Apr 15, 2009

VOCON Custom Installation

A Piece of Cleveland crafted this site-specific conference table from wood recovered during the renovation of VOCON’s 2nd floor offices. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and to preserve its history, APOC upcycled the floor joists, designing and installing a custom conference table made of Douglas Fir and other soft woods.

The Neo Classical Revival style building was constructed by AA Lane Construction Company in 1921. AA Lane was a prominent general contractor at the time and from the 1920s to the 1940s, the company renovated many buildings at the Case School of Applied Science, now Case Western Reserve University.

Karl Best and Edward G. Hoefler of the Best & Hoefler Architecture Firm were the engineers. Best and Hoefler were partners from 1921 to1927. The Templar building is the only commercial structure they built together, mostly designing Tudor style homes in Shaker Heights. Prior to partnering with Best, Hoefler was an architect with the Austin Company and in 1929 he and John Kalsch Jr., ran the firm Kalsch & Hoefler.

Originally home to Templar Farrell Motor Sales, the building was used as a showroom for “pre-assembled” cars. Templar motors operated in Cleveland from 1917 to 1924. The engine that powered their cars was the Templar Vitalic Top Valve Motor. Advertising themselves as "The pioneer builder of quality small cars, Templar produced 6,000 luxury vehicles.

Templar offered innovative features such as electric searchlights, tilt steering wheels (nicknamed "fat man's" wheels), a folding Kodak camera, compass, tire pumps and air compressors. Each car had twenty-seven coats of paint and wheels made of naturally polished wood.

Just as Templar motors made cars with the utmost attention to detail, VOCON is also known for its, creative and quality architecture and design. We at APOC believe that this conference table serves as a symbol—bridging Cleveland’s inventive past with its innovative future.

Mar 5, 2009

Latest News on Products

APOC is continuously testing and retesting its products for durability, desirability and usefulness. Looking forward to better weather up ahead, one of our designers - PJ designed and produced a set of outdoor furniture. The tables he created all go well with these two styles of chairs.

Deck Chair
We call it a deck chair, but it can be put anywhere around the house!

Outdoor Chair
This outside chair is also made of entirely reclaimed materials!

Each of the chairs has a version with arms.

Custom Installation

This is the VOCON installation, finished. The materials for the wall piece and table were recovered during the renovation of their space. In a full circle, the wood was rescued, and then upcycled back into the space!

Feb 4, 2009

More Upcycled Products

APOC creates more than conference tables (although we love them, too) and to prove it, we're including more images from our Flickr photostream.

vocon wall corner shot

A Custom Wall Installation


A Custom Bathroom Vanity (from 1425 W. 65th)


A Table with a custom stain


and Kitchen countertops (from 1425 W. 65th)!

Jan 28, 2009

Recycling of Stanard School

The deconstruction of Stanard School was an opportunity for the entire community to participate in re-using materials otherwise destined for a landfill. Besides upcycling material into new uses and the re-birth of lumber, APOC facilitated the recycling of thousands of bricks that comprised Stanard School.

Stanard School Recycling Project

In collaboration with Councilman Joe Cimperman, APOC provided bricks free of charge to community members as well as to the urban gardeners who will be using the Stanard property for urban agriculture and youth education in the future. This land use is permitted by Cleveland's unique Urban Garden Zoning law.

Community Members Clean & Pallet Bricks

Stanard School Recycling Project

Stanard School Recycling Project

Stanard School Recycling Project

Lumber about to be Re-Born

Stanard School Recycling Project

APOC Volunteers on Stanard!
K. Starinsky, T. Starinsky, M. DiDonato, A. Smith, N. Taxel, E. Taxel, K. Nagorski

West 65th Sreet Creations

The home on West 65th Street near Detroit Avenue in the Gordon Square neighborhood of Cleveland stood for 94 years. Slated for demolition, A Piece of Cleveland deconstructed the property, rescuing pine framing lumber, beech and maple flooring from the home.

The yellow house with the green awnings served as home to many families and we at APOC are pleased that an upcylced kitchen counter and a fireplace mantle will be enjoyed by Cleveland families for years to come.

Upcycled Custom Kitchen Counter



Custom Fireplace Mantle

In addition to the home furnishings, APOC also created a custom conference table for thunder::tech. The large, beautiful table was created with the technology company's needs in mind.

thunder::tech Custom Conference Table
Assembling T::T Conference Table

Assembling T::T Conference Table


Stanard School Creations

Stanard School Recycling Project

An abundant amount of materials were rescued during the Stanard School Deconstruction. The designers and furniture makers at A Piece Of Cleveland upcycled a variety of old growth woods to create beautiful, functional furnishings and home products.

