sold by lot 77 per cent, sold by value 79 per cent. Christie's head of sales, Anna Evans and director Toby Woolley said, "The beautiful public exhibition of items on offer prior to the sale, which overflowed into the mews, received a host of compliments, which resulted in strong results in the saleroom from both UK and international clients."

Alex was, as he puts it, born into the business - son of Adrian and Suzy Puddy, founders of Architectural Heritage of Taddington Manor in Gloucestershire. After leaving school with both art and art history, he spent some time dealing in pictures, worked as barman in a cocktail bar and travelled around for a year, before making the career choice at 23 of settling into the family business. Now he has taken over the reins while Adrian Puddy has not exactly retired but has left Architectural Heritage.

There are no planned changes to the business which is mainly antique garden ornament, with some fine antique panelling and chimneypieces, supplemented with reproduction fountains, statuary, gazebo and pergola.

"Although nothing is planned, I hope to develop new areas within my personal interest in twentieth century and contemporary sculpture and works of art. This year we will be doing Chelsea Flower Show, as usual, and I will watch with interest how the London fair scene pans out over the summer." In previous years Architectural Heritage has been a regular exhibitor at both Chelsea and Olympia, and last year was also at the summer antiques event in Berkeley Square in the heart of Mayfair. There is something of a rummage going on between several antiques and decorative fairs this summer, which has led to some of the top end of the trade holding fire to see who might end up topping the bill as London's most prestiguous, rather than becoming fodder for one of the early failures.

Having exhausted themselves with intensely expensive London shows, we are hoping that at the end of June some of the glitterati may visit Knewbworth to relieve themselves of small change at Salvo Fair. Although they do not stand at Salvo Fair, Adrian normally comes and buys, and Alex always very kindly gives away Salvo Fair postcards on his London show stands.

On the state of the trade in general Alex Puddy said, "The trade is individual people's livelihoods, and I respect that, and I know that all are working, tough sometimes in comptetition, as hard as we can to succeed in a market increasingly dominated by the auction houses."

Preview of the sale at Christie's South Kensington with commentary by TK

Sale results
[Lot notes and photos courtesy of Christie's]

Above: ONE OF A PAIR: The top lot at £37,250 (est £40k-£60k) was a pair of 19th century Italian marble Molossian hounds traditionally known as the Dog of Alcbiades. The dogs 48 in. (122 cm.) high. Provenance: estate of Leona M. Helmsley, Christie's, New York, 9 April 2008.
Lot Notes: The Hellenistic sculpture the 'Dog of Alcibiades' was modelled on a Molossian dog, ancestor of the modern mastiff. Henry Constantine Jennings of Shiplake acquired the only known Roman copy of the lost bronze original, dating from the 2nd century, during his stay in Rome between 1753 and 1756 when he rescued it from a pile of rubble in a Roman sculpture workshop for a total of £80. Jennings liked to call the sculpture the 'Dog of Alcibiades', after Alcibiades, an Athenian general with a chequered career who spent most of his time fighting or in exile. According to the Greek biographer and philosopher Plutarch, Alcibiades owned a large, handsome dog whose tail was "his principal ornament". Alcibiades cut off his tail and when told that "all Athens" felt pity for the dog, laughed and said "I wished the Athenians to talk about this, that they might not say something worse of me". Jennings's motive was probably much the same, for the Dog became so famous in England that the owner was called 'Dog-Jennings' and replicas were thought to make "a most noble appearance in a gentleman's hall" according to Dr Johnson. It was considered a sign of true gentlemanly taste to own a copy of this dog. Though the original and the present copies do not lack tails, it was Jennings's hope to associate the figure with the cachet of ancient Greek civilisation. By 1816, Jennings was in debt and forced to sell his dog stating "A fine dog it was, and a lucky dog was I to purchase it." Jennings's original now resides in the British Museum, London.

Above: ONE OF A PAIR: French carved marble urns of campana form, the bodies with a continuous frieze of classical figures, on waisted socles with rope-twist detail and square bases 38½ in. (98 cm.) high, complete with modern limestone pedestals. Sold for £37,250 (est £10k)

Above: Lot Description: A GROUP OF SIX GRADUATED HAMSTONE STADDLESTONES EARLY 19TH CENTURY Of typical form, various sizes The largest - 28¾ in. (73 cm.) high The smallest - 21½ in. (54.5 cm.) high (6). Sold £27,500 (est £3k-£5k)

Above: Late 19th century Italian Carrara marble seat, 74ins long, from Warfield House Hampshire. Sold £32,450 (est £10k-£15k)

Above: White painted wrought iron gate, 62ins high, catalogued as early 20th century. It had been adapted in the 1930s but had been recrafted using 18th century elements which appeared to be part of an old sign or bracket. Sold £688 (est £500).

