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...
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...
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...
We couldn’t be busier lately, and we’re excited about our latest projects, starting with this nearly 20 foot wide entertainment center. 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...
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...
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. The entrance features a handmade, powder coated iron arbor and window detail, based on a Charles Rennie Mackintosh motif. Eventually the roses to the right will wrap themselves around the arbor. Window detail and electronic keypad entry. ...
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...
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...
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...
A better TV frame
We’ve got a booth at the next Rose Bowl, July 8th. Right next to our friend Scott Coppersmith, and right at the front gate! Until then, check out our latest styles. This solid wood TV frame is clean and modern. Turns this old fashioned flat screen into a work of art! We can make these in a million styles, but this one, with the deep flat sides, allows for vents and speaker holes...
Wu-Tang Clan is something to bake with
After traveling through Bavaria, Austria, and France for nearly a month, I thought I’d come back with plenty of Blog fodder. Between Jen and I, I’m sure we took more than 1000 photos, and there’s a story to tell, and a discovery to share for each day we were gone. But honestly, I don’t know where to begin. I could show you photos of the countryside, quaint castles, the...
It is the end of my first week of a nice, long vacation. If it ended today, I’d be satisfied. Already I feel like a better designer, and in a way, I can’t wait to get home and bust out some new schnitzel. I’m at a free computer in the lobby of the Hotel Alpina in beautiful downtown Gramisch (thanks Gene - this is a great place!), so this will be ALL TEXT, with no photos, or my...
Cummins Cal Pacific Interior
The final photos of our recently completed work at Cummins Cal Pacific in Ventura! Check out these great pics from photographer Bobby Do Right! Check out this fantastic design from architect David Ferrin and crew at Arketype Architects here in Ventura. This was one of the more challenging projects we’ve tackled, but everyone agrees it turned out great. Although it may not look like a...
Design + Custom Cabinetry, Laundry Room Remodel
Here’s a project we recently completed for Jason Rawls of Rawls Construction. Probably not your typical laundry room. To begin with, it’s an unusually large space. We built the cabinets from Beech, and made a custom dark grey stain for a modern look. One side of the room has a large wall of extra deep storage cabinets. Since it’s a mud room too, there’s a shoe...
Modern Library Storage Bins in the making...
Making these things is way more work than you think. Part One - Getting the books. You think finding decent hardcover books would be easy in this digital document world, and it is, if you want to pay $2 or more a book. Sure $2 sounds cheap, but 15 books later, you’ve got $30 into one of these things and you haven’t even made a box to put ‘em on. Part Two - Selecting the...
Ventana Magazine is the local lifestyle here in the greater Ventura/805 area code. Thanks to one of their articles, I found out there’s a jazz community in and around Ventura. We like them, and they like us. And not just in the Facebook way, as Sally Rice’s recent article proves. Thanks Sally, and the staff of Ventana.
The following is a reprint of an interview featured in The BUND, a design magazine in Shanghai China: According an article you said you had been dreaming up how you wanted to execute your project, seeing the NASA trailer helped to fine-tune your vision. Then what’s the most inspiring thing you find after you saw the NASA’s 1968 Airstream trailer? I was trying to approach the project...
I've moved my blog.
I was at Blogger, now I’m here at Tumblr. I still don’t really know how Tumblr works, so there are several glitches to work out. #1, My “Hidden” links to Youtube videos aren’t as hidden as they used to be. #2, Some of my posts are no longer in the sequence in which they were originally posted. #3, Comments don’t get posted and #4, I’ve been sick for...
It’s been a fairly uneventful week, so I thought I’d just post a couple of designs from the past year. Here’s another version of my “Garden Bench”, the combination bench and planter. The GARDEN BENCH II The previous version has a CMU base, while this base is a custom cast concrete. More original, but of course more work, and therefore more time consuming and more...
The Airstream Photos You've Been Waiting For!
(NOTE: We know many of you have already seen these photos. We originally posted this on Feb.20, 2010 — when we moved our blog to Tumblr in January 2012, this post found it’s way back to the top!) Our Airstream adventure began one year ago when we received the phone call from Austin, Texas, asking if we’d be interested in the project. The real fun began 6 months later with an...
Treehouse or Deck?
