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Boats to Barstools

Balinese craftsmen transform vibrant, sea-parading fishing boats into hip and sturdy contemporary furniture.

On his last trip to Bali, Roy Keegan came across a restaurant filled with funky painted furniture—everything from the dining chairs to the art on the walls to the hostess stand. The pieces, he learned, were made from former Balinese fishing boats. He’d remembered seeing a similar piece outside a storefront on one of his prior trips. “It can take me a few days to relocate something from a previous trip over the last 12 years. A lot of the side roads have no names and no numbering system. It's a great feeling,  like finding a needle in a haystack when you eventually find the supplier you are looking for. After talking to the supplier, we came up with some custom pieces for our Cooper Island project. I cant wait to see these in place when the restaurant opens for the season." 

Traditional fishing boats docked in Bali. “It’s really old teak wood because they use mature wood for building the boats,” says Roy. “They’re highly decorative, as always with Bali style.”

“Nothing goes to waste. They use every single bit of it. It’s like Robinson Crusoe,” Roy laughs.

“The old wood has got so much charm. The craftsmen don’t really clean it up. That leaves the character from the salt and sea.” 

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A restaurant in Bali decked out with old boat furniture. Roy is doing something similar with Cooper Island for their restaurant’s renovation. “The new owners wanted to keep the rustic, weathered Caribbean charm to the restaurant, so they loved the funrniture made from boats.”

“Cooper Island’s got it right,” Roy comments as we look at more photos from the restaurant in Bali. “I’m getting them barstools and custom dining tables. They’re doing a mix of modern and old.”

 “On every trip I take to Bali, I find something new and completely different,” Roy says. One accent piece could be enough to brighten an entire room.

“There’s a place called the Malacca Straits which is a hot pirate area where some of these boats come from. So your furniture could be made from old pirate ships,” Roy mischievously adds.

“A lot of the houses we are decorating embrace the contemporary style, but they’re missing the Caribbean charm. It's nice to throw in a rustic piece to add a little character to the room."

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