Sunday, December 30, 2012

a custom walnut sideboard

well, we're coming down the home stretch on this one ... it's walnut, and sam is nearly finished welding and polishing the steel base the photos to enlarge them ..
 all done   1/15 ... off to long island
 here's the story ..
we started with the client's very detailed drawing with measurements that she kindly sent to start the dialog ... most folks are not this organized.
after putting it into my cad program, we made a few changes to get things under budgetary control and ended up with the elevation below.  the piece will have a stone top and a steel base,
here it is, early on,with the box defined, the runners in and the face frame on.
here, the drawers and doors are fitted up ... the client did not like our choice of crotch walnut veneer and so, will made a new pair of doors with calmer grain ... no problem.  that's why we send photos ...

it's in the finish process now.  the base is complete, and we'll put it all together next week.

there will be a wine rack in the center drawer, and room for other bar bottles stored vertically in a pull out drawer behind the center doors.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 slide show

12/31 ... should be good now ...

12/30/12   ok ... we'll try it again ... i'm not that hip, but it seems like the slide show is in two places.  one is on my computer.  the link i had before may be to my picasa account and not the public one ... please let me know if the new links below work ... thanks !  happy new year ...

12/29/12  i had some comments that my link below wasn't working ... seems fine to me, but if you still have trouble, click the (NEW) link and see what happens ... who knows?  'technology. it almost works.'

don't forget the button to start it ...

above is a page of photos from our slide show of some of the pieces we completed in 2012.  here's a link to view the 2012 slide show.  once the window opens hit the 'slideshow' button in the top left hand corner and then you can click through them as quickly or as slowly as you like top speed, it takes about 2 minutes.  all of the photos in this slideshow have corresponding posts about them somewhere in the 2012 section of the blog ...
i have created slide shows for other years in the past.  here's a link that tells you how you can do it.

and here are convenient links to the other years ..

2011 slide show link here
2010 slide show link here
2009 slide show link here
see all our public photo albums at this link.  THOUSANDS OF PICTURES

Saturday, December 22, 2012

showerhenge ... forgotten rules of architecture

one of the often overlooked rules of architecture is to "always site your house so that the sun shines into the shower on the winter solstice".  like stonehenge, this lets you know exactly when the days will be getting longer.  this rule was even overlooked, as far as i know, by famous architectural idea organizers like christopher alexander.   in his famous book, 'a pattern language'  which is one of my favorites, he describes a set of "design patterns" that can be used to solve complex problems.  the wikipedia link above describes the book, and you might want to check it out if you're about to design a new place to live or work or are just interested in organizing your design thoughts.  it's a good one.

for our house, the rediscovery of this important rule was a happy accident of house positioning that i have enjoyed every morning the sun comes out around the time of the winter solstice.  i was lucky today.  the world did not end, the sun shone at least briefly while i was showering, and the days will soon be getting longer.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

phillip johnson builds a gingerbread house

well, i really wasn't trying to copy his glass house.  kit just asked me if i wanted to make a gingerbread house, and, if i did, what kind of walls did i need.  over the last 20 years or so, we have made a few basic styles, but this year i thought i would go just a little outside the box and do something a little more 'modern'.  click the photos to enlarge them ...
i had to have some gingerbread so i started with a rectangular back wall with two large windows above the 'kitchen cabinets'.
and then i made an end wall and a door wall with pieces of pine and saran wrap.  at about that point, phillip johnson came to mind and i frittered away more than a couple hours painting my interior walls, building some simple kitchen cabinets, an actual leather covered couch and a spalted maple coffee table.  i even stuck two andy warhol stamps on the walls for paintings.  it was a rainy saturday, ok?

i don't see any majestic wood stoves in the images above, but when i started fooling with the big gumdrops, i just couldn't resist thinking about them ...i remeber them from the 70's ...
there it is below, in the front left hand corner.  if you blow up the picture, (click it) you can see the couch and the coffee table lurking against the far wall.
 all in all, a fun time was had by all, and we got our quota of houses built and bottles of champagne drunk.
 you can see the typical concentration level required in the photo below.

 i've got one or two more posts in the works and i may get to them before christmas since it will be a four day weekend, but if not, you all have a fine holiday season ...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