I guess this is technically a deck, because A), it is not an enclosed structure, and B) it is not supported by the tree in any way. In fact, there is no attachment by way of any screw or nail penetrating the tree. The spool table for instance, is attached to the trunk via a large adjustable clamp made from 2x4’s and all-thread bolts. But back to my original point…We’re still...
What I did on my Winter Vacation
My sister moved to Saint Helena last year. We managed to get up there for a couple of weekends in December. The first weekend I was up there my niece, Lilli, started telling me about a project she had to do. She was studying the Egyptians, and had to do some kind of presentation about something she had learned. I could tell she was hoping I’d give her a hand, so I took her to the art...
Brentwood Bath Makeover
Merry Christmas Everybody! The end of the year is turning into one of the busiest ever for Able and Baker. Here’s one of our most recent projects: A complete top-to-bottom bathroom remodel that we designed and built. We re-did everything you see, including windows, electrical, plumbing, custom cabinets and vanity. All of the plumbing fixtures were provided by our neighbors at Vic’s...
Check this out - Our local design rag, Ventana, featured us in the September issue. Kudos to us. I know September was awhile back, but I been busy, yo. In a seemingly unrelated post, I had the strangest dream the other night. I was at my friend Tristen’s old house in the country. They always had a bunch of animals out there, like dogs, horses and peacocks. So it wasn’t strange...
Able And Baker at the Emmys
We recently had the opportunity to contribute some things to the Emmys this year. Among our contributions was one of Jen Zahigian’s photos in our exclusive ABLE & BAKER 13 Ply Maple Frame. Each celebrity, or whoever handles their stuff, received one in their gift bag. Hopefully they appreciate it, or at least give it to someone who does. Each frame is: + Made with FSC (Forestry...
Did we mention PINE CONES? I mean Solar.
Hey there! Yeah you. Did I hear you say you want the money-saving, environmentally friendly advantage of Solar Energy but don’t want to make your beautiful Tuscany style roof look like a Coleco-vision? Well friend, look no further! Discover Solar Pergola! The great new way to accomplish all those things I just said! (pictured above, 15’ x 15’ x 60’ Pergola with Solar...
I think very deeply
I make so much stuff…you have know idea. If I live to be 500 I won’t have enough time to bust out all of my ideas. It’s frustrating. In the meantime, I’ll keep knocking out the simple ones. Like this bench. Made from salvaged redwood, and some standard 16”x16” CMU pilaster blocks. Pretty comfy, plus plants. And what could be greener than a plant? Dave...
Here’s a recent project. Starting with the before photos of a tradition T-Bar fluorescent light set up. …and the opening without the lenses… But what can I do? Well, here’s a little mock-up. And the real thing, in progress. Complicated angles. Cutting the lenses from The Fluorescent Gallery… A lens test fit. Then finish Then install The center is a...
Ch-Check-Check it out!
Vince’s ol’ Airstream get’s us a lot of press! Here’s a link to the latest in the LA Times:
The Treehouse in Progress
In my “spare” time, I’m usually building something. This past winter my Father-in-law told me he wanted to build a treehouse “for the little guys”, referring to my 3 nephews, David, Richard, and Luke. By now, we all know this is part of his M.O. When he say’s it’s for “the little guys”, such as, “the little guys want ice cream”,...
Architectural Foundation and Guitars
Last Friday evening we had the honor of attending (and sponsoring) this years presentation of the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara’s Architectural Scholarships. The awards were given to several young deserving students to help further their architectural education. I hope they design some cool stuff. (the Invitation to the Scholarship Awards) Besides that, we’re just...
Custom Home Office Cabinets
I still build cabinets… And before the knobs…
Bath Remodel in a Mid-Century Home
I really wish I had “before” photos of this place. It used to be a nice 80’s remodel with carpet and country blue wallpaper. A lot of brass. The first time I entered I swear I heard the ghost of Dolly Parton singing “9 to 5” …but it turned out like this Whirlpool bath. Custom birch cabinet in the corner, stained to match the bath door (not pictured) and...
Somebody up there likes me...
I just saw David Bowie drive by in this mini-van.
Record Store Day
I guess I should’ve mentioned this earlier. Not that it would’ve changed anything, but today, April 16th, is the official Record Store Day. I suggest you celebrate by buying my new 4 ACES RECORD FRAME!, or the previously mentioned LP Room Divider. Since we’re on the subject, I pulled up these images of my custom 45 Adaptors, for all those guys that lost the one that came with...
