Birthed out of a recent project we did for Nandos, the iLanga chair not only brings warmth and vibrancy to its surrounds with its colourful weaving and wooden back, but surprisingly it also brings us one step closer to fighting climate change.

Teaming up with Nandos, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, as well as Avocado Vision, we put our heads together to find a solution to the issue of alien plants consuming more water than necessary and ruining our delicate indigenous ecosystems.

Our solution revolved around the idea of creating a strong commercial demand for alien invasive plant biomass. Which is where the iLanga chair comes in. Made with 100% Poplar and Wattle – woods which have their origins in the United States and Australia – the iLanga stands out from the work that we have previously done, as it is the only product that hasn’t been crafted entirely out of wood (since it has a steel framework).

With medium to low densities, Poplar and Wattle come with the benefit of machining and glueing more easily and also work well with plenty of finishes. However, this low density also comes with a disadvantage, as it is not as structurally strong, which means it is not ideal for load bearing applications like furniture. But this disadvantage did not deter us! We simply created a steel frame to strengthen the chair and used the Poplar and Wattle in the back rest and seat.

Supplied by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, our demand for these woods was exactly what was needed to aid in the economic justification for clearing these invasive trees from our waterways. In other words, by creating furniture with Poplar and Wattle, the removal of these trees is sure to speed up with more budget being allocated towards their sustainable clearance.

Through this eco-friendly initiative, an ethically sound cycle of sustainable business can now begin – one with significant social and environmental outcomes that lead us one step closer to ensuring water security and sustainability in our beautiful country.

Keeping this in mind, it only seemed right to use the isiZulu word for sun to name the chair, since things look brighter not only literally with the chair’s vibrant and colourful threading, but also figuratively with what this stunning furniture represents.

Knowing that this custom furniture piece will be added to the Nando’s Casa chair line up, which displays designs from SA’s top talent, we feel privileged to be included among such talent and to be part of the solution – if only a small part – to combating environmental issues in South Africa.

Have you got your entertainment area all in order for your holiday guests? As we get closer to the end of the year, time seems to speed up, leaving us no time to get anything done. With this in mind, we thought we should remind you to start prepping your entertainment space with some home bar furniture inspiration. What better way to celebrate the festive season and cool down from the summer heat than with a few drinks in good company? Let’s raise a toast to awesome holidays ahead and easy entertaining with furniture that accommodates all your friends and family.

Kopanya Multi-Functional Unit

kopanya, home bar furniture

If multi-functional furniture is your thing, than you’ll love the Kopanya Multi-Functional Unit. With foldable panels on each end of the countertop and a centre that opens out – transforming its cube shape into a rectangular profile – this piece forms the ideal home bar furniture, allowing plenty of storage space for your drinks and quirky bar gadgets. Pssst…did we mention that we’re entering it into the 13th Annual IDA Awards? Check out our blog on this for more details.

  • Available in Black Ofram, Blackwood, Oak, Plantation Teak
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use

View the Kopanya in action.

Stark Console

home bar furniture, stark console

The sleek and simple Stark Console is designed to efficiently utilise space and to allow guests to easily move from area to the next. Although it can be custom sized to suit any space, its streamline design works well for entertainment areas that are limited size-wise. We recommend pairing this home bar furniture item with the Khumbula Backless Barstool, as these stools can easily slide under the console and be neatly tucked away to maximise space.

  • Available in Black Ofram, Blackwood, Oak, Plantation Teak
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Can be custom sized

Khumbula Backless Barstool

bar stool, home bar, khumbula backless

As a tribute to the psychedelic 70’s, this nostalgic barstool blends retro elements (like the brightly coloured weaving) with our signature linear design style. As the Khumbula Backless Barstool brings past memories into the 21st century, it is fitting for a space where you and your guests can swap stories over a few drinks. You could easily pair this piece with the Kopanya Multi-Functional Unit.

  • Available in Black Ofram, Blackwood, Oak and Plantation Teak
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Can be custom sized

Duzu Barstool

duzu bar stool, home bar

Fancy bar stools that offer more back support? The Duzu Barstool is a beautifully designed home bar furniture piece that gives the best of traditional design, with its curved back and weaved seat, and offers a modern edge with its angular legs. With the name Duzu – an abbreviated isiZulu word for the White Rhino – it was originally inspired by this endangered animal and designed to help save the Rhino population (for a full year 7.5% of the proceeds from this range went to the Save The Rhino Fund).

