Our Timber in Our Office Renovation

guard shack reno cover pic

Luxury! That’s what it feels like to finally have a dedicated office and lunchroom.

Internal renovation of the old “guard shack” was the final stage of the major reorganisation at the Peat Street yard. We now have a dedicated office and display space, plus a big enough lunchroom for all staff on site. Some days that can be seven or eight of us.

As usual the renovation involved some nasty surprises, including an internal wall with asbestos sheeting (removed by specialists), a rotten bottom plate, and a leak.

Getting above the floor was the next hurdle. I laid polythene and rerouted plumbing and wiring. Chris volunteered to channel his inner snake and installed underfloor insulation.

A beautiful rimu floor was left in place in the office area and a plywood section replaced with “seconds” flooring from our own stock - regnans and globoidea. After sanding it was treated with a flat polyurethane because of all the hard traffic - boots and grit is about the worst punishment you can give a wooden surface so it will be interesting to see which species holds out best. My guess is that the Eucalyptus globoidea (white stringybark) will be the toughest, followed by the E. regnans (mountain ash) and then the rimu.

The plan was to break up the old concrete safe but when faced with actually doing it, and how strong it was, I decided that it would have a new life as a display feature. It must have been used for after-hours payments from when the yard was a fuel depot in the 1950s because there is a posting box on the outside of the building with a brass lift-up flap. The envelopes would drop through a small concrete channel into the safe below.

I left the sliding windows in the porch for customer payments and revealed the old wooden counter top. Next to that is a two person hot desk made from some E. botryoides (southern mahogany) grown in Papaiti forest.

The kitchen unit waterfall tops are also made from botryoides with a solid macrocarpa carcass below, and E. fastigata (brown barrel) cupboard and drawer fronts beautifully crafted by Chris. There are some “wine racks” snuck in by Andrew made from E. punctata (grey gum). I suspect this was just a reason to use some grey gum because it has such a strong colour.

Andrew adopted the staff table as his project and came up with something solid in his signature style using mostly blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) but also some A mearnsii (black wattle), and some macrocarpa strips.

For warmth I installed a Pyro Mini. I love these fires - must do because this is the third one we have! They are incredibly efficient and are nice to look at too. MacBlack supplies elm to Pyro Fires for the door handles. It’s not a huge sale for us because there is not much timber in a handle but we love being a small part of the Pyroclassic story.

It's just so cosy that I might never get outside to paint the exterior.