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.