Teak & Stainless Steel

 

Equinox Extension Table & Equinox Armchairs

Equinox Extension Table & Equinox Armchairs

Today we delivered to one of our customers a Barlow Tyrie Equinox Extension Table to go with a set of chairs we delivered to him several years ago. At that time we had supplied an all-Teak table, because the Equinox Teak & Stainless Steel Table was not in production yet. But once he saw the new Equinox Table he loved it, so we agreed to take his first table into stock. Now the older table goes through our finishing shop and it will come out as a completely new-looking “pre-owned” floor model. Good for him, since he has what he wants. Good for Form & Function, because we can show a 3 year old table on our floor. The combination of our special Teak clear finish and the soft, brushed stainless steel is striking, and this table will easily repel any manner of food or wine stains for years. More about our finishing process coming up next!

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Sunscreen With Elegance

 

Milano Parasol & Ascot Recliners

Milano Parasol & Ascot Recliners

   Finally, it feels like summer has arrived! At least here on the Wet Coast. So, now that we’ve been sun-deprived for months, we’re now supposed to be fearful of too much sun exposure because of skin cancer? But didn’t we just read that northerners are often Vitamin D deficient, and that sun is necessary for synthesis of Vitamin D through the skin? But wait, what about that report in 2007 from the Environmental Working Group in the U.S. that showed that 84% of sunscreen preparations provided inadequate protection against UV radiation? Take a deep breath. We didn’t last this long on earth by hiding from the sun. How about a little moderation? I’ll take my sun neat. No added octyl methoxycinnamate for me. But I’ll take a wide-brimmed hat and a beautiful, big parasol for sun without the sin. Simplicity can be so elegant.

The Colours of Summer

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All 0f our Barlow Tyrie seat and lounger cushions at Form & Function are now available in not just 4 or 5 stock colours, but made to order in all 200+ colours and patterns from the amazingly sun-fast collection  from Glen Raven mills. From retro stripes to sophisticated weaves to bold brights, the colours of summer are here. Please note that all made to order cushions require 4-5 weeks to deliver.

VERUS. Made Right. Right Here in Canada

At FORM & FUNCTION we have long believed that we can build furniture in Canada that is easily the match of furniture from Italy or the USA or any other country with large furniture factories. And that any cost advantage from “economy of scale” is now being countered by the ever increasing costs of fluctuating currencies, ocean freight, import duties and expensive advertising and marketing costs. The only furniture we cannot make at home is our outdoor product line. And that is primarily because the only Teak lumber available to us is Teak from Burma. It is widely thought that most of the profit from the unsustainable logging of Teak in Burma goes to the undemocratically-elected military junta..

And now, more than ever before, we are acutely aware of the “multiplier effect” of a dollar spent in support of community-based businesses, especially those which manufacture their products in their own community. And, that very low price often goes hand in hand with high social cost.

 And so, at FORM & FUNCTION, we feel it is time to introduce our new name for our range of hand-crafted hardwood furniture which we design, build and finish right here in our own Vancouver workshop. We have chosen the name VERUS, from the Latin word for true. This is furniture without falseness. If we say Cherry, we mean solid Cherry lumber, not a face of Cherry with a heart of fibre board. If we say Walnut, we are referring to solid Black Walnut lumber, not Walnut-stained birch or a paper-thin Walnut veneer over MDF.

 Fundamental to our approach with VERUS is a respect for the craft of the maker. We reject the factory model of modern furniture manufacturing, where one person makes doors, another makes shelves, another installs hardware and so on. In the VERUS shop, one person handcrafts each piece, from selection of lumber to final sanding. The pride of craftsmanship in each table, chair and cabinet will speak for generations. The rejection of the multiple-piece factory model also affords us a unique advantage relative to most furniture retailers. We make every piece of furniture for you, based on your unique needs. If your sideboard needs to be precisely 38” high, it will be so. If your dining table must seat 4 people day to day, but expand to seat 10, you shall have it. We think that to not have such options would be like shopping for shoes in a store that has only 3 sizes. And we warrantee that our furniture will never go out of style or wear out! But, if it ever needs “polishing”, we’ll take care of it.

 There is much more to tell you about our VERUS furniture, like our non-toxic wood finishes, remarkable flitch-sawn wide lumber, and professional interior design service. We invite your inquiries, whether you need a small table or a long term, whole house plan. In a few weeks we hope to start posting images of a good number of VERUS pieces, so please check back soon.