road trip ... pool table installation

 will and i took a nice road trip today to sugarbush ski area in warren, to install the reclaimed post and beam pool table we finished last week.  it was a beautiful, sunny two hour drive, over brandon gap in the national forest, and up route 100 to warren, vermont. 
 the house had an easy, back door access and the installation went off without a hitch.  here's a link to a video of the table in action, with me missing some easy shots so you can see how the cushions work.  ha ha ... i'm liking the video thing as you can now see a little bit how the table plays and sounds.  i think i will try to do some other videos on a couple of the local tables we have built over the years.
we installed this table on a polished concrete floor that was absolutely, 100 %, perfectly level.  never saw anything like it before.  it was a welcome change from the last table we installed, where the floor was about 1/2" out of level from one end to the other. 
 it was a very nice, lower level room with great light, easy access and the tv was already installed.
 after truing up the edges of the slates with very thin index card shims, will bondoed the cracks before we stretched the felt.
 a little pocket trimming and some leather liners ...
 and it was time to rack 'em up.    
we had a couple of job site labs to help us out and keep us company ... good dogs...
the cue rack installation was easy ..
the house was beautiful and almost finished
 there was no snow, but the mountain looked steep and challenging, and they were trying ... all the guns were blowing snow, but it still looked pretty thin.  one of the carpenters said 'they're grooming the same four inches for the last two weeks'.
 on both legs of the trip, we passed the very scenic moss glen falls, around granville, on route 100.
sunset coming down brandon gap the other way ... home by 5:00 ...

Friday, December 7, 2012

a few case pieces

i'm on a quest to salvage some digital images from my many 4 x 5 transparencies that i had professionally captured by my friend cook neilson over the first 20 years of my business.  i'm currently at the beginning of the process and it will take a while to get them all up here, but it's certainly a nostalgic process.  click the photos to enlarge them ...

i'm using a crude device of my own design along with a sunny day and my nikon d90 camera on a tripod to digitize these things.  i have tried scanning (expensive and not hat good in the past) and scanning prints, also not that good.  these images aren't certainly as good as the transparencies, but unless i want to spend a ton of dough with a real professional scanner, i think, for now, they are 'good enough'.

 here we have a piece of our greene and greene influenced work. it is from the same era as the tapered piece above, the late 80s, early 90s.  cherry and cherry, greene and greeney, without being a reproduction.  'in the style of', so to speak.
this design was influenced by a client supplied photo of a tall piece by c.r. ashbee ... an english architect.  also in my interpretation of the 'arts and crafts' style.
this piece, tapered on all four sides, in curly redwood and curly hard maple was part of a bedroom for a pennsylvania client.  i am currently looking for an on site, high resolution photo of the bed that went with these two pieces.  it was one of our more powerful and unusual beds.
the double bureau, in the same pallete
a variant of the above, for a different client.  mother of pearl snowflake inlays
one of our early bureaus.  the design was a collaboration with a client and actually, the others above are derivatives of this same structure.  'take an object; do something to it'.

ok, i know these aren't 'case pieces', but i had to build these two tables, strict reproductions of a federal card table in the clark art museum in williamstown, massachusetts, before i could get to the two case pieces below.  these tables were, i would have to say, pretty challenging. 

so, we strip the style down, use the same stained mahogany and light wood palette, and add a bunch of those little string inlays on the case frame.  'modern federal'
  mahogany, curly maple, rosewood, ebony, the works, in a traditional arrangement.
ok, crazy time ... this one could be with the sideboards, but, it was for the client's bedroom, to hold a tv and the related electronic stuff and display a few 'objects d'arte'.  what you can't see in this photo are the tapered turned legs that are covered with hammered sheet copper that match the shop made hammered copper door pulls.  love the curly redwood veneer and the rosewood combined with the birdseye.  where are those adventurous clients who are not afraid to commission a challenging piece these days.  there were certainly a LOT more of them in the late 80's and 90s than there have been in the last 5 years.  people in general, imho, are not taking the same chances that they were 'back in the old days'.
and i marvel at this one.  1983.  how did we do that ????  first, your friends at mother myrick's have to trust you, and trust that you can pull it off, and pay you to figure it all out.  as i recall, we had a snapshot of a candy store in the airport in chicago, a very rough section drawing by a local architect, and a couple days of air sketching that led to a full size mockup of the section drawing and some plywood templates.  it was 46' around it, with 3 pairs of matching sections, a long straight section, the piece with the angled glass with a straight section attached to that, and the rounded ends with the step backed shelves.  curves, brass, lights, glass, wires, mirrors, plumbing....  i wish i could find the progress photos, if there even ever were any. 
mother myrick's moved a few years ago and we cut 'the island' as it was affectionately known, apart, changed the angles, and reassembled it in it's new home.  wow, is about all i can say.

going back through this old stuff is kind of interesting.  more below ...
a pennsylvania dutch style kas cabinet, whose design was strongly influenced by a photo on the cover of a sotheby's auction catalog.  as i recall, it was about 60" wide and 7' tall, and knocked down in the traditional manner: base with feet, two side panels, back,two doors, and top cornice piece.
on site
stained cherry, reclaimed wavy glass, in the lobby of the dorset inn for about 15 years.
a very fun corner tv cabinet with lots of inlays and fine rosewood details
a quartered sycamore double dresser with hand forged hardware and paint

these pieces were all made at the same time for a new york apartment.  hickory, wenge veneer plywood, and shop made steel bases.
there is a very early blog post with more photos at this link
 an art deco style macassar ebony and mother of pearl cabinet by will (case) and trevor (inlay)
 click the photos to enlarge them ... more images and process photos about this piece here.