Colour concept by: Sandie Mac

Wood Selection: Curly Maple, Wenge, Walnut, Bloodwood, Indian Rosewood

Butterfly Bio:

Little Oolong was created in memory of my dad.  The smell of Oolong Tea reminds me of him.  Whenever we had time to sit and chat my dad would take out his favourite clay teapot set, with the dragon engraving, and make tea for us.  Everything was a special occasion for my dad and of course everything was a big deal!  Sipping tea out of the tiny one-sip teacups, he would show me all the details of his fancy teapot like it was the first time I’ve ever seen it.  Then of course the tea leaves came with a big story about where and who they were from… I of course would respond with awe in my face like it was the most incredible thing I’ve ever heard.

Fan Favorites

Based on the feedback we’ve received so far, Palm Magic, Carol’s Beauty, Lucky and Wally are the favorites! Leave a comment for us on Instagram or our Facebook page under @shop116designs to let us know which butterfly is your favorite? If you have photos to share, even better! We would love to see our butterflies through your eyes.

Palm Magic

Colour concept by: Patrick Li

Wood Selection: Palm, Cedar, Purple Heart, Wenge

Butterfly Bio: Patrick’s butterfly set, including Palm Magic, Patrick’s Secret, and Padauk Glow, primarily emphasize wood grain patterns. The unique appearance, textures, and contrast achieved for Palm Magic was definitely worth the risk of trying out a brittle exotic wood.

Carol’s Beauty

Colour concept by: Carol Wong Li

Wood Selection: Swamp Ash, Spanish Cedar, Vera, Purple Heart

Butterfly Bio: Simple elegance. The dense textures of Swamp Ash provide an interesting back drop for the subtle colour accents in Carol’s Beauty.


Colour concept by: Sandie Mac

Wood Selection: Wenge, Osage Orange, Vera, Pau Amerello, Walnut, Poplar, Macassar Ebony

Butterfly Bio: The inspiration was to create a green lucky charm with light yellow accents. During the milling process, we came across a piece of bright Osage Orange that just beckoned to be incorporated. We now have an eye catching, golden lucky charm.


Colour concept by: Ivan Ilic

Wood Selection: Walnut, Wenge, Paela

Butterfly Bio: Wally was made with offcuts from walnut slabs we purchased from a local sawmill that promotes urban tree salvage. Our intention was to use Wally as a test piece for all stages of milling. The playful Wenge freckles and bright Paela body Ivan added had everyone telling us they love Wally!

If you like “The Butterfly Effect” window installation, don’t forget to cast your vote by January 31st for the DesignTO People’s Choice Award:



Colour concept by: Michael Luong

Wood Selection: Pine, Bloodwood, African Ebony, Macassar Ebony, Padauk, Curly Maple

Butterfly Bio:

Our nephew, Michael, came to help us dress the wood for the butterflies at the beginning of the project. We asked if he would like to design his own butterfly and were really impressed with his creation.  Maul is stunning and strikingly different from our designs.  

The Star Wars fans out there might have probably guessed which character inspired this creation. To our surprise, we learned that Darth Maul was Michael’s favorite character because he found Darth Maul relatable and most captivating with respect to character development. Michael told us that Darth Maul was “very human in the sense that he succumbed to his emotions and was fallible unlike the other characters in Star Wars.” What do you think? Would you consider that to be the path to the dark side?


Colour concept by: Ivan Ilic

Wood Selection: Pau Amarello, Osage Orange, Paella, Wenge, Canary

Butterfly Bio:

The colour of Pau Amarello wood reminded me of the little yellow Cabbage Butterflies from my childhood. As a curious, introverted kid, I spent much of my time playing in our back yard in Dugo Selo, Croatia, chasing butterflies. It was magical because there was an abundant supply of butterflies to study.

With this memory in mind, I designed Lemonade, a pure yellow butterfly with a few complimentary orange accents. I recalled the feeling of melancholy watching the butterflies fly over the fence. That fleeting moment made me appreciate the elusive beauty of nature even more. Thankfully, the new Lemonade butterflies will not fly over the fence.

DesignTO 2022 – The Butterfly Effect

Our butterflies are now on display at Cutler and Gross for the DesignTO 2022 Festival! The festival runs until January 30th. Please come by to visit!

Here are some pictures from our biggest fans. Thank you everyone for your support in your own special way!

The deadline to vote for you favorite window installation is January 31st, 2022 on the DesignTO website.

The Making of a Butterfly

Walking around the Trinity-Bellwoods area during the first pandemic lock down, we noticed colourful painted plaques of the flowers and the bees that were hung on a neighborhood fence.  Another neighbor had toy dinosaurs hidden in the crevices of their tree.  For a moment, Ivan and I were taken into a world of the dinosaur hunt.  As with everybody else, the self-isolation was difficult.  Seeing the cheerful artwork and dinosaur decorations inspired us to do something similar, to offer passers by a chance to pause and be reminded of resilience and hope.

I asked Ivan if he could make some wood plaques that we could paint and hang on our Japanese Maple. We considered a variety of different things but agreed butterflies would be best for representing transformation and hope.  In addition to allowing for a wide range of colours, seeing butterflies simply makes us happy.  We have a Buddleia, commonly known as Butterfly bush, in our back yard that is frequented by many butterflies every summer and fall. During those times, the butterfly bush becomes a special feature in our garden that fascinates us and everyone who visits.

