The maple ApplePly and black walnut cabinet is adjacent to a kitchen and provides a variety of functions: shoe storage, device charging and storage, kitchen overflow, dog walking accouterments storage, and display space. The kitchen was designed by engage:ARCHITECTURE and had been completed in 2011, and it was important that the annex connect well with the kitchen. The clean lines of the mitrered ApplePly boxes contrast well with the inset black walnut doors and drawers (and accent white laminate drawer front). Push-to-open hardware negates the need for visible pulls and adds to the simple, unified look of the annex. The layout of the upper cabinets and glass shelves extend the skylight element and take advantage of the natural light.
After making the trip with me to pick out lumber for the table, the clients (recent retirees from the mid-west) remarked that Portlandia has more of a basis in reality than they realized. The book-matched western walnut pieces in the table top came from a farm near Peoria, and the western maple centerpiece from the eastern Coast Range. They joked, “can we visit where the tree grew”…was it a joke?…yes, it was a joke. We had been looking for something else for the table top; but then Clifford (http://curlyburlymilling.com/) showed us the book-matched sets of western walnut and they immediately knew it was right. By itself, the walnut set was too narrow for a dining table; and, the western maple centerpiece was a graceful way to incorporate the walnut into a larger top and preserved the book-matched effect. The trestle style base gives lightness to the large table (7’+ long) and complements the open, modern feel of the home.
This white oak desk was the final piece of a kitchen remodel, and functions as an informal place to listen to the radio, enjoy morning coffee or an afternoon cocktail, and be near the action in the kitchen. The remodel had been completed several years earlier; and before I became involved, the client worked the desk design through several iterations and created a fully functional mock up. Despite the detailed design provided by the client, I didn’t fully appreciate some elements of the design until I saw it in place; and I was merely a conduit for the vision of the client. The desk is perfectly scaled to the space, complements the aesthetic of the kitchen, and fits the vision for their completed kitchen.
The client had a vision of the design, and together we chiseled that down to a nicely proportioned king-sized bed that fits well within the space and complements the other furnishings– the bedroom has tall ceilings and furnishings that are relatively short, so the low slung design of the bed is well suited to the feel of the room. To me, the appeal of the design is in it’s simplicity and that the colors and textures of the woods are more complimentary than contrasting; and, the depth of color in the eastern cherry and fiddleback grain in the western maple collaborate beautifully.
Through tenons of any size are a challenge, and with legs more than three inches thick, both parts of the joint are problematic to cut. The mortise cut on the exposed face of the legs is even more critical because any irregularity in the mortise will be visible against the side of the tenon as it protrudes from the leg (while the shoulder of the rail on the inside leg face covers the perimeter of the mortise, so at least one side allows for a little buffer if the chisel operator happens to loose focus and make an errant cut). Because the legs are thicker than the mortise bit is long, the mortise had to be cut from both sides to bore all the way through. (Although, I imagine it would make sense to do it this way regardless, since the tear out of a mortising bit on the back side of a leg would be ragged). A few adjustments to get the mortise machine set square and true made the holes line up nicely. For the tenons, it took longer to build a jig capable of handling a 10″ wide tenon than it took to cut the tenons, but it was time well spent because the cuts were precise and the jig will be used again.
Wedges in the tenon ends provide for positive attachment between the legs and rails, and minimize the need for glue. Beds carry significant weight– weight that sometimes moves around rapidly– and it is distributed across only a few joints, so the mechanical strength provided by the wedge in a through tenon adds extra durability to an already strong joint. While test fitting all the pieces, I marked where the tenon protruded from the leg, and chamfered the ends with a chisel while disassembled. After the glue-up, it was quick to trim the wedges and touch up the exposed tenon end.
This western maple standing height desk was designed for a human, although consideration was also given to the dogs that often accompanied her to the office. From the perspective of the dogs, the desk is both something to lounge under and the place where treats are kept, the latter being a far more important design element. From the perspective of the human, it was important that the desk have efficient storage that was neither bulky nor cluttered, felt light, was of the scale of her office, and was made of something local and beautiful. In her words:
I want to tell you how happy I am to stand at this desk. It not only works as I hoped it would, but it’s REALLY beautiful, which makes me smile daily. Couldn’t ask for more. The dogs have become fully acquainted with the special dog treat section and now sit and stare at it, trying to will it open.Thanks for doing such a great job and being so easy to work with.
One of the larger projects to come out of the shop, this included cabinetry throughout the home as part of an extensive remodel. The house is set into a steep lot, and the remodel design by Nir Pearlson Architect took advantage of abundant natural light, and turned a challenging multilevel floor plan into a living space comfortable for day-to-day use that is also open and inviting for entertaining.
Dining room buffet-
Master bedroom wardrobe-
A design of David Schmitz, the wardrobe features a mixture of drawers, open shelves, and clothes hangers concealed behind cherry sliding doors. It was a minor miracle to have found a single piece of cherry for the bottom row of drawer faces (thank you Tree Products), and the continuity of the grain unifies the base of the wardrobe.
A bathroom remodel, designed by engage:ARCHITECTURE, that features mirrored medicine cabinets backlit by LED’s, and cherry vanity cabinet and tub panels. The lighting design is outstanding; and in addition to the visual element, the toe kick lights enhance nighttime accessibility by lighting the floor with a low-intensity source.
The steps are part of an entryway addition, designed by David Schmitz of engage:ARCHITECTURE. The upper step carries through into a bench seat with storage under the lid, and is a welcoming transition into the main living area of the home.
One of the owners previously owned a furniture gallery in Seattle, and a set of candlesticks had stayed with her through the years and remained an important part of their home. The mirrored pyramid design of the candlesticks were the inspiration for the hooks; and, are functional when guests hang their coats, and are otherwise a decorative addition to David’s vision and reflective of the clients aesthetic.
The client had been working on the conversion of a garden room into an insulated and heated art studio. The room would still retain the functions of garden tool storage and candle making area, but she also wanted a dedicated space for her multiple mediums of art and where supplies could be stored at close reach.
ApplePly, manufactured right here in Eugene, was an easy material choice. The eastern maple panel faces are perfect for slab doors and drawer fronts, and the uniform laminations make a distinctive exposed edge; and, without any need to face the edges, the cost savings helped keep the budget down. Osmo Polyx oil and wax finish brings out a warm glow in the maple, and creates a durable coating without the high VOC’s of most other finishes. Angle iron from the scrap yard was repurposed as drawer and door pulls, and the weathered steel texture is in subtle contrast to the ApplePly.
A western black walnut bed, inspired by elements of Roy McMakin’s bed for the Young residence. In particular, Ginger was drawn to the chamfered foot board corners, sturdy proportions, and overall clean design; and with nicely figured local walnut and a book-matched headboard, this has the imprint of the northwest.