Zinc

Zinc is a naturally anti-bacterial counter and tabletop cladding.  It has been popular for these uses in Europe for scores of years.  In recent years it has caught on in America I think more for it's look than it's function.  In use zinc reacts with acids to form what some might consider discoloration but the modern sensibility sees this patina as something authentic and beautiful.  

My client presented me with a photograph of a zinc table that was, I thought, rather amateurishly distressed.  Together we designed a table that would fit well in her large kitchen and present itself with dignity and class befitting the elegant old house in which it was to reside.  

We decided to start with an un-distressed surface and let her table age and discolor in a way that reflected it's use as the centerpiece for regular gatherings.

As a classically trained furniture designer I presented a 19th century embellishment of swags of brass tacks to dress up what might have otherwise been just a utilitarian look. 

Gustavian Furniture

A new client admired a Swedish Gustavian cupboard that she found online.  She needed something similar in design but with a couple of significant changes including the color.  Designing and drawing the new piece was easy.  The hard part was to get the old faded paint just right. My belief is that much of the antique Gustavian furniture sold in this country has a new finish on it that only looks old.  I set about to replicate this finish.  To her credit, my client and her decorator reviewed the 20 or 30 samples that I produced our the way to a new/old finish that we all found quite pleasing.  See what you think.

Patina

Usually my commissions are for new looking furniture. Traditional or Modern in design but with fresh new surfaces and a finish straight from the hand and shop of the maker. This piece was a copy of an antique table recently sold at auction. The owner wanted the new table to mirror the aged condition of the antique.

Copying the table was fun. Getting the sweep of the leg right took three fine tuning revisions of the original drawing. Shopping for just the right marble was an adventure that led me to some new sources for both the stone and the fabrication. But the most fun was creating an old look. This involved finishing the table, removing most of the finish, crating signs of wear and refinishing over it all. My tool kit for that consisted of various "tools" for rubbing, nicking, scratching and denting the wood in just the right ways to replicate two hundred years of use. My favorite and most useful tool was an old rock I chose from the forest. The rock had many different textures and shapes that could be pushed, dragged, rolled or hit against the table "just so". Other "tools" were materials in the form of stains, glazes, dust, dirt and tar. Finally a selection of clear and colored shellacs applied by pad, spray and brush followed by dulling wax and steel wool sealed the deal.

I think the results are quite good. Have a look and see what you think.

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Oldgate

What you see here is my restoration of the famous "Oldgate" in Farmington, Connecticut. Theodore Roosevelt walked through the original when visiting his sister here. Though an unusual commission for me, it really is just a larger, outdoor version of a swan's neck pediment found on many a high style 18th C. highboy or breakfront. The fretwork door shows the Chinese influence popular in the colonies at that time. This gate had been rebuilt at least once before, but still retained some of its 18th Century parts and hardware. We were able to preserve almost all of the gate which is beautifully dovetailed together. The pediment and urn had to be replaced but we were able to reuse the carved "five winds" medallions.

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Home Office

This piece needed to be different from the antique English Georgian desk that a dealer had offered my client. The old piece was too dark and formal for the country weekend home office. We lightened it up a bit by using maple for the frames and veneered curly maple for the panels and top. We "cross-banded" the top with fiddleback maple to save fussiness and a few bucks too.

Modern office requirements are met by a pull out keyboard tray, a pull out printer tray in the right cabinet and heavy cast brass desk grommets by Mockett. The collaborative process of designing custom furniture like this gets the clients exactly what they want in a form that is far more satisfying than what they might have settled for.

Skyscraper

I copied this piece from the original at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We visited the archives to measure and draw the piece. I added the "portico" on the right side to match the style and to improve it's function as seating in a foyer piece. The original was designed by Paul T. Frankl, c.1927.

The piece begs for objects to be displayed in and on it's many and various compartments and platforms. It is simply and economically constructed of bird's eye maple veneer over plywood with painted edges. The bold black outlines emphasize it's rectilinearity and strength.

Mid-Century Modern?

It was fun to be asked to design a bed and bedside tables with a modern look.

This customer was removing rosewood tables which looked great with the carpet and fabrics of the room. I found some some impressive rosewood veneer as the starting point. We experimented framing it in different ways trying black lacquer first. We ended up loving the striped look of the cross-banded rosewood in a simple dark mahogany "picture frame".

Covering the headboard in fabric kept the strong figure of the veneer from dominating. The result is a dramatic panel in a light, almost delicate structure.

To compliment the bed I scaled down the picture frame and feet of the tables. The tops needed to remain uncluttered hence the open shelf right below. Two drawers allowed me to show off some more rosewood as well as provide storage.

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Corner Cupboard

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Corner cupboards are fun. Each one is different. They look best when they fit the room, from floor to ceiling. This cupboard replaced a wood stove. The corner had a brick hearth and brick faced walls. We covered the brick walls with sheetrock and the brick hearth with flooring to match the room.

The design was an amalgamation of various 18th Century features. I composed the design to use the best of what appealed to the customer after looking at many pictures. We think that the results are stunning.

The finish has an undercoat of salmon colored milk paint with top coats in blue-green. It is rubbed through and oiled to give gloss and a feeling of age.

The carved rosettes are of dogwood flowers, a motif I have used before and perfectly suited to New England furniture.

Morris Chair

In an effort to improve my furniture photography I have purchased a new camera. My first practice session was in my own home on a piece I made for myself.

The Morris Chair is exquisitely comfortable with its soft leather upholstered cushions stuffed with foam and down. The angle of the back is adjustable and the curved wide arms are perfect for elbows, a wine glass or a book. I keep it near the fireplace.