  • Weaving available in a variety of colours and styles
  • Available in Black Ofram, Blackwood, Oak and Plantation Teak
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Can be custom sized

Do any of these home bar furniture options appeal to you? If you’d like to liven up your outdoor entertaining with one of these pieces, then visit your nearest showroom and speak to one of our wood wizards for more information on the different options available for each product.

With a BSC in Forestry (Wood Science) – cum laude nogal – you could say our director, Ian Perry, is a smart man who knows his stuff! Always keeping his finger on the pulse and never sleeping, he stays informed about the most effective and feasible wood crafting methods to ensure Homewood customers get only the best quality hand crafted furniture.

 

For the past three years now, we have been using a traditional steam bending technique to bend a variety of woods – from soft woods to denser woods such as Oak – into curved shapes. Put into motion by our visionary director, this method is one of the things that sets our furniture company apart. Typically, wood is bent using machinery such as a bandsaw, but the end result of this method is simply not the same as that which can be achieved through steam bending wood.

 

Dating as far back as ancient Egypt, this method has been used to craft weapons, build boats and even create musical instruments. Although this technique may not be the latest, most modern way to bend wood, it has its advantages – many of which influenced our decision to use it.

 

The Advantages of Steam Bending Wood

 

Of the many benefits of steam bending wood, the main advantages that swayed our decision related to our furniture’s final finish, our design flexibility, product durability or strength and our environmental impact. Steam bending wood offers better wood recovery when compared to wood that has been cut, stronger components once bent (making our furniture more durable), more freedom to add curves into our designs and greater sustainability as it requires less energy and produces less waste, in the form of scrap (because smaller pieces can be bent into shape, the need to shave or cut wood off from a larger piece, in order to achieve the desired shape, is negated – resulting in less waste).

 

Overcoming Challenges

 

Starting out as an experimental process, taken up by our wood wizard, Ian, who worked on steam bending out of a personal interest, it was a little more challenging when it came to implementing this traditional technique on the level of full scale production. In order to put this into effect for our furniture, we had to make up our own steam kilns, set up bending and clamping jigs and change our entire process. Training our staff was no walk in the park either, as steam bending wood required them to employ a foreign technique and become experts at it in a relatively short period of time.

 

Another hurdle that we encountered was manipulating different types of wood with different densities. Despite being advised against working with woods like Ofram and Australian Blackwood, which aren’t as amenable, we bullheadedly pushed forward and found a way to bend these – after hours of painstaking research and many failed attempts. Needless to say, steam bending wood was an ambitious aspiration, but thankfully we did not let this deter us.

 

Today, we continue to develop this technique and improve on it, where possible. And we are proud to say that we have progressively incorporated it into more of our pieces, ensuring quality furniture that’s much stronger than competing products and much more durable. As recent examples, we have made a massive breakthrough with the infamously hard-to-bend Teak and will be adding the Duzu back chair to our list of steam bent products, after our recent trials which were a huge success.

 

Which other steam bent products should we take on next? Leave your comment below.

Coming off of the back of our presentation at the Nando’s Clout design programme, where we presented our brand new iLanga Chair, as well as the DTI Furniture Design Competition, where we were awarded second place for our Kopanya unit, we decided to try something a little different and enter a more challenging competition.

This year, we’ve decided to be brave and enter the 13th International Designer of the Year Awards. As a group of awards that acknowledge the talent and skill of design visionaries, the International Design Awards (IDA) has some tough competition with top designers, across the globe, entering into unique categories such as architecture, fashion, graphic design, interior design and new product design.

Although it was tough to decide which product to enter into this prestigious design competition, we made the choice to go with the Kopanya Multi-Functional Unit, considering it’s success in the DTI Furniture Design competition.

Naturally, this product falls under a sub category of new product design, which is kitchen furniture. However, the Kopanya Unit can be used in almost any area of the home due to its intelligent design.

Kitchen Furniture Kopanya Unit

The Competition Theme

With this year’s International Design Awards product theme centering around multi-purpose design. We needed to pick something that was both beautiful and innovative. Naturally, there couldn’t be a product better suited to this than the Kopanya Unit. Designed by wood crafter and founder of Homewood, Ian Perry, who has a BSC in Forestry (Wood Science), the Kopanya is a carefully considered unit that can made out of various types of wood, such as Blackwood and Black Ofram, to add unique character to it.

