Bringing life to the grain

Wood is a natural resource that in the right hands can be transformed into beautiful yet functional pieces, enhancing any space in which they reside.

Brad Rosin, a self-taught finishing carpenter, has honed his skills over the years are used to create bespoke furniture, doors and cabinetry featured in many private homes and offices in the Cayman Islands.

Originally from Winnipeg, Canada, Brad picked up basic carpentry experience when he was quite young, but it was when he moved to Grand Cayman in 1996 that he began to turn his hand to the more artistic side of the business.

Not content to produce standard fixtures as could be purchased “off the rack,” he found that there was a market for unique items based on his clients’ requirements and creative visions.

Working for The Machine Shop, Brad has access to a wide range of dark and light woods, veneers and plywoods through suppliers in the United States.

The textures and contrasts of the different materials, married with a physical design, combine to create outstanding finished products. Mahogany and bamboo are popular choices due to their Caribbean roots, but teak is also a favourite, particularly for its longevity in a more humid atmosphere. Maple, walnut–all can be manipulated and all can be made extraordinary.

According to the carpenter, every day brings a new challenge and no two requests are the same. Even something simple such as an entertainment unit or a coffee table involves careful planning to ensure that it will fit the space and theme for which it is being created. Wine storage units, vanities, dining tables, wood floors, and anything else that can be manufactured from wood is possible.

Grand openings
A door might be considered a utilitarian object, merely a means of separating two rooms and offering privacy to the occupants of both. However, the portal that Brad built, found at a private residence in Crystal Harbour, proves that we should rethink our concept of what a door can and cannot be.

The impressive solid teak 9ft x 5½ft. monolith swivels on a vertical centre axis making it possibly the only one of its kind on the island. The door perfectly compliments the modular design of the house and takes the humble door to a new level.

Naturally he is proud of the piece: “I enjoy a challenge and the more complex the better. Making something new, something I’ve never even tried before allows me to grow as a carpenter,” he says.

Another standout example of Brad’s work is the set of sliding doors created from frames of mahogany surrounding delicate rice paper. The resulting dividers allow the room to keep the benefit of natural light giving it a calming glow.

Giving clients options
The woodworking industry is making advances in producing more environmentally conscious materials and reducing toxins. Finishes are becoming eco-friendly and lumber sources are replenished to ensure that long-term depletion does not occur.

Brad and his employer are constantly evolving and revising the options they can offer to clients to keep up with global standards, discoveries and techniques. Home and business owners looking for environmental alternatives should see what they have available.

Many may feel that their project is out of the scope of The Machine Shop’s expertise, or that custom work is beyond their budget. Brad is quick to dispel such ideas: “There is no doubt that the materials we use and the work we produce is of a quality built to last. However, we can work with people’s budgets and give them less expensive options, such as plywood enhanced by wood veneers.

“As for unique projects, we welcome them. One week we are creating an entertainment centre from scratch for a large living room, the next we are building a small scale replica Caymanian cottage as a playhouse for children. Each day brings something new and that’s what keeps my interest.”

Commercial commissions
Although Brad has designed and built a great deal of home furnishings and fixtures, his pieces can also be found in the business world, such as the commercial cabinetry installed at Blackbeard’s in The Shoppes at Grand Harbour, or the desk he made for the manager of IDG.

Chances are that you have seen and admired one or more of his creations without realising it.

After many years in business, the company and Brad have certainly found their niche in the market. The natural look and feel of wood cannot be equalled when it comes to adding another dimension to your space. Sometimes you want a statement piece which is finished off to a high quality. He is passionate about creating bespoke carpentry and works in a company that give him the breadth of work he is known for. Wood is a natural resource that in the right hands can be transformed into beautiful yet functional pieces, enhancing any space in which they reside.



Pasquale & Stephen Clarke