By Faith Teel
Our latest project gives off those French Country vibes that Marie Antionette loved so much...
No, we didn't build that... it's Marie's famous watermill cottage at the Hameau de la Reine. We're just including it to set the tone. Because after all, it's the middle of winter, in the darkest days of the year, so why shouldn't we while away a little time looking at beautiful French Country and Tuscan houses in summertime?
It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.
Anyway, speaking of sunny Old-World style, we recently built a French Country banquette to match an elegant Asheville kitchen with European flair.
Well, most of the kitchen had flair. But this little dining nook wasn't quite big enough to suit the busy family that lives in this home. The floor plan didn't even allow for a fourth chair at the table, which was awkward since there were four family members.
Working with Elizabeth Rogers at Hannah Lowman Styling, we designed a cozy U-shaped banquette with a large bookshelf behind it to hold the homeowners' many cook books, as well as their wine racks and kitchen appliances.
The project would be faux finished with pin-striping to match the existing shelves and cabinets.
We started by building the benches, which were hollow, with flip-top lids to allow for lots of hidden storage. (This kitchen really needed more storage!)
Then we sourced custom trim pieces to match the trim on the cabinet doors. And tested out the cushion thickness... in case you're wondering, 3 inches is ideal for a seat cushion. Or two inches if you don't like a very smooshy banquette seat.
When we got to the site, we temporarily removed the window trim because the bookcase was such a tight fit. That's what makes the difference between custom and ready-made... a custom cabinet can be built to truly fit the room from wall to wall.
There was a ton of storage in these bench seats, and we included soft-close supports that really made them a pleasure to use.
And you can't see it in this photo, but the seat back on the right also folds down to allow access to the deep storage space under the shelves. That means there's lots of space for those rarely-used platters that you still want to be able to reach when you throw a party.
We found a beautiful flush-mount brass pull for the seat back. (It's these little details that count.) Here's a photo we snapped before the cabinet was finished. It's actually a bit weighty, almost like a door knocker.
The finished banquette looks like it was always a part of the kitchen. The homeowners are expecting to get the table and cushions in soon, and we can't wait to see how Elizabeth styled the room.
We've got lots more cool projects coming up in the New Year. If you saw our "Christmas card" email, you probably saw the blue bookshelves with the hidden door. But before we start that one, we're scheduled to build an elegant modern entertainment center with an electric fireplace... yet another project in the condos at 55 South Market Street in downtown Asheville.
So stay tuned, and don't touch that dial!
And if you've got an odd space in your kitchen that you don't quite know what to do with, give us a call. We'll turn it into an elegant space chock full of useful storage.
If your family loves to do paperwork (or homework) in the dining room, this is a great solution for keeping everything tidy.
At first glance it's a cozy built-in banquette... which is already really cool... but wait, there's more!
It opens up to reveal a hidden "secretary" desk where you can stash your papers and books.
We started by building the case in our studio. As you can see, the benches are also hollow, with flip-top lids to hide large objects. You could even hide a computer router in here, and stash the laptop behind the seat, to make a home office that's invisible when it's not in use.
The dining room we installed it in was fairly small...
...so the built-in banquette seating made efficient use of the space.
You may notice that there were a few changes to the design. For example, we added two doors to the back instead of one, and painted the bottom kick to match the baseboard. That's what sets custom furniture apart: the ability to customize it to your preferences.
With cushions and pillows, the built-in windowseat became a comfortable place to relax with a book and a mug of tea.
If you've got stuff all over the dining room table, this banquette could help you reclaim your eating area but still have a place to stash things out of site. Give us a call to get one for your home, so you can be beautifully organized.
We're starting a fun new project this week: built-in dining room banquette seating in a home in Montford.
Check out the interactive 3D model which we made for our customer. Click and drag to rotate it.
For those of you who can't load the model, here's a still picture:
The banquette is for a writer who loves to do her work in coffee shops and would like to have a similar set-up at home.
This is the first draft, and the final version will have a few small changes. One feature which we're definitely going to include is a hidden fold-out "secretary" on the back to hold books and papers when they're not in use.
The seats will also have flip-top storage which will be perfect for larger items such as blankets or wifi equipment.
The extra storage allows this dining room to double as a home office, and it will also be a great place for our customer to meet clients.
If you have a room that needs to serve several functions, custom furniture may be the best option to maximize storage and get exactly what you're looking for.
I'm Arthur Teel, a craftsman who builds custom furniture in Asheville, North Carolina. Give me a call to talk about your next project!