Filter by Listing Categories
Accommodations
Bed & Breakfast
Campgrounds
Hotels
Real Estate
Vacation Rentals
Attractions
Family Friendly
Indoors
On the Water
outdoors
Dining
American
Bakery
Barbecue
Breakfast
Brewery
Burger
catering
chinese
Coffee
Delivery
Fast Food
Ice Cream
Indian
Italian
Japanese
Mexican
Pizza
Sandwiches
Seafood
southern
steak
sushi
Takeout
Thai
Vegetarian and Vegan
vineyards
Wine
Local Services
Rentals - Equipment
Spas, Salons, Barbers, and Massages
Specialty Services
Weddings
Regions
Blue Ridge Highlands
Abingdon
Bristol
Christianburg
Floyd
Galax
Meadows of Dan
Pulaski
Radford
Smyth
Wytheville
Central Virginia
Appomattox
Ashland
Blacksburg
Charlottesville
Chester
Chesterfield
Colonial Heights
Farmville
Glen Allen
Halifax
Henrico
Hopewell
Lanexa
Louisa
Lynchburg
Mechanicsville
Midlothian
Petersburg
Richmond
Sandston
Wintergreen
Chesapeake Bay
Colonial Beach
Irvington
Kilmarnock
Tappahannock
Urbanna
White Stone
Coastal Virginia | Hampton Roads
Charles City County
Chesapeake
Franklin
Hampton
Newport News
Norfolk
Portsmouth
Smithfield
Southampton
Virginia Beach
Williamsburg
Yorktown
Eastern Shore
Cape Charles
Chincoteague Island
Onancock
Tangier Island
Heart Of Appalachia
Big Stone Gap
Coeburn
St. Paul
Town Of Tazewell
Northern Virginia
Alexandria
Arlington
Ashburn
Burke
Centreville
Chantilly
Culpeper
Dulles
Dumfries
Fairfax
Falls Church
Fredericksburg
Gainesville
Herndon
Leesburg
Lovettsville
Manassas
McLean
Middleburg
Purcellville
Reston
Spotsylvania
Springfield
Stafford
Sterling
Tysons Corner
Vienna
Warrenton
Woodbridge
Shenandoah Valley
Augusta
Harrisonburg
Lexington
Luray
Natural Bridge
Staunton
Waynesboro
Winchester
Woodstock
Southern Virginia
Clarksville
Danville
Emporia
Martinsville
South Boston
South Hill
Virginia Mountains
Bath County
Roanoke
Salem
Shopping
Antiques and Thrift Shops
Clothes
Gifts & More
Grocery
Sports Gear & Outdoor
Sips
Breweries
Distillery
Spirits
Vineyards
Winery
Filter by Listing Tags
Accommodations
Attractions
Breweries
Brewery
Dining
Distillery
Local Services
Shopping
Sips
Vineyard
Wine
Winery
Filter by Categories
Accommodations
All Categories
All News
Attractions
Cider
Cider News
Cider: Tasting & Reviews
Cider: Web Exclusives
Contests
Best Of
Savor Virginias’ Best
The Remy 1738 Challenge
WIne Classic
Craft Beer
Beer Features
Beer News
Breweries
Craft Beer: People
CRAFT BEER: SPONSORED CONTENT
Craft Beer: Tasting & Reviews
Craft Beer: Web Exclusives
Departments
Editor's Note
Publisher's Note
Dining
Dining Features
Dining: Farm to Table
Dining: Food Finds
Dining: People
Dining: Recipes & Pairings
Dining: Web Exclusives
Distilled Spirits
Distilled Spirits: Features
Distilled Spirits: People
DISTILLED SPIRITS: SPONSORED CONTENT
Distilled Spirits: Tasting & Reviews
Distilled Spirits: Web Exclusives
Distilleries
Distillery News
Distilled Spirits: Cocktail Recipes
Festivals & Events
Getaways
ADVENTURES/ACTIVITIES: SPONSORED CONTENT
Getaways - SavorVA
Getaways: Adventures & Activities
Getaways: Features
GETAWAYS: SPONSORED CONTENT
Getaways: Web Exclusives
Getaways: Weekend Trips
Local Services
Main Editor's Picks
Main Features
large
small
Regions
Blue Ridge Highlands
BLUE RIDGE HIGHLAND: SPONSORED CONTENT
Blue Ridge Highlands: Features
Central Virginia
Central Virginia: Features
CENTRAL VIRGINIA: SPONSORED CONTENT
Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay: Features
CHESAPEAKE BAY: SPONSORED CONTENT
Coastal Virginia-Hampton Roads
Coastal Virginia-Hampton Roads: Features
COASTAL VIRGINIA-HAMPTON ROADS: SPONSORED CONTENT
Eastern Shore
Eastern Shore: Features
EASTERN SHORE: SPONSORED CONTENT
Heart Of Appalachia
Heart of Appalachia: Features
HEART OF APPALACHIA: SPONSORED CONTENT
Northern Virginia
Northern Virginia: Features
NORTHERN VIRGINIA: SPONSORED CONTENT
Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley: Features
SHENANDOAH VALLEY: SPONSORED CONTENT
Southern Virginia
Southern Virginia: Features
SOUTHERN VIRIGNIA: SPONSORED CONTENT
Virginia Mountains
Virginia Mountains: Features
VIRGINIA MOUNTAINS: SPONSORED CONTENT
Shopping
Shopping: Web Exclusives
Sips
Wine
October Wine Wednesday
Virginia Wine Month
Wine Classic Awards
Wine News
wine trail
211 wine trail
Wine: Features
Wine: People
WINE: SPONSORED CONTENT
Wine: Tasting & Reviews
Wine: Web Exclusives
Wineries
Filter by content type
Custom post types
Taxonomy terms

Couple Gets Crafty with Barrel-Art

By:
Barrel-Art, Hampton

You’ve heard of the nose-to-tail movement in the culinary world. Mike Prieto applies the same “waste nothing” approach to crafting fine furnishings and accessories from reclaimed wine barrels from Europe and California.

