Hecho en Slab Fab Studio… Life in retail thus far…

It’s been four months since Slab Fab Studio opened up the retail space at Dwellings Asheville, NC.
Here’s a recent picture or two of the booth.



Coming from a fabrication/contracting background, I am encountering a bit of a learning curve when it comes to retail sales.
One difference…Trying to anticipate what a potential buyer might want, rather than produce something a buyer asks specifically for. The focus on the sales floor seems to be on compelling and attracting interest, rather than design solutions, execution, and delivery.

I’m not a follower of market style trends… in fact I may be guilty of being too idiosyncratic with my tastes and offerings at Slab Fab Studio. I feel that my niche is offering handmade uniqueness. I hope I inspire… When in doubt, I am capable of toning it down. 🙂
I want buyers to see items that are fun, unique, useful and artful.
I also want people to understand that if inspired by what they see, they could have something custom designed and fabricated locally just for their unique situation and needs. I enjoy that collaboration and challenge.

I like to say… Hecho en Slab Fab Studio… Hecho en Weaverville NC.
But you get it… made by local people with a real face, a real story, who care about what they make, and having a satisfied customer. It’s called standing behind what you do.


This is a picture of a queen size bed ready to leave the shop.
The clients liked my bed design on the floor a Slab Fab Studio (see picture above), but wanted a softening touch of wood.
We fabbed up the steel work, and choose a dark walnut plywood to compliment the natural steel.
Ordinarily, I utilize softer more humble woods for their industrial raw-ness (pine and cedar).
I welcomed the vision of the clients to go this direction, and loved seeing the slick and elegant outcome!
Note to self… more hardwood elements!
I am posting ongoing pictures at my Slab Fab Studio Facebook site… so you should “like” that if you are a Facebook type person, you can keep up with the progress.


I have created a new division of Slab Fab Studio.
I call it UpShift, but the website is UpShiftstudio.com as UpShift.com was taken.
UpShift is the home of my antique/industrial finds,upcycled found object sculpture,home accessories, and furniture.
I have included a lot of pictures of upcycled/art lamps etc. I’d done a while back.
You can also like my Upshift Studio page on Facebook to keep up with new finds, lamps etc.

Here is a picture (front and back) of a new business card I brewed up… really just a great excuse to have great new colors on the card!:)

Picture 1

I really have to thank my lovely wife Marie Morris for her support in my Slab Fab Studio venture.
She is hard at work (a zillion hours) satisfying her Asheville real estate clients, but still has ears, eyes, and energy for my projects.

I also would like to thank the person who gave me the wonderful opportunity to find out “what I’m going to do when I grow up”… That would be the visionary Chris McMillan of Dwellings Asheville NC.

More soon!


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Filed under Asheville, billy sproul, Chris McMillan, Design, Dwellings, Marie Morris, Slab-Fab-Studio, UpShift Studio, welding, www.slab-fab-studio.com

The Countdown… The Doors Open October 4TH!

Hey Folks!
The doors open at 10:00 am October 4th. at Chris McMillan’s new Dwellings store. It is located at 9 Reed St. Suite B in Biltmore Village, Asheville ,NC

I have been hard at work… readying the Slab Fab Studio booth with hand crafted custom Slab Fab furniture inventory, hand picked industrial curios, and several Billy Sproul sculpture pieces.

Speaking of hand picked….
I have invited good friend and fantastic photographer Lynne Harty to grace the Slab Fabulous booth walls with her work. Lynne and I have been working together collaboratively for years on frame design/fabrication for her imagery. The pieces we have hung are largely new, unprinted works, chosen especially for Slab Fab Studio’s loft aesthetic.
We think you are going to like what you see!

I still have a long to do list before Thursday comes… but the bones are there… so it’s back out to the shop to flesh the booth out further!
Hope to see you there!

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Filed under Asheville, billy sproul, Chris McMillan, Design, Dwellings, Lynne Harty, photography, Slab-Fab-Studio, www.slab-fab-studio.com

Big News for Slab Fab Studio…. New Directions.

