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

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.

  Cl  amps, 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. 

Carts_Final_3

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

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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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

Little Lap Desk

UPDATE: Now available in our etsy store!


I grew up with a Mickey Mouse lap desk. Mickey was posed happily in the center of a white hardboard top. And an orange cushion was attached to the underside to ensure full comfort while I colored the day away.



























I loved that little lap desk. And years later I was given a larger, grown-up version with a mahogany stained top, ergonomic design, perfectly-contoured cushion and absolutely no Mickey Mouse. But I loved that one, too. I set my very first lap top on it one day and never looked back.

So, in the interest of creating things that we love, it was high-time we made a lap desk.



























This one is made of birch ply. It is adorned with a very simple and very cute elephant. We used a white wash so that the grain of the wood still shows through. And the eye and ear are drawn on with a silver paint marker.

The wood and artwork were then sealed with a few coats of a water-based polycrylic. So, that elephant ain't going anywhere.



























The cushion underneath (not pictured) is made of organic cotton and filled with bamboo stuffing. We also added velcro strips so the cushion can be removed if necessary to clean.



























Now, our niece, Gibson, can take her lap desk anywhere and comfortably color her day away.


(Again, thanks to Geoff Wood Photography for the crackalackin' shots.)

Matt and Lisa


Smörgåsbord

Hello again after another lengthy period away. We certainly didn't intend to snub all of September but...alas, we did. And these things happen. And we hope that September will just accept that and we can move on and be friends of some sort. Or acquaintances.
...
Just holiday cards?

This time we don't have just one big project to share. Instead, we have thrown ourselves into a number of activities over the last couple of months. And we are hopeful that these activities will grow into products that you will just love.

Oh, go on, love 'em.

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Felted Pendant Lights.
We've just begun a brand new design for pendant lights. Sculptural, felted branches cascading from a seamless form. Natural drama? We'll take it.




Felt Flower Necklaces. 
Our original felted necklaces were such a big hit last year that we're bringing them back. Production has started on millions of flowers (so many) of various colors.

















The flowers are then beaded and sewn to cording like in the examples below.


















Felt Pins.
We also combine the flowers and branch forms to create naturally-inspired brooches.

Luxury.














Felted Cashmere Capelets. 
These smart little numbers are a combination of pieces of cashmere knits mixed with hand-felted adornments and accents. They cover just enough of your bits to be toasty warm without being an overbearing protector. The capelets wrap around the shoulders and clasp just over the heart. Awww.  




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But, it's not all felt, of course. We've still been tinkering in the wood shop and hard at work on ye olde sewing machine.


Shoulder Bags.
A cheery, little light-weight bag that hugs your hip, messenger style, leaving your hands free for other fun. We've been honing these nuggets for a month or so now, calibrating shoulder to hip proportions, tweaking our pattern here and there and choosing fantastic colors. It's all very scientific. Right now, we are doing "test runs" on lovely models (lady friends). And we're nearing completion on a variety of colors in vinyl and suede.
 











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Wooden Spoons.
These wooden spoons are pretty fantastic to hold, we must say. They're made of Bocote (on left) and Ambrosia Maple and are finished nice and smooth. And the grain on both is a bit... bazow!



















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And last but certainly not least...


Business Cards.
We are now armed with cards to distribute or throw in the air or pass secretly in handshakes. We are here, world!

Never felt so official.

 
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So, that's where we stand at the moment. Creating and readying a slew of items to launch in the etsy shop. And, additionally, we'll be launching our own online shop in the very near future. That's the goal, the dream. Our grand... wait for it... design.

Thanks for stopping in. 
Matt and Lisa


86it Longboard

A couple of months ago Moss Robot was commissioned by Wake County's Anti-Litter Movement, 86it, to design and build a longboard. And a request such as this has a simple response.

Here's how the thinking goes: somebody wants a longboard, they get a longboard. Come on people, we can't have people out there without longboards, people.

Fast forward to now, and we are happy to say that the board is with the 86it folks in their booth at the NC State Fair. We're very proud of it. And if you're at the Fair stop over at the booth and check it out and have a chat with the 86it team. They are inside the CW22 tent next to the entrance at Gate 1.

And for crying out loud, please throw away your trash...people.


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The graphics were all made by Raleigh's own Paul Friedrich, he of Onion Head fame and other delights.

And the photos were all taken by another Raleighite, skateboarder and member of the Moss Robot family, Geoff Wood, he of the cleverly named Geoff Wood Photography.


Roll safe,
Matt and Lisa

Blue Bureau Biology

Dull, little caterpillar transforms into classy, vibrant butterfly.

The larva.


Seems this one just never made it into the chrysalis. And spent way too much time moving around from place to place hoping for some kind of metamorphosis.

Well, hope no more, you old worm. Beauty is right around the corner.


The blue morpho.


The wings, of course, are theoretical. But still, certainly dramatic. And it's got that look-at-me-now attitude about it. I'm a butterfly. A real, blue-bureau butterfly!


 And have a look at the zebrawood drawer pulls. Very zebrawoody, of course.





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Inside (outside) the chrysalis (at the workshop). First things first. There was a broken drawer to contend with. A small problem but important to fix.

So, we removed the side wall that was chipped, cracked and broken and made a new one. Then routed out a long recess for the drawer's bottom to slide into.






Here's some pictures of the... pupation.




The legs were recycled from an old side table that withered years ago. A bottom was added so that the legs would have somewhere to attach themselves to and we swapped out the existing hardboard back with a wood back that would look better as well as offer greater stability.


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Tip time. Here's an easy way to paint the legs. Attach the leg plates to a long board and face them upwards (and you really just need to use 2 of the 4 screws). Then, screw the hanger bolts in the legs into the plates.

You'll have all your legs standing in front of you ready for painting. And they can stay put to dry.


Easy-Peezy



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The perfect color. We had decided on the zebrawood for the drawer pulls, so, we wanted to choose a paint color to complement those well and make the zebrawood a strong focal point.

We did have some ready-to-use colors that would have worked reasonably well. But, they just weren't quite the right tones. There was a nice blue. A light blue. An aquamarine. And we decided on something sort of in between-ish.

So, our resident paint-mixer went about her magic science and created a color that both blows your mind and soothes your soul. ...I know. ...Magic, right?


 AHH!...ahhhhh




And here's one last look at this little miracle of nature before it takes flight for the first time. Off you go, you beautiful bug. Be free!






But watch out for birds. Cause you look delicious.

Want us to hurry along the metamorphosis of your wayward caterpillar? Send us a note.
Matt and Lisa

Ahoy! Pillows Ahead!

These fetching lil' vintage island gals had been wallowing away in a loveless marriage to some threadbare tea towels. Our client reckoned them too winsome to go forgotten and asked us to find a new way to showcase such novel booties, uh...beauties.




So, we dusted the ladies off and gave them a new gig entertaining house guests aboard voyages destined for dreamland (read: guestroom pillows).


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Battening Down.
We reinforced the tea towels with some iron-on interfacing. Ensuring that the ladies new dance number will forever be supported.

The girls then got teamed up with a crisp, bold floral pattern for a fresh, updated stage on which to feature their talents.


 
 


 The finishing touch was a pretty, little bias tape boarder to give their stunning forms higher definition. 




Do not disturb.
Now, who wouldn't want to spend their vacation with the likes of these lovelies?
































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Fluffing the Queen's English.
We sailed north to embark on our "To London With Love" custom adventure: Commission to repurpose two bed pillows into Union-Jack, accent pillows.

New square housing needed to be made to create the pillows' new shape before the actual pillowcases could be designed and measured.




A modern palette of orange, grey and white was selected over the traditional British colors. Cheeky.

The two pillows needed to be complimentary without being all matchy-matchy. Incorporating a mini cooper graphic into the design was suggested. Thus, driving the project forward. Tally-ho!




We used a reverse applique to create the window effect on the cooper. Assembled the rest of the design elements onto the front of the pillow case. Sewed everything together and Bob's your uncle...



Brilliant!



That's it for today's travel log.
We are always ready to be whisked away! If you would like to take a design journey with us, just throw us a line (read: email). Who knows where we might go!


  Toodle-loo,
Matt and Lisa