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Steal This Look: Cinderblock Chic in Toronto


Steal This Look: Cinderblock Chic in Toronto

August 5, 2014

This urban patio was created by landscape designers Earth Inc. for Toronto’s annual Interior Design Show. The firm focuses on sustainability, so they chose a wealth of reclaimed materials for the space, including discarded streetcar tracks from an old rail supply yard, feet from a backhoe’s stabilizer legs, and yellow pine from the Ohio River Valley. The result, says Earth Inc. partner James Dale, is reminiscent of old downtown Toronto.

While you may be reluctant to comb through salvage as the Earth Inc. team did, Dale notes that many demolition companies curate and sell the best stuff from their demolition jobs. “You can find all sorts of amazing artifacts at reclamation yards,” he says.

Here’s the casual but cozy look they created:

Above: The 20-foot-square space emulates twilight on a weathered brick patio, where modern materials and aged pieces combine to create a welcoming space for outdoor dining. On the floor, the Earth Inc. team laid Danish Hand Mould Pavers in manganese ironspot–a black brick–from Nebraska-based Endicott Clay Products. The fold-away harvest table has an inset trough to be used as an ice bucket. Photograph via Poppytalk.

This time-lapse video shows the team installing their exhibit (and occasionally, eating lunch). And here’s how you can recreate it yourself:

Above: Screen blocks, also called breeze blocks, are concrete masonry units that can be stacked for privacy and shade, while still allowing air to circulate. Earth Inc. used salvaged diamond-pattern blocks, which can be purchased new from regional manufacturers. The 12-inch-square Screen Block No. 377 (left) costs $6.92 at A-1 Block Corporation in Orlando. Or go to Home Depot for the cloverleaf-pattern Gray Concrete Block (right); $2.77 each.

Above: Once the concrete block wall is up, fill porous surfaces with a primer such as Pratt & Lambert Pro-Hide Silver Latex Block Filler. Then use thin coats of exterior latex masonry paint for a finish that’s as distressed as you like–Benjamin Moore’s Van Courtland Blue is a close match.

Above: James Dale grabbed a vintage liquid-fuel lantern from his father’s camping stash to give the scene a gentle, flickering glow. The German-made Feuerhand Lantern is available in red or black, $39.95 from Portland’s Hand-Eye Supply. See more options in 5 Favorites: Classic Oil Lanterns.

Above: Pillows line the banquette–formerly a warehouse beam–in botanical and geometric prints. Similar styles (from left): A cotton Red & Black Branch Leaf Pattern Accent Throw Pillow Cover, 16 inches square, $18.95 from BHDecor on Etsy; Rouge du Rhin’s linen Quilt 1 pillow, 18½ inches square, €75; and Ikea’s cotton velvet Stockholm Cushion, 22 inches square, $14.99.

Above: You’ll need three of Roost’s Factory Cage Lamps–Wide (far right). Finished in silver-plated brass, the fixture takes a 63-watt filament bulb and is not wet location rated. At Lightopia, $201.88.

Above: Not up to building a table from salvaged materials yourself? Restoration Hardware has done it for you, reclaiming antique elm doors for its Flatiron Rectangular Dining Table. The welded, riveted solid-steel frame stands on caster wheels. Available in six sizes, from 60 to 120 inches long; $555–$1,255.

Above: For a more rugged industrial look–and bigger wheels–check out the pine and iron Fiumicino Dining Table by Moe’s Home Collection. It measures 85 by 38 inches and is $1,624 at Wayfair.

Above: Designed by metalworker Xavier Pauchard in 1934, the 18-inch-high Tolix Malais Stool is made of galvanized sheet steel with a powder-coated finish and rubber feet. Manufactured in Autun, France, and available in white, black or gray from Design Within Reach, $195.

Above: Earth Inc. set its table with bowls and a colander from the sturdy Falcon Enamelware Prep Set: six stackable, dishwasher-safe pieces of porcelain fused with heavy-gauge steel. Made in the UK, the set is available from Brook Farm General Store for $118. For more about Falcon Enamelware, see Classic Enamelware for Outdoor Dining.

Above: Make a tabletop ice bucket with the 4-foot-long Galvanized Trough Planter, handcrafted in Philadelphia. From Terrain, $128.

Above: It may take a few years, but “˜Happy Wanderer’ Vine Lilac (Hardenbergia violacea) will climb obediently against a wall for vibrant color that lasts through three seasons. The Australian native needs sheltered space and can withstand partial shade, $29.50 for a 3.43-gallon plant from Lowe’s. Photograph courtesy Brighton Plants.

We decode more Canadian secrets in 10 Garden Ideas to Steal from Canada. And for another patio, see Steal This Look: A Black and White Deck, Herb Garden Included.

It’s the last week to vote for your favorite finalists in the Considered Design Awards. You can vote once a day on Remodelista and Gardenista through August 8. Stay tuned: We’re announcing the winners August 9.

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Product summary  

Blankets, Throws, & Quilts


€75.00 EUR from Rougedurhin

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