Antique Revamps & Other Delights

A little bit of show-and-tell from us today. We recently refurbished a few pieces that are on display and for sale at Carolina Consignment Shop in Durham.

Just a quick bit scrolling for you. Very low commitment, we promise.

Antique cabinet with walnut doors. 

Antique cabinet with walnut doors. 

Antique parlor bench with African mahogany and red heart.

Antique parlor bench with African mahogany and red heart.

Metal table with walnut, ash, morado, zebrawood and yellowheart. (SOLD!)

Metal table with walnut, ash, morado, zebrawood and yellowheart. (SOLD!)

Solid wood side table with maple, bocote and yellowheart drawer pulls. 

Solid wood side table with maple, bocote and yellowheart drawer pulls. 

See? Told you it would be quick. Thanks for being around.

Matt and Lisa

Kapsyl Öpnnare (Bottle Opener)

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Sweden. A country. One of winter coats, strange daylight hours and mysterious umlauts. And also one time I had a little sausage thing there that came with some raspberry-ish sauce that was oh my gosh so delicious. Especially in the wee hours in which it was eaten. But that's another story.
Sweden. Congratulations. You're doing your thing. And your ambassadors are growing in numbers here in the US.

Our custom-made Swedish Tap Handles inspired some other expats and ancestral kin who long for a little Swedish touch of the motherland. And in that spirit we designed and built this handy and hardy bottle opener.

Made with hard maple and yellowheart and finished with a clear polyurethane.

Legend has it if you grab yourself a Swedish brand beer and pop off the cap with this Swedish-flag-styled opener, Abba will magically appear and grant you three meatballs.

Matt and Lisa

Broadway Bourbon and Spirits

There's a swell little melody coming out of this custom liquor cabinet. Could be that we used bona fide, whiskey-soaked, speakeasy-seasoned drumsticks to create the rails for it's doors. Just a true bit of musical history from the work of one of it's owners, an accomplished jazz percussionist. His old sticks were his donation to our "cause".

Plenty of room here, Daddy-O, for showcasing fine libations and crystal within each luxurious compartment. The solid zebra wood-faced drawer keeps barware tools easily accessible and tucked well out-of-sight. We lined it's interior with a lush and flowered velvet, a nod to the exquisite style of the cabinet's proprietress, an elegant woman by rights and a doctor by trade.

We chose a little more zebra wood to shape the legs and some aged copper hinges to add subtle interest and charm to this already formidable chest.

Designing and building this bar cabinet was a hoot and a holler. We thank the wonderful couple who entrusted us with the honor and raise our glasses to them. Bottoms up!

 

Lisa and Matt

Swedish Tap Handles

Custom-made tap handles shaped from maple and yellowheart. The heads are removable and each contain a blue circle chalkboard for chalky-chalky.

The head on the left is the world famous (especially in parts of Scandinavia) Swedish crown. The head on the right is the super-obscure, imported, Japanese B-side type of head based on a never-noticed, repeating emblem on the Swedish coat of arms.

Both handles will be secured to taps and pulled forward as often as possible for beer dispensation. Amen.

 

Matt and Lisa

Diamonds in the Roof: Reclaimed wood vanity

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Life is full of balance. Yin and yang. Night and day. Tom and Jerry.

But we're talking about destruction and rebirth here. You tear down the roof. You tear down walls. Things collapse. Things get chucked. There's an almighty mess and disorder.

But there are little nuggets. Nuggets worth saving, worth giving another spin on the tea cups. Old, solid wood. Dry, well-preserved, absolutely reusable. And bonus: Those precious nuggets don't end up in the dumpster. 

We took those nuggets, ran them through the trusty Rebirth-a-tron 2000 and created a kid-friendly, adult-stylish vanity.

Nuggets.

Nuggets.

Always start with a trusty base.

Clamps, and more clamps the unsung heroes.

Clamps, and more clamps the unsung heroes.

With some know-how and a little hardware, we made a handy, dandy drawer with easy sliding for little hands.

"Open Sesame" just one of the fine games we play.

"Open Sesame" just one of the fine games we play.

We painted the base and put the elements together. Stained and finished the wood, preparing it for a whole new round of service and beauty.

Sand, Sand, sand, cut, sand, stain, paint, relax.

Sand, Sand, sand, cut, sand, stain, paint, relax.

And then, boom! You've got yourself a pretty lil' vanity to call your very own! And we kept the global footprint closer to the size of the cute, tiny ones that will now use this bathroom. Let's here it for tiny feet.

Pretty isn't always in pink.

Pretty isn't always in pink.

Have fun finding your own projects or just relax and get us to do the work! Besides were nice people. It will be fun.

