Nestled away on Kayleigh Drive Maroochydore, RAW Sunshine Coast creates unique pieces of furniture handcrafted from recycled materials while also boosting a storefront haven filled with an array of vintage and new homewares. Known for their stunning custom-made furnishings, RAW’s creations focus on local resources, such as interesting 100-year-old Queenslander homes — full of character and history. We truly admire the RAW team for their talents and environmental efforts, so we’re honored to work with them as a Design Twins Stockist! Here, we chat with Chris and Katie about handcraftsmanship, timber and sustainability.
To begin, tell us a bit about the back-story of RAW? When did a passion for wood craftsmanship come about?
It’s kind of a love story that began when we first moved in together. We wanted to turn a house into a home for our family, filled with things that represented us. So Chris handcrafted a timber bench seat for me, complete with a love note forever etched beneath. I remember being so proud of Chris’s handiwork that I posted a picture of it on facebook and then bam…we were suddenly making them for everyone!
Chris has a history in renovations and has always had an interest in building furniture. I come from a health promotion/education background and have always dreamed of owning my own business that allowed me to embrace my creative streak. Growing up, as a child, I remember spending many hours in my dad’s back shed. It was filled with wood working equipment and I would assist him as he created things from fence post capitals to garden benches for my mum.
At the beginning of 2014, Chris and I established RAW Sunshine Coast. Our business specializes in handcrafted custom-made reclaimed timber furniture. Caring for our environment, we utilize locally sourced recycled materials to construct each unique piece of furniture. Our creations predominantly feature materials from 100-year-old Queenslander homes, which are rich in history and character. In addition our showroom encompasses an excellent range of homewares (including the AMAZING Design Twins) to compliment your home.
You’ve noted that you source materials from old Queensland’s homes. How does this process take shape?
When Chris isn’t in the workshop building, he’s out sourcing reclaimed timber. He works with a small number of local builders and recycled timber yards that specialize in salvaging timber from old Queensland dwellings and historic landmarks and structures.
“These days furniture is made from plantation timber. We like to work with the older timber that was used to build homes in the 1800-1900s. This timber is fully seasoned, it’s beautiful wood, it’s got character and we try to use it in everything we make,” says Chris.
Some of our best finds to date have been timber sourced from All Hallows Convent in Brisbane, the RNA Showgrounds Showbag Pavilion and beams from an underground gold mine in Cracow.
That’s so great! What are the three core philosophies of RAW and why are they important to you?
Family. It’s the most important thing to us and always comes first. Our family continually inspires our designs, particularly our children’s collection.
Be kind to the environment. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Finish. Ensuring that each piece of furniture is unique and constructed to the highest standards is really important to us.
Sustainability in design is a major topic right now. What advice would you give an aspiring designer who is thinking of taking the eco-friendly approach?
Working with reclaimed timber is labour intensive, you’ve got old rusty nails, stubborn glue, staples and paint splatter to remove and the timber is rarely straight. You’ll end up covered in dirt, cuts to your hands and you’ll blunt your saw blades with those nasty hidden nails… but it’s worth it! To take something old, which is loaded with history and character, and to turn it into something new and functional is so rewarding and worth the effort.
Start by looking within your own home at which old pieces can be upcycled rather than thrown away. Visit your local salvage yard and develop a good relationship with the owner, as you never know when that ultimate structure will be demolished and you want to be the first to know. Also search Gumtree for timber and builders or homeowners, as they often list timber from demolitions.
Keep in mind the products that you’re using to construct your piece. Ensure that the glues and paints are environmentally friendly and non-toxic and consider the way in which you dispose of waste. Our workshop is loaded with off-cuts just waiting to be used in another project!
What’s one design trend you’re favoring at the moment?
At present Scandinavian design is having a huge influence on one of our collections. Our Scandinavian Collection featuring sideboards, wall sconces and bedside tables was born through a combination of consumer demand and my time spent living in Malmö, Sweden. The Scandinavian style is beautiful, simple, with clean lines and is inspired by nature. We’re also working beautiful pastel colours into our creations, particularly in our Children’s Collections.
Is there a certain type of furniture you get the most custom order requests for?
With regards to custom orders, high-end timber floating entertainment units and bathroom vanities seem to be all the rage. We’ve recently worked with the lovely Bel from Petite Vintage Interiors on a beautiful four-metre-long spotted gum floating entertainment unit. It looks incredible and photos will be available through our social media feeds soon!
Until next week,
Mitch & Crystal