This room was a leftover space between the basement family room and the garage. It had been used for general storage but it was a lot of clumsy space that was not being well utilized. The new owners of the home had just retired from a long and auspicious career and wanted a quiet space removed from the main traffic of the house to enjoy their art and gratefully display memories from their storied lives. They wanted the walls lined with wood display and paneling. The challenge was to keep the skinny, low ceilinged room from closing in and feeling cramped and claustrophobic while still achieving the customer’s goals.
We achieved our goal by creating an illusion that the viewer felt they were in a larger room by making the scale of the cabinetry proportional and substantially smaller than what one would normally expect. They still support the required function but they sit back closer to the walls with the base cabinets much shorter than normal. Lighting the interiors of the upper cabinets was also important to allow the viewer to “feel” the space to its extents.
The room is constructed from sustainably harvested Honduras Mahogany with crotch mahogany door panels, redwood burl and sapele accents.The transverse, curved display columns provided four very strong anchor points for the room but, since they were hollow and well lit with glass shelves, they retained a light feeling.
All of the wall paneling in the room is referred to as “fielded” paneling. We wanted the solid feel of a raised panel but a solid panel as wide as would have been required would have failed almost immediately due to seasonal movement. The solution was to miter band a stable mdf center field with mahogany, lay on veneers front and back to make a stable, balanced panel, then machine the perimeter making certain the mitered banding and the exterior machining lined up at the miters. It represents a good deal of effort but creates a solution that will last for generations.
So much detail in modern woodworking is done by CNC (computer numerically controlled) routers. They put out a lot of product and can make many exact copies but they convey a distant, mechanical, repetitive effect in addition to making evident the limits of its ability. Drawing the points of the carved diamonds out to their fullest, sharpest extents is evidence of a fine human hand. The CNC router is not competent to achieve that effect. The differences are subtle, but in the aggregate it becomes overwhelmingly clear when you are viewing the work of highly skilled and caring human hands over the inattentive, though technically precise, result of a CNC. The statement by D.H. Lawrence is even more poignant now than when he originally wrote it:
“Things men (and women) have made with wakened hands, and put soft life into
Are awake through years with transferred touch, and go on glowing
For long years And for this reason, some old things are lovely Warm still with the life of forgotten men (and women) who made them.” -D. H. Lawrence
We strive hard to imbue our work, your home, with care and even affection.
This library was installed by Mt. Rainier Woodworking, Jaime Oberg and crew. Their work can’t be surpassed.
The finish was done by Elliott Paint Co. Inc. 206-241-6267. Such excellent work; we couldn’t be happier. And, they’re a pleasure to work with.