Christian and Christina Krapf are owners of Oak and Apple Cidery, a new Rochester, NY micro-cidery that shows off its fair share of Pioneer Millworks reclaimed wood. They partnered with Ketmar Development to build the production and tasting room in Penfield, NY. Many thanks to them for taking some time out to talk with us (amidst getting ready for their public opening on September 22nd) about the space’s design, how they chose materials, and what makes for a really good cider.
Christian: 11 years ago my best friend took me to a picnic in Olean [NY] where they have this tradition of farmers bringing their homemade ciders. The ciders I had had up to that point were really sweet, candy-tasting ciders, and the cider I had at the picnic were really different. I wanted to try making cider myself–and bring my own the following year.
When I met Christina, my wife, we started making it together. We had a lot of fun doing it and improving. We thought maybe we could sell it, so we set out on this journey to Oak & Apple. Our mission is to make the best quality cider we can.
Christina: What makes us unique is we do all of the production on site—the whole process is done here right on our farm. So we grow the apples, we press the apples, we ferment on site, bottle, filter, and sell right here. So it’s really a farm to glass experience.
We farm 700 trees, and our varietals are rare apples. Not your typical old English style and French varietals…Golden Russet, Balmers…they’re more rare, very bittersweet tart apples, which are good for hard cider.
Thursday night (7/13) was the opening for HiLo in downtown Portland, Oregon. A few of us from Pioneer Millworks attended the event where we ate, were painted gold, and silently discoed the night away. The 120-room boutique style hotel resides in the Oregon Pioneer Building (a National Register of Historic Places). We have a few ties—turns out back in 2008-10 our own Elise Payne worked in the building.
The party started as soon as we walked in the door. There were specialty drinks and intricate food of various varieties scattered throughout the hotel.
Bryan Danger started Zenbox Design after a May 2014 article in the New York Times featuring he and his partner Jen’s Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) garnered a lot of attention. Bryan has a master of Architecture from UofO but moved into Graphic Design and somehow found himself working in a high-tech corporate office for 14 years. After a year driving through Mexico and Central America in their 67 VW Bus, Bryan and Jen moved back to Portland to start on their new path. The problem? They had renters in their home. Solution? They had a 480-square foot garage that wasn’t being used. They designed and built out the garage into a cozy living space. Word got out quickly and readers and neighbors alike were demanding Bryan design their ADU and custom furniture. Hesitant at first, the couple wanted to keep their new found “nomadic balance”. Though they had been working with neighbors for free for some time, zenbox design was officially born and takes on a few clients every year for custom homes and furniture. The rest of the time the couple rents their garage on
The problem? They had renters in their home. Solution? They had a 480-square foot garage that wasn’t being used. They designed and built out the garage into a cozy living space. Word got out quickly and folks started requesting Bryan design their ADU and custom furniture. Hesitant at first, the couple wanted to keep their new found “nomadic balance”. Though they had been working with neighbors for free for some time, Zenbox Design was officially born and takes on a few clients every year for custom homes and furniture. The rest of the time the couple rents their garage on Airbnb and travels with their dog, Karma, around the continent in their custom sprintervan (another Zenbox project).
1. How would you refer to yourself? Woodworker? Artisan? Craftsman? Designer/Creative. Our designs range from custom furniture and installations to small custom homes.
2. How did you get started? Ive always designed/built as much of my own furniture/environment as I could. In 2013, my wife and I had downsized and purged all our belongings to take a 2 year road trip. Upon returning we hated the idea of simply buying all our furniture rather than each piece being intentional, and started designing/building them instead.
The garage transformed into an ADU, courtesy of zenboxdesign.com
3. Why wood? Our designs tend to use a combination of wood and steel, but we feel wood is critical because of the softness and warmth it brings to a space. All the better if that wood is also reclaimed and has a story/history to tell.
4. What was the first thing you made from wood? As best I can recall, a 3’ tall model of the Trojan Horse, when I was 6th grade. As Zenbox design, I think our first piece was a steel and reclaimed wood barstoolthat we still use (and offer to clients) today.
