A true labour of love, the idea for The Poured Project was born in 2016 by Claire and Andy Pedley, sitting around their kitchen table in their Yorkshire home. The company design and make bespoke sinks and worktops from an unusual material – concrete. Although concrete is a stalwart of the building industry and is becoming more common as a flooring finish to create that industrial look, it’s not usually used in furnishings. The Poured Project is setting out to change that, and Sara Walker found out about their plans.
“Andy is a furniture restorer by trade, and he’s always been one of these people who can pick up almost any skill and make pretty much anything,” says Claire. “Unlike me, he’s very organised and likes to do lots of research. So when he was approached to make a sink out of concrete, he was a bit taken aback, but thought, ‘why not’?
“The process started with him drawing out the design on paper, then making a wooden template by hand, turning it on a lathe. Then, he covered the template in rubber to make a mould, and built a frame to support it internally and externally. Then, it was a question of getting to know how the concrete behaved as a material. The customer was so pleased, we decided to set up making the sinks commercially.
“Concrete is great to work with as it’s such a flexible material, but there are very few people in the UK doing it. You can use a lot of different ingredients depending on the finish you want, ranging from a rough surface to a very smooth, polished-looking finish, and we had to work out all our own mixtures from scratch. You can also add various pigments for different colours. It takes about three weeks to make each sink – it’s the curing that takes the time, as you have to leave it to dry completely. We then paint it with a food-safe lacquer.
“Although concrete has so many advantages as a material, there’s also a downside – the weight! Normally it’s fine, but it is heavier than materials such as porcelain so we do have to check where people are planning to install it. It is extremely strong, though – standard splashbacks to go behind a sink are normally 12mm thick, and we can make ones that are only 8mm thick, which are very neat and unobtrusive.
“Currently we offer three kitchen sinks ‘off the shelf’, and we’re about to launch cloakroom sinks. Next on the list is a concrete bath – no-one is producing them in the UK, although you can get them in the USA. It’s going to weigh about 200kg, which may be limiting for some locations, but it’s going to look stunning. Concrete stays at an ambient temperature so it’s more thermally efficient and you won’t get that shock of getting into a cold bath. We also make worktops – concrete is great for that as it’s not porous so doesn’t stain.
“It’s still quite early days, but we have complete faith in our products. We’ve installed the sinks in family homes that get a lot of wear, and one customer has recently ordered her third sink.”
The whole thing has been a steep learning curve for Claire as well as Andy. “Prior to setting up with The Poured Project, we were foster carers for many years so this is a bit different!” she laughs. “I’ve had to pick up a whole range of skills, from sales and marketing to building the website to social media. It’s exciting times, though – I can’t wait to see what’s round the corner.”
The Poured Project can ship to anywhere in the UK, and orders must be placed through one of their retailers. To find out more, visit The Poured Project.
All images (c) 2019 The Poured Project0