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My article in Fine Wood Working Magazine

fww cover

A year ago I was approached by Fine Wood Working magazine to write an article about tambour doors. It's now on the streets in the latest issue. I built the cabinet below for the article and the editor came out to the shop for the photo shoot back in the early summer. 

tambour cabinet

tambour cabinet open

fww article

You can see another recent publication that featured my work here.

Designing a custom media cabinet

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I designed and built this custom media cabinet for the client of an interior decorator in Santa Fe. The way the design process went is a perfect example of how I like to design pieces of custom furniture. When I first met with the decorator to talk about what the piece should look like, she grabbed a pencil, did this sketch and said that this was what she wanted it to look like.

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Bespoke: Furniture from 101 International Artists

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I was recently featured in E. Ashley Rooney's book "Bespoke: Furniture from 101 International Artists". There's some pretty nice stuff in it from furniture artists around the world. You can get a copy at Amazon.

"A reaction to the disposable, mass-produced furniture born of the Industrial Revolution, custom designed studio and bespoke furniture has been around for many decades. Those who appreciate handcrafted excellence find this furniture adds richness and texture to interior design. This is substantial furniture that provides a satisfying visual and tactile impact. The experienced artisans who produce these useful works of art add handcrafted beauty to every piece. One hundred one artisans' works are presented here from throughout the United States and around the world. Over 640 brilliant color photos reveal the unique and useful art objects each artisan creates to the readers. The engrossing text introduces readers to each of the artisans and their intentions. Readers will also find contact information for the artisans, their studios, and galleries. Three experts, Gary Inman, Thomas Throop, and Lewis Wexler, also contributed to the text."

Designing the Shark Tank marquetry cabinet

                   shark tank photo

Some of my clients have a pretty good idea of what they want their piece of custom furniture to look like, but not many. Usually they have a hint of an idea. And an approximate size. The client I built this cabinet for has always just told me that they wanted something in a particular space and then waited to see what I proposed. As I got to know them over the years I came to realize that they had pretty ecclectic taste and some pretty interesting artwork in their home. In this case they had a 9' long hammerhead shark that had been completely covered in beads by the artist Kathy Honea and they wanted a piece of furniture to go under it. Okee dokie. I'll see what I can come up with.........

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Tambour door credenza

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My client needed a credenza for their living room and they had a picture that they had pulled out of a magazine for inspiration. "I don't know why we're showing this to you, because we don't really like it. The color is too dark, the shape is too boxy.... I guess we sort of like these shelves that stick out from the sides". I wish I still had that picture; it shows a perfect example of learning a lot about what a client wants by what they don't want. In this case I knew that they didn't want dark and they didn't want it to be too square. They also told me that they wanted storage. Something that could be used for display as well as for tucking things away. I suggested that tambour doors might be a good way to go since they could be left partly open to display what they wanted to show while hiding the other stuff and since the tambour doors slide to the side and hide in the cabinet itself, they don't stick out into the room when left open. I suggested maple heartwood for the case because it is light in color but not stark white, and curly maple for the doors to give the tambours some sparkle.

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Designing a pair of carved doors

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 When I'm working with my clients I like to really personalize the design based on input from them. This pair of doors for a client in Santa Fe are a perfect example of that collaboration. The client only had a limited idea of what she wanted her doors to look like. She knew that she wanted some carving and that she wanted a tight fit to keep sound from traveling between her home office and the activity in the rest of the house. To keep the sound transfer to a minimum we decided to make the panels a full 1 3/4" thick and make the fit to the floor as small as possible. 

When it came to design the carving we spent a little time looking at and talking about different options. She thought a round, somewhat floral look would be nice. That made her think of a detail that she had seen on a picture that she had of a medallian on a headband. For me this is what custom design is all about. A little detail from a picture, or a clipping from a magazine can become the basis for some of the detailing on a custom piece. 

Read more: Designing a pair of carved doors