A slender bookcase of big leaf maple from Urban Lumber with black walnut accents and black-oxidized steel side panels. The side panels were designed by the client and were, in part, inspired by a balcony railing in the home (coincidentally, the only place from which the homeowners can see the wonderfully figured top of the six-foot plus high bookcase).
I researched kitchen science methods of oxidizing steel, and tried a few concoctions containing some combination of salt, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, and home brewed ale (to fuel the science). The home brew was good, the science was faulty. Or more accurately, the kitchen science methods were not going to work on my time line. I was surprised to eventually find a solution to oxidizing the panels from a local gun dealer. But, not surprisingly, they don’t get many requests from customers about how to oxidize something that does not fire bullets; but they did have options and good advice. The side panels were oxidized using “gun blue”, a process which initially created an uneven blue-grey haze, but four applications yielded a even dark grey-blue patina to the steel. The contrast between the matte textured steel and the highly figured big leaf maple is what really makes this piece stand out.
On the final day of the install, I sent to the homeowner a text photo of water running in her new sink, and she replied that she regarded clean, hot running water as one of the great hallmarks of human civilization and that she was happy to, once again, be part of that tradition.
Installation of the mixed Paperstone and maple butcher-block counters only took a couple days, but during the preceding several months, the old faucet had progressively declined until it only provided a mere trickle. The original counters were tile that still looked and functioned great, despite decades of wear; but the original cast iron undermount sink had been the victim of an unfortunate resurfacing job, and its time had finally come. Because of the age of the tile, it would have been near impossible to replace the sink and patch the tile so that it would look like a plausible match. (A few years previous I added a new section of matching cabinets to the kitchen, and because it was located on an opposite wall we were able to get away with using an imperfect match for the backsplash tile; but it would be nowhere near close enough for a side-by-side patch). In addition to all of that, the space behind the sink was too narrow to allow a faucet to fully function; so the old tile counters had to go.
We chose Paperstone for the sink section because of its resistance to water, durability, and sustainability; and maple butcher block for the "wing" sections because it matched existing butcher block in another section of the kitchen, and it balanced the muted, black texture of the Paperstone. The asymetric shape of the stainless steel undermount sink allowed for the faucet to be placed slightly further forward so that it fully functioned and had plenty of space to operate. Aside from fabricating a couple small tile patches from pieces of the old counter, the tile backsplash was left alone and works quite well with the considerably more modern counters and plumbing fixtures.
A mere splinter of a once-towering tree, the base for this Douglas Fir and Bigleaf Maple coffee table is a remnant of "Doug ". Doug was a 420 year old, 6'+ diameter slab of salvaged Douglas Fir that had traveled more than 30,000 miles as part of the Ancient Forest Roadshow. Doug met thousands of people along its journey and was a tangible reminder of the threats to the last remaining ancient forests. This coffee table was auctioned at the 9th Annual Wonderland Auction to benefit Cascadia Wildlands.
It may have taken more than four centuries to grow, but after only a few years traveling on a trailer for the roadshow, the massive slab had begun to show the wear of being exposed to the elements. When I first heard Doug was to be decommissioned, I had a grand vision of making a meeting table of the massive slab. As we began to remove it from the trailer it quickly became clear that the slab would not hold together, and we focused on salvaging the most sound sections. These pieces were quite hefty, although their mass did not translate into strength, and I worried if I milled them too thin that they would further fall apart. For the coffee table, I used the fraction of Doug as the base and incorporated a slab of big leaf maple, keyed into the face.