Hey all!
Pretty silent here at the Slab Fab Studio blog site.
That’s not because of any shortage of new things/new projects to talk about. It’s mostly because time to talk about them has been too short.
I’ll try to catch you up, then get back with specifics in the future.
First the big news…
Slab Fab Studio is going retail!
I am embarking on a joint retail space through good friend and interior design style guru, Chris McMillan.
Chris is re-opening his “Dwellings” home furnishing retail space here in Asheville, NC.
The 11,000 square foot Biltmore Village warehouse is currently being dolled up, painted, and polished.
Slab Fab Studio will have a 500 sq. ft. retail space to brand, style, and Slab Fab-a-fy, industrial chic-a-fy, and generally beautify in a Slab Fabulous way.
There will be so much to see at the new Dwellings.
(Look for Chris to update his Dwellings website soon!)
Chris will have tons of his expertly chosen wares from where ever his keen eye finds them.
Susan Brannon-Chancey of Lost and Foundry will have a store of her unique objects and stylings.
Michele of Mix Vintage will bring her fantastic vintage modern interior tastes and style.
Erin Brittan, high priestess of all that is unique in fabric/pillows and upholstery will be fluffing up her new space at Dwellings too!
Slab Fab Studio is in good company!

I have retained Tiffany Le Meaux co owner of the ultra cool Freaks and Geeks Tattoo Sideshow to do my retro-emblematic Slab Fab logo work…. I am psyched to see what Tiffany comes up with! Here’s a sneak peek at what we are working on..

For now… it is time to get to production.
I need to make oodles of inventory.
I am basically taking off the next month and a half, to turn every good idea I ever came up with, into inventory. Bring on the long hours and caffeine!
I am excited about making this fun for me and for you!
I am designing up a storm.
I have some one of a kinds, re-purposed furniture, industrial chic.
Here’s a photo tease….

I also have a chance to do more art related sculptural pieces… which makes me very happy!
All and all this is a exciting time for me to put it mildly.
I will keep you better up to date.

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Slab Fab Studio, from the cocktail napkin sketch, to the finished product

Amy Parker of Parker Hosiery of Old Fort,NC approached Slab Fab Studio wanting her Hosiery Outlet Store to have a bit more curbside recognition.
Amy had a “wave” metal roof in mind…. she also wanted large horizontal support elements to the wave roof and chain supports to hold it all together. Slab Fab Studio felt up to the design/ fabrication challenge.
After some brain storming, Amy and I came up with this loose “cocktail napkin” drawing.

After taking the on site measurements of the Parker Outlet store facade, it was time to throw Google SketchUp at the design project.
This is, after much design head scratching, what the Slab Fab Studio awning solution might look like.

Amy and her brother Jeff Parker (co-owners of Parker Hosiery), were excited, and gave the go ahead for the actual building of their Outlet awning.

I designed the awning in several bolt together pieces.
The vertical supports to be through bolted into the brick wall.
The horizontal roof support bolted to the vertical support.
The Outlet lettering, cut out of 1/8″ steel, 12 inches tall by Laser Precision Cutting were welded to a flat bar arc, and bolted to the vertical supports.
The galvanized 14 gauge steel “wave” roof was bent up by B and H Environmental and Sheet Metal of Asheville. It also bolted up to the awning horizontal supports.
The multiple pieces made the awning more difficult to fabricate initially. But it made the installation much easier… the brick facade was very uneven and ten feet off the ground.
Here is a picture of the awning in my shop prior to painting.

Here is a picture of the awning after finish painting and installation.

And another to accentuate the “wave” roof…


Filed under Amy Parker, Asheville, billy sproul, Design, Google SketchUp, metal fabrication, Metalworking, Parker Hosiery, Slab-Fab-Studio, Uncategorized

New projects…. Boca Restaurant and more SketchUp.

Hey All! Been trying to stay busy over the winter… looking forward to an inspiring spring!
Here’s a few projects that I have pictures of…

Tino Procida and Anoop Krishnan (Mela Restaurant) have opened a new restaurant on Lexington St. in Asheville called Boca.
They contacted Slab Fab Studio for color consultation, some specialty paint finishing, and some concrete elements at the beginning of the project remodel. The space was a clothing store previously.
The floor to ceiling brick columns in the space the interior had been painted over many times… Their last incarnation being a bubble gum purple color. We decided to bring the brick back to a charming and easy on the eye “brick” color, that would give that cozy lived in but not abused feel. Here is a picture of the previously painted brick with a coat of “brickish” tinted primer base on it.

Here is a picture of the same column with a variety of glaze colors and a faux mortar joint color… I think the brick, now looks and feels like…. brick!

