Saturday, December 27, 2014

Happy Customers, This Month

I researched for months and finally came across Zen carpentry. The tiny previously useless room my two kids share is now transformed into a magical forest like oasis. They each have their own loft beds with unique tree trunks as supports. The tree trunks even have footholds for them to climb! They have custom desks, shelves of natural wood, and curtain rods so they can enjoy some privacy. I can't begin to explain how unique, beautiful and artistic the beds and desks are. Sanders came over the day after I called and we talked over the design. He incorporated all my ideas into a workable plan. A week later the crew was at my house! Kyle, who helped with the build, was kind and extremely creative himself. He made some hangers out of extra branches for my daughters necklaces, and put the footholds on the tree trunks for my son to climb. Though you will spend more than you would for a bed in a box, for what Zen Carpentry did the price was extremely reasonable, and it's local, so much more ecological, and will transform your home!

Kira, Mother of two, Brooklyn, NY

I hired Zen Carpentry and the Sander Hicks team a week ago to build a loft bed in my son's room in Brooklyn.  Even though my son is only 8, I wanted more of a platform second floor, and less of a "kid-looking" little loft bed.  I requested it cool, open, and airy, with a simple modernist sensibility to it, but with an added railing for safety.

I couldn't be happier with what these guys put together for us!  It's a platform loft bed (similar to the one on their website that they built near the WTC), and it's truly gorgeous.  More importantly:  it's solid as a rock.  I have been in it with my son, wife, and myself, and it doesn't budge a millimeter.  I could throw a dance party up there; seriously.

Interestingly, I've lived in this apartment for almost a decade, and this is the first bit of construction i've ever done.  Why?  Because I don't like the hassles of dealing with contractors and construction persons in my small space.  Plus I didn't know how to choose one I could trust.  Well, I got really lucky here, and I want to explain why:

These are good guys.  These are the type of guys you can have comfortably in your space while you're at work.  These guys felt so trustworthy to me, and had such a pleasant, friendly vibe, I was stunned.  I plan to hire them several more times in the year to come.
Patrick, Brooklyn, NY

I recently had a loft built by Sander from Zen carpentry for my 20 year old son. After viewing photos and a visit from Sander we agreed on a design.  We were eagerly awaiting the final product. One week later we had a beautiful custom queen size loft. I told Sander that he outdid himself. The loft is amazing. It has doubled our space which is much appreciated, as city apartments can feel cramped. The room now has an open airy feel with a rustic touch, not to mention a woodsy scent that I wish would would stay for good.I would highly recommend Sander and Zen Carpentry for a custom loft. You will be thrilled with your new space, appreciate the attention to detail and enjoy a cozy new experience!

Maura, NYC


Monday, July 7, 2014

Desk and Bed Complete - Gramercy Park

I was a concerned about the process of having two pieces built by someone I did not know, but once we got on the same page, the end result for both pieces was terrific.  Our daughter loves her bunk bed, and it truly eased her transition back into the room. The bunk bed really makes the room, and Zen’s attention to detail was awesome.  For my office, the design was straightforward, but they found ways to make it unique and refined.  Overall our family is truly pleased with the work done, and it did not hurt Sander brought chocolate cake one day for a “sugar” break.  The cake was insanely good.        -J. Cohen

Friday, June 27, 2014

History of Zen Carpentry

History of Zen Carpentry

Sander Hicks is the grandson of a New York union carpenter, and was raised around tools. He has been in NYC since 1991 and graduated from Lang College, New School.

He has worked as a writer, indie publisher, and café builder/owner. He started making loft beds in his own apartments around Manhattan and Bushwick.

As a carpenter, Hicks has tried to blend an environmental consciousness with a wood-working operation. He has sourced a lot of material from Build It Green, NYC, the salvage yard for interesting reclaimed materials.

Hicks started sourcing unique local hardwoods from Jeff Olsen, sometime around 2008, bringing high-end hardwoods that are locally sourced into the operation. Jeff is a mobile wood sawyer, with a 22” diameter band-saw. He cuts logs from trees that fell naturally, in Upstate NY and New England. He is a small scale operation outside the logging industry. He is an important source of walnut, cedar, sassafras, catalpa, cherry, and chestnut oak hardwoods.

Hicks had been using the business name “Vera Verde” until he had a kind of “eureka” experience doing Zen Meditation in the Catskill Mountains. Influenced by Zen, Hicks wrote the “Work Principles of Zen Carpentry” and began to do projects with just a bit more mindfulness.

In 2012, Hicks got general liability insurance, and took his first stab at professional legitimacy. In 2013, Hicks incorporated as Capital Cooperative Corporation, and got a Contractor’s License from the City of New York. Capital Cooperative has workman’s comp insurance from NY State Insurance Fund. In 2014, Zen Carpentry/Capital Cooperative took out a lease on a 500 square foot wood-working studio in Bushwick/Queens/Maspeth. And in it, they built a loft.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Chestnut Oak Loft Bed - Done in ONE DAY!

We are proud to say that we built an chestnut oak-trimmed loft bed, with solid oak railing, trim, fascia boards, and steps, all in one day. Check it out! 

