Posts Tagged ‘reclaimed wood’

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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A Tour of Maison de Développement Durable, Equiterre’s Headquarters

November 26th, 2012

Living wall in lobby of Maison de Development Durable

Maison de Développement Durable” (MDD) Centre for Sustainable Development is a 6 storey office building a little to the east of Place des Arts on Ste. Catherine in Montreal. Equiterre, the not-for-profit foundation behind the development of this LEED Platinum certified building, wanted to show what could be built from an environmental perspective so they set out to build the most energy efficient and least energy intensive building in Canada. Complete data isn’t in yet, but Ricardo Leoto, technical adviser, for the building, says the data is showing that per square foot it is the most energy efficient office building in Canada.

This building took almost ten years to come to realization. The Equiterre Foundation, originally located in the east end of Montreal started looking for more centrally located office space and decided that they wanted to build the most efficient building possible using today’s technology. All in all, it was a project that started in 2001 and was completed in 2011.

Here are some of the features of the building:

  • Hydro Quebec owns the land and gave it to the MDD to build the building. The land is leased for 50 years.
  • The concrete contains 25% fly ash, which helps lower the embodied energy of the concrete.
  • Rainwater is used for the toilets, collected from the roof, supplemented with city water when necessary.
  • A daycare within the building with a small playground on the roof is used by building tenants and Hydro Quebec employees.
  • A mini “test” wind monitor on the roof, installed by students at Concordia University, to see if a wind turbine can be installed on site.
  • Wiring is fed under an accessible floor making repairs or movement much easier than if it is behind walls.
  • CO2 sensors are installed in meeting rooms to make sure there is always fresh air in the rooms.
  • A deposit bin in the lobby for old batteries, cellphones and CDs.
  • Le Commensal a vegetarian (recently flexitarian) restaurant.

Green (vegetative) roof plus, salvaged window washer scaffolding hooks


wind turbine test site monitored by Concordia University


Rainwater capture system, for use in the toilets

Heating and cooling: The building uses a complex system of geothermal heating and cooling. However, when the temperature drops below -30 a gas heating system will kick in order to ease electricity demand. There is also a Heat Recovery Ventilating (HRV) system, which captures the waste heat and uses it to prewarm cool outdoor air before it goes through the heating system.

The distribution system is designed so that vents are built into the floors with adjustable openings to control the amount of air entering a room. The air released into the building is at a constant temperature of 20C, winter or summer. I asked Ricardo if they’d had any adjustment issues when they first put the system into operation and he said that the system was so efficient that for the first little while, the indoor temperature was 25C (during the winter) because the HRV was so good at collecting and transferring the waste heat to the incoming cold air. They adjusted the controls and haven’t had any trouble since. In fact, the gas furnace hasn’t been activated yet because the temperature hasn’t been cold enough in the one winter the building’s HVAC system’s been in operation.

The entire system works in reverse in the summer time. In addition, although more expensive, the geothermal tubes are individually controllable within the main floor furnace room, that way, it there is a problem with one pipe, the entire system doesn’t need to be shut down.

Ricardo confessed to me that although they’ve had no issues with the HVAC equipment, the building itself could be more efficient because, as it is elsewhere, plug load is still an issue — yes, even in a building full of environmental organizations, lights, computers and other plugged in equipment are still left on when not in use. Just goes to show you — even environmentalists aren’t perfect (myself included).

On the other hand, it’s important to note that while Equiterre had the option to purchase spaces in the parking garage for its office space, they actually pay not to have access to them, so everyone uses alternative methods to get to work. The St Laurent metro stop and the de Maisonneuve bike path are both a block away, and because of its central location, it is well suited to be a carless office.

Venting for geothermal HVAC equipment


individual geothermal tubes


All air vents are located in the floors with manual flow controls

Green Roof: it  absorbs water and provides insulation in the summer. Indigenous plants that don’t need watering are used. The rain water is collected through a tube at the other end of the building and provides water for the toilets in the building (supplemented by city water).

