Bronté Freeman, owner of FREEMAN FABRICATION, does custom fabrication and furniture design. She’s passionate about quality metal work and sourcing raw local materials to build unique and timeless pieces. Her journey in furniture fabrication began while she was looking to furnish her first apartment in Victoria; she didn’t want to participate in the “fast furniture” movement, so she set out to build her own.
Here, Bronté shares the process and inspiration behind her recent railing project for a downtown Victoria loft space.
How did you envision the railing project coming together? What aesthetic did you bring?
From our initial onsite consult I anticipated that this project would be challenging; I had never tackled a railing job that had so many moving parts before. It wasn’t a simple rise over run situation, and there were a lot of different angles to work with which made this difficult. There were multiple days on site contemplating and trouble shooting before I even started fabricating. The client was expecting seamless transitions, so I really had to plan this from start to finish before I even started prepping materials. Then when I thought I had a plan, I had to check it more than once.
It came together with a lot of patience. I had to tap into others’ knowledge and pick the brains of mentors in this industry. To be honest, a lot of this project was spent staring at different lay out options and a few sleepless nights mapping out the transitions in my head. The fabrication part came easiest, and because of our prep work ahead of time, the install went seamlessly. It was very satisfying to see all of the pieces fall into place perfectly. Did I forget to mention that each piece weighed over 300 pounds? So when I say that they fell into place, I mean they were lifted by my very strong friends and gently put into place.
The client was really specific with the vision for this space. He was interested in simple and clean lines, and we drew on the industrial elements that already existed in the space for inspiration (i.e. the concrete walls, the polished concrete floors, the galvanized steel roof etc.)
We also wanted to highlight the amazing floor to ceiling window that holds views of downtown Victoria. To do this we incorporated the horizontal flat bar in the top railing. This allows for a completely unobstructed view from the loft working quarters to the outdoors— highlighting the spaciousness of the loft level.
In addition to this big picture concept of what we wanted the space to feel like, the finishing details of this project were also paid attention to. Each piece of hardware was selected purposefully, with the intent of cleanliness and minimalism. Like the client, we also appreciate clean, simple designs that compliment a space, not overwhelm them.
This job has been great for building our brand. We’ve been really fortunate to have had this opportunity, and we’re excited that it showcases both our style and capabilities within the industry.
Can you tell us about your process for this project?
For this particular job, we used machine screws and threaded each connection and transition by hand. This required drilling and countersinking 108 holes by hand and threading half of them. This can be a very time consuming process and accuracy is crucial for the entire set to line up, while remaining plum in both directions. So for me, this meant a lot of time back and forth between the site and the drill press at my shop. Because it’s tedious, it’s a step that often gets overlooked. However, when it’s incorporated into a piece, in my personal opinion, this simple process takes a makers product to the next level. It creates seamless connections and provides that clean look that both the client and I were striving for.
That extra attention to detail was so worth it.