Spring again?! Airstream Too!
I don’t understand how people have time to write a blog with any kind of regularity. My infrequent entries should in no way imply that I have nothing to say, or an uneventful life. Quite the contrary. Which is why I never seem to find the time. I’ve got plenty to say, but my audience consists mostly of family members, co-workers, and whoever’s working the register at Trader Joes or the lumber yard. They get my best material.
The last 6 months have been…well, eventful? That’s not exactly the right word. We’ve done some great work, and met some incredible people, but we’ve also experienced a lot of personal tragedy in our family, losing several friends and family members in a relatively short period of time. Each loss completely unrelated to the other.
This past Friday morning we lost the father of a very good friend, and my 94 year old grandmother only hours later. Both great people who will be missed, to say the least. I was very close to my grandmother, Delores Snyder. Anytime I was sick she took care of me, and we had lots of road trips together around California. One of my favorite memories was driving to lunch at the Bigfoot Diner in Oakhurst, California, about an hour outside of Yosemite. Growing up in Fresno, it wasn’t too far. We listened to Marty Robbins. I got the foot long chili cheese and wandered around the restaurant looking at newspaper clippings of Bigfoot sightings and plaster castings of footprints. The restaurant isn’t there anymore, but I might drive up there later this week and find a chili dog somewhere else.
We’re starting another Airstream. 1947. I worked a good portion of today creating these renderings. Sundays are great for sitting around listening to music and drawing. Not of the details are here yet, and I have yet to begin the interior, but I’m really looking forward to this project.
I’ll keep you updated as we figure out the interior. If anyone is interested, after we complete this we are considering offering brand new custom replica 1947 Airstreams. Imagine a brand new 1947 Airstream, in any length, with the look of an original, but everything a new trailer has to offer. Pretty cool right? It could be yours!
A couple of weeks in pictures
I’m sure by now you’ve heard “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” a million times, so I’ll skip the banter…
Here’s the first in a new series of Modern Library Storage Bin based pieces.
And what’s this, a Mailbox made of wood?! Well I never!
This little beauty will be available in multiple wood species, including Walnut, Oak, and Maple (shown). In addition, it will be available in several versions - All drawers, Glass door with wine rack, Glass door with glass shelf (for stereo equipment), and one similar to the version below with a pull-out writing surface. If that’s not enough, it will be available as a “knock-down” kit, so that it can be easily flat-packed, shipped, and assembled (like an IKEA piece, but nicer).
Here’s one of our latest interior remodels - A colorful bath fit for a feline king!
As usual, we did our best to keep it green. We made these custom Cherry cabinets using all FSC certified lumber and a durable Polywhey finish (made from milk protein!)
Our client wanted a large vanity to maximize counter space and storage, but they didn’t want the tub to feel “closed in”. Our compromise was a split level cabinet, which has the added benefit of a cascading effect as we move from the left side of the vanity, around the right to the tub, and eventually down to the shower floor (not seen).
Prior to the remodel, the litter box for the cats had to share space on the water closet floor, next to the toilet. Our client asked if we could make the litter box more discrete by placing it inside the vanity, with access through the adjacent water closet wall.
The resulting litter box, with easy-to-clean access through the front of the cabinet.
Another fun “cats only” space is the series of connecting “catwalks” which gives the cats elevated access to the bathroom. There’s even a tunnel leading to a small sleeping niche in the bedroom!
In a previous blog entry I mentioned a large Mid-Century Modern wall unit I was designing. Here are a few progress shots.
I like the way the piece sits on these simple and elegant legs.
Nearly 20’ long!
We were only able to complete enough of it to get this base installed prior to Christmas. It was late when we finished the install, and I only got this quick iPhone shot, but you get the idea.
Finally, Jen got her Christmas wish - a pink tree. I took a few minutes to dig into my record collection to find a few appropriate background records.
You’ve got wood. I mean mail.
The funniest question people ask me is, “Where do your ideas come from?” Of course I don’t tell them the answer, because then they’ll just go get my ideas on their own, and when I go looking for my next idea, it won’t be there.
There are a lot of ways to make curved wood pieces. The easiest is to form multiple layers of thin, flexible plywood together, and veneer it with a thin layer of hardwood. It will be maple, in this case. Before I can glue the layers together, I make a form, which is just like building a miniature half-pipe, except I also have to build the reverse of the shape. The two sides are clamped together with the layers sandwiched between.
I haven’t quite decided how to write the text on the side of the box. My original idea was to make a “perforated text” which could be lit from behind. Now I’m thinking the benefit of lit text may not justify the additional cost. What do you think? You may change your answer when I charge you for the lights.
and tomorrow I’ll take some photos of the finished product. Stay tuned, I’ll keep you “posted” (get it? Posted? Like Post Office).