 

 

Caring For Teak Oudoor Furniture

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 At Form & Function back in the early 90’s, when we first starting importing Barlow Tyrie Teak garden furniture, we were told that the classic approach to maintenance was best. Simply give the furniture a light scrub down with soap and water once or twice a year, and leave it exposed to the elements, summer and winter.  This is still sound advice. There are many benches in public parks around England that have proven this to be true for over 60 years. But at Form & Function, we had been building our own range of indoor furniture, and we had a very well-run finishing department, with two very experienced finishers. And we knew that Teak finished with a clear varnish, looked fabulous. The problem was that finishes and finishing techniques for outdoor furniture proved to be very different than those used for indoor furniture. And, as we soon discovered, the vast majority of oils and varnishes formulated  by both large and small manufacturers, were so diluted with cheap, petroleum-based solvents that they were an utterly useless  waste of time and resources, regardless of their “marine” pedigrees. This became an intriguing passion for our finishing shop. How to offer an alternative for those of our customers for whom the natural silver-grey of weathered Teak was not suitable.

After 13 years of formulating, reformulating, testing, retesting, consulting coatings chemists and so on, we believe we have finally arrived at a satisfactory solution. It is a combiination of very unique (and very expensive) raw materials, applied in many coats, following an exact timetable of cure time between coats. Does it last forever? No, and neither does your house paint. But it holds the beautiful, rich colour of natural Teak longer than any of the 25+ materials we have tested over the years. The key is that only a maintenance coat is required every 1 to 4 years, depending on a number of factors. There is no stripping and sanding down to raw wood if this quick and easy schedule is followed. At Form & Function we offer this service exclusively to our Barlow Tyrie customers. We will also supply the materials and application method to those who enjoy such endeavours. Its really very easy to do; it just takes time and patience.

And for those of our Barlow Tyrie customers who love the soft, silver patina of  sun-weathered Teak, we’ll show you how to keep it looking smooth and clean, with very little effort. We regret that we are unable to offer our finishing materials or detailed instructions to those who have purchased their outdoor furniture elewhere. We respectfully submit that that would be rather like feeding the hand that bites us.

A word about outdoor furniture “sales”

Now that we’re on the verge of summer, we’re noticing many outdoor furniture dealers advertising “25% off” early season sales. And as surely as summer follows spring, there will no doubt soon be “summer sales”, with more %’s off regular prices. When something is more often “on sale” than not, that “sale” price is, de facto, the regular price.  At Form & Function, we’re just plain fed up with duplicitous tactics designed to make the public think they better buy now or pay more later. With clothing sales, we get it. Fashions change, and no retailer wants to get stuck with merchandise that is unsaleable next season. And, of course, most clothing ( more and more?) has a short wearable life, so if you miss an end of season sale, you might catch the next one. Same with potatoes. Missed the sale at the supermaket this week? You’ll probably need potatoes again in a few weeks and there will always be another sale.

But durable goods like furniture, especially the kind made to last a generation or two? If we had a “sale” of outdoor furniture in the spring, what do I say in the summer to a customer  who missed the spring sale. “Sorry Charlie, how about I call you in 50 or 60 years when your Barlow Tyrie Teak table might be showing wear, and we’re having our spring sale?”I know what Charlie would say. Let us state the maybe-not-so-obvious. Retailers who have frequent “sales” on durable goods are playing fast and loose with what is a “regular” price. Or they may be telling you that the price is 25% less than the “manufacturers suggested price”. We would say that a manufacturer that “suggests”  that a $1000.00 table be sold at $3000.00 is part of the gouging game we all too often find in retail shops. 

At Form & Function our pricing policy is very simple and old-fashioned. Offer our merchandise consistantly at the lowest price that still allows us to keep the bills paid and our staff fairly compensated. And know that all our valued customers are treated equally and fairly when they grant us the favour of their patronage.

Summer Favorites

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At Form & Function we are very fussy about the company we keep. And one of the first companies we ‘ve been keeping close to for more than 15 years is Barlow Tyrie, a British, family-owned company founded in 1920.     http://www.teak.com/

Over the years we’ve come to know Barlow Tyrie as one of those rare manufacturers  who values integrity of materials and craftsmanship above come-and-go trends. 

We’d like to tell you about just a few of our perennial favorites from their design book of garden furniture.

Capri Ultra Lounger

Capri Ultra Lounger

 

This has been our go-to outdoor lounger at Form & Function for many years. The Capri Ultra may not be the ne plus ultra of the modern design crowd but we think its classic lines and superior ergonomics trump all the competition. If you want to cut a fashion swath, choose from 100+ sunfast fabric cushions, from retro stripes to sophisticated solids. From the 3-position leg section to the 2-way sliding tray to the follow-the-sun wheels, the Capri Ultra is a classic summer favorite.

Next up, our favorite extension tables for  memorable summer nights.

 

Arundel Extension Table

Arundel Extension Table

 This grand table has “Let’s Celebrate!” written all over it! At 43″ wide x 78″ long in the closed position, it accomodates a generous 6 or a snug 8. Flip out the cleverly-hidden leaves et voilà, tout le monde est invitée! At 43″ x 118″ the Arundel Extension Table seats 12 with ease. Or add  5′ Wimbledon Benches on the long sides (2 on each), and a 4′ Wimbledon Bench on each end , and you have the perfect party table for 16. And with a 43″ width, there is lots of room in the centre for serving dishes and gracious place settings.

