How to design the perfect place to relax
Living and Lounging in a Sitting Room
As an online furniture manufacturer, we know it’s hard to visualise how furniture can look in a home. We also believe that great photos of our furniture is a really useful tool for us. Striking images of our products are really important for our website but also for our social media. We also wanted to help our customers see what we do when we are designing and manufacturing our tables, chairs and other IronFire products.
A ‘hero shot’ involving as many of our products as possible has been a goal of ours for a while now. We have however had to take several factors into consideration. Firstly, which products to include? Our range is so diverse that this has been a real learning curve for us!
Then we needed to consider in which context to photograph them. Our current favourite finish is using a Yakisugi process. This involves burning the wood to create a stunning finish, and has proved popular with customers.
At the same time another favourite is our rustic oak. It’s a safer option than our funky reds and blues but a true classic that’s popular with clients. It is a versatile option for any domestic or commercial setting of course.
As our furniture has an industrial theme, we wanted somewhere that fitted our style. In our heads we had visions of an exposed brick wall background. Sufficient space is also an issue, so sourcing the right location for photographing online furniture became our holy grail!
Lots of Googling ensued, but nothing was quite right…until we remembered Sam’s Kitchen in Frome! It’s an Edwardian building on Catherine Street. Downstairs there’s a busy bistro and cafe but upstairs..exposed brick walls, wooden floors and high ceilings. There’s a huge window and so plenty of natural light and everything’s Hygge style and cosy with a log burner. We had hit the jackpot and the generous owner was up for letting us use it out of hours.
Usually a perfect spot to relax with one of Sam’s famous hot chocolates, Ironfire took over as they closed. We rapidly transformed the space, not only into an IronFire living room, but also into an IronFire dining room.
Sam’s Kitchen in its natural state!
We were fascinated to discover a photographer with an extraordinary and quirky style. We just had to use his skills once we’d been up and seen his etchings (well, shared a pint or two) .
In fact it was exactly how we had envisioned a range shot looking featuring as many of our products as possible. Not to mention the first outing of an IronFire bench, our newest design.
We can’t thank Sam enough for allowing us to use this space.
Sam and his team have since relocated and are now catering an event near you or from their beautiful Barn just outside Bath. Find all the contact details here We know first-hand from being on our shoot just how welcoming they are, how relaxing they make things and how great their food is. In fact we can’t recommend them enough – from one local business to another – Thanks for all the support!
This is one of the reasons that our industrial handmade furniture has been made to work in both environments. To be diverse enough to look great when you’re entertaining inside, but also with the toughness to be able to withstand the weather so that if nice enough, your dining room table can be taken outside without having to worry about the rain making the top bow and ruining something that is too expensive to be able to replace regularly.
The galvanised steel used in the manufacture of our chairs and table bases has been coated with a textured anthracite finish which is robust and will not corrode. The sustainably sourced Douglas Fir used for the wooden tops of the tables can be given a coating of two-part epoxy resin which increases the longevity; and a glass top (an optional extra on all of our tables) will enhance this even further.
While the cotton covers of the cushions on our chairs for inside will not be suitable for use in the garden if it rains, the material used for the garden cushions is UV stable so do not have to be kept out of direct sunlight, and are also stain proof and water resistant for times of surprise showers or spillages.
We like the idea of taking the inside outside and vice versa, and the industrial design of our furniture always bears this in mind. With the new trend of interior design in the garden simply being an extension of your style inside your home, and bringing the outside inside, (see our Pinterest board for some ideas and inspiration on this) IronFire furniture can help to make this a reality.
We can make sure that the size of your inside and garden dining area does not constrain you either. For bigger spaces, our event table is perfect; whereas our smaller bistro table is ideal for a more restricted patio or breakfast room. Both are available in different sizes and colours to suit.
Attainable, affordable and without constraints. That’s how to be more IronFire.
We pride ourselves on using stunning images of our industrial IronFire furniture for our website and social media – we want to inspire people with our furniture and provide ideas that are not only aspirational but also achievable.
We quite often get asked how we come up with the images, so here are a few pointers that we always tend to be driven by whether taking images for our Facebook and Instagram; our product pages on our website, or our Houzz and Pinterest accounts.
Quite often our ideas are bandied about our office as jokes or from things that our staff have seen and noticed from their weekends or even on the drive to work! These start off as “Have you seen…?” or “This would look so cool…” and from there develop into an idea for a shoot. They are not always conventional (putting a coffee table into a tree anyone?) but sometimes from these random conversations, great shoots are produced!
From these ideas, we plan out the shoot using a moodboard. This will include props that we need, and our aims and targets from the shoot. We make sure that the product in question is always the focus – be it our planter or console table.
We have a pre-planned standard photo shoot crib sheet that we take to every shoot with us. It details house angles, house shots and things we need to remember to take with us. We’ve been caught out before coming back from a shoot and saying “We forgot to take X shot” so this makes sure that we come back with everything that we want.
We have our own in-house photographer. This is really handy for us, as it means that we can be spontaneous with our shoots (rare sunny day? Camera out!) and that he is fully aware of the IronFire product branding and what we need to achieve from each shoot.
You may have an idea in your head that sounds great in theory, but on the camera screen isn’t really working. If that’s the case, why not turn it into something else? Change the angles, change the props, use the shoot to take advantage of close ups or the product. Our Shou sugi-ban table tops are stunning, and often the focus of a shoot as well as the main piece of IronFire furniture.
