As we came off the MultiCam project a few months ago I knew the bar had been set pretty high for future projects. I wondered what might come along to top it. Last week that project did come along. It turns out the folks who own the Fox & Hounds Pub in Aldergrove, British Columbia were following that project on this blog with the hopes of hiring us to work on their renovation and expansion. We had our first meeting here in my studio, then subsequent meetings at the pub. In between I've been very busy putting ideas down on paper. Today it's finally time to show them to the world as we begin one of the most exciting projects of my career, thus far.
The challenge is formidable. The original Fox & hounds pub has been operating for decades. The heavy post & beam structure of the building dates back to England, more than a century ago. All that stays intact, while the pub and restaurant addition more than doubles it size. The challenge was to modernize, refurbish, enhance and expand that original charm, making it into a world class establishment. It will be done while the original part stays open for business. And we have only three months to do the project.
Construction is well underway, with the new addition now almost to lockup stage. Since I had no input to this point the further challenge was to work with everything already planned and currently in construction. All the 'restrictions' would force me to be creative and I was up for the task! Best of all the owners and contractor are a delight to deal with. No idea is too wild. My kind of people!
The new logo/signage was the first task. A little research was necessary. I discovered that fox hunting was a century old sport. We wanted to play homage to those deep traditions. But I also quickly became aware that many think the sport somewhat cruel and would like to see it abolished. I had to tread carefully. After discussions with the owner we decided a lighthearted approach was the order of the day. The hounds in our story would be somewhat laid back, almost to the point of being lazy, more interested in taking a nap than chasing a fox. The fox on the other hand was mischievous and enjoyed teasing the canines. This would set the tone of our tale.
The logo was designed with both CNC routing and hand sculpting in mind. Since it will be featured a number of times both inside and outside the building it needed to be relatively easy to reproduce. It will be both traditional and timeless.
The new addition will blend in seamlessly with the old. Our job will be to make the new construction look like it has been there for two hundred years. Much of our job will be to warp, bend and age things to achieve that look. It's going to be a fun challenge!
Once through the entry there will be no doubt you have arrived in a magical place. No straight lines here. Every square inch will get the treatment. A sign is not a flat, square board, but rather encompasses all you see and feel. We will use every trick we can muster to create the old world look we are after.
Our client loved my lectern in my shop and we will be building a new version to act as the hostess station in the entry. But the theme will be worked into this and every piece of course. A fox will be hiding in the hollow trunk, ever vigilant for the hounds it eludes.
The new dining room will be like none other. Two large, knarly trees flank the entrance and inside two more giant old weathered specimens bookend the room to create a unique ambiance. A charming fireplace warms the environment nicely. And the ceiling will curve gently to highlight the scene. The mantel will be routed from Precision Board and feature the tagline "who let the dog's out?" - a humorous reference to the hounds that seek the fox of course. Up in the tangle of branches are many more animals, seeking refuge from the dogs as well.
In the pub portion we are refurbishing the old Tudor, post and beam woodwork. The plaster will receive an aging patina to warm things up. The fireplace will be refaced entirely to reflect it's old world heritage. The raised ceiling will be reworked to feature a London skyline, complete with slate roofs and many wonderful character chimneys which they are famous for.
Every detail, piece of trim and feature will help tell the story and also brand the establishment. Corner blocks on the doors will feature the fox. Signs throughout will both inform and entertain.
There are of course hundreds of other details and drawings to come in this project. There will be many, many more posts to come. Stay tuned...