We've been spending the last few weeks on a mission to find furniture and fittings for Brew Lab. We've gone from trawling eBay and vintage furniture websites to Europe's largest antiques fair and some of Scotland (and Wales') finest reclamation and antique yards. We've discovered that if all we needed for the coffee shop was fireplaces and doors, we'd be all set; however, the task of finding the perfect chairs, tables and lights is quite a challenging one. Despite that, we love a challenge and we're extremely happy to have reached such an exciting time in the project. The unit at the moment is full of stud walls from it's time as an office. While our 'exploratory works' (building code for knocking holes in walls with a hammer) uncovered some interesting period features, we still don't know exactly what everything will look like when we take all the walls down (something that should be happening within the next few weeks incidentally). What we do know is that we want to expose all the old cornicing, wood panelling, brick and stone that we know is hiding there. This has influenced our design ideas and we want to make the most of this old Edinburgh building, and fill it with complimentary, and contrasting artifacts.
The first furniture adventure took us, and a 'jumbo' van down to Newark, near Nottingham, and to 'Europe's Largest Antiques and Collectors Fair'. Newark was sprawling, with aisles and aisles of stuff. Unfortunately, just not the stuff we were hoping for. Despite missing out on some chairs, we were happy to come away with some really interesting vegetable box shelving which we're going to use for retail display, We also swung past Tom's folk's place in Stratford to pick up some amazing leather sofas on the way home.
After coming back from Newark with our hands relatively empty, we headed out to Holyrood Architectural Salvage to pay a certain old Royal Mile street bin a visit that we'd had our eyes on for a few weeks. While bins are not the kind of things we usually get excited about, we couldn't help but get excited about this one. Check out the gallery to see it in it's full cast-iron glory. It's being cleaned up on the inside, and will have a new internal bin made for it, so we can use it in the coffee shop.
Next up we headed out to Stirling and to Hargreaves Reclaimed Flooring. Currently the unit has a green carpet, stuck to ply-wood. We're still uncertain as to what is underneath, but we do know that we want a hard wood floor of some kind - and Hargreaves is the place to go. Hargreaves have a warehouse full to bursting of with all shapes, sizes and types of reclaimed floorboards. From 120 year old Keruing and old gym flooring still with the lines painted on, to huge planks of pitch pine which smell absolutely amazing. Now we just need to decide which one to go for.
Trawling eBay has proved useful and we found some amazing old industrial factory lights a few weeks ago that we plan to use as feature lighting in the windows. They're absolutely massive, and make quite the statement but we love them.
eBay also gave us a lead on some chairs for the shop. We'd decided already that we were keen to get a set of matching old ply stacking school chairs, but there seems to be a big demand for these at the moment and as we need around 30 pieces, it was proving difficult to find the perfect set. So when we saw a set of over 30 on eBay, we had to go and see them. We set off to Drew Pritchard's incredible antiques yard in Colwyn Bay to inspect them. After a few hours exploring, we came away with 30 chairs and some beautiful old Sunday School benches that we want to use as a big communal bench in the middle of the coffee shop. The benches are really quite unique as they can be used in two different positions, pushed together as a picnic bench, or individually as pew style seating.
So that's where we've got to so far in terms of fixtures and fittings. We're steaming ahead with our Architect to get the design sorted. We should be stripping out in the next couple of weeks and we're currently looking at opening towards the end of August. We're excited, we hope you are too!