Timberyard, a Stunning New Restaurant Slides Open its Big Red Door

There is little more uplifting than watching a derelict building being saved, clawed back from the brink and allowed to breath again and I’ve been lucky enough to witness the Radford Family do just that over the last year (you may remember the post What Colour For a Salvaged Interior  where ideas were discussed for this very project).

The building formerly, the old Lawson’s Timber Yard (many Edinburgh residents have visited at some point over the years to pick up a chunk of 3 x 2 timber for a DIY project) is on Lady Lawson Street in the heart of Edinburgh and the Radfords have transformed it into a stunning space which perfectly reflects their style of cooking – sustainable, artistic, local and often foraged.

Timberyard has notched up several great food reviews already but it’s the interior (and exterior) that interests me in this post.

What the Radfords have made is a restaurant packed with character, quirky details and peppered with design classics (great before, during and after photos here.)  It’s a space which has stories to tell and such a relaxing vibe it makes it hard to leave. They have created something which can be lacking in high end interiors. We all know the sort of characterless spaces I am thinking of – the kind where a high budget has done no favours to the interior because the perfectly executed design configured in a swanky design studio could in fact belong anywhere from Dubai to Barcelona. But Timberyard has been lovingly and very personally restored on a minimal budget which has dictated that virtually everything has been salvaged and it has given the restaurant a sense of place.

Take the clear suspension lights illuminating the entrance – formerly used to light up chicken runs. Or the beautifully pared down metal external cylindrical wall lights, salvaged from a post office building about to be demolished. And the bulkhead lights, robust and perfectly engineered in a factory in Glasgow decades before and rediscovered on ebay.

The furniture tells of a similar story – early Wimbledon Tennis Club chairs in the courtyard, tables constructed from old railway sleepers, Gubi chairs reused from their last project (Atrium & Blue restaurant) and radiators heading to extinction. Saved.

The history and conversations absorbed in the old walls gives instant integrity and warmth to this restaurant. It’s as if the walls can talk and sometimes old walls do…

The Lammermuir Festival currently taking place in East Lothian has a motto that great music shall be played in great venues. Last night in the pitch dark and near freezing conditions several hundred spectators sat under the clear starry sky at the relatively remote ruins of Tantallon Castle to witness a spectacular music and light display, Tantallon! These Lands, this Wall. The great stone curtain walls of Tantallon spoke of what they had witnessed, felt and absorbed over the centuries – a fourteenth century construction which has witnessed sieges, coastal storms and countless sagas.

I’ve started looking around me at the walls I see every day and I like to imagine what they have witnessed. It gets you thinking…

10 thoughts on “Timberyard, a Stunning New Restaurant Slides Open its Big Red Door

  1. I was lucky enough to go with you to the ‘soft’ opening and was totally stunned by the sensitive and thoughtful design. The Radfords have done a remarkable job with a remarkable space, making it there own yet, at the same time, somehow everyone’s. The food is also pretty special, and just as thoughtful, and thought-provoking. As a chicken owner I was amused by the lights! And glad to hear the Tantallon event was so fab, and lived up to its billing.


    • That was a great night wasn’t it and lucky me being able to take a food writer with me!
      Yep, the Radford’s are one of the most artistic and sensitive families I am lucky enough to know and I think it is this sensitivity that has allowed the space to feel so welcoming.
      Oh yes, Tantallon was better than I could imagine and the clear skies even allowed us to watch shooting stars – pretty special all right!


    • Well if you ever bring your family up to visit Edinburgh, lets meet there for lunch!

      Judging by the beautiful shots you have taken of plants in your garden I can just imagine your house will be lovely. I am planning a visit to the Geffrye Museum in London which has 11 rooms decorated in styles through the ages and interestingly they have planted gardens to match the periods too.

      Our last home was a lovely Georgian flat but we currently live in a 1970’s open plan home but even so it will still have seen some interesting things as it used to be a Meditation Centre!


  2. Lovely post on the beautiful Timberyard, we LOVE the space. For a girl with her head stuck firmly in an industrial cloud it’s my dream come true! However, it’s the ethos and the people that make the venue and they have it all wrapped up. About time Edinburgh had something like this.


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