Now that Mike and his wife, Kambra’s, business has surpassed company goals, the couple doesn’t need to squint too hard to see the silver lining of a fire in which they lost everything during a move to Europe where Kambra had been stationed. That catastrophic upheaval sent Mike to the woodworking shop on base in Stuttgart, Germany, to begin to build some of what they lost. There, he credits a “patient master carpenter” with teaching him tool safety, joining methods and much more. But when Mike appeared in the shop one day with a French Oak wine barrel from Bordeaux procured from an area winery, this patient man said, “You’re on your own.” And from then on, Mike was self-taught.

Photos by Jim Pile

His first creation, a bar—and a freshly minted business degree—became the basis for a startup. Five years ago, back in the U.S., Mike and Kambra opened Barrel-Art. After three-and-a-half years in Norfolk, they relocated their operation to Hampton, where they have thrived for the last year-and-a-half. The Hampton location employs five people and sports a large shop with neatly arranged barrels, stacked floor to ceiling, and massive bins where broken down barrel parts are carefully sorted by type. The air has an enticing nose: slightly oaky and fruity.

When he first got started, Mike would take a barrel apart and let the various shapes and curves inspire him. The growth of the business has left less time for him to “play around” in the wood shop—he spends most days in his office or traveling to shows—but new forms are continually emerging based on custom orders by customer requests because, Mike asserts, “We are never going to say ‘no’.” When he does find some time to work in the shop, it’s “a treat.”

Barrel Art in Hampton

Couple Gets Crafty at Barrel-Art in Hampton

Barrel-Art, Hampton

The current Barrel-Art line includes handsome farm and other styles of tables, stools, chairs—including Adirondack—benches, lined fire pits, bars, liquor cabinets, barrel sinks, wine racks, riddling racks, pot and pan racks, single glass coasters, flights with glasses (for wine, beer, bourbon, scotch and whiskey), serving trays, lazy Susans, candle holders, pet beds, raised pet feeders and much more, even barbeque chips, an art easel and luxury writing pens. One pen boasts 24k gold and, at the writing end, a 30-caliber bullet shell, making for a very refined, yet still rustic, stylus. Most items are made from wine barrels, though some from whiskey barrels. However, the interior of whiskey barrels are charred, says Mike, and, because of the sanding required, are much more labor intensive.

Each creation is either stained or left the natural color of the barrel, which, in the case of wine barrels, can be a deep, rich purplish-red color. The piece is then preserved with natural oils hand-rubbed into the surface before being sealed with either an outdoor sealer, polyurethane or shellac, depending on the application.

A favorite liquor cabinet is made from an entire barrel with concealed doors and a lazy Susan shelf inside. A variety of stools incorporate barrel parts in inventive ways; the natural curves of the staves seem made for the human back and bum. One standout employs a barrel hoop as a footrest while a pair of curved sections of hoops connects the seat to the backrest in order to cradle the lower back. Two styles of light fixtures feature either hoops or staves for very current looks and three wall sconces combine both in innovative ways. Pet beds are available in two styles: one is made from the lower third of a barrel and outfitted with a round cushion—perfect for the animal that likes to curl into a ball—and a larger one is made from the entire side of a barrel, laid horizontally and leveled on a pair of feet.

But Barrel-Art creations aren’t just for the home consumer. Furniture and flights have been spotted locally, nationally and even globally at Froggies (Virginia Beach), Commonwealth Brewing (Virginia Beach), Kona Grill (worldwide), Marriott (worldwide) and Outback Steakhouses (nationally) just for starters.

Crafted barrels, Barrel-Art

Barrel-Art, Hampton

Barrel-Art, Hampton

Because the online part of the business has become so competitive due to similar businesses cropping up and sole proprietors opening online shops, Mike made the decision about two years ago to venture into the wholesale market. He recently landed Wine Enthusiast as a prestigious wholesale customer for a line of coffee tables. “It is going to keep us busy,” he acknowledged. To meet the demand, he recently brought on two new people just to handle these orders. Currently, training is focused on insuring that everyone can do everything.

Even Renee Battle, who manages the showroom, builds. An art teacher in Suffolk for a decade, she practiced woodworking in college. The sunny space not only showcases the up-cycled barrel furniture and hoop art in the shape of anchors, fish and sailboats, but items made by regional artists and artisans. Besides food and beverage-related items like bottle openers, the focus is on what Mike feels characterizes Coastal Virginia: the sea and the military. The shop carries items like nautical knot coasters, ocean-themed paintings, wind chimes and butcher block-style cutting boards with contrasting woods that form a flag motif.

Barrel-Kart, Barrel-Art, Hampton

When placing an order, customers are encouraged to pick their own barrels. Tours of the shop are also available. Though Hampton’s Rip Rap Road may not be the first place that leaps to mind when contemplating a home goods shopping expedition, you will know you are in the right place when you spot the whimsical Barrel-Kart, a golf cart outfitted to look remarkably like a barrel.

Barrel-Art, 332 Rip Rap Rd., Hampton, 757-639-5771, Barrel-Art.com

Betsy DiJulio
Author: Betsy DiJulio

View Digital Magazine

Festivals & Events

Sponsored Content:

SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT