January 6, 2011

The story of…

The making of Energy Cafe Kitchen.

BEFORE (pictured above May 2010)

AFTER ‘As if it grew there’ (pictured above – with Vince –  September 2010)

Handcrafted out of recycled materials by local carpenter Vince, Hawkwood Nursery, Chingford, summer 2010.

with creative tips, advice, inspiration and practical help  from the Hawkwood Crew, volunteers; Amanda and Polly and kim

materials donated by FRP (Forest recycling Project )

Energy Cafe kitchen has been collectively designed. The final layout based on designs and ideas gathered from many people during the pilot phase, Gunpowder Park, Waltham Abbey, 2008 – 09.

A gradual transformation

took place over the summer and into the autumn of 2010.  Undercover in the Hawkwood Nursery garage, we sketched the design layout and

gathered scrap wood from the street and from skips and anywhere we spied a piece that would fit the job. We stripped the trailer bare, first removing the black rubber side panels and flooring – to let it breathe.

Meanwhile Vince (and his tools) got to work.

First step to remake the the original self supporting ceiling storage unit (designed by Barry at Gunpowder Park).

Then he added storage units for the cups and glasses.

‘as if it grew there’ was his motto. meaning that whatever he made and fitted into the trailer would have to feel naturally part of the kitchen, yes, ‘as if it grew there‘ became our mantra too.

Underneath the rubber flooring we discovered  a mature mahogany (we think) hardwood floor  – this we sanded and oiled to bring out the natural sheen.

Henry Ranger

This beautiful and extremely efficient ranger is made by Windy Smithy – the workshop of Jon Snow and Amalia Pes in Devon.

Vince installed the ranger and flue plus designed the quirky flame fire board backing.

Under the paving slab he constructed a very useful bottom drawer  for baking tins, tongs and skewers made out of  bits of 2 by 2 and oak floorboard. The handle is made out of a part from a fire extinguisher.

plate rack

Perfectly designed and crafted by Vince.

Made of dowel

and two types of plywood found dumped near Waltham Abbey.

double sink unit –  for washing hands and dishes

Handbasin unit (left) orginally made at Gunpowder park by Dave. Sink found in Hackney. Right sink found on a street in Whitechapel, customised and fitted by Vince. Top Unit made of Plywood, Cupboard doors made of scrap palette wood.

Highly polished flexi copper tap

made by Vince out of scrap copper piping  that was donated during the pilot phase at Gunpowder park.

foot pumping system

The water system comprises of a foot pump

that draws cold water

from the water hog and pumps it up to the tap.  The waste water drains out of the sink through external pipe into bucket.

Storage unit

with wine box drawers and secret compartment by maki. The main unit was made by Man Somerlink during the Pilot phase.

Folding table top addition

made out of oak floorboards found on the streets Hackney

cut to size

and fitted by Vince.

rotating global herb and spice rack

jar storage originally installed by kajsa and Maki, Abake,  Thanks to Polly for adding the spinning idea.

This special rotating global herb and spice rack will contain samples of herbs, spices and other delicacies from all around the world  – delicacies that have been sourced and carried personally, in hand luggage.

To date Energy cafe stocks nutmeg from Kim, Crayfish Bay, The Carribean and Bay leaves from the tree in Anya’s Garden, Bath.

Made out of scrap plywood from Waltham Abbey Marina. The centre nut and bolt  – perfect for hanging a lamp was salvaged from Hawkwood. The Jam Jars were donated.

mobile stationary unit

Prototype designed by Vince.

Made out scrap plywood and lengths of 4 by 4 found in a nearby skip. This unique Mobile Stationary Unit contains Energy Cafe reference books and other material . Can also be used as a seat.

Autumn  – the time of year when the rosehips are budding…

The trailer is relocated outside, as a mobile kitchen ready for use.

now at last we can make an Energy Cafe ‘Thank-you’ cuppa

for Vince! whom we discovered also carves the finest spoons.

This one he made for Energy Cafe. It’s made from willow.

Do you need a carpenter? ‘no job is too small’ contact Vince : 07786342783


March 1, 2009



to Lee Valley Wildlife photographer, David, for donating a set of Le Creuset saucepans!

February 10, 2009



Theo for the little kitchen table. Folds up nicely into the trailer!

February 10, 2009



To Dave, for the discarded kitchen cupboards…with potential to customise for the trailer.

February 10, 2009


Maggie and Tony for the surprise gift left on site for us to discover!


with a note:


what a great present!- a luxury warm furry green blanket…


just what we urgently needed!

February 10, 2009



To Anna for bringing useful things from her basement clear-out: tarpaulin, coasters, mixing bowls, frying pan and spices.

January 28, 2009


Kate for bringing a garden spade and fork and two bikes…


that were donated by her sons kye and Ryker as they have grown out of them!


and now they want to gear them up to peddle powering into the future!