Unique LA has become a holiday tradition for us — this will be our 4th time participating in the Holiday Show. This show is always a good time and we hope you can make it out. We’ll have an array of Modern Library Storage Bins, Four Aces Record Frames, and also a few new pieces.
You’ll find me alongside my lovely wife, Jen Zahigian Photography, at Booth #268. California Market Center, Los Angeles. Saturday & Sunday, 11am-6pm. Hope to see you there!
Things have been really busy in our woodshop lately and we look forward to sharing photos of new projects soon.
When we first began discussing this project with our client, they had two words - Modern & Library. They wanted clean lines, and LOTS of room for books. I started off with a handful of basic sketches.
In this version I created drawer and door fronts to look like a card catalog. Eventually we moved in the direction of Mid-Century Modern.
Although we’ve got some changes and details to work out, this is pretty close to the final version.
Once again, Scott just can’t seem to enjoy himself. Check out this cool time lapse video from Bryan Chan and the LA Times (LINK). If you look closely you still can’t see me.
Finally, we’re working on a line of furniture to compliment our popular Original Modern Library Storage Bin. This little work in progress is a bench that holds three of our standard bins. Look for it at our booth at the Rose Bowl next Sunday.
Scenes from Our Woodshop
Although we’ve got a lot of projects going on, and have completed many since my last blog entry, I’ve been to busy to put together a well organized post.
In lieu of something cohesive, here are a bunch of random photos from the shop, mostly taken by Jen Zahigian.
My rare numbered edition Fat Tire Ale Bicycle. Too beautiful to ride everyday.
My next project (pictured above) which pulled up to my shop about 2 weeks ago.
Our last project (will show in greater detail in next post) getting prepared to send to finisher before final assembly.
Check out these great gates we just finished!
Here’s the original rendering I created. As you can see, we stuck very closely to every detail.
Window detail and electronic keypad entry.
The second opening was a little wider, so we made a pair of gates. Both gates feature something fairly unique - A small arch at the bottom to allow the rabbits to escape from the dogs.
We continued the heart-tipped hinge theme in the handles and vertical gate bolt. Everything was built with durability in mind. All edges and end grains are treated with an elastomeric coating, two coats of alkyd primer, and two coats of Low-VOC paint. All hardware is powder coated, galvanized or stainless steel. One of the best ways to be green is to build things to last.
Garden Planter Bench in the making
Here’s our little modern garden bench in the making.
We start with a mix of salvaged and culled wood. People wonder, why do you charge for the materials when you get this stuff for free? Well, first of all, it’s not all free. Secondly, the wood we do get for free is pretty junky, and to make this salvaged wood usable takes time and a considerable amount of work. We cut out the bad parts, pull out the nails, and plane it down to the good stuff. The bottom line is, we’re taking a bunch of wood that is otherwise destined for the landfill and giving it a second life.
Aaron gets busy with the bandsaw.
Stax of benches.
Salvaged Wood Planter Benches, on Sale now, $98.
Knights of the Brown Table
I could hang out with my nephew’s David and Richard every day and it wouldn’t be enough.
A couple of months ago, Jen and I were driving through Bavaria, checking out some castles. At every castle gift shop, they had these cool swords and shields. We thought, “These would be perfect for David and Richard.” Then I had a better idea. A project for me and the boys.
A couple of weekends ago, the boys came over for “Sword Day”. I had some of the parts made already, but wanted them to participate too. Safety glasses on, they helped sand, and even got to try out the nail guns.
Who can wait for the glue to dry?
We took a break, and got lunch and ice cream at the beach.
Glue’s dry. Next week - “Shield Day”
A couple days before the boys showed up, I glued up some plywood into these curved pieces. The arc wasn’t too critical so I just used a garbage can as a form.
Before we got started, I sat down with each of the boys at the computer and made a shield design for each of them. I had each of them choose an animal (or dinosaur, dragon, etc…) David, who is 10, chose a tiger and a cobra. Classic choices. Richard, 6, chose his favorite amphibian.
I found my box of paints, and gave each boy a brush. I might’ve helped here and there.
Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Just outside of Ventura California is a beautiful little valley called Oak View.
And Oh! What a view! When I retire, this is exactly where I want to live. Unfortunately, our recent clients, Clark and Audrey may not be ready to give this place up by then. After all, retiring here was their plan, and last Monday they moved into their wonderful new home.
But for several months before that, this place was torn apart and put back together, and in the process, we built a boat load of cabinets. Luckily, Oak View is only 15 minutes inland, so boats are plentiful.
These cherry cabinets fit perfectly in this house. Clark, who spent his life in the building trades, and his wife Audrey, have a real eye for detail and context.
Fold clothes fresh out of the dryer on this convenient counter top. If you ever need access to the back of the machines, the top folds in half, or can be entirely removed.
And a cool, clean, closet…
Able + Baker Design