For those of you who know me, you know that my favorite thing to do in the whole wide world of design is to make features out of reclaimed items. I must say that there is something exhilarating about the process that goes into making these beasts! For one, picking is kind of like hunting; it evokes the treasure hunter within. Now, the process of picking is its own animal. The folks you meet along the way are always interesting. They tell you the history of each item you pick and then I get to pass along that story to the client who buys the piece. In a way, I feel like a resurrector of these items. I get to save them and their story from the scrap metal yards and I get the honor of transforming them into whatever my imagination can conjure up.
One of these stories begins with The Dahlbergs and their old farm and barn in the heart of the Sacramento Delta wine country. I met Tressa and Bo at a home show that I was doing many years back. They stopped by my booth and we must have chatted it up for about an hour. They knew of my interest in using reclaimed items in my landscape designs and were sharing with me about all of the old retired farm equipment, barn wood siding and other anomalies that were on the farm just rusting away and waiting to be saved from the ultimate destruction of the elements and scrap yards. I felt like this new lead, these new friends were the open door, the key to a pandora's box of design delectables! In other words, I was stoked!!!
Then the day had finally arrived, the day I got to see this farm with all of it's glorious relics! There were literally about 100 old gears, pulleys, old barn hinges, chains, tongue and grove barn wood, you name it, it was there. But this day, it was the old tank that spoke to me! There it was, half buried in the earth and overgrown with weeds. It was like that nugget of gold that stood out within the gold pan. I knew that this tank and my mind were meant to meet. Bo was kind enough to fetch this old tank out of its earthen bed. It was a sight to see. Once stood upright, It came to me that this must become a fire feature.
Lucky for me, I had the perfect client for this feature. Their style was very industrial and rustic with elements of Victorian. This tank didn't have anything to do with Victorian era styles, so I installed some Victorian era replica tin tiles along the face of the fireplace bench and adjoining benches. I also decided to do a monolithic concrete pour for the bench seating. I needed something that would help to contrast and balance with the overwhelmingly large metal tank, while at the same time keeping the continuity of an industrial look. I was also able to incorporate some of the old hinges that I had picked from the Dahlbergs property, so that was cool.
After it was all said and done, this feature stood 9' tall and put out some incredible heat. At night it took on an entirely new life as you could see the light flickering from the space at the top of this feature. The homeowners were happy but I think I kind of got the most satisfaction out of this whole thing. After all, it's the journey, the dreaming of what to create and then doing it. It's a full circle and I love doing what I am so fortunate to be doing.
To see more projects like this, stay tuned for Season 4 of Yardcore airing this Spring on the DIY Network. www.DIYNetwork.com