In 1994, Richard Bulan watched a KRON news segment titled, "The Fate of the Golden Gate Bridge Steel" -- a story about the 6,557 feet of Golden Gate Bridge railing that was replaced due to weathering. The program outlined the options: sell the scrap metal to Korea, or break it down to sell as tourist trinkets. Instead, Bulan picked up the phone.
What started as a one-time craft project to make a headboard for his bedroom soon became the Golden Gate Bridge Furniture Company, Bulan's welding business that makes home furniture out of authentic pieces of the iconic bridge.
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Now, Bulan makes headboards, desk lamps, nightstands and coffee tables from steel that once graced the Gate, and aims to keep them as authentic as possible.
"During the welding process, much of the old paint burns off," said Bulan to The Huffington Post. "Therefore, the product is cleaned up after welding and given a fresh application of the same paint that is used on the Golden Gate Bridge itself." Bulan finishes up each design with a fresh coat of International Orange -- the paint mixed exclusively for the Golden Gate Bridge. He even uses the same painting technique for authenticity.
Bulan's pieces are also marked with the bridge's imperfections: Each piece features weathering from the wind and salt sea air, and, because of the slope of the bridge's center span, some feature a slight pitch.
"While this slant is most evident on those sections removed from the closest to the center span, it helps identify the general location in which the handrain resided for 56 years," wrote Bulan on his website.
So what happens when Bulan runs out of Golden Gate Bridge steel?
"I guess we'll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it," he says.
Check out photos of of Bulan's designs, courtesy of the Golden Gate Bridge Furniture Company, in our slideshow below: