Wood you do it?
ONE MAN’S TRASH is another man’s treasure. Just ask Anthony Davis who through blood, sweat and tears “literally” has built up a company that specialises in using palettes to make furniture.
The Palette House, a year and a half old, is a one-of-a-kind company.
Discarded palettes are transformed into beautiful dining tables, side tables, wine racks and patio furniture.
The 35-year-old Davis is no stranger to working with his hands. He is a graphic artist by trade, owning his own company for the past 12 years.
“I am a graphic designer by profession. I worked for a couple of companies before starting my own business.
“I was an artist from young, doodling and drawing. My dad told me computers are the future, so mix it up.”
Davis, past student of Christ Church Foundation and the Barbados Community College, did his diploma in graphic design at George Brown University in Toronto, Canada.
He stayed and gained valuable work experience, while attending International the Academy of Design and Technology to gain another diploma.
“My plans were to return to Barbados, which I did 11 years ago and started my first company. Funnily enough, I couldn’t find a job; so I decided to do my own thing.”
The company was called Intervision, doing graphic work for various clients – logos, brochures, ads, billboards and so on.
He then rebranded the business The Graphic Designer. “That name,” he said chuckling, “came because when people called they would ask, ‘So this is the graphic designer?’. So I decided to run with the name.”
The Palette House idea came when he was home chilling.
“I wanted a table to work on from home with my computer and I said, “Why not make one?’. I sourced the palette from the Barbados Port Authority and me and my son checked out some ideas. I bought the casters and knocked [the palette] out. It wasn’t much trial and error, even though I didn’t have much carpentry skill.
“It seems it was a hidden talent.”
Davis then realised that maybe, just maybe, he had had a great, not good idea.
“I met with a carpenter and we sat down together and came up with different product lines . . . . Small stuff like tables and wine racks.”
Davis said his friends and family were a bit on the fence but they wanted to see how it would turn out.
Davis didn’t know the company would take off this quickly.
“I started putting some of the items on Facebook and responses flooded in. We went to a craft show at Limegrove with some pieces and someone bought one on the spot.”
He said interests were piqued and people started asking questions. From thereon calls started to come in constantly.
The palettes are sourced locally, and Davis skills has grown. He is now a bit more machine-friendly. Most of the items are done under a tent in his backyard in St James.
The most difficult piece done has been a mobile bar with its different components and which must be assembled on the spot.
To get a Palette House piece, there are face-to-face meetings, with a site visit. This is to figure out the measurements for the piece. Then talks are held about stains, upholstery, colours . . . pretty much anything that will match with the client’s personality and already existing home décor.
“I have been given free rein already. A client said ‘wow me’ with a kitchen island. All I got was the measurement.
“It is a give and take, as you don’t want to do something to displease the client. It is very different from graphic design when someone says, ‘I don’t know what I want; show me some stuff’ to making a piece of furniture, and someone else saying, ‘I don’t want it’ when you are done with it.”
Palette House pieces are on a two-week delivery schedule – from the meeting to actual delivery.
Since Davis has both hands in two different pies, he has to split his days.
Palette House work is done in the morning where he can go outside and take advantage of the daylight, and then he turns his attention to his graphic side.
Davis is now building a workshop where he is looking to mass-produce items and have them ready for clients. His vision is to have a house decorated with only Palette House furniture – from bedroom to kitchen. He wants a showroom and a store: “I am taking it in incremental steps.
“I started this business with nothing. I had some tools and an idea, and I went for it,” said Davis, fourth runner-up (out of 26) in Season 3 of Bank On Me, who was looking at his calloused hands as he spoke, pointing out a scar where he split open his finger on an angle grinder.
“I would love a Palette House piece in every house. That is my vision for the next three years.”