From the Barn: Kitchen and Furniture Design
Cape Town HOMEMAKERS Expo exhibitor, From the Barn have been involved in the design and manufacturing industry for over three decades, adding a furniture range in 2013. We spoke to Designer and Sales Manager, Ernst Meyer about making waves from Johannesburg to Cape Town and what makes the company stand out.
How did From the Barn start?
I have personally been in this industry (that is designing and manufacturing kitchens and furniture) since 1981. We stumbled upon this by making a coffee table for a friend who was on honeymoon, whilst working for Anglo American then. Friends saw it and also wanted a coffee table… and the rest is history. But, many years later, in 2013 we added a range of furniture to our kitchen portfolio and we opened a showroom in Parkhurst, JHB and Pretoria in 2014.
It was encouraging how many people from Cape town asked if we have a shop somewhere here. I always wanted to live in the Cape and took an offer from a friend of mine to join forces about 2 years ago and establish a footprint here.
What do you enjoy working on the most?
I enjoy the whole creative process a lot. Our customers come with mood boards and Pinterest pictures and we are privileged to be able to take that and create something from there that is hopefully even more beautiful than their picture – be it a new kitchen or a furniture piece.
What makes your company stand out?
Firstly, about the kitchens and furniture – We sincerely try to make something special out of every product or project . We listen to what our customers want, what materials, textures, ideas and photos they have and convert that into a workable, aesthetic space. Not what is convenient for us to produce or what material is easily available.
Secondly, with the other part of the business being a construction company, Edge to Edge 1275 cc, we can see to it that any renovation runs seamlessly and cost-effectively.
To explain – Mrs Jones wants a new kitchen, BUT, with the kitchen they want to break out some walls, move windows, change the door positions, retile the floors, move plumbing and electrical points and repaint before the kitchen can be installed. In order for that to happen, they must employ an architect, a builder, a tiler, an electrician, a plumber, a painter, a kitchen company and a granite installer – most people give up when they realise the task and uncertainties this represent.
We have all those trades permanently on our staff. So Mrs Jones talks to 1 company, that will manage the project from A-Z.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I suppose, having an awareness of new trends – by being passionate about good designs, symmetry and proportions. Pinterest also helps!
What does RAW comfort mean to me?
It has to do with natural state, earthy. Also being responsible with what materials you use and how you present that as a comfortable item.
We buy 80% of our solid wood from the forests that burnt down in Knysna, because it is there. Piles of wood. They don’t have to cut any more trees, let alone carelessly strip forests in Africa and the rest of the world! We would also rather apply natural sealants, like raw linseed oil, to keep the natural feel and texture of the piece of furniture or kitchen worktop.
Which item can a home not do without?
An old wooden family table! Preferably with a few cracks and wine stains on it.
What advice do you have for homeowners who want to renovate their homes?
Move out of the house while you renovate! Don’t try and do everything yourself! Take a deep breath! Make sure you enjoy the process, no matter how many obstacles you face!
Why should people visit your stand?
They have to see what we are about to offer. We need to meet each other and talk.