Beverly Hills Cops
I’m so behind. That should be the title of my book. This show came and went already, and I never mentioned it. Anyhow, I had my room divider in this cool show in Beverly Hills, sponsored by EcoFirstArt, Elle Decor Magazine, and Country Floors. There was some great stuff. Here’s the flyer (above). By now I’m sure you’re all familiar with my room divider, but just in...
Vanity. You probly think this blog is about you.
I tried a lot of different vanity designs for this job, a classic Mid-Century Modern home. The client wanted a vanity that reminded them of a piece of Mid-Century Modern furniture, like a table or desk. My initial designs were heavily influenced by existing pieces, but as I continued to shape the vanity, my own style began to show. So here’s a step-by-step of the final evolution. There...
Dahlia's Beauty Salon
We just did a little work at the new location for Dahlia’s Beauty Salon, which just opened last week. They seem like real good people, so I thought we’d give them a plug. They’re at 1021 B State Street, in Santa Barbara. It’s a little tricky to find at first, because they actually face the parking lot on the backside of the building, just outside of Saks Fifth...
It’s been months since my last entry. You may think it’s because I haven’t been busy, and therefore have nothing to say. Quite the opposite. In fact, too busy to write. I started to compose my last entry in December, got hung-up on editing, and dropped the ball. I intended to begin sharing excerpts from my advice book “Always Carry A Sharpie”, which I’ve...
You think you know somebody...
Last night I was talking with my Aunt Donna. She’s always been one of my favorite people. For much of my childhood she lived on a series of sail boats in Mission Bay, San Diego, and I loved spending summers there. I used to get sea sick, but I might be able to sail because of her. She’s retired from nursing now, living in Fresno, caring for my Grandma (another one of my favorite...
California Home + Design
Here’s another cool piece of press. People seem to love this thing. I owe Ron Dack some thanks for this one. If he didn’t actually come up with the idea, he at least inspired it (although I like getting all the credit).
We're in the L.A. Times
I meant to mention this before the Unique LA Show, which I also meant to mention. We’ve been getting some pretty decent free publicity, or press, as it is sometimes called. I think we’re on to something. We keep knocking out projects and products, but I seem too busy working to talk about it. I just designed a multilevel, 1200 square foot deck, complete with small 2 story...
I might've worn robes in another life.
Like a lot of guys, I like Star Wars (not the new ones, of course). And I was just thinking about how the bad-asses of the film, the Jedi, get to wear bathrobes and slippers all day. I’m sure they’re not ordinary JC Penney bathrobes, but still, I think that’s one of the ways you know you’ve made it. I can only imagine what it would be like to show up to work in a...
So much to tell...
The new ABLE And BAKER design studio is up and running in Ventura, and we’ve already managed to crank out several cool projects, with several more on the horizon. We’ve had more work than expected, and haven’t had time to work on our little art/furniture gallery. As a result, we’re postponing the opening date to mid October. When we pick a real date, we’ll buy a...
"Would you put these two beavers in motion?"
I don’t know a lot about Roosevelt’s WPA program but it sure seems cool. This past Saturday we did one of those things you plan on doing before you move, but never do. There’s a million great things to see in the Bay Area, but as permanent residents, we’ve barely taken the time to be tourists. This weekend we finally hit Coit Tower. I really got into the murals in the...
I’ve known Ryan Williams 15 years or so, from my Fresno California days. A couple of months ago, when we came over to his house to hang out, he said, excitedly, “I’ve got something to show you.” He ducked into the hall, but I could still hear him talking, “For years I’ve been meaning to show you these, and every time you come over, before you show up, I try to...
Average vs. Half-ass vs. Bad-ass
I’m so sick of average stuff. It’s everywhere. Particularly architecture. I was at the Dwell On Design show at the LA Convention Center last Friday. There were a couple of cool things (I’ll post them later, cuz they deserve it), but for the most part, nothing mind-blowing. But dammit, I’m ready to get my mind blown! I mean…I get it. There are certain inevitable...
I was talking with Jim of This Into That (one of our neighbors at the Sawtooth building in Berkeley), and the subject of my stepladder project came up. He invited me into his studio and showed me his most recent acquisition: A stepladder. I was immediately jealous, and told him that I wish he hadn’t shown it to me. Oh well. Pretty nice, huh? If you find yourself at the Sawtooth (Kawneer)...