With no corner legs to contend with, the Arundel Extension Table permits edge to edge seating and no legs to straddle. If space is tight, tuck armchairs away under the table – no apron means arms slide right under.

LIke all Barlow Tyrie finely-crafted Teak furniture, the Arundel Table is destined to become a family heirloom table, replete with memories of summers and happy times.

 

The Windsor Extension Table

The Windsor Extension Table

At Form & Function, the Windsor Extension Table has always been our first choice for a modestly-priced extension table. At 40″ wide x 68″, opening to 94″, this classic leg table invites 6 – 8 guests, with no one having to straddle a corner leg. The 2 leaves, when not in use, simply tuck into the end aprons. (Look closely at the photo and you’ll see the slots for the leaves.) Like all Barlow Tyrie tables, the Windsor Extension Table will accept a parasol through the centre, and is supplied with a Teak filler disk for without-parasol uses as well as a Teak reducing ring for smaller 1.5″ diameter parasol poles. 

Next,  we’ll tell you about our two  favorite coffee -and-croissant tables. Wonderful little tea party tables for little girls and boys too.

 

 

SAFARI TABLE & CHAIR

SAFARI TABLE & CHAIR

 Twelve years ago we bought a Safari Table and two chairs for our tiny little front porch. Since then it has been our favorite little early summer morning refuge, a perfect landing pad for a pot of tea and a basket of fresh croissants from Patisserie Bordeaux, our favorite French bakery. Then our two girls, three and seven years old at the time, decided our Safari Table was the perfect place to entertain their Barbie dolls. Thank goodness for little girls. And for growing up. We have our table back now.

At 27″ x 23″ x 27″ high, the Safari Table fits anywhere – on the deck or porch, holding a laptop, beside the BBQ to hold the dishes, or folded flat in the car, on the way to the park or the beach. In twenty or thirty years, the girls can have it back.

 

 

EQUINOX BISTRO TABLE AND ARMCHAIRS

EQUINOX BISTRO TABLE AND ARMCHAIRS

Barlow Tyrie’s thoroughly modern, minimal Equinox Bistro Table sits beautifully on an outdoor terrace or indoors, in a contemporary kitchen. Crafted of solid FEQ (First European Quality) Teak and a higher grade of stainless steel than its rivals, this delightful table is a perennial favorite among customers of Form & Function. And at 26.5″ round x 27.5″ high, it fits the most modest of spaces.

 

Savannah Chair

Savannah Chair

Supply has finally caught up to demand for the Inside/Outside Savannah Chair. Hand-woven of Viro fiber, a non-toxic, recyclable HDPE, the Savannah Chair has been tested under accelerated weather conditions, ensuring no degradation from UV light or extremes of temperature. The internal frame of the Savannah chair is virgin aluminum, to ensure optimum strength at the welded joints and stability when sitting. At Form & Function, we enjoy placing the Savannah  Chair around our Teak dining tables, or in pairs around a low conversation table. A word of caution though – we have seen many lookalike copies of this chair, made of plastics that become brittle after only one season in strong sun. The Savannah Chair from Barlow Tyrie though, is furniture for keeps.

 

Milano Parasol

Milano Parasol

 

Milano detail

Milano detail

There are cheap and cheerful garden umbrellas that last about as long as promises from a politician. And then there is Barlow Tyrie’s Milano Parasol. Spanning a sun-stopping  11′ 3″ or 12′ 11′ in diameter, or 8’2′ x 11′ 5″ in rectangular, these glorious parasols are made to last for generations. Just imagine the summer memories that would imprint in a child’s mind, growing up in the shade  of these tall ships’ sails. Meticulously crafted of marine-varnished Eucalyptus, joined with solid brass fittings, and topped with the finest UV-resistant Sunbrella fabrics, the Milano Parasol is now available in more than 200 solid colours, stripes and textured weaves. In spite of their size, Milano Parasols are easily hoisted and lowered with the mechanical advantage of solid brass, marine-grade pulleys.

What is furniture for keeps?

At Form & Function, we’re committed to offering you a range of furniture that is not only beautifully constructed, but is also healthy, earth-friendly and becomes an integral part of your life. We call this “furniture for keeps.”

_V_Craftsman-Pedestal-TableOur primary focus is on our own in-house hardwood designs. Ian Johnstone, our master builder for over 20 years, has worked with us to develop an ever-growing catalogue of tables, chairs, beds and casework, bench-made of North America’s finest hardwoods.

 

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We also work closely with a carefully-edited number of family-owned manufacturers whose approach to materials and craftsmanship mirrors that of our own workshop. We began Form & Function almost 30 years ago and we have much to tell you about what we’ve learned along the way. Our new website is almost ready, so we ask you to bookmark this page and check back soon!