Lisa and Matt

Matchy Carts

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Just two lively rolling carts here. Footloose (literally) but not exactly fancy-free. They do have their duties, these two friends, but continuously work with a smile and a bit of zest.  Reliable? Yes. Matchy-matchy twinsies? Always.

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Their frames were built from carefully selected boards of poplar with colored panels of birch plywood shaped to form the top and front facades. Disks of zircote wood were added as drawer pulls.

These carts are perfect for standing work stations, entry check-in points, podiums or flexible storage. 

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Simple design. Highly-functioning. Adding brightness and fun to any space. And when the work is done, unlock their wheels and let them get a party started.

Matt and Lisa

Chatter Box

Candy talks to strangers. She's a chatter box. And happy as a bird in a bath, too. She is the welcome when you arrive. The smile that picks you up. And the perfect spot to set down your champagne, your bourbon or your twelve-pack of Miller Lite. This one, she'll party.

I'm sure she'll tell you about some big decisions she's made recently. About her transformation. About going for it because it's 2014, for crying out loud. She'll tell you that it's been such a long time coming and that she was so nervous at first and then was all kinds of like, you know what Candy, just stop, take a deep breath, finish your sandwich if you want and then ride this makeover train to Hottie Town.

It got a bit messy at the start. Sure. And she was a trooper. But in order to fill in some dings and dents she was always going to have to endure a little scraping. She also had all of her bling bling cleaned cleaned.

Of course, she was quite the little loquacious lady throughout. Always bright, inviting. Always warm. And she was patient enough to sit through the application of two color coats of paint. A chocolate brown coat applied over her entire body was followed by a light robin's egg blue on the outside and the whole of her doors. See, she likes the distressed look. In fact, talked quite a lot about the distressed look and how amazing it would be and why shouldn't she do what she really wants to even if, sure, it'll take a bit more time but Candy, darling, you're A-plus freakin' worth it.

So, her corners and moldings were then lightly distressed with sand paper to reveal the brown underneath. All her hardware was reattached. A brand new drawer liner was popped into position. And after one final review of all her parts and places she was officially released. Restyled and refurbished.

She looks great. And while she loves being in the spotlight, the greatest thing about Candy is that she likes to pull you into it, too.

Special thanks to Tonya Martin for trusting in our renovation skills.
Matt & Lisa

Table Read

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(Mamet-Style)
Everything. The Curves, the lines, the dips. Choice. Tops in the room. All eyes on them. But, they've gotten a look at you and they're sizing you up. They lure you in. You're hooked. And they know you know it. And that's it then. That's you on the list, off the list, whatever. You're down. On the ropes. Because, no, these two end tables ain't letting you walk that easy.

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(Longshoremen-Style)
Two gulls of a feather these ladies are. Inseparable. Steadfast. Loyal. It's been years and ages since we dragged them home from a sad, unending heap. Discarded. Lost. Bitter castaways, these swashbucklers are. Look upon them and imagine their saddled past, hardened coats. Oh, the duplicity.

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(The Price Is Right-Style)
Natural-design. Organic form. Bringing the outside inside. These two end tables have been completely transformed from gruff and bulky into soft and sturdy. The new white coat reveals the details, catches your eye, and provides a bright, clean base for the wooden leaf design on top. Strips of ash wood were cut and pieced together by hand before being finished with a dark walnut oil. These two end tables are a great example of giving new life and value to old, forgotten pieces.

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(New York-Style)
They're stylish. They're modern. They're quiet. They're awesome. They're good for you. They're oatmeal. Yeah. I get it. They cook. They clean, right? Come on. They're lamp stands.


Matt and Lisa
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Pretty Bird

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Fancy a bit of inexpensive luxury? Well, you're in luck. There are some serious hidden gems to be discovered at second hand shops all across this great land and beyond. This gorgeous lady was found all alone in a rough part of the store, lost, dirty, crazy eyes, the works!

But her molding lines and hardware revealed some forgotten days of glamor. A tenacious spirit. A calming, graceful presence in the room.

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Firstly, there was some worn out drawer slides. She'd been roughed up, for sure. Used hastily. Disrespected. So, we cut up some nice ash slats and went along drawer by drawer to get her working just right. Got her confidence back.

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Slow and gentle was the way, of course. She still had to get through plenty of spot gluing, scratch and dent filler and sanded edges. Nary a complaint, either. Building trust, hope and all that...

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Once the hard work was done, she could relax knowing that what lay ahead was all candy and roses. She had a fresh, bright coat of paint applied to make her shine and we returned her cleaned-up, original hardware to the drawers because you can't forget where you came from.

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We also added a couple brass bird pulls to the top drawers and a little ceramic bluebird on her new display shelf to remind her of her new freedom. Her dazzling future. She loved them.

Fallen on hard times, cast aside and looked down upon, this is who she's always really been. Strong, elegant and fun. We're so proud of her.

