September 27, 2011

The things we want

When you live in Brooklyn, I'd say it's pretty normal to be lacking at least two things: It just seems to be a lifestyle of us youngish folks to be short of cash and short on space. Because you can't have space without cash, it can be a bit of a pickle.

I'm after space. With space comes more tools, and damn, I'm sick of building cabinets and whatnot without a table saw. Yep, that's correct, I don't have a table saw. How do I build things then, you ask? Well, I avoid the long cuts. And it's a pain! So, on my hunt to be short of only one thing instead of two, I found my dream studio. And just my luck, the dream gets to remain a dream since the guy absolutely refuses to answer his phone. Refuses! But here it is anyway: cool huh?

It's so Brooklyn. I love it. Isn't it everybody's dream to have their very own metal-rolly-gate-entrance-thingy? I'd feel like a deli! And my tools would be safe and sound at night. So I'm gonna keep calling that torturous fellow who advertises his phone number and won't allow me to give him money. Sheesh.

So maybe it's the big dreams that take a lot of time and hard work, but at least the slightly smaller dreams sometimes fall into my lap when I need them. Here I was wanting to build myself a bigger work table, thinking "now where am I going to find that much old wood?" Well, thank you Brooklyn awesomeness, because voila:

There's old wood! And it's even in pre-planked form for my convenience! It just doesn't get better than this place, and I wrote about it here too! -- a long, long time ago.

So me and my beautiful, eight foot, seven inch long plank are going to happily get to work becoming a table. With or without the company of a table saw. Or space.

September 22, 2011

life in a brooklyn box

Well, it's been a few weeks since I returned from California and my lovely restaurant. I miss it terribly, but it's like a relationship: with time, all things heal. In the meantime, I'm catching up on the the Brooklyn summer that I missed the entire five and a half months I was gone, building, building, building. So, how's il vecchio doing, you may wonder? Well. It's. Doing. Great!

Now remember, this is not New York. This is Pacific Grove, California. It's near-ish San Francisco, yes, but by no means is this town bustling. Sidewalks roll up at around eight or even earlier. There's hardly anybody walking around on the streets -- even when it is a Saturday! So we opened this restaurant with a business plan that was rotating around a medium to small amount of customers coming in to eat on, say, a Wednesday evening. But, this restaurant has been, from the first three days we opened the doors, exactly what I would call bustling!

Apparently {this is what I am told since I'm no longer there} people come in the moment the doors are open at five, and they are waiting in line to be seated all the way until ten. Even on a Tuesday. Even on a Wednesday! It's phenomenal. It's almost unheard of. It makes me, so, so, happy!

So aside from getting the daily updates on business over the phone, I've been doing a lot of two things: one, is relaxing. And two is {you guessed it} building! And with building inevitably comes rearranging my apartment to accommodate those things that I build. This is, after all, New York, and I no longer have the privilege of possessing a twenty-five-hundred square-foot restaurant site that I may do with as I please. Nope!

Because a blog post isn't a blog post without photographs, here's a little something:

And yep, there's a turquoise triangle in this one too.

Oh! And I built this lamp too! -- though not very recently. I made it from found metal scraps and an old bunt cake pan. It's all bolted together so it moves!

So until I build again, 


September 12, 2011

il vecchio

il vecchio is a restaurant I built and designed in Pacific Grove, California, in 2011. It is over 2,000 square feet and built with ninety-five percent recycled and salvaged materials that I gathered from all across the country. I spent seven months in CA, living there and building seven days a week, using the materials collected from Brooklyn NY, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and California.  This restaurant was essentially the beginning of my blog, career, and love for building furniture.See more photographs on my website.


Here are our very first paying customers, who waited outside the door for half an hour before we opened, and then ordered five pasta dishes between the two of them -- and ate every last bite. 

September 7, 2011


Yep. It's true.

Today is the day. Five and a half months, seven-days-a-week, twelve hours a day, subtract about three or four days off, equals one, really happy, ridiculously proud, semi-exhausted girl.

So! If you are a local, come get some pasta! We are opening very softly with only ten tables open. We are not yet accepting reservations, nor credit cards. So bring some cash, a check, or a very honest face and we'll let you purchase some pasta with an i.o.u.

il vecchio
110 Central Ave
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

I'll be there all evening, jumping with joy.
See you soon!

September 4, 2011

Unnecessary details that totally matter

We were serving bread on plates and thinking, there has got to be a better way to do this! So a few hours of jigsawing later {and many hours of sanding}, here is our yeah, this is way cooler solution:

Thirty-one, hand-cut breadboards, with no two alike.

And as if that wasn't enough {since apparently I have a bit o' crazy in me} I spent one late, late night wood-burning into every one of them. For the three people that will ever notice, it was totally worth it!

September 3, 2011

It might possibly be definite.

There's a few satisfying moments in building a restaurant that come only every now and then. These moments are particular, since {but of course!} every day is satisfying.

Today, that satisfaction came when all the lights were officially wired and hung -- all forty-four of them. 

Yep, forty-four. And I wired each and every one myself. Whew!

The sconces from that abandoned diner in Virginia are up too!

And another one of those moments came when {drum role, please} art was hung.

It's a huge step in the direction of finally, finally, {possibly, maybe? perhaps} being super-duper close to done!

September 1, 2011

Mister, you've really out-done yourself

When working on a project such as this, I'm always reminded, and constantly amazed, at how wonderful people can be. Most of the time, I'm a bit of a cynic, and a possibly a little grumpy towards some, but wow, sometimes? People just blow my mind. In a good way.

A few weeks back, I wrote about the woes of being a female shopping at Home Depot but the beauty of being a female on a construction site {you can read it here}. Well, this is an add on to the latter. Yes, it's another post about... well, about people giving me incredible things.

So, a few days ago, my wonderful, wonderful electrician brought me here to show me this cool place {he knew I'd appreciate it's creepiness}. Of course, he also knew I'd fall in love with those old green lights.

A few days later, he arrives at work, as normal. Well, high on my list of things that make me almost faint, is when someone shows up with a pile of these. As a gift. 

Yes. He got them for me. Yes. He really, really did. Wow!

And to make them even cooler, they were in a fire, and survived. Yeah! Impressive. They came from an old abandoned water tower that was set on fire a year back by vandals. Why did the vandals not take out the awesome green lights that were there before they set the place ablaze? I have no idea. Stupid vandals. They really missed out. But they certainly succeeded in making the story way, way sweeter for me.

This one really bore the brunt of it. This baby got burned. But boy, is she a beauty to photograph.

So with a lot of cleaning and an entire bag of rags, they are back to being green and shiny. They are beautiful. Beautiful! So much rust, so much history. I could barely be happier if I tried. What a gift, mister electrician man. What. A. Gift.