Living wall: a vegetative wall that maintains moisture levels for the lobby at an ideal state as well as purifying the air. A green wall can absorb up to ten times the pollutants that a mechanical system can. A simple circulation system consisting of a pump, directs the air towards the green wall and the plants purify the air which is circulated throughout the building.

Reused materials were an important part of this building. Tables in board rooms are made from bowling alley lane wood put together with a base by a local metalworker. Kitchen counters are made of concrete and recycled glass come from a local Quebec manufacturer. One piece of feedback they’ve had is that the counter can chip where pieces of glass are located leaving a divot, particularly on the edges. On the roof the window washing hooks (for the window washing equipment were salvaged from a neighbouring building that was being destroyed.

recycled bowling alley lane wood -- into table top

Salvaged wood from Logs End


Recycled glass in concrete - Quebec manufacturer


Equiterre Green Building Materials Library

Public education: There are monitors and information screens throughout the building that visitors can look at to find out how the building is performing versus expectations. Further, there is a library of materials used in construction at the far end of the main floor, where visitors can learn about what kinds of green building materials were used and what are their benefits.

All tenants are paying the exact same rent that they were in their previous buildings while getting a more comfortable and lighter footprint building in which to work.

For more information on Equiterre or the Centre for Sustainable Development, visit their websites.

Accessible wires under flooring plate. Carpet by Interface Flooring


Recycle your old CDs, phones, and batteries here!









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ReOrient — Furniture Made From Reclaimed Teak

April 1st, 2011

Salvaged Teak before it's turned into furniture

Michelle Oser and Ian Small were development workers for 20 years before coming home to Canada. Their last posting was in Indonesia. In fact Ian was one of the first people let into Indonesia after the Tsunami in 2004. When his work there was done and it was time for Ian and Michelle and their children to return to Canada, they decided that they wanted to start a business which would tie them to that side of the world. Furniture seemed to be a natural fit, and teak, a natural choice. However, in order to make it a responsible choice, Michelle only looked at reclaimed or salvaged teak companies. She ended up working with dBohdi, a company that makes furniture out of teak from old homes, bridges and railways. It’s wood that would otherwise end up being burned or dumped into landfill. When they arrived back in Canada (Ottawa, to be exact) they established “ReOrient.”

Using reclaimed teak accomplishes a few objectives; not only does it give the wood a second life, it also prevents it from ending up in landfill or being burned, which would contribute more air pollution and CO2 emissions. The process of converting the old logs into new furniture is labour intensive. Homes, bridges or buildings are dismantled, then nails and hinges are removed from the wood, then local artisans transform the old wood into new, beautiful pieces of furniture. All of these processes employ plenty of people within Indonesia, while at the same time avoiding the use of a lot of heavy machinery. Another advantage of using old wood is that it has already been weathered which means no extra (and energy intensive) kiln drying is necessary. Furniture is all handmade using only hand tools and smaller power tools. All staff are treated ethically and fairly within this company. For more information about the dBohdi company, watch their short video here.

Kasting, salvaged teak and salvaged metal pipes

Kasting. A new line made from salvaged teak and metal pipes

Michelle told me that ReOrient takes certain steps to minimize their operational footprint and give back to the community. It is a member of the 1% for the Planet Alliance, which is a group of companies dedicated to funding environmental not-for-profit organizations around the world. They also do their best to minimize their carbon footprint wherever possible; it usually takes at least one month for furniture to arrive at its destination in Canada as they wait for a shipping container to fill before sending it off. Further, furniture is sent by boat to Vancouver, and from there by train to arrive here in Eastern and Southern Ontario and Quebec. Train travel has significantly lower CO2 emissions than shipping by truck.

The Collections: ReOrient sells three different collections of furniture and two collections of bathroom furniture. Note there is a new, fourth collection of furniture (pictured left), Kasting, but it’s not up on the website yet. The materials are salvaged teak and salvaged metal pipes to give furniture a cool, industrial look.