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Thanks for stopping in. And get out there in search of diamonds in the rough. There's more like our pretty bird that need rescuing.

Matt and Lisa

The Ever-Attentive Barkeep

What do you need? I mean, really need? That's right. A liquor cabinet.

We designed and built this little guy for a man who knows what a gift is, a man of exquisite taste and, above all, a man who wants to give his wife a gift that finally, well and truly says, I Love You, Sweet Baby.

This little guy (the cabinet not the man) is made of solid ash and finished with a black walnut danish oil. Inside he offers a large area for tall bottles, a smaller area for bitters and other mixers, an upper shelf and a drawer that's been washed in a light blue to complement the more prominent colors in his new home.

But this man needed more. Cause he knows what love is, people.

So, on top we added a removable serving tray which includes a large zebrawood cutting board and a cork-lined strip for glasses, mixing cups, etc.

I mean, why ever leave the house again? Unless, you're out of liquor, of course.

Happy New Year from Moss Robot.

And so long, 2013. You done good.

Matt & Lisa

Mirror Mirror

Oh, Mirror. We found you sitting all alone in a second-hand shop. You were once loved, but had been discarded. You were dirty and you were ugly. But, there was always something about you, wasn't there, Mirror. 

Yes, it seems there was. So we got you home and cleaned you up and helped you put on a fresh face.   

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Triangles, you said, Mirror. Do you remember?

Triangles?, we asked.

Yes, triangles, you said. 

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And something fancy, you added. Something for the Hollywood stars. Something shiny. I want to be a star, you said.

We rolled our eyes. But, sure, we said. ...Something for the star. 

How about a burst of metallic? And you grinned that delightful grin of yours, didn't you, Mirror? Oh yes, you did. 

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And surely you would need a new suit, we supposed. That country-style brown just wouldn't do for you anymore.  

I want them to see me, you said. See that I am not just another mirror. 

We looked at each other, not exactly sure where this was going. 

Pure white, you whispered, with the twilight sky reflecting off you. Pure white.

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White, we thought. Yes, that's wond—

They will see me, you charged back. They will see and they will know. They will know this mirror and stand and stare and call me by name.  

There. Look there, they will say. It's Mirror Mirror.

... 

And, oh my, we said.  

Matt and Lisa

Red Dwarf

Here stands our little red dwarf in his delightful little tough stance. He's just recently opened his eyes and has been delivered to his nice, new family.

This little guy is the product of a redeemed, little gift card which we had on offer this passed December. So, he's much more than a little purchase. He's a gift. And, as you'll see, he's full of little surprises.

His little door opens downward, supported by a metal rod hinge and a custom-made zebrawood lid stay. This reveals the inside of his little body where he offers you storage in a deep cabinet and a shelf to keep your things organized... the practical little fella.

His door itself can hold a variety of items from dessert plates and glassware for entertaining to decorative and accent pieces for everyday decor.

But, he's more than just a little storage. He also has a lot going on "upstairs." Resting on top of his little head is a tray. And inside that tray is his great big metal saw blade.

It was this saw blade and a set of four turned legs that set about the birth of our little red dwarf. These items were given to us by our clients to incorporate into a table. And frankly, without the blade guiding our ideas, we may never have decided on a tray at all for this little guy.

So, our red dwarf has a good amount of grit, history and perseverance coming together to shape that tough little stance of his.

Adding in your found and cast off items into our designs is a pleasure. We know it enhances your connection to a piece. But, it also enhances our connection with you. Which is important, because custom design is about people.

Custom design is about creating your own hinge or handle or leg or tool because you can't find it in a store. It's about creating your own solutions and delivering something that's more than just one-of-a-kind. It's about delivering something special.

And just look at him. This little red dwarf is the special-est. 

 

Matt and Lisa

Bench Restoration: Awesome Edition

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We picked up a very nice, but very weathered iron garden bench some time ago. It was an exciting find and an exciting day.

It was all so exciting, in fact, that we immediately went about finding a nice, little spot in the yard for it, discussed our most sincere intentions to restore it and then promptly let it sit and deteriorate for an eternity.

Behold the rotten bench!

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Yes, an eternity is a long time. And you can see what an eternity does to an unprotected bench. It uglifies it. It just doesn't care about your sincere intentions. Nature wants to come by and douse your bench with rain and wind and earwigs and reclaim it's stuff. ...A real menace.

Know what else is a menace: any mosquito, anywhere. Ever.

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But one day, you say to yourself, "enough is enough." You start taking that bench apart and thus beginning the restoration.

Firstly, we do a thorough inspection. It includes rot analysis, which is widespread. It includes rust analysis, which is widespread. It includes bolt and screw deterioration, which is... widespread!

Hot pockets! We've got ourselves a custom job, here.