(Construction and design by Sander Hicks, Kyle Carson, and Matt McGuckin.)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Laughing Lotus Yoga - Successful Commercial Renovation

We are super proud of our recent high-speed, round-the-clock, zen renovation of Laughing Lotus Yoga studio, 636 6th Ave in Manhattan. 

Our client needed a dedicated general contractor for demo, carpentry and electrical. Job included new walls, four new pocket doors, finishing, painting, and installation of new electrical fixtures. We worked with a great retail fixtures installer, Encore Retail Systems. We did it all in one weekend - opening up and brightening a new retail space for Laughing Lotus Yoga. 

"We are so enjoying our beautiful new and transformed space! Steve and Sally's design opened us up to a great flow. It's airy and so light in here. Sander is a good carpenter. We are so happy."
--Dana Flynn
Laughing Lotus Yoga Studio

Thanks to Kenny Frisby at Lotus, and Sally Burnside, who designed the interior, and was a great liaison between all parties involved. Thanks to Scot Oham of SJ Electrical NYC, our electrician. And Rene Reyes, who drafted the plans. Thanks, Dana, for all the pizza and cokes! Namaste.

Here are the full list of pix:

Meet One of Zen Carpentry's Great Designers: Rene Reyes

Zen Carpentry/Capital Cooperative has great designers in our circle. We make awesome works of art, and it all starts with our great designers, making great drawings or 3D renderings using various new design programs.

What follows are posts, pictures and info on some of our favorite designers, starting with Rene Reyes.

Meet Rene Reyes:
 "As a builder, I have been doing carpentry and handyman work since I was 13 years old.  I was the Mr. Fix-It for my parent’s retail store. As a designer, I am an artist.  I am an accomplished painter, sculptor, and architect. I have have designed and built homes.  I consider myself a “design engineer”, who is able to visualize and build anything.   I love working with my hands and find it gratifying. 

"I strive to make the world a better place."  

"With Zen Carpentry, I most recently designed and built a major backyard Tree House in the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan. The slide was most difficult part to design around because of the set curve.  The project turned out lovely and the client is very happy how the original designs were brought to life."

Rene is also a great draftsman, using the latest 3-d rendering software. Here are some of the designs he has done for Zen Carpentry.

Here is an early design idea for the treehouse, above:

This was a proposal to Brooklyn Bell (great local ice cream parlor!) The idea was to add faux urban interiors, kind of like Sesame Street, but with a working steel fire-escape staircase and balcony. 

Intricate small staircase for a large 20' loft bed, UWS, NYC. Rene designed and built the staircase.

Teenager Loft Bed

Teenager's loft bed, Wycoff Street, Boerum Hill, BK.

Designed and built by Zen Carpentry for a new room designed by Betsy Helmuth from Affordable Interior Design.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Catalpa Rail

We had a great time with the new catalpa wood, making the rail for this high, 9' loft in Chelsea. Catalpa is a local New York wood with a great caramel smell and color, and distinct grain pattern. 

"I deliberately chose this cut for the reveal of the grain in the center of the rail."-Sander

Here's another shot, taken in the woodshop:

Recent Customer Reviews

Recent Customer Reviews:

We needed a craft carpenter experienced with beautiful hardwood and distressed reclaimed timbers to come in on a tight schedule and completely deck out our new mobile catering trailer. Sander moved his schedule around and had himself and his crew in the Catskill Mountains do the job quickly, professionally, and beautifully. We got exactly what we asked him to do: Our mobile restaurant is sided now in rustic weathered reclaimed hemlock that Sander acquired, as well as cherry from his collection of hardwoods. Our business is doing great, thanks to our remarkably eye-catching trailer.

Andrew Chase

"It was surprisingly hard to find a company to build an interesting sleeping loft.  There are customizable dorm style structures galore, but very few with an actual 'design'.  We were looking for something minimal and sleek, with a natural and organic feeling.

I came across Sander's site and it was the perfect match.  The whole process was enjoyable and unique.  Sander was very open to suggestions.  It was fun to come up with ideas such as having the loft be irregularly shaped as opposed to a symmetrical rectangle.  I suggested an actual tree trunk for added texture (and Sander found and cut one down upstate!). The result was a combination of rustic and modern that fits our cozy space perfectly."

Yvonne G. 

Peace Tank

We paid French graffiti writers $500 to spray paint the Peace Tank. We plan on selling the vehicle to MOMA someday.

Clinton Hill Loft Bed, Closet, and Wall

Loft bed, double closet, and new wall, in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. 
This one combined sheetrock skills, and loft bed genius. 

"The process of getting my loft built was incredibly easy--after one very productive and painless meeting, I left town for a short trip, came back, and there it was. The quality and attention to detail exceeded my expectations and has received many compliments from visitors. It completely transformed the space and gave me a walk-in closet. Sander was kind, thoughtful, trustworthy, and incredibly helpful and responsive throughout the process. It's been less than a month and I've already recommended him to two friends for their own building projects."
-E.H., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, NY