Above: Mid 19th century sandstone bust of the Roman god Zeus of Otricoli, after the antique, 33ins high. Sold £7,500 (est £7k-£15k). This is the same model which appears in miniature in the tondo below where it is described in the catalogue as Zeus's Greek equivalent Jupiter.

Above: Two lots juxtaposed for comparison. The one on the right is a Carron seat, made in Scotland, 62ins long which sold for £6,875. The design for this seat, number 34358, was registered and patented by the Carron Foundry, Carron, Stirlingshire, on the 16th March 1846. John Adam became a partner of Carron in 1763 and with his brothers James and Robert produced a range of elegant railings, stoves, fireplace surrounds and hob grates. The one on the left is by Mott of New York, 65ins long, which sold for £6,875. The New York based firm of J.L.Mott & Co was established in 1828. By the second half of the nineteenth century the firm had showrooms at 549 Sixth Avenue and 1266 Broadway. The current lot is a clear example of how designs by British cast-iron manufacturers were copied abroad. The Carron 'Gothic' seat, lot 185, has been reproduced by Mott, one difference being the back legs, which are cabriole in shape to match the front and provide additional support. Another difference is that the apron casting on the Carron seat is in one piece while the Mott apron is in three pieces.

Above: A French composition stone table attributed to Louis Thovin on four shaped supports, 78ins diameter. Sold £16,250 (est £8k-£12k)

Above: Modern bronze deer on limestone plinths, 56ins high. Sold £16,250 (est £4k-£6k)

Above: Four 19th century Cotswold stone urns with octagonal socles, together with four modern limestone pedestals, 48ins high. Sold £20,000 (est £12k-£18k)

Above: 'The Skipping Rope' by Mary Thornycroft mid 19th century statuary marble 58ins high. Sold £15k (est £12k)
Lot Note: Mary Thornycroft studied under her father, John Francis, and was regarded as a child prodigy. In 1840 she married the sculptor Thomas Thornycroft who was assisting her father in his studio at the time. She made her debut at the Royal Academy in 1835 with the genre figure 'The Young Woodcutter'. She travelled to Rome 1842-1843 with her husband. On the recommendation of John Gibson, Queen Victoria commissioned her to sculpt her daughters as the four seasons and she followed this with many individual portrait busts of the Royal Family, some of which are held in Royal collections at Buckingham Palace and Osborne House. Rupert Gunnis notes a model of 'The Skipping Rope' at Osborne House (Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, London, 1953). This was a popular model and was copied by Minton in Parian Ware. An engraving was published in the Art Journal in 1861 and another in the Illustrated London News of 10th August 1867.

Above: George III c1770 Portland stone tondo of Clio muse of History from Plas Llangoedmor estate, Cardigan, Wales, 32ins dia. Sold £10k (est £4k)

Above: George III c1770 Portland stone tondo of Hebe, Greek goddess of youth, from Plas Llangoedmor estate, Cardigan, Wales, 32ins dia. Sold £9,375 (est £4k)

Above: Edwardian octagonal pine and cork summerhouse, reconditioned and new roof, 112ins high, made by Julius Caesar & Sons. Sold £8,750 (est £8k-£12k)

Above: Late 19th century French Cipollino marble bath with lion's paw feet, 78ins long. Sold £7,500 (est £6k-£8k)

Architectural Heritage

Monday, March 22, 2010

Container Gardening

Willem van Cotthem reports on how to make a container garden using plastic bottles.

'(1) Plastic bottle with stop on top and perforated bottom (drainage); (2) Stop taken off and conical part of the bottle cut away; small slit cut in the cone; (3) Cone pushed to the bottom in the bottle; (4) Bottle filled with potting soil mixed with the water absorbing soil conditioner TerraCottem, well compacted up to 5 cm from the bottle top; (5) Seed(s) or seedling(s) in the soaked potting soil.'

The bottle is now prepared, make sure that you choose the right size bottle for the vegetable you are growing. The possibilities are endless, you could even start a container garden on the side of your house (see diagram below)

Container Garden

Retrouvius salvage stone from Heathrow Terminal 2

London, UK
Retrouvius have recently salvaged from Heathrow Terminal 2 about 2000 square meters of Hopton Wood limestone, quarried near Matlock, on the edge of the Peak District. The Heathrow stone is laid in 18inch (450mm) wide strips and random lengths (from 100 to 1000mm long) with an average thickness of 30mm and full of crinoid fossils.