But there’s more to it than its stunning good-looks. Including foldable panels on each end and a centre that opens out into a rectangular unit, this versatile piece not only works as kitchen furniture, but can also be used as a home bar, dining table and storage unit.

Want to see how the Kopanya Unit can be folded into various shapes with various sizes? Watch this quick video to see it in action.

Wish us good luck as we nervously enter this into the  kitchen furniture category and stay up-to-date with the competition’s progress by keeping an eye on our social feeds!

The second half of this year saw us run a massive special on Blackwood timber. If you were lucky enough to grab the special while it was going, then you know why we’re dedicating this month’s blog to learning more about this beautiful wood.

Name:

Acacia melanoxylon is known as Australian Blackwood, and is more commonly called Blackwood.

Country of Origin:

As its name suggest, Blackwood is native to eastern Australia, but it does grow prolifically in South Africa.

Country Currently Imported From:

We get our Blackwood locally in South Africa, it is an invasive wattle species.

Duzu 2019Knots:

The defining characteristic of this wood type is the knots. Mostly all the knots being live, so once this wood is finely sanded and oiled it really gives this wood amazing life and a remarkable story to tell in each and every piece made.

Growth Rings:

These are not clearly defined. However, there is a marked difference between the heart and sap wood. The heartwood being dark brown to caramel in colour and the sap wood being pale/straw in colour.

Colour:

As described in the growth rings above, the range of Blackwood’s colours in the brown, gold, straw, yellow, caramel spectrum is vast – making this a wood that is wonderful to work with. It is ALWAYS different, and this is the mass appeal about this wood in furniture. It’s a clean look, but it’s a descriptive wood.

Indoor or outdoor:

We advise that this wood be mainly used indoors. That said, we do supply a certain amount for outdoor use with a lower guarantee period. It is moderately durable for outdoor use.


All of us at Homewood absolutely love this wood because of the story the knots have to tell, as well as the vast colour variation you can get from just one tree. Our favourite Blackwood piece would have to be the new Duzu dining table. Blackwood is not named after the colouring of the wood, but rather the colour it turns your hands when working with it. This is caused by the high tannin content in the wood. And when this reacts with oxygen in the air it turns black. This also means the wood over time will darken naturally and eventually become a dark chocolate brown. As we said, it’s a descriptive wood that will speak to you for years to come.

SPRING IS HERE!

Look, we’re not saying we won’t miss that cool, winter chill every now and then, but we’re looking forward to the warmer days and finally taking the party outside. And it’s a good thing there’s a Homewood piece for every part of your home to help you step up your entertainment game.

 

To help you get started, we decided to do a quick round up some of our favourite outdoor furniture:


Dinning

Create a customised outdoor space with the striking Boyi dining table. Breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner – it really doesn’t matter, it all goes down pretty well when you’re enjoying it outside.

 

 


Chilling

Kick back, soak in the sun, and enjoy the best of outdoor comfort. Perfect for both indoor and patio-use, there’s really no going wrong with Senzo loafer. You’ll be spending more time outside and you’ll be completely fine with that.

          

 


Bar Area

We know just how challenging finding the perfect outdoor bar set can be, but thanks to the stunning Kopanya Unit, you can say goodbye to all those woes. All wrapped up with 6 bar stools into one unit measuring 1200 x 1000 x 950 mm in size, it makes entertaining that much easier.

 

 


Lounging

We think it’s safe to say that the Imbiza sun lounger is, hands down, the best outdoor lounger any pool side has ever seen. Curvy, comfy, and all round stylish, this piece was inspired by our rich cultural heritage.

           Homewood Imbiza lounger with blue roping  

  

 


The best thing about all of this? We have an even wider variety of pieces for you to choose from, and all items can also be custom-sized to make your space exactly what you envisioned it to be. Here’s to longer days!

 

At Homewood, we love creating new designs and playing around with reworking old designs. We’ve recently just redone two beautifully functional pieces from our existing ranges into two new designs and we’d love to show them off. Because, why not!

We chatted to our head honcho, Ian, for a bit more insight into these redesigns.


