Entries in furniture (23)


Live Edge Coffee Table

I have done numerous projects for this client including built-in cabinets, mantles, coffee tables, light fixtures, children's furniture, desks, glass work, and art pieces, just to name a few. Her style is mostly a blend of traditional, contemporary, Asian, and Arts and Crafts, where the details of the wood, metal, glass and hardware blend with the fabrics, carpet, and other furniture in the home. Never too much or too little, so as to create a balance and harmony. So when she asked if I had ever done anything with live edge wood (the natural edge of the wood before it is milled into lumber) I was a little surprised, as it is not her usual design style, but I shouldn't have been. She appreciates beautiful natural materials, and live edge wood is a way of bringing a little bit of the natural world into one's home. 

I have made a number of furniture pieces using natural elements in the materials. So I was definitely up for the challenge of designing and creating a live edge coffee table that would compliment and fit with the mix of styles in her home and not stand out as an out-of-place piece of furniture. I did my usual research, looking at literally hundreds of pieces of wood to find the right size, shape, and color. I finally found a gorgeous live edge slab of Claro Walnut and my client approved it. After receiving the piece I proceeded to design and layout how I would use it. The one slab made the top and the base. When I put the finish on it, the real beauty of the wood came out. I delivered it and the table was enthusiastically received by my client. I even got several calls afterwards to let me know how well it fit into her home and how much she loved it. That's one of the best things about my work, pleasing my clients!


French Pear Bathroom, His and Hers


This home is in the Rancho Santa Fe/Fairbanks Ranch area. It is a Country Ranch Traditional style that the family wanted to change to have more of a Country French feeling. The first project was a French china cabinet in walnut that I designed and built. After delivering the china cabinet they loved it so much and asked if I would help design their master bedroom. 

For the master bathroom they wanted a "His and Hers" sink, a surround for the bathtub area and a linen cabinet. For the vanities I chose French pear, which comes from the French Alps, from old pear orchards that were dying and being taken out. It is beautiful wood; dense, live edge pieces of solid wood. I purchased plenty of slabs so everything was a match. With live-edge lumber it is difficult to determine the amount needed because the slabs vary so much in thickness and width, unlike conventional lumber where there isn't much variance. 

Each piece in the bathroom was designed with different details and finishes. The vanities, as I said, are pear wood, natural color with a light glaze to highlight the details. The tub surround is curly maple with a light aniline dye, distressed, with a hint of paint on the edges and glazed, with a hand-carved floral design. The linen cabinet is made of big-leaf maple, with a light aniline dye, a distressed, painted and crackle finish, with a hand-carved basket of wildflowers.

It's hard to explain the amount of pleasure I get in coming up with a design, finding the right materials, building, finishing, and installing the projects. It's difficult work but I really enjoy it. I feel very fortunate to work with so many really nice people, and these clients made me feel like a part of their family when I was there. 

Above: Tub Surround

Above:  Linen Closet


Americana Style Entertainment Center 

My latest project, an entertainment center, was for a client of mine that I have worked with in the past. The last project we did for him and his wife, a number of years ago, was an underground wine cellar below their garage (see my October, 2013 blog, For The Love of Wine), and I knew from working with them in the past that this would be another fun project. They love fine workmanship and beautiful wood, and appreciate the attention to detail my shop provides. 

The project, a TV/Stereo/Display cabinet was to replace an existing one. They wanted to put in a large new TV that wouldn't fit into the current space, and they also wanted to add some upgrades to the cabinet. Their home is a New England colonial style, filled with 18th and 19th century American and English antiques and quality reproductions throughout. 

I have an extensive collection of reference books. In my collection is a book used by auction houses and antique dealers on Americana furniture. From that reference I was able to create the feeling and sense of design that would work with their home and how the furniture piece was to be used.

We decided to use mahogany. I went to one of my suppliers, who lets me go through the hundreds of boards he supplies so that I can match color and grain. I found some incredible matching boards with quilt, feather and ribbon grains, enough to build the whole piece. Since we make everything, including all mouldings and crown, even those were figured.

The finish is a aniline dye for most of the color, used for hundreds of years because it enhances the wood without covering it's natural beauty. I then applied a light glaze to highlight the details. We re-framed the opening for the larger cabinet and installed it. All the effort from design, construction, finishing and installation done in my shop was well worth it. It turned out to be a truly beautiful piece.


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. 


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