Archive for the ‘Furniture’ category

Kitchen Cabinets from Reclaimed Wood By Inde-Art Design House

July 15th, 2014
Kitchen cabinets from reclaimed fishing boat wood

Kitchen cabinets from reclaimed fishing boat wood

Inde-Art Design House is a cabinet and furniture company located in Leslieville in Toronto. Their kitchen cabinets are beautiful in a rustic, artistic way. Sorab from Inde-Art told me that they use wood from decommissioned fishing boats  and torn down houses from India to make the cabinets. The wood is mostly teak, and, after seeing the pictures, is quite stunning.

Upper Cabinet close-up

Upper Cabinet close-up

Cabinets are either custom-built  or you can buy them directly from their showroom if you don’t need specific measurements for the space (free-standing kitchens are becoming more fashionable these days).

Cabinets can be either stained or painted depending on the look you’re after. As seen in some of the photos, they also do a distressed look, however, a natural stain will bring out the grain in the wood.

Kitchen close-up

Kitchen close-up


reclaimed carved cabinet doors

reclaimed carved cabinet doors, distressed upper cabinets

Cost: Is medium-end, however, it is dependent on the style, type of cabinet you choose (in-stock, premade or custom). Inde-Art can offer two different qualities of cabinet box and hardware depending on your budget.

reclaimed and distressed wood kitchen cabinets

reclaimed and distressed wood kitchen cabinets

 Time: Again, it is difficult to predict how long a custom cabinet will take to make. Some of them are made in India, some are made in their warehouse in Toronto, depending on the wood and design style you choose. If the cabinet is not in-stock it could take up to three months to make. The company has recently started importing drawer and cupboard doors from India and making the boxes in-house in Toronto.

For more information about the cabinets, please contact Inde-Art or visit their website.

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Build A Bench With your Child With Help from Mag Ruffman and Lowe’s!

February 20th, 2014


ToolGirl Mag Ruffman

ToolGirl Mag Ruffman

If you’re looking for things to do this March Break and are planning a “Staycation”, here’s one idea that doesn’t cost much and is a great way to spend an afternoon with your kids: ToolGirl Mag Ruffman has produced a series of videos for Lowe’s to help adults teach kids (or adults learn) about building things. The videos and are straightforward and show that the projects are easy to do. This is one instance where you can actually say “even a five year old can do it” and mean it! Mag has developed two types of projects: those that are for younger kids and more complex projects for the “tween” group. My daughter and I chose to make the step stool which will come in handy in our new kitchen. Once we had the supplies, we were able to build it in the amount of time the instructions suggested it will take and were pleased with the results. Most of the tools you might already have on hand, but it’s also a good excuse to go out and replace older tools (I bought a new miter saw), and maybe spring for a few new ones (I bought a rafter square). Our project materials were simple and included a measuring tape, screwdriver, wood glue, wood saw, rafter square and paint. The supplies consisted of a wooden plank, trim to match the same width, table legs and hardware to attach the legs. Mag provides all the dimensions of materials and tools needed for each project with each video, the instructions are also included and are clear and easy to follow. Step stool supplies Legs and leg hardware and top. We cut the pine plank into a 12×14″ rectangle, measured and added trim and sanded the edges to make sure there weren’t any small pieces of wood left hanging. Then, we screwed in the leg hardware and attached the legs. Finally, using Allback linseed oil paint, we gave the bench a coat of paint. We had to wait another 24 hours to add the second coat of paint. My daughter and I had a lot of fun and are happy with the final results. Thanks to Mag and Lowe’s for providing the videos and instructions for all the projects. To find all the information you need to make the bench and many other projects, visit the Lowe’s video website.   Legs attached   Allback Linseed Oil Paint

Completed step stool. Hooray!

Completed step stool. Hooray!

Funky Tree tables from Nickadoo

November 25th, 2013
Nickadoo Tree Trunk Table

Instead of turning felled trees into firewood, Nicole Belanger turns them into  individual works of art. Her company, Nickadoo, is in gallery in the distillery district in Toronto and a workshop in Lac Brome, the Eastern Townships, Quebec.

Nicole says, about her work,

Inspired by the natural shapes and textures of the discarded tree trunks I started collecting them from the surrounding lumbering companies and naturally fallen terrain. While working on each piece I try to reveal their inner life by letting the grain, age rings and different layers of bark express themselves and admire any life stories such as gashes from the lumber companies, bear claws, beaver teeth and or deer antler marks


Spike Too tree trunk table

The wood is gathered either from naturally fallen trees, or from nearby (Lac Brome) lumber mills, stumps and leftover pieces that can’t be turned into boards. All wood is salvaged. The logs are thoroughly cleaned without chemicals and kiln dried for four or more weeks. Then the pieces are hand polished and protected with a non-toxic sealant. Legs are added at the end of the process.

They are fun pieces, good conversation starters. Nicole will take custom orders; prices start at $500. Ships anywhere in Canada.

For more photos of her work, visit Nicole’s website. 

Find her work at:

Thompson Landry Gallery “A Taste of Quebec”,
The Distillery District, 52 Gristmill lane,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5A 3C4
tel: 416.364.5020
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By appointment in Lac Brome:
251 Stagecoach,
Quebec, Canada
J0E 1K0
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Essentia Natural Memory Foam Mattresses

July 24th, 2013
Essentia Mattress -- The Grateful Bed

Essentia Mattress — The Grateful Bed

I was contacted by Essentia a few weeks ago regarding their mattresses. I had never heard of them before — probably because they don’t do a lot of traditional advertising. It turns out they are based in Laval, just outside Montreal. It manufactures and distributes its mattresses straight from its Laval location, importing the raw ingredients.