'Hopton Wood stone was quarried from about 1750. It has been used for interiors in numerous important buildings including The Royal Festival Hall, Chatsworth House, Windsor Castle, Houses of Parliament, the Bank of England and many cathedrals. Utilised for flooring, chimneypieces, carved decoration, as well as sculpture; Jacob Epstein used a twenty-ton block of Hopton Wood for his tomb of Oscar Wilde (1912) in Père Lachaise Cemetery Paris, and other modern British sculptors who have used it include Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore,' as quoted on Retrouvius website.


Teenager seriously hurt on demolition site

Great Whyte, Cambridgeshire

Emergency services were called to a demolition site in Ramsey at 8.52am on 17 March, following reports that a teenager had sustained serious injuries. They arrived to find the teenager unconscious after an accident involving a claw on a demolition rig. The boy is thought to have sustained serious injuries to his arm but not life-threatening.

DeConstruction Training Program

DeConstruct Training Sessions DeConstruct teaches construction skills while providing an alternative way to take down buildings. Adults and youths learn real world construction skills while working side by side with trade professionals. Attendees are taught an alternative way to take down buildings and will learn emerging deconstruction technology and LEED certification protocols.

The National Center for Craftsmanship

South Africa's 'Reverse Graffiti' artists

Durban, South Africa

Graffiti is one of the most controversial art forms out there since it defaces public property, but a group of students from Durban in South Africa are practicing a new form of 'Reverse Graffiti' or 'Scrubbing'. The trend is reportedly taking off all over South Africa, the artists actually clean the walls by etching their sketches into the grime that already exists. Inspired by the works of Paul Curtis, a reverse graffiti pioneer. All kinds of cleaning tools are used from a high-pressure water hose to metal scrubbing brushes.


Salvo promoted by EcoCheckout.com

'SalvoWeb Describing itself as the "Gateway to the world of Architectural Salvage and Antiques" Salvo's US, UK and World sites cater to the needs of anyone looking for doors, fireplaces, furniture, gardens, glass, ironwork, kitchens, lighting, radiators, stone, windows and woodwork. They also specialize in reclaimed buidling materials, beams, bricks, flagstones, flooring, roof slates and tiles, timber. The online directory is tailored for people in search of antique, reclaimed, salvaged and green materials for gardens and homes. Great company ethos, well organized site and some fantastic bargains to be had,' as quoted in EcoCheckout.com.

'Salvo's aim is to encourage and promote stockholding dealers in architectural salvage, garden antiques, reclaimed building materials, demolition salvage, and lastly recycled materials. Salvo also aims to increase appreciation and awareness of historical crafts skills and manufacture, and to help reduce the amount of salvageable materials from old buildings and gardens going to landfill. Salvo also tries to encourage fair trade and eco-friendly activities. Salvo puts dealers in touch with each other, and with private and professional buyers. Salvo puts DIY buyers and sellers in touch. Salvo puts disposers of low value reusables or recyclables in touch with possible buyers via SalvoMIE, the materials information exchange web sites. Salvo works with the police and others in trying to prevent theft from buildings and gardens by circulating Salvo theft alerts. Salvo provides information about architectural and garden antiques, reclaimed and recycled building materials, demolition salvage, craftspeople and other information relating to buildings, gardens, bygones, transport and machinery. Salvo runs the annual summer Salvo Fair at Knebworth, and occasionally Salvo helps with stands at other fairs.'


Friday, March 19, 2010

Three men jailed for Auschwitz sign theft

Krakow, Poland
Three men have been convicted for stealing the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign from Auschwitz memorial site. They were given sentances ranging from 18 month to two and a half years. The authorities in Stockholm said last week that a Swedish former neo-Nazi, who allegedly instigated the theft, will be extradited to Poland to face trial.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Swinderby becomes one day Monday fair

Swinderby, UK
This weeks Antique Trade Gazette has reported that IACF (International Antiques and Collectors Fairs) will hold a regular one-day fair at the RAF Swinderby site. Previous dates for a two-day event held in direct competition with a rival fair have been scrapped in favour of a fair in the months when there is no other showground event in the Lincolnshire and Nottingham area.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Handmade brick slavery

Above: Many children and handicapped persons are kidnapped and sold to underground brick factories in Shanxi and Henan Provinces, like this one in Mou County, Henan. The children are forced to work 14 to 16 hours a day.(Epoch Times Archive)

London UK - ANTI-SLAVERY International has just brought out a poster based on the 2009 USA Department of Labor 'Goods produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor' showing bricks made by forced labour in Burma, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Nepal. According to the USA Dept of Labor slave bricks are also known to be produced in Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Uganda.

