Everything Old is New Again

I naturally tend towards modern design and I am always looking for ways to incorporate new materials and technology into projects. However, I am characteristically not a minimalist and to add interest to projects, I try to combine vintage or reclaimed materials into the overall design scheme.

We are currently working on a restaurant project and part of our mandate is to use reclaimed materials as much as possible. Sourcing trips take us all over Ontario, and there are numerous salvage companies that have impressive inventories of reclaimed materials of all types. For tabletops or countertops, Douglas fir, elm and hemlock are plentiful and have hardened enough over time to make them practical choices for high traffic surfaces.

I recently designed a dining table using reclaimed Douglas fir and I had the top lightly sanded to remove splinters while maintaining a natural rough finish. I realize that this seems unorthodox to most, but it offers a uniquely interesting look and any future spills only add to the patina.


A recent renovation project called for a Parisian café look for the kitchen and an old display cabinet provided the perfect base unit. I had our millwork shop separate the display case from the base and a custom sink was dropped in paired with a faucet from Kohler that looked like it came out of my grade eleven chemistry lab. The rest of the cabinetry was designed to complement the style of the vintage cabinet and a Bianca Carrera marble countertop completed the look.

Here’s the cabinet before:


And here it is  after:


If you are on the hunt for reclaimed furnishing or architectural elements in the Toronto area, try Post and Beam and Smash, both located in the Junction.

Have a design dilemma?  Email me at roy@roybanse.com and I will do my best to answer your questions and maybe feature the topic in an upcoming blog.

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