Entries in Kitchen (7)


A Santa Barbara Kitchen, in the English style

This beautiful home in Santa Barbara along the ocean cliffs and facing the Channel Islands is an inspiration of how a remodel should be done. That is to say, take your time and do it right and get what you want. My clients owned the home for many years along with other homes and decided this is where they wanted to retire. Santa Barbara has a great climate year round and the home is on an incredible location, sitting on a gentle bluff with the Pacific ocean as their backyard. 

The house is decidedly English, filled with antiques collected over the years. So we designed the kitchen accordingly, with various elements reflecting the spectrum of their antiques. The kitchen is also designed for someone who enjoys cooking and really uses the space, as my clients do, with different pull-outs, counter space, and storage where it's needed most.

The majority of the kitchen is painted with a very durable conversion varnish that is glazed, with a clear top coat to give depth to the finish, and hand-carved elements (not applied) in solid maple. The island is made of solid curly maple with curved doors and drawers and carved feet with an aniline dye that brings out the natural beauty of the grain and a clear conversion varnish finish. The corner cabinet is solid cherry with special moulding details, carved feet and leaded glass upper panels. We also made the pantry door with leaded glass. 

All in all, this kitchen is very unique and functional. It fits the uniqueness of the home and the people who live in it. 


Neo-Classic Kitchen in Del Mar, CA (and a rant about MDF!)

For some reason most woodworking companies have a different standard for kitchen cabinets than for other furniture and built in furniture. This evolving construction has led designers and homeowners to believe they are getting high-end quality construction when in fact the opposite is true. MDF (medium-density fibreboard or particle board) whether with a melamine, painted or wood veneer surface is not quality construction. It has no integral strength and does very poor around water, and anything made out of it will not last. You will never see anything made of MDF as an antique in the future. Woodworkers started making products out of it because it is the least expensive material you can get. Wood core plywood and solid woods are many times more durable than anything else, not to mention the beauty of solid woods. Quality construction furniture and built-ins last many generations.

Above and below are photo's of such a kitchen, made for a client of mine who really cared about quality for her custom home in Del Mar, CA. She enjoyed the feeling of being in rooms full of quality workmanship. The Neo-Classic kitchen is made of solid cherry and detailed in ebony. The curved cherry doors, door panels, drawers, and glass add dimension. The custom-made matching door and drawer pulls were all made in my shop. The wine and plate racks add functionality.

I wanted to add a bit of a nature theme to the kitchen so I added my artistic touches to some of the glass. There is a display cabinet with glass shelves and lighting and a glass cabinet door with Torry pine branches carved into the glass. In the breakfast nook I designed and built a cozy booth, and a table with a 1-1/2" thick glass table top. I carved deeply into the bottom of the glass Torry pine branches. Nature is one of my favorite subject matters to incorporate into my work, and by simply adding some hand-carved glass with tree branches, I achieved the look and feel that my client and I were striving for.

This is a kitchen that will get more beautiful with age and become a future antique for the next lucky homeowner who moves into this house.


Hand-Carved Refrigerator Door

I had just finished a rustic Spanish Colonial kitchen for a client in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, that had a lot of carved detailing on it. The detailing was large raised moulding, thick doors, and raised hand-carved panels, each one different with a light-colored distressed finish giving it an 18th-century look and feel. 

After we were done with the kitchen, the appliances were installed. Right in the middle of the kitchen was a large refrigerator that looked like it just didn't belong.

I met with the client and designer and they asked me what I could do to make it fit better with the kitchen. I said "Let's make the refrigerator the focal point, a piece of art right in the middle of the kitchen." I came up with the idea of a Spanish woman cooking in an 18th-century kitchen. I cut most of the existing handles off and modified the panel trim. The carved panels are almost 2-inches thick. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of the rest of the kitchen, it was done many years ago. But the carving on the refrigerator is definitely the pièce de résistance!


It's all in the Details

Hand carving is my specialty. I have been carving for over 40 years. There is nothing I like better than when a client requests their project be heavily carved and detailed, as it is really enjoyable for me to embellish a front entry door, piece of furniture, or cabinetry. But many times a client will request a subtle detail, something just for them, and nothing over the top. I enjoy that as well, because sometimes those little details complete the work and enhance it with a subtle charm. 

This is a mirror frame over a small powder room sink cabinet. The frame is very simple except for the dove I hand carved and attached to the top

Can you see the dog's head? When I designed and built this kitchen the client requested a little nook for her dog's food bowl. I came up with this idea and carved a little dog head to make it more special.

I carved little dolphins for this vanity's feet. They were on all the legs. No one but the client ever saw them, and they were a cheerful touch for her alone to enjoy.

The flying geese on this kitchen island may not be as understated as some of the other carvings, but they are tucked under the top. When you are standing in the kitchen, they are not quite so noticeable. They add a real flair to this Neo-Classical styled island, and are a fun surprise to discover.



A Country French Kitchen for a Rancho Santa Fe, California Home

I have made many French furniture pieces over the years but as a country French kitchen this kitchen is quite unique. The home in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, has country French architecture along with country French interior furnishings making it a good candidate for the authentic detailing I used in this kitchen. Country French kitchens have little built-in cabinet work. Instead they are composed of individual well-made free-standing furniture pieces, inherited or custom made.

I wanted my design to follow the lines of individual pieces of free-standing furniture, with the kitchen built around them. To get this effect, there must be diversity between the cabinets themselves.

These cabinets are made of solid pecan with variations in moulding details and different carved details that I hand carved into each piece (not applied as most cabinet makers do today). The finish is an aniline dye, it's then glazed for an aged look, with a hand-rubbed finish to complete the look. The hardware is made of iron and is all from France produced from original antique pieces. 

This kitchen, like it's predecessors, will one day become antiques because of the solid wood, the hand carving, the finishing techniques, the hardware, and the craftsmanship that went into designing and building this beautiful cabinetry. 

Hand-carved flowers and hummingbirds on cabinet over sink.

Hand-carved flowers on cabinet below sink

Close up of hand carving on cabinet below sink