Posts Tagged custom furniture

A Piece of Family History

We love it when a piece of furniture has a story behind it. There’s something so captivating about a piece that has been through years of use, seen different places and people, and has the marks to prove it. It can evoke a real sense connection to the past, and we find such beauty in that!

Recently, we were lucky enough to work on such a piece for a customer of ours. Sandy brought us an old trawl door that she wanted to transform into a desk.  Here’s the story behind this unique piece as told by Sandy:

Sappho's plans and the old door before arriving at the shop.

“My father was the manager of several seafood processing plants in rural Newfoundland in the late 70s and early 80s. He obtained this old rectangular slab of wood, known as a trawl door, when we lived in Grand Bank for a few years. It is a weighted pine slab with brass handles in adjacent corners, and is quite heavy. These trawl doors (sometimes known as otter boards) were used on fishing vessels known as trawlers or draggers, and they fished the Grand Banks during the heydey of the Newfoundland fishery.

Refinishing the wood door at the henhouse workshop.

A large funnel-like net, or trawl, was towed/dragged behind the trawler to catch the fish, and the trawl doors were positioned vertically at the front of the net, with chains through the brass handles, to prevent the net from closing shut. Sometimes, the trawl doors also acted like a plough. They tore up the seabed as they were dragged, creating a cloud of muddy water to hide the net, as well as generating noise, which attracted the fish. It is likely that this slab was dragged along the Grand Banks, well below the surface of the sea!

The new metal legs are added! Metal smith Chris Joyce custom made them to match the original brass handles.

My father had the slab refinished and had some legs added, and it became our coffee table all during my childhood and teenage years. I moved out when I turned 17, but when he passed away in 1997 at age 48, I had the task of sorting through his things, and I held onto this. It came with me during all of my moves to various universities and places of employment over the years…. from BC to PEI to Halifax, to New Hampshire to Arizona to Halifax again. This table has been all over. It is one of the only items of his that I have, and definitely the only article of furniture. It is of great sentimental value to me.

A detailed view of the restored surface and original handle.

Over the years and travels, the legs disappeared and the wood got a little banged up, but it was solid and I knew that when I had the time someday, I would do something with nice with it.Fast forward to today: I own a house in the Hydrostone and I’m picking away at renovating this 100 year old piece of history. It was time to do something with the slab of wood and I was keen on having it converted into a desk. I wasn’t sure who to bring it to….. a carpenter? A furniture clinic? I didn’t want country kitchen legs on the thing. I wanted an authentic look that highlighted the story behind the table, yet was modern enough to suit my decor.

The finished piece!


Henhouse seemed like the perfect choice, and, it’s right in my neighbourhood. When I brought in the slab, I let Sappho use her creative license to come up with some leg ideas, and she suggested metal to match the brass handles. I was all for it. She contacted an artist/metalsmith friend of hers and he created a clean and modern set of metal “legs” while Sappho took care of the table itself. It looks great. I think Dad would be happy.”

We are so happy to be a part of the ongoing story! We had a great time working on this piece. Thanks for sharing your story with us Sandy!

Wedding Decor Henhouse Style!

This past fall we had the honour of helping one of our long-time customers create her dream wedding. The couple live in Switzerland, but the bride is from the Maritimes and wanted her wedding day to convey that rustic chic elegance that henhouse knows best. We were flattered, and excited to be part of her big day. The stunning photos are by Shannon George.

Photo credit: top left and far right, Shobac

The couple chose Shobac; a beautiful farmland located on the seaside near Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The site, which lies upon historic village ruins, boasts a salvaged 19th century Acadian octagonal barn, four cottages and a studio built by owner and world-renouned architect Brian MacKay-Lyons.

To get the site wedding-ready henhouse created and executed a design plan for the barn reception and the outdoor ceremony. Here you can see a bit of the prep-work.
From the top left: Denise finishes up the topiaries created to frame the altar (plant stock from Bloom Greenhouse), partial view of the unique dining area layout, henhouse’s framed chalk boards and pedestal table,  glass apothicary jars from henhouse filled with stones and single pilars light the way into the barn, one of the two planters Sappho and Denise created to frame the entry of the barn.

First kiss as man and wife!

Top right: The couple make it official- pedestal table from henhouse. Bottom right: Sappho and Denise’s hydrangea topiaries create a focal point for the happy couple to exchange their “I do’s”.

Denise and Sappho created this charming outdoor refreshment table by using glass apothicary jars from the shop! Refreshments by Kitchen Door Catering.

The reception took place in the barn, a rustic and romantic setting- the perfect place for a celebration! Henhouse designed the lovely table setting shown above. Soft gauzy lavender runners were set off by crisp white linens and hints of silver and charcoal. Vintage ceramic urns from henhouse filled with hydrangeas and roses played up the rustic elegant look.
Left, and top right: We loved the couple’s idea of a candy bar at the reception- how sweet and playful is that?! Denise and Sappho set up the sweets on a henhouse sideboard, and dressed it up with shimmering tealight holders and cute wooden mini-stools. Just next to the sweets they set up adirondack chairs for cozy group seating.

Bottom Right: The rustic bar looks fabulous with its chalkboard menu, metal ice buckets, and antique tiered stand from henhouse.

We had such a great time working with this couple, and it meant so much to us to be a part of their special day! A heartfelt congrats to you both!

Refresh Your Nest- New Vanities for the New Year!

It’s almost time for 2012! With the start of every new year, there’s that feeling of renewal along with the excitement of starting something new, and making positive changes.

If it’s your washroom that happens to need refreshing in the new year, a new vanity can really do the trick. At henhouse we like to think of the bathroom vanity as a piece of furniture that can really bring character and personality to a space. Below you can see a few examples of custom vanities that we have made. Some are new, others have been refurbished from vintage pieces. Take a look!


This birch piece was designed and built by henhouse. It maximizes on space by fitting snugly into the corner. On the left is a space for a small seat and a mirror- perfect for hair and make-up!

Here’s another piece, built in walnut, ready for installation. The drawers are designed to accommodate plumbing and provide lots of storage.

This is a vintage piece that we painted and refurbished to accommodate plumbing and a sink.


This piece boasts simple, clean lines in a beautiful deep red stain. The open storage below is great for towels, or baskets filled with washroom essentials.

A cute refurbished piece that adds a bright pop of colour!

 This small vanity is great for a powder room. The bead-board detail adds extra interest up top. It’s just awaiting hardware and a sink.

The start of a new year is a great time to tackle new projects and refresh your home! A great vanity can bring new life to an out-dated washroom and add a splash of personality!  What do you think of our custom vanities?

 

Custom Storage

This is a custom pantry we made for extra kitchen storage. We love the colour the clients and their designer chose  – such a beautifully bold colour on such a large-scale piece! We think it turned out great!

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