APOC Custom Creations
Material from Stanard School

Pine Boards

Counter and Cabinet Sample
Counter and Cabinet

Writing Desk

Stanard School Recycling Project

APOC easy chair
Easy Chairs

APOC was able to upcycle many types of materials from Stanard School. Please see additional photos on our Flickr page.

Jan 6, 2009

Stanard School

Photo: Olena Sullivan, Photolena

"I loved that school. It was a wonderful place to be. There were all wood floors and windows in every room. Our principal—Mrs. Haggerty used to bring in dahlias and put them in pitchers on the landing by the stairs."

--Memories of Eleanor Capko, Stanard Student from 1930-1936, and life-long resident of East 52nd Street.

Located near East 55th Street and St. Clair Avenue, Stanard School was designated a Cleveland Historical Landmark prior to its 2008 deconstruction. [1] Thousands of neighborhood kids spent their elementary years in the two majestic red brick buildings, including the great-grandmother of APOC partner Aaron Gogolin. Although not confirmed, Stanard School is rumored to be the birth place of the popular children's game, four-square. The building named after Captain B.A. Stanard stood majestically in the St. Clair Superior Neighborhood for 123 years. A Piece of Cleveland documented the deconstruction with this video. Also, see this post on the Recycling of Stanard.

The original structure was built by renowned architect John Eisenmann in 1885.[2] Eisenmann studied landscape design and engineering before he served as professor of engineering at Case School of Applied Science. From 1883-1889, he was the supervising architect for the Cleveland Board of Education and built dozens of school buildings, residences and commercial buildings. His best known building is the Arcade on Euclid Avenue (1882-90) which he designed with architect George Smith.[3] The Arcade is listed on the National Register of Historic Places Eisenmann also designed the flag for the State of Ohio. [4]

Stanard School was expanded with an annex designed by Architect William H. Dunn in 1900. [5] He was superintendant of school buildings from 1884 to 1894 [2] and also designed the beautiful St. Stanislaus Church in the Slavic Village neighborhood among many other religious buildings.

In 1904, Cleveland Schools' Superintendent of Buildings, Frank Seymour Barnum, eliminated all wood as material in school interiors in new school buildings. He required reinforced concrete floors and replaced wooden floors, wainscoting, baseboards and stairs with iron or other materials.[6] Because Stanard School was built 15 years prior to Barnum's regulations, the amount and type of wood it contained is a rarity in Cleveland’s school buildings.

Photo: Olena Sullivan, Photolena

Stanard School was designed for the 3R’s, and by the 1960s, the building couldn’t house the extracurriculars modern educators, students and parents were demanding. According to a 1961 Cleveland Board of Education Report, Stanard School “needs new gym urgently-has no Assembly Room or Gymnasium except a classroom”. It would have cost $359,300 to update the school.[7]

On June 3rd, 1964, the school was hit by lightening and 350 students were evacuated from the building when the chimney fell. Kind neighbors invited whole classes into their homes so that the children were protected from the rain storm. The school was closed shortly after the incident. [8]

The buildings sat empty for about 35 years and fell into such disrepair that they could not be saved. In 2008, the City of Cleveland decided to tear down the structures and create Cleveland’s first zoned urban farm. As a part of the effort to recycle as much of the historic buildings as possible, APOC was asked to recover as much material as possible, including maple flooring APOC has upcycled into cutting boards.

To view some of the many products created from this building's materials, click here.

To read more about the Recycling of Stanard School, click here.



1] Cleveland Landmarks Commission

2] Cleveland Landmarks Commission, Index of Architects


3] Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 25 (1966), 281-91

4] Ohio History Central, an Online Encyclopedia of Ohio History.


5] Data Regarding Various School Buildings, City School District of the City of

Cleveland, July 1, 1936. Cleveland Public Library, Public Administration Library files.

6] Cleveland Historic Schools, Feasibility Study, Final Report. Cleveland Restoration Society, 5/26/2000.

7] Cleveland Board of Education School Housing Report, 1961. Cleveland Public Library, Public Administration Library Files

8] Cleveland Press, June 3, 1954,



11111 Orville Avenue

The history of the home at 11111 Orville Avenue reflects the transitions of Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood. The area was once farms and market gardens. In 1870 it was incorporated as the Village of Glenville and Cleveland’s wealthy families maintained large suburban estates there. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the estates were carved into suburban subdivisions and finally divided further to a dense urban neighborhood. [1] In 1905, the village was annexed into the City of Cleveland, but is still referred to as the Glenville neighborhood.