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Those iron pieces needed to be scrubbed with a wire brush to remove the rust. There were lots of little nooks to get into and ridges to get around. But, the time you spend doing this, of course, is directly proportional to your rust accumulation, your arm strength or how many mosquitoes are landing on your ears.

The rotten slats were completely replaced with pressure-treated wood.

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Rust removal: check. Rot removal: oh yeah.

Most of the difficult stuff is done at this point. Whats left is paint and hardware.

We used a dark bronze metallic Rust-oleum spray over every piece before reassembly. It's not easy to see the sparkly-sparkly in the pictures. But, it's got a sparkly-sparkly, for sure.

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All new bolts, nuts and screws were easily replaced. But, there was a bit more work to do making two metal supports that go underneath the slats.

I suppose we could have bought exactly what we needed somewhere, somehow. But, buying your own metal blanks, cutting and boring into them makes us feel pretty sparkly-sparkly. So, that's what we did.

Hardware replacement: right on.

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In the end, we've restored a bench to its former glory and protected it from the coming onslaught of uglification by bugs and elements and a variety of mammal poop.

We are calling it a success.

Hip hip hooray,
Matt and Lisa

Ghost Factories in the Machine

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We are creating backdrops and scenes for a multi media project we have in the cooker. We decided to start out by taking macro shots of things we deem cool or otherworldly.

With lots of circuit boards and other electronic doodads lying around,  we thought we would give them a go.

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We are always amazed with how certain pattern and forms repeat themselves in nature and in man made design. When we looked over our images, they were oddly familiar. It was as if they were aerial photographs of factories and interiors of industrial warehouses.

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We enjoyed pretending that each shot was a real place. What would it house? What things would it produce and how would people interact there?

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Now it's you turn.

Come tour our imaginary Moss Robot Operations. Please remember to keep your safety goggles on and your Guest I.D. badges visible at all times.

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Employee gym?

Employee gym?

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Thanks for visiting!

Lisa and Matt

We are not minimalists.

Our studio is splattered with little visual treats. We are accumulators by nature and any and all found curios and quickly-made concepts inevitably make their way onto shelves and trays and tables and sills.

We try to stop ourselves. We try to keep it under control, try to keep from being overrun with objects. But we aren't minimalists. We want layers and a thickness of inspiration around us. We want the stories these objects give us. We want their colors, their shapes.

They are sculptures. They are ideas. They are locations, adventures, memories and fantasy. They are a collective history that grows unceasingly. More layers. More ideas.

Maybe, they are the pieces of an ongoing work inspired by our connection to each other. Because together they will provide a rich and profound explanation of us that we plainly could not supply on our own.

So, we worry less and less about being overrun by objects. And, instead, revel in the layers and the expanding jungle of inspiration.

Matt and Lisa

Paper Art

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Recently, we had some fun gluing colored tissue paper together just to see what we might end up with.

It's an easy little creative project that's perfect if you like to make a mess and get your hands dirty (gluey). Mix some glue and water together, dunk strips of paper into it and drop, hurl or lay delicately the paper onto a surface. Then, build up and up until either you've had enough fun or your fingers are stuck together.

We formed our mass of paper on a piece of cardboard and once all the glue dried we cut off the cardboard and held the whole concretion over a light.

Thought we'd share these really cool, other-worldly macro shots we made from different angles.

Get on it,
Matt and Lisa

Hockey Light

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Our ice-hockey-playing nephew, "Hat-trick Patrick," is a huge Sabres fan. (Spoiler alert, Lisa is from Buffalo.)  His room is decked out in all things hockey, so his mom asked us to make him a suitable light. She had found a generic one online that would have worked, but she wanted a Sabres version. Extra bonus: we let Patrick dictate what information we put on the scoreboard.

Note the hand sewn hockey nets. That's love right there, people!

Note the hand sewn hockey nets. That's love right there, people!

Surprise, surprise! The Sabres are beating the Bruins, 3 to 2! 

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When we delivered the light over spring break I got to go to one of Patrick's league games and we all got to witness his official Sabres hockey clinic and watch Patrick climb over the boards at the FNC arena and skate on the same ice that the real Sabres do!

All in all, it was a fun project to undertake. And we add product recreation to the growing list of Moss Robot capabilities.

Thanks for reading,
Lisa and Matt

No gun required.

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Recently, we were approached about creating a paper mache deer head. The request was to sculpt a realistic, life-sized 12-point buck wall mount.

Now, paper mache deer heads are out there to buy, certainly, but the 12-point variety are as elusive their living, breathing counterparts.

So, we gathered up our gear, made some sandwiches, set our sights and delivered this trophy to their door. No gun required. Night-vision goggles, optional.

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No actual deer were harmed in the making of this deer.

Happy Hunting,
Matt and Lisa