Fissure Collection, Dresser

Fissure Collection, Dresser

The Fissure Collection is described as:

The modern Fissure Collection combines smooth with rough-textured wood surfaces. Each item is characterized by a fissure – a split or gap – between two parts of the design, adding an element of surprise and intrigue.

Lucy coffee table


Shapely, curved, baroque style table and accessory legs are not the only distinguishing elements of the Lucy Collection.Different models combine rough with smooth surfaces, while the front panels on cabinets are created from smaller pieces of leftover wood in a collage effect. When you pair these antique-looking tables with the textured surfaces on the modern cabinets, you create quite a statement.

Trapesium Bookcases


This collection is eccentric! The shapes of these modern designs are angled out on the bottom creating a spatial and playful effect. At the dining table, you get even more space for your chairs, while the cabinets allow you to display larger items on the bottom shelves.

There are two bathroom collections:

T Boon Vanity


The T-Boon Collection is part of our bathroom concept, 4Bath.

The interchangeable modular floating elements, in different sizes and shapes, can be customized to fit any bathroom. Sizes vary from 55cm to 245cm long. The cabinets are available in single and double, with or without drawers and a left or right, soft-closing door system. Our many different marble washbasins add a final touch of elegance.

YK washstands


The YK Collection is part of our bathroom concept, 4Bath.

This collection consists of separate modules in different shapes and sizes varying from 60cm to 240cm long. Mix components together to customize your original design from hundreds of options. Our marble washbasins, depending on the surface finishing you choose, create a rustic or sophisticated look.

Where to buy:

You can view collections directly from ReOrient’s website, but to see the furniture in person, below are stores that carry it, but they are looking to expand to stores across Canada. Visit ReOrient’s website for more information.

Jardin d’Hiver
2052, du Village Road
Mont-Tremblant, Québec
J8E 1K4
Tel.: 819.425.2215

Maison Mikaza
120, du Portage Parkway
Gatineau (Hull), Québec
J8X 2K1
Tel.: 819.800.0509

The Cork House
Jelinek Cork Group Showroom
2441, Neyagawa Boulevard
Oakville, Ontario
L6H 6Y3
Tel: 905.257.5588
Fax: 905.257.5589

Visitor Parking
254 King Street East
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 4L5
Tel: 416.350.7275
Fax: 416.368.5002

Urban Tree Salvage Uses City Trees to Create Beautiful Furniture

February 17th, 2011

I love Urban Tree Salvage. They have some really unique pieces of furniture and accessories. Last year for my birthday I was given a cheese board from this store, and it receives nothing but compliments — how many cheese boards can say that?

Urban Tree Salvage takes City of Toronto municipal forest trees that need to come down due to storm, disease or insects and turns them into pieces of furniture instead of mulching them. There are over 9000 trees taken down each year in Toronto and UTS selects the logs that will produce really unique pieces of furniture. Often the trunks have grown pretty thick so they produce extra wide planks. For instance, this poplar table in the photo is an ebony-stained solid wood plank that measures 42 inches wide, 10 feet long, three inches thick, and sells for $7600. Melissa Neist, Sales and Marketing Manager for Urban Tree Salvage, is standing with beside the table.

Ebony-stained Poplar Table with an "Iffy" base (staggered table legs)

Urban Tree Salvage Emblem embossed on all tables

"Iffy" table base made of hot rolled steel, staggered table legs

Urban Tree Salvage is a fully integrated production facility and includes a sawmill, kiln and furniture production shop. Customers can come in and select the slab they want and the company will turn it into a gorgeous table.

For more information, visit their website.

Located at: 19A Malley Road, Scarborough, ON, M1L 2E4.

Phone: 647-438-7516

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The Timeless Material Company Saves Architectural Artifacts From Demolition

November 1st, 2010

Timeless Materials

When I first stepped into The Timeless Material Company’s main showroom, I felt that little thrill I get whenever I’ve stumbled on to a place where my imagination can run wild. In this case, the barn that houses some of the many salvaged historical artifacts, holds enough material that I started mentally constructing my new “historical” dream house. “I’ll use this as my front door….here are some stunning lead-paned, diamond shaped windows….I’ll take the claw foot bathtub, and of course, the beautiful, Crane kitchen sink in mint condition.”….my heart sings.