In the western world, in Europe, including the UK and Ireland, and in North America, some builders merchants, specialist brick suppliers and some salvage yards now sell new handmade bricks which look like old handmades, imported from developing countries.

Forced labour is defined as 'all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the worker does not offer himself or herself voluntarily'. Brickmaking is one of the four major industries deploying forced labour.

Consumers are warned to be vigilant about where and what they buy. Ask for provenance details before agreeing a purchase.

Salvo suggests that western consumers should consider buying reclaimed local bricks of known provenance from their local salvage yard rather than new bricks of uncertain manufacture from a developing country. Reclaimed bricks are more eco-friendly than new bricks because every reused old brick saves around 6MJ of energy which is the equivalent of half a kilo of carbon dioxide per brick, or a tonne of CO2 for every 2,000 bricks.

Products of Slavery poster


More than 460 rescued from brick kiln slavery in China

Reclaimed bricks on SalvoWEB

Monday, March 15, 2010

Reclaimed French windows on BCA's gallery

Maine-et-Loire, France
BCA have uploaded some cast and wrought iron French windows on to their gallery. To view the windows follow the link below. . .

BCA gallery

Fire at Heritage Reclamations

The scene after the fire [photo. East Anglian Daily Times]

Suffolk, UK
News has just reached us of a fire at Heritage Reclamations in Sproughton that took place last November. Owner Richard Howells said, "I had been over in Essex to take my mum out for a meal and happened to be driving through the village and as I went by a fire engine pulled up. I did not realise that it was my building but I stopped because I thought that I could be helpful but realised that they were trying to break into the front of my building. I felt as though I wanted to grab a hose and go in and do something about it but there was a strong hand on my shoulder which prevented me from doing that.” It took more than 40 firefighters to tackle the blaze as the fire quickly spread from a workshop in the ground floor into the first floor and roof.

We are pleased to say that they are now up and running following the serious blaze.

Heritage Reclamations

East Anglian Daily Times

Uncovering the myths of antiques

A new series presented by interior designer Kathryn Rayward and antiques expert Mark Hill is coming to BBC Two in Spring 2010. They intend to take the shame out of buying old and show that antiques and vintage furnishings can help to create a stylish, fashionable home.

Cracking Antiques shows that spending wisely on second-hand objects can be a cheaper and unique alternative to much of what the High Street has to offer, and in comparison, antiques are well-made and built to last so are also a much more environmentally sound investment.


An insight into Retrouvius

Above Adam Hills and Maria Speake of Retrouvius. [photo. Phil Fisk, guardian.co.uk]

London, UK
The Guardian talks to Retrouvius founders Adam Hills and Maria Speake about rummaging in skips, demolitions and how to make salvage work at home.

The Retouvius duo explain that the credit crush appears to have done them a favour, aesthetically, as flash and bling is out. Now quirky items appear to sell well, as they can be a conversation starter. "You can tell when one of our regulars has had a dinner party as we get a lot of calls the following week," explains Mr Hills. Other important clients include Paul Smith who they sold 'a device for measuring a gentleman's trousers for horse riding, and coloured enamel lights.'

Apart from buying and selling salvage Retrouvius create reuse design products; "we have 300 boxes of glass funnels that were in storage for 40 years – we turned them into lights; and 50 tonnes of cast iron from the Intellectual Property Office, which we've turned into tables" explained Mr Hills.



Sheffield Chimney House at Kelham Island is given new lease of life

Above: The meeting room of 93ft at Chimney House, Kelham Island, which can be rented out. [photo. www.thechimneyhouse.com]

Sheffield, UK
Tim Hubbard and his PR consultant partner Sally Clark have transformed the Sheffield landmark - the Chimney House at kelham into a business headquarters. Mr Hubbard said, "When we heard it was coming up for sale last year we weren't looking to move… until we walked in," and since then it has been a labour of love to transform the Grade II listed building.