5. What does being creative meant to you? It’s simply how my brain works—I have to be designing or creating something to feel active or alive. It’s not a switch I can turn off and I naturally find my brain creatively redesigning every space I walk into and everything I touch.
6. Do you have any rituals? None.
7. What is your favorite piece? Our tiny home has a bar/island that takes up no space on a day to day basis but can roll out to seat 6–8 when we entertain. It’s a 6’ long slab of reclaimed fir we took out of the house in the remodel and it seems to be the perfect combination of creative reuse because the material is serving in its second life and the piece itself serves multiple roles (and is also the centerpiece of our home).
6′ slab of reclaimed fir, courtesy of zenboxdesign.com
8. Who inspires you? Anyone who is thinking and living outside the box, breaking norms and following their dreams!
9. What do you hope to communicate through your work? Clean lines. Elegant simplicity. Functional beauty.
10. If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing? We seem to be constantly reinventing ourselves, so “this” is different every day. Luckily we seem to keep finding clients that push our creativity and expertise, so the evolution of Zenbox Design is created by the projects and clients we choose to partner with. If we one day run out of both client and personal projects, I guess I would likely become a tattoo artist, or scuba diving instructor, or both.
11. The ultimate piece you want to create? I feel like each new client presents this opportunity. The goal is always to design that person or families’ perfect custom home. To craft both the environment and pieces within it in a creative and functional way so that their living space literally transforms their lifestyle.
12. What’s your favorite thing about PDX? The people. The creatives. The dreamers. We travel much of the year and have yet to find anyplace with the intense diversity, creativity, and “weirdness” that is Portland. It’s almost impossible to not be charged or pushed creatively here. We live our lives outside the box and Portland seems to the only place where that is not only accepted but fully understood and supported/celebrated!
Philip Krain is an entrepreneur, consultant, and founder of Global Homestead Garage whose mission is to provide community members a platform to grow big ideas using shared resources. A series of fortunate events lead to his dream of running an incubator space for makers in Portland; in 2016 he received an email in his junk folder that advertised a business for sale. That business was Shop People, which is the original community makers space. It hosts around 30 artisans in the heart of the eastside industrial district. There is event space, artist studios, a lounge; shared equipment is provided for jewelers, metal workers, and wood workers—all now part of Global Homestead Garage thanks to that email.
1. How would you refer to yourself? Woodworker? Artisan? Craftsman? My primary role within the Global Homestead Garage is to create a platform for artisans and small businesses to grow big ideas using shared resources. When given the opportunity, I enjoy designing and creating with natural and upcycled materials.
2. How did you get started? My previous career as a renewable energy developer allowed me to work with architects on active and passive solar design. My recent hands-on work has focused on landscape design and implementation as well as home remodeling. As a result of these projects, I took an industrial design class, which solidified my passion for problem-solving design.
3. Why wood? I love working with wood, as it is a natural, beautiful, and soothing material. Although it’s a renewable resource, we need to honor its scarcity, reclaim its integrity, and enhance its value in our life.
4. What was the first thing you made from wood? I remember making an ash baseball bat in seventh-grade shop class. It wasn’t the best piece of wood and it broke shortly after I began to use it. As an adult, I turned a stick shift knob for my Jeep from a chunk of maple burl.
5. What does being creative mean to you? To me, being creative means finding realistic solutions using limited resources (tangible or intangible) and unlimited options.
6. Do you have any rituals? No, but I should make time for some…
7. What is your favorite piece? I love our front yard. It’s an all-encompassing portfolio of permaculture, craftsman, and playful design.
Phillip’s front yard project.
8. Who inspires you? Children inspire me because no one should bare the burden of fixing other people’s mess. We need to work to clean our mess so that the children of children can enjoy their lives.
9. What do you hope to communicate through your work? There is inherent value in many items that have been deemed worthless and may be headed for the landfill.
10. If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing? Great question. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
11. The ultimate piece you want to create? Global Homestead Garage is my ultimate project.
Lobby at Global Homestead Garage
12. What’s your favorite thing about PDX? It used to be the smell of beer riding my bike down West Burnside at 2 am. Today, it’s the positive energy of all the people. My neighbors continue to rally as leaders within our community for a life designed with sustainable intention.