This was a small job with a big impact: open shelving for a chef who was updating her kitchen. Let's start with the glamour photo so you can see what we made for our customer.
We actually built these a few months ago, but we've been waiting to get a photo of the finished kitchen.
Check out the "before" photo. Wow, those cabinets sure are orange!
Our client was already remodeling when she called us. She had installed a new tile backsplash and was about to paint her kitchen cabinets.
She also wanted to expand the kitchen peninsula to include an end unit that would hold small appliances like her stand mixer. Since she couldn't find what she needed online, she had us build the custom piece which you can see above.
Soon after we installed the cabinet, she replaced the countertop with a larger slab that extended over the new shelves.
As you can see, the kitchen also lacked open storage for spices and ingredients, which is important when you need to quickly grab a pinch of something to spice up a recipe.
We worked together to design a wall unit that was just deep enough to hold a row of Mason jars, but not so deep that it would get in the way when people walked through the room.
It was still summer time when we built these, so we took advantage of the sunny weather and worked outside.
Faith recorded a video of me making the final touches to the cabinet finish. This is the difference between custom made furniture and the stuff you get from a factory: I personally go over every surface to make sure the finish is perfectly smooth and all of the joints are seamless.
Even in a closeup photo, you can't see any seams at the joints. It's one solid unit.
If you need a special storage unit and you just can't find what you need online, we can design and build a piece that's just right for your home.
Remember the plans for the inglenook fireplace benches we showed off last week? They're all done, and they look great.
As you may remember from our last post, the home had an original Craftsman-style fireplace, but the benches on either side had been removed. The space looked forlorn without them.
We drew up a plan for new benches with a stepped-in trim detail to mimic the fireplace. Our 3D design was very helpful to the homeowner. It helped her visualize what she wanted, and she made a few minor changes to the height and depth of the piece.
The new benches integrate seamlessly with the home, and they look like they've always been there. You couldn't get this from store-bought furniture.
It was a pleasure to restore this stately fireplace to its original glory.
If you'd like to have a pair of fireside benches in your home, please drop us a line. We'll be happy to design something that looks like it belongs there.
This may be the perfect post to get yourself in the mood for autumn.
This week I'm starting a new project in a beautiful Craftsman-style home here in Asheville. Like many houses of this era, it has a big fireplace set into an inglenook.
I'd never heard of an inglenook til now, so how about a little history?
In the earliest days of architecture, fires were built in the middle of the room and the smoke just filtered out through the windows or vents in the roof. This is still the tradition in some Japanese country estates.
In the Western world, fireplaces were eventually pushed up against the wall and chimneys were added over them for better ventilation.
Thus began the tradition of the "inglenook." You can still find them in British homes, although nowadays the fire is often contained within a stove.
As time went on, inglenooks became more elaborate. They often included built-in seating. This was the central hub of the home, a place to cook food, care for a sick lamb, heat water for laundry, or just gather around the fire and tell stories.
Then as building techniques improved and homes became less drafty, inglenooks became less enclosed, with just a few columns to mark the separation from the rest of the room.
Eventually they fell out of fashion and were replaced by parlor fireplaces.
From time to time, inglenooks are revived by architects who appreciate them as a cozy place for a family to gather. A notable example is this streamlined version in Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House. The tall backs of the chairs create the "nook," and you can also sit on the edge of the sunken hearth.
Craftsman architects also favored the inglenook. My client's Craftsman-era home has a big arched nook with a brick fireplace. She believes there were once benches in the niches on each side, but sadly they have been removed.
Our plan is to install new built-in seating with a flip-top lid on each bench for hidden storage. Here's the 3D mockup which Faith drew for her.
I'm planning to paint the seats to match the brick, and I'll also match the height of the trim at the bottom so everything will be cohesive.
You don't have to have a Craftsman-style home to have an inglenook. I've built similar storage benches in other homes. The version below has drawers for easier access to the items within.
So if your home could use a cozy place to relax, give us a call. We'll help you design something that suits your style.
I'm Arthur Teel, a craftsman who builds custom furniture in Asheville, North Carolina. Give me a call to talk about your next project!