... ESPECIALLY if you already love white rooms.
But before I show it off, allow me a quick comment. In the past decade or so we've seen a lot of people paint their furniture, especially those who prefer airy, contemporary rooms in a neutral palette. And don't get me wrong... I love painted furniture and some of my favorite projects have been painted plain white.
But dark, rich brown wood has its place in light-colored rooms. It makes a beautiful foil against the white walls, and it can have complex grains which bring texture and interest to what would otherwise be a bland space.
Walnut is one of my favorite dark woods. It's got a chocolatey purple undertone and a grain pattern which, while subtle compared to oak, can often include arched patterns that add an Art Deco touch.
Case in point: our latest project.
A custom built-in AV cabinet in a bright, contemporary living room.
Or do you like it better without doors?
It's really hard to capture the beauty of this wood in a photograph, because grain patterns move with the light. They glimmer and shimmer.
But here's my best attempt:
There's a satiny ribbon effect that really catches the eye.
By the way, the shelves are adjustable in height to allow you to store larger items like stereo equipment or a hidden TV. I love the versatility of this piece. It could be a pantry, a clothes closet, a display case... you name it.
And it's eight feet tall and four feet wide, so it's much more substantial in real life.
If you've got a modern room that needs a little architectural interest, give us a call. We'll help you design a piece that changes your space... and lets you store all your stuff out of sight... so you can live a clutter-free, stress-free life.
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 can't resist starting with the "After" on this one.
My latest customers called me soon after they bought a relatively new home here in Asheville. It was in one of the nicer subdivisions, and the builders included a beautiful fireplace with an empty niche next to it.
It can be tricky to find the right piece of furniture for little nooks like these. The prior owners had used a large armoire which was too bulky and dark for the room.
My customer's choice of pre-fab shelves was a little less overwhelming, but it didn't offer much storage.
We worked together to design a simple built-in entertainment center with cupboard doors that could hide the kids' toys.
Above the doors, we added two semi-floating shelves for books and decorative objects. Then we painted the whole unit to match the trim.
The end result is probably what the architects had in mind when they left that empty space.
I did most of the construction in my workshop...
... which minimized the disruption for the homeowners.
The doors were handmade for the unit to ensure a perfect fit. I used oak stiles to resist warping and twisting.
The upper shelves were made with a double thickness of plywood to resist sagging. This is a big difference between handmade shelving and the mass-produced stuff: a factory made piece might be built with thinner material.
The final piece looks like it was built with the house.
The homeowners also had us repaint the room in a light, fresh gray which coordinates beautifully with the white cabinet and mantel.
If you've got an empty niche and need a place to hide your AV equipment (or your kids' toys) give us a call. We'll be glad to help you design a custom storage solution that's right for you needs.
I'm Arthur Teel, a craftsman who builds custom furniture in Asheville, North Carolina. Give me a call to talk about your next project!