Mary and Thor Hamilton owned a large plot of land in Glenville that today would encompass dozens of city blocks along Orville from Doan Street (now East 105th) and past Melville Street (now East 111th). The Hamilton family had lived there since the 1870s, if not earlier. [2] County Records sometimes list them as “otherwise known as the McHamiltons” and they may have changed their last names to be more accepted in Cleveland. [3]


In 1896, Mary and Thor sold a portion of her land to Howard and Hattie Hamilton for $1; they were most likely related. According to the City Directory of 1889, Howard Hamilton was a carpenter and was living on the property in 1910 when the house was built. [4]  APOC rescued pine and maple flooring and hardwood framing lumber including maple, ash and beech woods. These are highly unusual woods to use for house construction, and APOC suspects Mr. Hamilton constructed the home himself with these valuable hardwoods.


The Hamiltons further divided the propery in 1910 and a couple named Frank and Anna Reinke purchased the house at 11111 Orville Street.[5] During the Great Depression, many owners and tenants lived in the home. The home was occupied by the McKnights, Grundmans, Zimmermans, Lloyds, Petros and McEnallys; these names represent Cleveland’s once large and shifting immigrant populations. [6]


In the 1930s, Glenville was a mostly Jewish neighborhood, but in 1939 Newell E. McEnally, the president of the Metal Fusion Company, lived there with his wife Ann.


By1942, an Italian family headed by Frank and Anna Borally were living in the home. Frank was a baker by trade and ran Frank’s Bakery. His brother, Albert Borally served in the United States Army in World War II.

In 1953, the Borallys moved east to Monticello and opened Franks Pastry Shop in South Euclid. [9] The Borally’s now run the successful Borally Catering in Richmond Heights. Linda Borally lived in the home as an infant and today works at the catering company. She was both surprised and pleased to hear that her family home is being upcycled to provide useful and beautiful products.


Like the Borally family, many of Glenville’s European population began to move to suburban areas after World War II and by the 1950s, Glenville was almost entirely African American. In 1954, Lucius (sometimes spelled Lucious) Hubbard, his wife Lessie and ultimately their eight children lived in the home.[10] Mr. Hubbard was a church deacon[11]  as well as a Trackman and he inspected and maintained railroad tracks.[12] The Hubbard family lived in the home for almost fifty years and their family can be found in Call and Post articles from the 1950s and 1960s. [12]




1.] Cuyahoga County Plat Maps, 1890, Cuyahoga County Archives, Cleveland, Ohio

2.] Volume 24, page 13 Cuyahoga County Recorder’s records, Cleveland, Ohio

3.] Volume 632, page 131 Cuyahoga County Records, Deed, Cleveland, Ohio


4.] 1889/1890 City Directory of Cleveland, City of Cleveland, Ohio

5.] Volume 1308, page 576 Cuyahoga County Records


6.] Cuyahoga County Plat Map, 1930, Cuyahoga County Recorder’s Office, Cleveland,


7.] 1939 City Directory of Cleveland, City of Cleveland, Ohio.

8.] Metal Fusion Company, website and address

9.] 1942 and 1953 City Directories of Cleveland, City of Cleveland, Ohio

10.] Plain Dealer; Cleveland Necrology File, Reel #119| 1974-09-20 | 0554862

11.] Cleveland Call and Post (1934-1962). Cleveland, Oh.: Feb 28, 1948. p. 5A

12.] 1954  City Directory of Cleveland, City of Cleveland, Ohio

13.] Cleveland Call and Post (1934-1962). Cleveland, Oh.: Feb 28, 1948. p. 5A

       Cleveland Call and Post (1934-1962). Cleveland, Oh.: Mar 29, 1958. p. 3_B


1425 West 65th Street

The property located at 1425 West 65th street has an archival history that dates back to the mid 1800s when it was part of the sparsely populated Brooklyn Township. Most of Brooklyn Township was owned by Richard and Samuel Lord and Josiah Barber of the Lord and Barber Firm. The early settlers of this area would have most likely purchased their property from Lord and Barber.