The photoshoot may be your baby, but sometimes others in your team can look at what you’re doing with fresh eyes and come up with a new angle or way to take a shot. You really have nothing to lose by taking this on-board, and our attitude is that it’s better to come back to the studio with more shots of the industrial iron table or chairs than you need instead of not enough and wishing that you’d taken more!
7. We believe in supporting local businesses (see our other blog posts for examples of these) so find that they are more than happy to let us use their locations to shoot our products in return for mentions on our website and social media accounts. This is a great way of networking and providing leads back for others as well as getting great shots in environments that you may not easily have access to!
We have people well skilled in Photoshop which enables us to adjust our images to the size and finish that we want. We also make sure that fonts are the same when putting text onto images and resize them all for social media platforms. We like consistency: this is important for our IronFire branding.
We value feedback, and analyse each shoot to see what works for us and what doesn’t. The whole team is involved in this (and we have very different ideas on what we like and what we don’t like!) but it’s great to get differing perspectives on our results – and learn and grow from them.
And then all there is left to do is pat each other on the backs when you’ve achieved great images that started off as an idea in someone’s head! Make sure you’re proud of them. We know we are.
Our Console Table is the IronFire furniture equivalent of the middle child; not always a necessity for a home like the oldest child and our Dining Table, and not the centre of attention like the youngest child and the Ironfire Coffee Table. It does, however, play an important part in the Ironfire furniture family and would be missed if not there.
A Console Table is versatile and can be put into any situation and win – transforming a bleak, blank hallway into an interesting and useful space, or housing your media centre to juxtapose our industrial style with your modern day living.
Slim enough to stand proudly in a narrow hallway or behind a sofa, the extra shelving that it provides can be used not just for storage but also to display attractive and useful ‘things’ to bring the Ironfire Console Table into play as a real eye-catching piece of IronFire furniture.
We are experts in crafting tables, but to really show our Console Table off to it’s full potential, we brought an interiors expert in to showcase it to it’s best. Sarah-Jane Wright runs a full interior design consultancy in Warminster, Wiltshire and it’s from her shop, About The House, that the beautiful items she has dressed our console table with have come from.
For more information about About The House and the interior services that Sarah-Jane offers, please visit aboutthe.house on Instagram, @Aboutthehouse.warminster on Facebook, or call Sarah-Jane on 01985 218882.
The beauty of Ironfire industrial furniture is not just in the seamless style or functional design, but also in the strength and versatility of the product itself. It’s not just a product for use in a domestic environment so if you’re looking to enhance your bistro, bar or cafe with stunning furniture that will withstand time and use, just let us know.
The galvanised steel, washable and UV stable fabrics and treated wooden table tops all mean that our products can withstand the most frequent use. Metal that doesn’t rust and can therefore be left outside, and just a simple wipe down to clean off marks and spillages, leaves our chairs and tables filling that gap in the market for furniture that works both inside and outside, and in both commercial and domestic environments. Styling wise, a modern urban bar interior matches the industrial style of our furniture like they were meant to be together, whereas a rustic rural bistro background will complement the straight lines and robust appearance that is synonymous with IronFire.
We have a wide palette of colour options available for table tops, but if you want something more bespoke – maybe a burnt finish to fit your brands colour scheme or your logo incorporated into the table top – our designers are on hand to work with you to create this.
Domestic or commercial, inside or outside, standard or bespoke. Versatile. That’s how to be more IronFire.
Many thanks to the Pythouse Kitchen Garden in Tisbury who allowed us to photograph our furniture (and eat their amazing cakes) in their orangery. For more information visit www.pythousekitchengarden.co.uk
We know it’s a bit of a cliché and rolled out regularly, but at IronFire we really do believe in caring for the environment and leaving as small a carbon footprint as we possibly can. Many factors come into play when staying on the right side of the environment, and while all of our products are all designed and built in the United Kingdom thus reducing our carbon emissions, one of the most important things to us is the use of sustainable wood in our table tops.
We produce these using Douglas Fir; a strong, British grown tree that has come from a well-managed plantation. The growth of the trees is controlled to ensure minimal disruption to wildlife, and buying from a source like this means that many of the forests in the EU are growing as fast as they are being cut down.
Buying sustainable wood not only helps the environment for generations to come, but also means that you are not aiding the disruption of the forests abroad in places like Brazil. The logging in these countries can not only destroy the forest itself but also the habitats of the wildlife and the indigenous people who make it their home. Illegal wood trading can encourage human rights abuse and leave trees on the endangered list such as certain teaks and mahoganies.
Moving on from trees to something less green and woody, planned obsolescence is the manipulation of the production of an item to give it a limited lifespan. It therefore becomes broken or useless after a short period of time; the idea being that sales will be regenerated when purchasing the said item’s replacement.
The consumer trend for planned obsolescence has caused a rise in the dumping of unwanted, broken products as they break quickly so are replaced due to necessity, or upgraded to the latest model. How many people have a drawer full of old mobile phones or see fly-tipping increasing? I know in the rural area where I live it’s certainly causing a problem with old mattresses, chairs and other unwanted household items piling up on the roadside and in the woods.
While planned obsolescence has it’s place as a consumer model, it is also responsible for global warming and waste as products are mass produced and replaced. Therefore, the longevity of a product is also very relevant to it’s impact on the global environment as a whole.
So what should you look for if you want your furniture to be environmentally friendly? Sustainable wood from FSC approved sources; something that is made and distributed from the country that you live in; and a product that has been made with quality workmanship and materials to ensure that you will not be replacing it on a regular basis are all factors to be taking into consideration.
We like fresh air and we like trees. And we make our products with a craftsmanship that means that they will definitely last longer than your mobile phone! That’s how we strive to be more IronFire.