Diamond Shaped Lead Paned Windows

When you look around Timeless Materials’ substantial property you’ll see acres of building material that’s been saved from buildings slated for demolition. In fact, as Ken Kieswetter puts it, “The salvage business was a natural outcome from the demolition business.” You see, Timeless Materials, a salvage business, exists because Ken and his family also own a demolition company, Kieswetter Demolition. Ken saw the potential of all the beautiful old building structures, and now salvages what he can before he takes the building down. They also own a construction company, Timeless Timber Structures, that uses salvaged beams to build timber frame homes.

Restored claw foot bathtubs

Original Crane Enamel Kitchen Sink

In Ken’s mind, new products just don’t hold a candle to the materials of old. “These materials will outlast the new “green” products because there are no glues used and the materials are denser so the products don’t deteriorate at the same rate.” For example, he points out that the wood he salvages is from buildings one hundred years old or more, and therefore from first growth forests. What this means is that wood planks are wider, denser and stronger than wood used for products today. Another thing to keep in mind is that the wood has been “seasoned” — for more than one hundred years in some cases — meaning that it will be little affected by changes in humidity throughout the year.

Timeless Materials has meters and meters of reclaimed wood flooring. They take it from barns, factories, school houses, and whatever other buildings that are destined for demolition. They have maple, clear fir, pine, etc., there are plenty of different flooring options available. All wood flooring is solid, no engineered wood flooring is available — nothing with glues.

Fireplace Mantel Room

As Ken and I toured through the converted barn that holds all these beautiful treasures, he told me about the history of the barn itself. In fact, in the “mantel” room (housing one of their most popular products), Ken tells me that it’s the place where JM Schneider’s grown son was gored by a bull. It’s part of the barn’s history. On the second floor he shows me a winding, narrow staircase and I ask where it’s from, thinking of a “Tara-like” residence on a miniature scale, but it turns out it’s from an old church in Quebec, and the nuns used it. They’d have to be pretty thin because it can’t be more than two feet wide.

Staircase from an 18th Century church in Quebec

When you’re looking at all these products, including windows, doors, stairways, etc., it is the craftsmanship that takes your breath away. The intricate carving and detail that went into these products still stands out today. It’s quite something to see, and even better to incorporate into a new home.

“So,” I asked Ken, “How do people use these pieces?”  Ken nodded and said that the most popular item they have are their fireplace mantels, in part because they can be added after a renovation has been done. Of course the best way to incorporate things like the doors, windows, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, is to design around the pieces. That means, pick out the pieces you like first, so visit Timeless Materials with your designer/contractor/architect. Because every piece was made by hand in the old days, sizes aren’t standard. Measurements need to be taken as the design is developed.

Old doors, restored

A variety of flooring including clear fir

Ken has great plans for his property: The building next to the barn is currently being renovated to house a new interior design studio and he’s looking for a registered interior designer to take up residence and run their business out of the space. If you’re a designer, and you have an interest in immersing yourself in the old, while gazing, past the open pasture, at the brand new RIM buildings (filled with plenty of potential customers!), contact Ken Kieswetter at

Timeless Materials -- Acres of Building Materials

For more information on the Timeless Material Company, visit their website. For directions and hours, see below:

The Timeless Material Company

305 Northfield Dr. E.
Waterloo, Ontario
N2V 2N4


Phone: 519-883-8683
Toll Free: 1-800-609-9633
Fax: 519-883-4016

Hours of Operation
Monday – Friday: 8:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am – 5:00pm

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Visit their second location in Southampton:

Timeless Materials North

194 North Rankin Street
Southampton, Ontario
N0H 2L0

Phone: 519-797-9994

Hours of Operation
Tuesday – Saturday: 9:00am – 5:00pm

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