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Trash to Treasure

As a favourite supplier to Hamilton architectural and interior designers, Scott Woolston is known for his unique approach to furniture design - crafting his one-off pieces from salvaged and recycled materials.

Ady Shannon spoke to the craftsman about his love of turning trash to treasure.

Scott Woolston welcomes friends, colleagues, even total strangers arriving at his home with trailers laden with old wood and hardware from demolition sites. As founder and sole craftsman behind furniture making enterprise Remnant, Scott is always on the lookout for bits and bobs to add to his stockpile of salvaged materials. Over a period of 20 years he has established a reputation for his outstanding and unusual pieces along with his desire for hoarding junk. One man's trash is another man's treasure and Remnant specialises in giving new life to old finds.

Scott trawls through the debris of other people's lives and reincarnates timber, trees, latches and levers into amazing, unexpected and beautiful pieces. Tallboys, lowboys, desks, chairs, shelving, blanket chests, picture frames, kitchens, cupboards; the output is as diverse as the resources used to create the bespoke works. As Scott says, "It's not recycled furniture, it's furniture made from recycled wood".

Growing up on a farm under the guidance of a father who could create just about anything from junk was a fine apprenticeship for the young Woolston. "I grew up appreciating the value of old things," he says. He started a building apprenticeship but after being laid off, 'fell into making furniture', selling it through his mother's giftware stores located in Tirau and Hamilton. The unique and superbly crafted pieces sold like hotcakes. "It was hard to keep up there were so many orders. "What started out as an easy lifestyle choice has become a highly successful and high profile business. Fit-outs for cafes, commercial premises, kitchens, installation pieces and furniture orders keep him busy but even 20 years on, Scott still gets the same satisfaction from his craft as the day he started. "It's been pretty full on but it still feels like a hobby. I love it." Among his recent projects, the raw plywood desks for award winning designer Tane Cox of Red Architecture.

In between working on commissions he is renovating a 100 year-old bungalow for his wife Sharlene and their four sons, aged from three to ten years. The project is likely to take about a year as he is restoring and rebuilding in his unique and unexpected style. "I am really enjoying the renovation. It's a lot like doing furniture but on a much grander scale."


Words by Ady Shannon Photography by Larnie Nicolson