Whenever I deliver work, I will often tell clients that the first time they see it completed will be the "worst" that it will look, under the logic that, with time, the color and visual depth of the wood will only improve. If that is true for most woods, cherry stands out as one that takes years (or at least many months) to really develop its full depth. With a good quality oil or wax based finish and no stain, cherry will develop a rich red-burnt brown color on its own. For this kitchen, the client wanted the final color to be less dark than a natural finished cherry, and to be orange without being identifiably orange.
Saylor Painting worked up an array of samples, and we decided on a finish that started with a deep yellow dye-stain, followed by a more orange-brown pigmented stain, and topped with a couple coats of water-based lacquer. This method yielded a bright red, orange-but-not-orange, tone. With the water-based lacquers, which tend to have somewhat less depth of color and luster versus their solvent-based cousins, it is especially difficult to achieve a deeply toned color to the wood; but Saylor really made nice work of it.
The south facing wall of this kitchen is framed by two sets of corner windows that shower the space with natural light; and now that the cabinets have been in place for nearly a year and the color has developed, the wood simply glows. Aside from the stain on the cabinets, I can claim no responsibility for the color scheme in the kitchen; and all that credit goes to the client. The combination of creamy walls with the black granite counters and the black, white, and grey glass tile backsplash allow for the cabinets to really stand out.
A set of three pull-out pantry cabinets were a solution to the problem of limited wall space, as there was no feasible location for a large wall pantry cabinet. (There was little available space for upper cabinets, perhaps the downside of two corner window sets, two passages to adjacent rooms, an outside door, and a pass through, all in a modestly sized kitchen). In base cabinets, items stored towards the back are often forgotten, or at least can be frustrating to access; and, the pull-out pantries bring the storage out into the open for easier access.
The kitchen island (pictured below) functions as a work space, prep area, and central location to mix, pour, and sample a well deserved cocktail. Plus, the storage underneath is perfect for larger cookware that usually clutters a standard sized lower cabinet.
Larry of Nova Woodworks made the butcher block top. He has the machines (most notably, the dual head wide belt sander) to handle a larger, 36" wide top; and besides the basic dimensions, my only instructions to Larry were that the client wanted a maple butcher block with a cherry "rally" stripe. She was thrilled with the top, especially with the matching cutting board that Larry made (for fun) with some of the off-cuts. Butchen block counter tops are another one of those things that get better with age, and it is all the spills, stains, scratches, and scuffs that create a patina and improve the appearence.
Parts of two new faculty offices that were conveniently just a couple doors down from one another, both in Oregon white oak. The offices were recently renovated; and the two new faculty occupants were in need of space efficient cabinetry and furniture that provided good function without taking up valuable floor space. Offices on campus are typically small (the larger of the two measures about 14' x 14'), especially in the aged Condon Hall, where offices were chopped up and made into even more offices.
In the first office, bookcases with built-in space for a fridge, small counter with room for a tea kettle and accoutrements, and a microwave (not pictured); and a small Prairie-inspired meeting table and set of three chairs of white oak with a Polyx Oil finish. Osmo Polyx Oil is a low-VOC, hand applied finish made from plant-based oils and waxes, and has become my favorite to use on most furniture and some cabinetry. It soaks into the grain and dries hard, creating a durable finish that brings out woods natural beauty. Plus, it is apparently approved for use on children's toys in Germany, so if German kinder can chew on it, then what more reason do I need?
With chairs, so much of the effort is spent setting up each operation during the building process. Even with a fairly simple chair design, as these were, each chair part needs to be touched eight or ten or twelve or more times just to get it ready for assembly. And with so much time spent on the set up, rather than making three, I made ten. (Plus, I needed new chairs for the kitchen, because the several times reglued and reupholstered hand-me-down dining room chairs were just about spent).
In the second office, the client wanted space for books, a locking drawer, and places to set photos and plants. In order to keep the cabinet from being too dominant in the office, I staggered the heights of the sections and left plenty of space around the window. (The office has nearly 12' ceilings, which is two feet taller than the office is wide, so if the cabinet were too tall it would quickly diminish the light scattered by the upper walls and cause it to feel more closed in).