By Jason Richards

No I haven’t moved south of the Watford gap or changed my name to Joey, but sometimes in life the only way really is S-MAX.

This came to me recently when I drove up to Newcastle to collect some vintage Ladderax shelving for my modernist inspired home. Ladderax furniture was a very popular modular shelving and storage system that was produced in the UK during the post war years. It comprises of metal uprights, or ladders, and a variety of shelves and storage solutions that sit between the rungs on purpose made runners.

We had been looking for something to store our books in as my partner and I were reluctant to have the books on display. Due to the lack of a solid supporting wall in the porch (where we wanted to put the books) and the arrangement of the heating grilles in the floor we needed to go for a self-supporting system that sat up off the floor. The Ladderax units with their adjustable height storage and period teak construction were the perfect option.

At 2m tall I knew that transporting the uprights, along with all the cupboards and shelves would not be an easy feat and the only way would be the S-MAX. Sure enough the S-MAX with its high-boot opening and vast capacity swallowed up the ladders and with a few protective blankets I was soon back on the A19 and heading home with my latest recycled find.

I had been refurbishing my 1960’s bungalow for the past 18 months and the focus was not only on access and aesthetics but also on sustainability. The roof and cavity walls were the first thing to be insulated. The next thing to follow was beneath the floor. The original pine floor boards were suffering from a woodworm infestation and so I decided to lift them, add 200mm of recycled glass insulation and then lay a reclaimed teak floor. The strip teak flooring came from Battersea Power Station during the demolition works for the creation of a new housing development. It was in fabulous long lengths and had the most gorgeous golden colouration. It was stored in my garage for months whilst I went through a planning application, building works and waited for the humidity in the house to settle so that it could be put down. As it went in, even in its rough-varnished state, it was possible to see how it might look once sanded and polished. The final finishing coat revealed the wonders of old teak, providing a hard wearing and beautiful surface for my wheelchair and family.

Once the floor was in it was almost impossible to introduce any furniture that wasn’t made from teak and so began the theme. There are some pieces with alternative vintage woods from the same mid-century period including mahogany and ash but teak forms the basis of my minimalist look.

The teak of the Ladderax complements the look of the property whilst providing an extremely practical storage solution and a home for our books.

So perhaps the Only Way is Teak…….