What I initially thought would be a simple assignment for Ivan turned into a complete study of butterfly proportions. I didn’t expect Ivan to stay up 2 nights in a row drawing the butterflies in AutoCAD.  Given the freedom to create and design, Ivan turned a painting project in a shop116 woodshop project.

Butterfly AutoCAD Sketch

Ivan’s shaded butterfly sketch was so striking, we decided to build it using complimentary exotic wood pieces from prior projects that we had in our shop.  The shades of the butterfly would be represented by the different wood colours and textures, allowing the beauty of the wood to paint our butterflies.

Excited about the project, we naively thought it could be done in a few days… it took more like a few weeks!

There was some trial and error, but the results were well worth the effort.  Making the butterflies, with the intension to share them with our families, motivated us.  We thought of how happy they would be to receive a surprise gift.  Not for any specific occasion but simply to let them know we think of them all the time, even if we were not allowed to visit them. 

During the first wave, we were very afraid we might be asymptomatic carriers of Covid without knowing it.  We dropped off the butterflies wearing masks and left them at the front door or garage door.  Then yelled from 6 feet away asking our families to quarantine the butterflies for a few days before opening them.

We hung a few of the butterflies on our Japanese maple. The remaining butterflies were hung in our living room, above our smiling Buddha. 

My favorite moment in our house

Kaleidoscope Kimmie

Over the next few days during the DesignTO festival, we will feature some of our favorite butterflies and tell you more about what inspired the design. Allow me to first start with one that made this project so much more meaningful.

Colour concept by: Sandie Mac

Wood Selection: Poplar, Wenge, Bloodwood, Pink Ivory, Purple Heart, Walnut sapwood

Butterfly Bio:

We named this butterfly Kaleidoscope Kimmie after my sister. If you ever met her, you would have agreed that the best word to describe her was “jubilant”. Her wonderful laugh would have warmed your heart and welcomed you into her world.  At work, her colleagues adoringly called her Kimmie.

For Kim’s butterfly, I selected her favourite colours to accent the kaleidoscopic pattern resembling her personality. When I think of her, I picture her wearing khaki green, shimmery pinks, and purple. Her butterfly also had to have black in it because she was cool like that. 

In the fall of 2021, during the planning phase for the butterflies, I lost my sister unexpectedly to cancer. Having to cope with the emotions and disbelief of her sudden passing, I found comfort in dedicating time to creating a butterfly that reminded me of her beauty.

Of all the butterflies we made, Kimmie was definitely one of the fussy ones. I was really picky with the wood shades from the raw planks themselves to the finishing. For the Pink Ivory, Walnut sapwood, and Poplar layers, Ivan painstakingly milled three times the number of pieces required for each layer because the width of each selected section was so much smaller. I was very thankful for that. While we fussed over her butterfly, I thought of all the precious time we spent together. How tentative Kim was when we asked her for help, the way she furrowed her eyebrows when she spoke about things that bothered her, but mostly the way she shaded her lips with her hand and rocked backwards when she chuckled. That reminder of her unmistakable laughter made Kimmie pretty special.

2017 Toronto Interior Design Show – making of the ‘Cutting Edge’ Table

2017 started with an intense deadline for shop116 – building our ‘Cutting Edge’ Table for the 2017 Toronto Interior Design Show. Here is a quick look at how the table came together.


original concept rendering

shop116 took a different approach from some other reclaimed furniture designers. We decided to make the table shape simple and precise, accenting the knots and interesting figure of the wood. By removing the surface patina, we exposed the underlying beauty of aged pine.


final rendering with texture mapping matching the actual pine boards

The pine boards used to make this table were acquired (repurposed) and cleared of all fasteners from their previous uses.


board with nails


removed nails


pine boards in original state (front), rough planed and cut (rear)

After dressing, the boards were cut to width. The boards were glued together using a double dado joint and splines. Aluminum channels were inset into the end of each board joint which would later be used to connect the table extensions to the main table top.


double dado joint and splines with inset aluminum channels (prior to gluing)

Resin was applied to all the holes, knots, and splits in the wood.


resin covered knot

The laser-cut walnut shop116 logo was inset into the underside of the table and encased in resin. All the excess resin was sanded to prepare the table top for final dressing with a drum sander.


rough sanded table top

shop116 used a router and jig to precisely chamfer the table sides, leaving a 3/16″ vertical edge.


routing the table side

The two extensions were cut and the table took its final form. A reciprocating saw was used to cut through the wood and aluminum simultaneously.


cutting the extensions

The jig was reconfigured for the shallower angle, and the ends were cleaned up. A metal milling bit was used to rout flush the wood and aluminum simultaneously.


routed table end

The table legs were planed to achieve the angled look, then trimmed to size. The table top was routed to receive the legs. Each leg was carefully fitted and glued to the table top.


routing a joint for the table leg

The table was sanded, cleaned, then oiled to be ready for its debut at the 2017 Interior Design Show. If you missed us at the show, here is a picture of our table on display. Next on our list are the benches…