When Ashley (the designer) started work on our restaurant, she made us fill out a form with lots of questions. Nothing personal, but she did want to know what our concept was. And we said;
Farm food with an urban edge. Industrial but warm. Urban yet homestead-ee. Contemporary yet warm.
Perfect, said our designer. What exactly is that?
She researched artworks (propaganda posters on display at the Guggenheim), old farming equipment (tractor seats were her original idea for bar stools, but they’re rather trendy at the moment and therefore out of our price range) and aerial shots of agriculture (you should see how the Bolivians do it).
And somewhere along the process she compiled a list of materials for us to start sourcing. One of them was repurposed wood. But it too has become a Gucci item so it was dismissed before we even began. Or so we thought…
Every now and again you catch a lucky break, and after all the nonsense we had purchasing this place, I guess we were in for a change of fortune. You see, not far from us there is a demolition site that coincidentally began just days before we first got access to the space.
Gregory approached the foreman about getting access to the lane so we could get a skip bin in to start clearing out.
‘Tell you what,’ the foreman says, ‘buy us a case of beer and you can throw it all in with ours.’
‘What?’said Ashley perplexed. ‘What is that?’
‘Beer currency,’ said our builder, ‘you’ve never heard of it? It’s what keeps Australia running.’
Ashley was beginning to like our country more and more.
Dutifully Gregory delivered the case of beer along with our loads of rubbish and on one such trip he noticed long planks of thick, heavy well-worn wood. Just the thing we were looking for.
He mentioned this to Ash and Tris (the builder) who promptly inspected them to discover that they were in fact highly sought-after planks of long and lovely Oregon timber. The stuff they used to build New York, which now (when it gets pulled down for construction, gets sold for a very pretty penny).
‘Well, you’ve bought me beer,’ says the foreman, ‘how about a bottle of Wild Turkey and you can take what you like.’ A bottle, not even a case.
One lousy bottle of liquor for timber that would have cost us at least $140 a linear metre. That piece is 9 metres long. And the guy knew it’s value too, he could have sold it and had himself a very nice easter. Instead he gave it all to us and made it possible for the original design to come true. Look at that wood. Weathered, worn, with so many stories to tell.
All we have to do is give them a simple sand.
They’re going to be the shelving right the way through the restaurant, behind the bar and out the back in the greenhouse. They’ll be the planks used to build the host stand, and they’ll be the wood you prop your beer on if you sit at a bar table.
All because of a super nice guy.