Khumbula Occasional Chair

Occasional Chair - Khumbula 2St Ash

What was the inspiration behind the design/idea:

We decided to take our very successful Khumbula dining chair and make it into an occasional/couch type design by stretching it. The dining chair has always been one of our best looking and most comfortable chairs, so it would make sense to expand the range. It also breaks from the traditional solid upholstered couches to a more minimal Scandi look. Basic and very effective.

What was the choice of wood used for this piece, and why:

We chose ash for the first prototype, and the reason is unfortunately not as romantic as imagined. It’s simply because Ash is our cheapest wood and we did not want to test a prototype with more expensive hardwoods. However, the outcome is beautiful in Ash and we can’t wait to make more in other woods.

Your suggested wood choice for this piece:

The beauty about what we do is that customers can choose. So it all depends on their current homes, the upholstery they choose and the décor within their homes. This design will look good in any of the woods we offer. But to break it down per wood choice I’d highlight the following. Teak and Blackwood if they want warm lively tones to warm up a clinical space. Oak and Ash if they want more Scandi/minimal look and feel. And then Black Ofram if they want a lively yet monotone look.

Best spaces/rooms for use:

  • Bedroom as a slipper or occasional chair
  • Waiting rooms for offices, medical rooms, hotels and restaurants
  • Informal sitting rooms in homes
  • Lounges/TV rooms in minimal Scandi type homes
  • Fully enclosed patios

Occasional Chair - Khumbula 2St Occasional Chair - Khumbula 2St Occasional Chair - Khumbula 2St Occasional Chair - Khumbula 2St Occasional Chair - Khumbula 2St


Butcher Trolley – 1 Drawer

What was the inspiration behind the design/idea:

So many people have been asking us to make a smaller version of our 3 drawer trolley – so that’s exactly what we did. The designs then got refined when we were approached by the Makro group to come up with a mobile unit they could sell in their braai section. They never ended up stocking them due to price factors. However, it has made a great addition to our own retail chain and they are widely loved.

What was the choice of wood used for this piece, and why:

We went with oiled Blackwood. It gives off an amazing character and just showcases that expensive, high value butcher board feel.

Your suggested wood choice for this piece:

As it depends on the home/space its going to. We can use any of our woods but my preference will always be the warmer toned woods like Blackwood and Teak which just fit better with the kitchen/braai type vibe.


 

Product News July 2019 Vol. 2, Issue 7

 

content

Joints

THIS MONTH’S JOINT FEATURE– THE MITRE AND SPLINE JOINT

A spline joint is created when a wooden spline is inserted and glued into a slot or groove that has been cut in another woodworking joint, usually a butt, edge or mitered joint.

The spline serves to reinforce the joint and help keep the two sections aligned with each other. This small enhancement adds considerable strength to whatever joint it’s applied to.

The spline itself can be made from plywood, hardwood or the same material as the joint being strengthened – At Homewood we use the latter. For the ultimate in strength, the grain of natural woods should be oriented so that it’s running across the joint in the work piece.

Splines should never be forced into the grooves, which could cause them to distort or split. Rather, they should slide in easily, but without any side play, to allow enough room for glue to ensure a solid joint.

THE MITRE AND SPLINE JOINT THE MITRE AND SPLINE JOINT THE MITRE AND SPLINE JOINT


Homewood COUCH

AN OLD CONCEPT BUT NEW WAY OF LOOKING AT IT– NKWANA SLEEPER COUCH

Sleeper couches are not new – they have been around a long time. But they have always needed a PHD to operate and due to all the moving parts, they seem to never last. Well, all that is about to change with our new Nkwana sleeper couch. – It’s simple, looks great, and when closed you can’t even it tell that it’s not a normal couch. Best of all is it’s super simple to operate and opens with no breakable moving parts. Check it out!

Couch - Nkwana Sleeper Double Open 3D (2) Couch - Nkwana Sleeper Double Open 3D

Couch - Nkwana Sleeper Double Open Front Couch - Nkwana Sleeper Double Open NC 3D


BLACKWOOD

Duzu 2019 Blackwood

Blackwood Duzu 2019

WOOD FEATURE: AUSTRALIAN BLACKWOOD – INVADING SOUTH AFRICA

How can we make use of a renewable resource that’s got amazing properties for furniture production and help the environment at the same time? By using and promoting locally grown (invaded) Australian Blackwood, we can help clean up the waterways in KZN and the Cape all while using this amazing wood for furniture. It’s a no brainer really!

