You might think it’s unheard of that a cabinetmaker would choose FEWER cabinets and woodwork in a room, but we are indeed first subject to good design; that which is artful and in service of the homeowner’s needs and desires.
The new 2014 owner of this 1990s home brought with them a large collection of original Canadian Landscape painting; filled with color and activity. Our goal, in addition to adding light to the room, was to create clear, open wall space with a foundation of woodwork below that let the paintings take main stage. There is a nice view of Puget Sound out the right window that was largely obscured..so let’s see the view.
To create a strong foundation with enough low weight for the height of the wall we more or less sculpted this mantel from solid blocks of anigre. We included maple burl accents that reference other primary locations throughout the home. To make this piece as central as the living room fireplace deserves we used the house theme of an on point square, but made it an interlocking tryptic of squares with the center one being patinated brass. That black patina referenced the exposed “butt” hinges and knobs around the house as well as signifying the centrality of this location.
With the modern metal fireboxes it can take a good bit of maneuvering to hide the 22″ depth required by most manufacturers. If it is left exposed it leaves a terribly blocky look. Without full height bookcases to the left and right to hide the required depth for the firebox we achieved the necessary depth with a combination of pushing the firebox into the existing wall cavity and reframing the face of the wall out enough to show a classic mantel depth. This resulted in a pleasingly deep window well and doorway. With the deeper window cavity we risked losing some of the lovely view we had just gained so we increased the width of the window liner and casement molding resulting in a stepped effect and maintained the angle of view to the Sound.