We wanted to have the restaurant feel historic, jazzy , but comforting in all light.
In the end, we wound up with a “old school room” feel to the interior space.
A charcoal ceiling, school bus muted walls, natural pine trims on the huge windows and darkly stained tables and chairs. The whole place feels muted, friendly and unpretentious.

The outdoor dining/courtyard area, is a lovely fresh air dining space. David Earl (Tomlinson) of Dynamic Metal Work, did all of the steel railing work, and the water fountain for the courtyard.
Slab Fab Studio did the concrete cap elements for the railings through out.

The food at Boca is fantastic! One of the best huevos rancheros breakfasts in town!

Last but not least…
Google SketchUp continues to amaze my brain…
I designed this stairway for studio access to this upper balcony… SketchUp made building the set of stairs much easier… because the pieces were already put together (virtually).

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Filed under Asheville, Asheville Concrete Countertops, billy sproul, Boca Restaurant Asheville, concrete, concrete casting, concrete countertops, countertops, Design, Faux brick, Faux finishing, Google SketchUp, Slab-Fab-Studio, slabfabstudio, www.slab-fab-studio.com

SketchUp Rules!/ New work and Samples.

I have some exciting new projects completed and ongoing.
I owe kudos to Google SketchUp… My new partner in design.
The Software is free, and intuitive to use.
Here’s a drawing for Asheville jeweler Joanna Gollberg’s new work space.

Google SketchUp actually helps you visualize constructing the project, while you make the project drawing.
Because you can view the drawing in 360 degrees, you can view all aspects of the project’s anatomy. SketchUp is very helpful for creating cohesive, well organized and visually compelling drawings for the fabricator and the client.
Here is the finished product in place.

Here is a drawing of a metal platform bed that also happens to be our bed at home.

You’ve probably seen the finished project before but….

Here is a square concrete, steel ,and wire glass coffee table that will soon be produced.

I am working on some concrete casting experiments on textured board.
I was searching for a way to create a weathered, historic, or rustic looks.
The possibilities are endless with concrete, it seems to really be up to one’s imagination.
I will be creating a full scale project using one of these filled textures… I’ll keep you posted.

Here are some lovely linen colored concrete end tables and coffee table.

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Filed under Asheville, Asheville Concrete Countertops, Bed frame, billy sproul, casting, concrete countertops, countertops, Design, furniture, Google SketchUp, Joanna Gollberg Jewelry, kitchen countertops, metal fabrication, Slab-Fab-Studio, slabfabstudio, Table, welding, www.slab-fab-studio.com

Slab-Fab-Studio… part of the Handmade in America Expo 2010… then not…. :(

Hi folks!
Slab-Fab-Studio thought it was taking part in the Hand Made in America Expo this June 25-26th at the Arboretum in Asheville. As it has worked out… I regret to say my participation in the event has fallen apart. As they say… “sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear get’s you.”
Here is the piece I made for the Expo….

The “Bar Console” ( 26″x14″x36″H) is a Briwaxed 3/16″ plate steel and a ground and clear lacquered steel rod configuration.
I wanted the shelving space to be dynamic looking, but retain some practical storage. I came up with this, encroaching overhang design, while thinking about skeletal skyscrapers under construction…

The above coffee table was an experiment.
I welded up a cage of 3/8″ square bar steel.
Then placed the cage in a concrete mold and poured in a moss colored concrete.
I then polished the concrete flush with the steel bar.
After a clear finish and “Craftsmanesque” style detail to the welded steel base.
In the right home this could be very elegant and unusual.

In the coffee table photos above…
I wanted to get away from my usual square tube steel table base design.
I opted for some 3/16th” plate steel and have “leg” areas CNC plasma cut out by Bryan at Powdertek here in Asheville.
I love the squatty/clunky feel of the coffee table base.
I am certain that I will be including more welded plate steel base designs into my work.
I’d also love to try out Powdertek’s powder coating services when a appropriate project comes up…
My mind is reeling with the color possibilities!
I’ll let you know!


Filed under Asheville, Asheville Concrete Countertops, billy sproul, concrete casting, concrete countertops, Design, Dwellings, Hand Made Expo 2010, Hand Made in America, metal fabrication, Slab-Fab-Studio, slabfabstudio, Table, welding