The Great White Egrets Entry, Screen Doors, Side Lights, Sconces and Light Fixtures

The challenge for me in designing this entry was my client's desire for a fantastic entry along with providing ventilation, and still keeping security in mind. So instead of taking the standard route and what is usually done, a beautiful carved door with screen doors in front of it that obscures the beauty of the entry when that entry is closed, I decided to take a more unusual, but much more artistic and practical direction. 

I made the screen doors with hand-carved egrets and reeds, and bronze screens. Then I made another set of doors, on the inside, the exact same size, same wood, and the same placement of mullions as the screen doors with glass. The wood screen doors and the inner wood and glass doors have security locks so that when the weather is nice, the inner doors can open, allowing a breeze to flow through the house, with the beauty and security unchanged. 

The doors, side lights and reeds are made of Mozambique, a wonderful hard wood that does very well outdoors and carves nicely. For the egrets I chose jelutong wood because of the light color, and because egrets are white. I carried the reeds into the side lights to add a continuous flow to my design. The inner doors have a clear tempered glass, and the screen doors have bronze screen which is many times stronger than regular screen but is less noticeable because the wire is thinner. 

I also made the sconce lights you see hanging on either side of the doors out of Mozambique, with art glass that I designed and made, copper reeds, and copper hoods. 

By designing the outer screen doors to have the beautiful carvings, and the inner doors to match and fit exactly to the outer doors, I accomplished my client's dream to have a fantastic entry, ventilation, and security. 

Below are two photos. The first is the light fixture I designed and fabricated for the walkway to the home. The second is a close-up of one of the sconces that is installed next to the doors.


My Crow Buddies

I have come to respect crows, as I do all animals, and want to share this true story with you. 

Several years ago I saw a crow walking on the ground in my backyard and as I watched him I saw a neighbor's cat creeping along the shadows of some bushes towards the crow. Knowing what the cat was about to do, I ran outside so that the crow would fly away. But to my surprise he couldn't fly, and I could see his wing was injured. I put the crow in a cat carrier and took him to Project Wildlife where they repaired his wing. Project Wildlife will return wild animals to the yard they were found in, so this crow was returned to my yard and to his family, who were waiting for him. I still see him years after this event and he is still living and thriving in my yard. His left wing hangs down lower than the right, due to the original injury, and that is how I recognized him. But this is just the beginning of the story.

The year following his injury, as I walked through my yard, I saw another crow walking on the ground and as I walked by he didn't fly away as crows usually do. I assumed he was another injured crow who needed help. I got out one of my animal carriers and walked over to where the crow was hiding amongst some bushes. I picked him up and put him in the carrier. I placed the carrier on my patio in the shade  and went in the house to call Project Wildlife to tell them I would be bringing in an injured crow. This took about 15-20 minutes.

When I came back out to my patio to check on the crow, the trees surrounding my patio were full of crows, at least 20 to 30 of them, and as soon as they saw me they started squawking at me intensely. They were definitely trying to tell me something, but as I don't speak their language it took me a little while to realize they were trying to tell me something. I quickly went inside to my computer and googled birds and crows. I found that sometimes the crow isn't injured, he is simply a young crow learning to fly who had not gotten the hang of it yet. By the way, this is true for any young bird. 

I went back to the crow in the carrier and checked for injuries, which really got this pack of family members even more upset. I didn't find any injury. (The crow from the year earlier had a different, and noticeable, injury to his left side and wing).

I decided to put the crow high up in a tree where a cluster of branches made a kind of bed, so that he would be safe. As soon as I did that the mother and father flew up to check on, and console, their chick. Amazingly, the other 20 or 30 crows flew off, apparently knowing that the young crow was safe. Over the next few days one of the parent crows was always with their young bird, and I could see them bring him food regularly.

Then one morning they were gone from their perch in the tree, but they still came back to my yard regularly. And they saw me also, scolding me every morning as I walked outside to remind me that they can take care of their own young. Since then they seem to understand I respect them and would not harm them, and they no longer scold me, but they still squawk at me, perhaps just saying "Good Morning" in crow. 



The Entry Table


It can't be said enough, how well glass and wood can be integrated together in design, whether it is a contemporary design or traditional. This stunning entry table is made of solid wenge, a base of concentric circles with a circular wood top, along with a 3/4" thick glass top that has an etched band on the underside of the glass. It is finished with a natural non-stained finish to show the exquisite beauty of the wenge wood.

So that the glass could be flush with the border, I put a 45 degree chamfer around the edge of the glass and a corresponding 45 degree recess around the inner edge of the wood border. The home is contemporary but with some classic details like the travertine stone floor in the above photo and a lot of curved walls. I built over 50 pieces of furniture for this home. 


Fruit in My Yard

My fruit trees are always providing something to snack on. Right now I have jujubes, sapotes, and chocolate persimmons, with a few pitayas. The jujube (the small reddish-brown fruit above) is sometimes called a Chinese date, a Korean date, or an Indian date, and it has the consistency and taste of an apple. Sapotes (the green fruit above) have a creamy pulp, ranging in flavor from banana to pear to peach to vanilla flan. The chocolate persimmon (the orange fruit above) is chocolate brown in the middle when you cut it open. It has the consistency and taste of a sweet pudding.

I am watching my cherimoyas and mangos getting large and they should be ready to pick in November or December. I just found a couple of ripe pitaya's or dragonfruit as they are also known (the hot pink spiky looking fruit in the bowl below) and my macadamia nuts are ripening and falling from my tree. Yumm! Life is good! 


The Beauty of Hand Carving and Stunning Wood, Part II 

Above: Cabinet with hand-carved aspen branches

This blog is a continuation of a blog I wrote in April, 2016. I had been commissioned to make four pieces of furniture for a new home in Rancho Santa Fe for some clients I have done work for in various homes in different parts of the country for probably over 30 years. Each home has been different and it's always fun to work with them on new projects.

This time the style was to be more contemporary and each piece would also showcase their close connection and love of nature. The interior of the home is an open plan and my clients wanted to keep the color tones of all the wood pieces in the same family. We chose quilted big-leaf maple for the material. I found several large thick matched slabs from one of my suppliers in the Pacific Northwest that were absolutely outstanding. 

I featured the first piece I made for my clients in my April, 2016, blog: a TV cabinet/base with flying ducks carved into it. 

The second piece I made was an entry foyer table with a carved Sioux medicine woman standing on the table. The third piece I made is a side table and shelving next to the fireplace with carved mountain maple branches. The fourth and final piece I designed is by the kitchen and has carved aspen branches. Each piece is truly beautiful, yet different, and together they give a peaceful continuum to the home. 

Above:  Entry foyer table with hand-carved Sioux medicine woman

Above:  Entry foyer table with hand-carved Sioux medicine woman

Above: Cabinet with hand-carved mountain maple branches

Above: Cabinet with hand-carved mountain maple branches

Above: Close up of cabinet with hand-carved mountain maple branches

Above: Cabinet with hand-carved aspen branches

Above: Close up of hand carving

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