Essentia Mattresses are an alternative to synthetic memory foam mattresses. Apparently, one of the complaints about memory foam mattresses is that they “sleep hot.” In other words, because they are synthetic, they don’t breathe and therefore, a lot of people heat up during the night (and not in a good way!). Because Essentia mattresses are made from plant-based ingredients, they breathe, allowing for a cooler, more comfortable sleep.

Another complaint with memory foam mattresses is that the “cast” is difficult to get in and out of. The cast is the shape that’s formed once you sink into the bed and it moulds to your body. Once that shape is there, it can be difficult to move out of it.

Essentia mattresses are made from hevea milk, the sap from the rubber tree. On their website, being the Canadian company they are, they liken collecting rubber tree sap to tapping a maple tree for sap. The sap is boiled down to produce the hevea milk, which is then shipped to Canada. Essentia adds a few other ingredients such as jasmine essence, cone flower oil and grapefruit seed extract, pours it on a mould, steams and bakes it in an oven to produce the mattress. The mattress is covered with a 100% organic cotton cover.

There are two kinds of latex manufacturing: Dunlop, which was developed in 1929, and produces a firmer latex, and Talalay, a newer method that produces a “light and fluffy” latex. Essentia uses the Dunlop latex method for production of their memory foam.

Products: Essentia makes latex mattresses in various sizes, as well as pillows which will mould to your neck and head. Mattress products vary from thinner to thicker. While all offer the same support, the difference will be in how long the mattresses last. Thicker mattresses last longer than thinner ones. For their complete product line, see their online catalogue.

Comfort: because the mattress is produced entirely from plant-based ingredients it breathes and allows for air circulation. Petroleum-based memory foam mattresses don’t allow for air flow, so heat generated while sleeping builds up around you. In addition, because the latex foam isn’t temperature sensitive, there isn’t the same cast problem that there is with synthetic memory foam.

Fire retardants: there has been a lot of attention given to the highly toxic chemicals used for fire retardants, particularly when it comes to mattresses. In Canada, fire retardants in mattresses are not mandatory, however, they are in the US. Essentia does not use fire retardants for its mattresses shipped within Canada, and for those shipped to the US, they use Kevlar as a fire retardant.

VOCs: Again, thanks to fire retardants, synthetic materials and petroleum used in other memory foam mattresses, mattresses generally contain a lot of volatile organic compounds. These are chemicals which leach into the air and you can breathe in. They have been linked to cancer, asthma, headaches, etc.. Essentia mattresses are made without the use of VOCs. The local health and safety board officials tested the workers’ environment and determined that their workers don’t need to wear protective gear or masks to work with the materials. The mattresses have also received the GreenGuard certification, a certification developed in California to limit the emission of harmful chemicals into the air.

Durability and End of Life: The mattresses have a 20 year warranty, longer than most coil mattresses, and on top of that, because the mattresses are derived from plant-based ingredients, they are biodegradable at end of life, so no landfill!

Production Process: The rubber tree sap is sourced from a plantations in Indonesia that have acceptable working conditions and no practice of using child labour. The company uses LEAN production methods to keep waste low. My contact at Essentia, Jason Wright, told me that waste is almost negligible except for cotton scraps from making the mattress covers. They are looking for ways to repurpose those as well.

Employee engagement: Essentia has recently formalized a program they developed a few years ago that encourages employees, particularly within their retail stores, to get involved with non-profit organizations within their communities. They are participated in a variety of events such as providing venues for artists, and hosting vegan cooking competitions. The point is to develop community connections.

For a store near you, see their dealer page. They have retail outlets throughout North America.





Beautiful Teak Outdoor Furniture from Huntsville, Ontario

July 12th, 2012

If you happen to be up in the Huntsville, Ontario area some time this summer, don’t miss the chance to check out North on Sixty, a carpentry company that takes its sustainability goals seriously. Wood tends to come from FSC-certified forests or North on Sixty’s own forest.

Teak outdoor dining table by North on Sixty

In addition to cabinetry, North on Sixty can help with the exterior and interior restoration of old homes and commercial buildings.

North on Sixty also imports from Costa Rica to build outdoor furniture. While the photo above is of an indoor walnut table, the same design is used with a teak wood slab for outdoor furniture. As Yuill McGregor, of North on Sixty explained:

We choose FSC certified Teak from Gene Prinz’s Quepos plantation. It was a former Dole pineapple plantation when replanted just after WWII.The material exhibits interesting color and superb weather ability. The embodied energy and easy recycle nature of aluminum combined with great looks, low maintenance, and made in Canada provenance make it a great fit for our base.

Tables are made to last, aluminum bases are from Alcoa and contain up to 50% recycled aluminum and are hand sculpted. In theory, the base could be made of 100% recycled aluminum, however, only 20% of all aluminum is recycled, the rest ends up in landfill — which limits the amount of recycled aluminum available.

Measurements: The top is 3″ thick and measures approximately 44″(w)x120″(l)x30″(h).

For more information on North on Sixty, visit the website.

Teak dining table


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