"The chimney had been restored but the rest was just a shell when we took over: a dusty bomb-site covered in patchy plaster and crumbling brickwork. We've literally scoured the UK for crazy bits of architectural salvage that we've restored by hand," said Ms Clark. The couple salvaged everything they could from lighting to wallpaper and furniture. "The red and green staircase light is an old eye-test unit, while the main conference room is lit by mismatched white glass lamps and old theatre spotlights, each cleaned and rewired. The solid teak doors once hung in the toilets of a mental hospital, the grain hidden beneath layers of black sludge and green slime. An antique Mr Toad-style car horn offers a means for clients to summon assistance," said Ms Clark

The other focal point, naturally, is the 93-foot chimney itself. From outside it dominates the area. Inside the curved wall has become a mural by local artist Tom Newell.

Sheffield Telegraph

Lady Gaga turns waste into haute hair accessories

The infamous Lady Gaga seems to have a passion for trashion. Her recent appearance on Friday nights Jonathan Ross show saw her wearing a telephone hat and her new aptly named 'Telephone' video features Lady Gaga with empty soda cans and the dismembered remains of a rotary phone in her hair.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cox's relish recraft at Salvo Fair in June

Moreton In Marsh, Gloucestershire, UK
Take a stroll around Cox's Yard and you will find a warehouse divided by huge pieces of timber room panelling and screen dividers. Through reclaimed doorways you will see racks of reclaimed doors, antique bathroom gear, grand fireplaces, old butchers blocks, fireplace tiles, stoves, roll top baths, benches and radiators, all of which are the genuine article. As well as items left untouched and sold-as-seen, there are many examples, integral to the business, of items being recrafted into new products.

Peter Watson the boss of Cox's Yard has been part of recraft phenomenon for at least eight years, when they began making doors to order. The name 'Recraft' was suggested by Salvo to help define the growing number of new items being made from reclaimed materials. Peter explains, "It must be partly down to the trade adding value to a product and thus getting a better return. Beams are a classic. A dealer can get a much higher price for a finished beam than one straight off a job. It is also, especially in the case of doors, the inability to supply exactly what the customers wants. For example modern builders use door lining sizes standardised at 78ins by 30ins or 78ins by 33"ins and thus demand is highest for these sizes which in real life can't be met from our supplies of reclaimed doors." Reclamation yards have found a way to compete with new products from DIY stores but the recraft products have the same integrity as reclaimed items, being made of good quality slow-grown timber and with all the same green credentials.

Another reason for recraft is that people are used to buying off the shelf, and not having to play around with the item once they have it at home. Peter says "Our customers are short of time. This country is so consumer driven and over taxed that folks are working harder then ever just to stand still. They can also be badly advised by builders. And sometimes unable to see what the end result of a bit of sawing, sanding, filling and painting will be."

Although there are some things that do not get the recraft treatment, it seems everything gets a bit of tlc when it arrives at Cox's yard. "Reclaimed pine floorboards are best sold as is and represent the largest proportion of untouched timber sales", says Peter. "They are best laid as found and then sanded. Even then we tend to trim the ends of splits and of course they are denailed. Elm and oak, being so scarce, can be left untouched although we like to trim the wormier bits of elm. Clients buying Georgian six panel doors always get asked if they are repainting because if they are, it is better to supply doors in the paint rather than caustic dipped. We have dealt in modified beams, but joists tend to go out unadulterated."

At Salvo Fair this year Cox's Yard from Gloucestershire will be demonstrating one aspect of the recraft side of the business, turning old oak carriage boards from French freight trains into solid timber doors, built to size, and with all the craftsmanship, strength and character of a good old-fashioned reclaimed door.

Above: Peter Watson with a recrafted door and an old carriage board at Cox's Yard. The doors are made by Sooty, who will be demonstrating his traditional techniques at Salvo Fair on Cox's stand. The carriage boards are normally oak and from the south of France. The doors are made to any size. Frames can also be made to order. Peter Watson says, "We don't offer perfection. We offer splits, knots, and character." The timber is heavily sanded, filled, and oiled. Any style of hinges, locks and handles can be fitted.

Above: Sooty has also been recrafting some old oak tongue and groove, that has been hanging around the yard for seven years, into panelling. The six foot long sections will have a dado rail added to finish them.

Above: Old pew seats fashioned into benches.

Above: A reclaimed doorway to the racks of reclaimed doors.

Above: A warehouse divided by room panelling.

Above: A sneaky glimpse of the new tearoom, which should be open for the summer, made to show customers how to reuse windows and a spiral staircase.

Cox's Architectural Salvage Yard

Salvo Fair