Pressed Tin Ceiling

As another indication of the changing times, most pressed tin ceiling is now manufactured in bulk with stock-standard patterns and finish. Determined to locate tin ceiling of the old, more expressive, style, Martin and Lisa searched in vain for years. In a tremendous stroke of solidarity, GT and Debs at Silvan Salvage were kind enough to part with some personal stock from their lifetime’s collection to make this dream come true.

Bead Shop Doors

Our dark Rimu doors to the library green are as mysterious as they are grand. Rumour and speculation trace the origin of these doors to what used to be ‘The Bead Shop’ on Manchester St. This particular building was damaged in the September 2010 earthquake. Regardless of where they used to call home, these doors have certainly survived in remarkable condition, from the bevelled glass to the lustrous varnish. Perhaps you have an idea where these exceptional wooden doors once lived?


The Laboratory’s wooden trusses have thus far enjoyed a historic career in the brewing industry, and are only getting started.  In their past life, they held the operation together, literally, at Wards Brewery on the corner of Kilmore Street and Fitzgerald Avenue. Word has it that the demolition crew laid these vintage Oregon Pine trusses aside post-earthquake, not able to bear the thought of burying such quality workmanship in a landfill. Much to the satisfaction of all involved, the architect of The Laboratory spotted them in 2011 and made them a centrepiece of The Laboratory’s design.

Bar Counter

Ladies and Gentlemen, we present to you a certifiable Hororata icon. No, it’s not a pie recipe. This horseshoe shaped bar, displaced in the September 2010 quake, was the star of the show at the old Hororata Hotel. The identity of its original craftsman remains one of the great mysteries of modern man, despite all attempts made by The Laboratory’s proprietors! You can imagine the excitement when this item came into the fold in a 2011 auction. This feeling was followed closely by the realisation that it needed to be disassembled and cleared within 48 hours.


A Christchurch icon for well over a century, Lane Walker Rudkin was the clothier of choice for generations of Cantabrians. These narrow Rimu floorboards would have been quite “en vogue” during the early 20th century, and came into the possession of The Laboratory after the woeful and scandalous collapse of LWR in 2009. Fortunately, the floorboards bear no trace of the misdeeds perpetrated by their former CEO. 


It is 1915. Massey is Prime Minister, and the world is at war. Meanwhile, in the cosy Christchurch suburb of Papanui, residents are keeping calm and carrying on with the devout work of building a bible school for their children. Nearly a century later, the Canterbury earthquakes get the best of this revered building, leaving this noble Rimu sarking without a home. Always eager to oblige, we were happy to incorporate such pedigreed material into our own modern chapel, of sorts. 


If we only knew of the sensational tales that this staircase has heard! After a fair bit of detective work, it has been discovered that this staircase is from the old boarding house at Rangi Ruru Girls’ School. This beautiful piece of wood craftsmanship left such an impression on us that we designed the rest of the building around it!


In the blue collar beginning days of Canterbury, there were a number of brickworks that called the garden city and surroundings home.  Among these moulders of clay and earth were individuals with immortal Canterbury names, such as Deans and Wigram. These pioneers individually pressed and stamped their bricks, meaning each brick would carry its creator’s distinctive style and signature.

Bi-fold School Doors

Imagine 3 p.m. on a warm spring day. The school bell rings and these doors swing wide open onto the veranda, dousing you in sunlight and warmth. Summer is almost here!  For thousands of Hallswell Primary School students, these doors signified just that. They are of classic 1950s style, with long, wide openings, and flatly folding doors. You might say the doors have advanced into a science degree now, as they are to open into The Laboratory’s ‘classroom’ space for beer education and other assorted gatherings.

Corrugated Iron

Why go to Resene and shell out a fortune for a weathered effect, when Mother Nature will do it for you? In fact, if the outside of our kitchen looks like an old rugged farm shed, you are not far off the mark. We sourced this corrugated iron cladding from The Pump House salvage yard in Linwood, after it was recovered from an area farm. In the days before galvanisation, the original farmer dipped the cladding in tar to keep out the Canterbury rains.


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