A few days ago, I put up a post that showed some of the building materials that are being creatively re-purposed from the wine industry these days. Being a kitchen designer, I always enjoy when my appreciation for food and wine finds a way to blend with my love for good design.
Over 15 years ago, when I was first getting started in the design industry, I was working for a kitchen and bath shop that was a subsidiary company for a luxury custom home builder. Shortly after I came on board, this builder decided to remodel and update his home and I was the lucky one who got the call to do the design work for the big boss. Being relatively new to the design field at the time, I was a little bit nervous but, having 15 years of corporate experience under my belt, I was far from intimidated.
I actually had a great time putting together the designs, working with my employer/client and watching the project come to fruition. The questions I was asked and the ideas my ‘client’ put forth all served to provide great insight and helped to hone the kitchen design skills that have served me well over the years.
One of the nice things about working on the home of a custom home builder is that you get to do things that are a little different. After all, their home is their showroom so they don’t want to fill it up with tried and true, safe designs. Some things have to be unique and different.
One such area where I personally took the liberty of being creative was in the wine room. I designed a table out of a newel post and a custom top that I had cut and stained. I then spent a few evenings hand-laying recycled wine and champagne corks into it in order to fabricate the top. I wish I had a better photo of it but no. Perhaps I’ll just have to recreate it again some day so you can get a better view!
I remember that the engineering of the custom piece to properly accept the used corks was a bit challenging but the most difficult part was actually collecting enough wine corks to do the job! Every employee of the firm was saving their corks for me, but we just weren’t accumulating enough quickly enough.
If you consider that most of us were on rookie designer salaries, our consumption of wine wasn’t that great to start with and the quality of wine we consumed at the time was yielding twist-off caps and plastic stoppers, not traditional wine corks! Fortunately, though, our shop was very close to an Italian restaurant that we frequented for lunch. With only a little bit of begging, the bar tenders at the restaurant agreed to save all the corks they went through at the restaurant for my project. Amazingly, in a matter of days, I had more than enough corks to do the job!