The 1870 County Auditor's map indicates the property may have been a part of the Johnson,Sacket and Waterbury Allotment; Part of the land that once belonged to Cleveland pioneer Levi Johnson's heirs. Levi Johnson came to Cleveland in the spring of 1808 and among his many accomplishments built the first wood frame building, the first jail and the first courthouse. He provided supplies to soldiers in the war of 1812 and later served as an alderman and a coroner. He died at 86 and left his real estate holdings to his family. His grandson, Levi A. Johnson had "some of Cleveland's most valuable real estate." (McKendree, 1918)

Once sparsely populated farmland, this part of Brooklyn Township became the village of West Cleveland in 1871 and was annexed to the City of Cleveland in 1894. The 1874 Atlas of Cuyahoga County, indicates the property was owned by WJ Gordon and became known as the Gordon Avenue Allottment. In fact, West 65th street was called Gordon Avenue until 1906 when the City of Cleveland numbered most of the North/South streets.

The Gordon family owned several parcels of land in what is now the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. W J Gordon was the prominent citizen who donated the east side Gordon Park to the City of Cleveland. A millionaire and mayor of then-suburban Glenville, Gordon was a leader in commerce and manufacturing. In the early 1900s, several parcels along Gordon Avenue were sold by the W J Gordon Real Estate Company to Richard Templin.

Mr Templin sold a sub plot to Elija Stevens in 1906; The house upcycled by A Piece of Cleveland was built in 1914 when the Stevens family owned the property.

Elija Stevens and his wife, Louisa Jane, were originally from Ontario, Canada and moved to Cleveland in the early 1900s. The Stevens were quite prominent in Cleveland and the book, A History of Cleveland and its Environs: The Heart of New Connecticut written in 1918 by Elroy McKendree devotes two pages to the family. Elija was a baker and confectioner in Canda, but changed careers to wholesale hardware when he moved to Cleveland, working for the George Worthington Company until his death in 1916. Upon Elija's death, he willed the home to his wife.

For nearly forty years, the home was occupied by the Stevens family.According to Cleveland City Directories 1929-1941, Francis and Loreetha Stevens and their children lived there until about 1942. Francis Stevens worked for nine years as a machinist and a foreman before going to law school at Baldwin Wallace University. He graduated with a law degree in 1911 and became a very prominent and successful lawyer. McKendree wrote, "The bar of Cleveland has its full quota of brilliant men, and one of its foremost is Mr. Stevens" (p. 171). He worked as Secretary and Treasurer of Lincoln Investment Company which was located in the Engineers National Bank Building (Cleveland City Directories of 1936).

By 1943, Anthony Zarrelli is listed in the City Directory as the owner of the home. United States Census records show that Antonio Zarrelli was 24 years old in 1920 and born in Italy. At the time he rented a room as a boarder in Independence, Ohio. He came to the United States in 1913 and worked as a laborer in a brick yard.

By the time Anthony lived on West 65th, he was married to Raffaella. According to Anthony's 1973 obituary, the Zarrellis had nine children. During World War II their three adult relatives in the household included: Pasquale, who served in the United States Army; and Viola E. and Marie A., both machine operators in Rosie the Riveter fashion. County Recorder records from the 1980s and 1990s show that Marie and Viola owned the home and then transferred ownership to Annie, Anthony Jr. and Helen Zarelli in the 1990s. The Zarrelli family had lived in the home for fifty years when ownership was transferred to the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Corporation.

The home was located just around the corner from Cleveland's oldest standing theatre, Gordon Square Theatre. Gordon Square Theatre opened in 1912 and presented Vaudeville performances and silent films. After almost two decades of delighting audiences, Gordon Square theatre closed in the 1930s because of financial hardships and competition from the nearby Capital Theatere. For sixty years prior to its purchase by Cleveland Public Theatre, the historic venue had been a warehouse, auto shop, a grocery and a restaurant among other uses. APOC imagines the Stevens family enjoyed the original heyday of the Gordon Square Theatre and that the Zarrelli family enjoyed the Gordon Square area's rebirth when performances returned to the neighborhood in the 1980s.

The Johnsons, Gordons, Stevens and Zarrellis families have made unique contributions to the history of Cleveland. The home, which stood for 94 years has been deconstructed and its materials repurposed. APOC has rescued pine framing lumber, beech and maple flooring from the home. Thunder::tech's custom table was made from this wood and they created a video of their furniture installation.

See APOC creations made from this house's materials here

APOC Volunteers on W.65th:

N. Taxel, E. Taxel, & J. Fagan,


A History of Cleveland and Its Environs,

Elroy McKendree Avery, Lewis Publishing Company, Lewis Publishing Company, 1918.