We have recently purchased a large volume of Blackwood at a good price. This reduced cost is being passed on to our customers – so until stocks last, we are promoting and selling Blackwood furniture at a 30% discount – so don’t miss out!


PAINDANE RANGE

Paindane  Paindane  Paindane

NEW ADDITIONS TO THE PAINDANE RANGE

We are proud to announce two new items to our long serving Paindane range. We have now introduced a coffee table and 2 drawer server. The lines and simplicity remain Paindane – however the softness of the slight curves and the organic feature of the beam have taken this range to a new level.

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” — Paul J. Meyer

The work environment that you operate out of can seriously make or break your workflow, creativity, and general attitude towards work. If you have a team of employees that work for you, then increasing and encouraging a sense of productivity in the office is something that is constantly at the forefront of your mind. Setting up your office space to achieve optimal work flow is crucial for your business.

Here are 3 ways for you to achieve a productive work space:

PLAN THE LAYOUT

Visualise the layout of your office according to workflow or according to how you would like your company or office to be perceived to all who enter. How you structure the office is the stepping stone to a work environment that is both inviting and enticing. Create a vibrant entrance by placing plants at the front desk. Living walls are a huge trend in office spaces. Recreate your own personalised one with our plant boxes. These are so effective to add a sense of class and sophistication while bringing some life to a generally stale space. Because let’s be honest. No one likes a generic office space – so liven it up with plants.

Off the back of mentioning generic office spaces; move away from cubicles and separated work stations to encourage a sense of community amongst your employees. Having a colleague at arms length to run ideas off of is great for work quality and office morale.

        

SPACE FOR BREATHING

In the working world of today, the deadlines and high demands from modern society’s standards have now positioned itself where we are perceived to be available 24/7, 7 days a week. With clients and colleagues being able to reach you via WhatsApp, Instagram, LinkedIn, email, and any other combination of communicative apps, creating a space in your office where your employees can grab a technologically silent moment to have a break and a breather will show that you care about your staff and their well-being. Because you really do. Stress workers produce stressed work.

DESIGNATED AREAS

Clutter is the leading cause of <insert whatever word is applicable to you>. Be intentional about designating areas in the office for file storage, a kitchen for eating and drinking, a R&R space for downtime, and then the office space for work mode. Encourage a culture in your office of clutter free desk spaces and maybe consider investing in bookshelves that can be used for storage. Keep work with work and dishes in the kitchen. If there is a designated space for everything, then there will be no reason for staff to pile things up on their desks.

 


And there you have it. A quick read through our 3 approaches to take when planning your office layout. We have immense skill in producing customisable office furniture to assist in creating an optimised working environment. If you have any needs and would like to get in touch for a quote on your dream desk or bookshelf for the office, then get in touch!

Product News June 2019 Vol. 2, Issue 6

Homewood June Newsletter Content Summary

 

HOW BEST TO DISPLAY THE NEW ROPE COLOURS?

Our new rope colours are slowly making their way into the factory and furniture pieces.What better way to display and highlight these new colours than with our iconic Imbiza lounger design?

AN OLD DESIGN – THE UMHLANGA DINING TABLE GETS A FACELIFT

Furniture design is moving away from the boxy sharp-edged look to what I term the river pebble look; curves, rounded edges and organic lines are back. The result of just softening a sharp edge is remarkable – see the images comparing the Umhlanga table before and after the face lift. The only change is the rounding!

YIN AND YANG – HOW THE CHOICE OF WOOD MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN DESIGN

As you all know we work in quite a variety of hardwoods. All chosen due to the wonderful colour spectrum they cover as well as the quality they provide for furniture. The choice of wood is absolutely key for its use and look in a specific design and a specific space. Look at how our now bestselling Duzu table is so different when made in warm/rich Blackwood and stark/clean Ash.

Duzu Table Duzu Table

EXTREME WEATHER TESTING CURRENTLY UNDERWAY

We are always striving to provide a better more durable product. Testing is currently underway to further improve the maintenance required on outdoor furniture finishes. The goal with this round of testing is to get to a finish that only requires a touch up coat once a year full outdoor.  Thus far the results are promising with 1 coating product showing huge potential. It may even result in us able to use cheaper hardwoods for outdoor – yet maintain the life span when compared to suitable woods like Teak.

Watch this space – we will keep you all posted on progress!