Back to basics: Interview with Dean Morris from Raw Possessions furniture

Looking for furniture that's durable and looks good? Dean Morris, from New Zealand company Raw Possessions, has the answer
Story by: Trends
Raw Possessions furniture is durable and aesthetically pleasing coffee table, desk, furniture, table, wood, wood stain, black
Raw Possessions furniture is durable and aesthetically pleasing

It can be hard to find that one piece of furniture to pull a room together, especially in a busy home or office space. Dean Morris thinks he has the solution with his new company, Raw Possessions.

Focusing on high quality, industrial furniture and using ‘raw’ materials like weathering steel and recycled Rimu, his tables, cabinets and stands are designed to be both durable and look great.

We recently spoke with Dean to learn more about how he works.

Why the name Raw Possessions?

We had a real good think about name, but in the end it was pretty simple. We got the ‘Raw’ from the materials we use, like steel and recycled timber. And we got the ‘Possessions’ from the idea of taking ownership – taking care of your own possessions.

How did you get started?

I’d been working on bar interiors with my other company and I found there was a niche for high-end industrial furniture, especially things like shelving and storage. I wanted to fill this niche with high quality, New Zealand made products that could stand up to a tough bar, work or home environment.

Tell us more about the use of recycled materials

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Raw Possessions furniture is durable and aesthetically pleasing coffee table, desk, furniture, table, wood, wood stain, black
Raw Possessions furniture is durable and aesthetically pleasing

I like to use recycled wood and metal as much as possible. You’ll find a lot of Rimu and Kauri in our furniture, which mostly comes off villas and other old buildings. It gives you a really good look, especially on headboards for beds.

We also hunt through scrapyards for pieces of metal. I’ll dig around to find the best bit for whatever it is that I’m working on at the moment.

What other materials do you like to work with?

We use a lot of black steel, and most of this is clear coated. Our pieces also have the heat marks through them, adding to that ‘Raw’ look. If you look at the furniture you can often see where we’ve made the welds. We’re really careful when handling our black steel, and we work especially hard to ensure it doesn’t rust.

I like to use Corten or weathering steel as well. I’ll add the weathered look in a couple of ways; either by coating it in a chemical base treatment to speed the weathering along or I’ll actually take the steel outside and leave it under the drip line from the factory. It’s hard to beat that look.

How much of your business is focused on furniture for homes?

Right now it’s about 70% commercial, 30% residential. We produce a lot of boardroom tables, reception desks and hall tables for our commercial customers. For residential it’s products like beds, custom dinning room tables, shelves, credenzas – things like that.

Can you explain your approach to custom furniture?

Raw Possessions furniture is durable and aesthetically pleasing coffee table, desk, furniture, table, wood, wood stain, black
Raw Possessions furniture is durable and aesthetically pleasing

It’s very collaborative. I’ll ask people to bring examples of materials they like so I can see what they’d respond to. I also show them materials I’ve worked with in the past. This discussion is quite important, especially when it comes to details like the finishing.

Sometimes I’ll get customers who tell me they want a table and to just design what I want. That can be quite nerve wracking, although I’ve never had someone come back and say they don’t like what I designed!

Any pieces of furniture that you’re particularly proud of?

I had one client who came to me with an old workbench. She said it was her father's and he had used it in his garage for 50-60 years. As he had passed away, she wanted to do something special with it. I suggested transforming it into a dining room table, and now her family has a really special piece of furniture.

With these types of projects we basically just sit around a whiteboard and brainstorm ideas to come up with the best piece for a client.

Any last comments? Thoughts on the furniture industry?

I’m definitely open to new materials and new ways of putting furniture together, but Raw Possessions is focused on the natural side of things – that’s what sets us apart.

You can find out more about Dean and the team at Raw Possessions on their website below. If you’re after more ideas for your home, check out our other advice articles and inspiring houses at Trends Home.

Sep 06, 2017

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