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Oak sideboard with inlaid top.
Custom sideboard. Quartered White Oak with inlaid top.
Sunday, November 13, 2016

Video Demonstrates Sideboard Inlay Technique

The link below shows how I inlaid the top of this custom sideboard. The inlay wood is Wenge with a motif that follows the outline of the legs below. Click the link below to watch:

CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO

The sideboard is made in the Gloucester style with matched quartered panels. Wenge details include the inlaid top, the raised detail around the base and a bead detail that defines the door panels. This quartered Oak shows extraordinarily beautiful figure!

Cherry Dining Table and Chairs
Cherry Splay Leg Dining Table with Cherry Fountainbrook Chairs
Monday, October 3, 2016

New Splay Leg Dining Table

Yesterday Laura and I delivered a newly designed dining table I handcrafted for a client in Waterbury. My client wanted to seat 6 people comfortably around the table (and occasionally 8 people) so we decided that a light, simple, clean look with splayed legs and a boat shaped top would be the way to go. Her dining area is between the kitchen and living room, so there is a lot happening in her space. We wanted her new table and chairs to create balance while adding beauty to the combined whole. A few hours after the delivery, she had her first dinner party and sent me some photos along with this text: "Cheers! 100% Yeah!! Love, love, love it all!"

Cherry Fountainbrook Chairs
Cherry Fountainbrook Chairs With Blue Leather Seats
Cherry Dining Table
Newly Designed Boat Topped Splay Leg Cherry Dining Table
A 1600's Captain's 4 Poster Bed
1600's Oak 4 Poster Bed
Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Family Heirloom - From Tall Ship in the 1600's to Australia via England

My family and I have been doing quite a lot of reminiscing lately; telling old family stories and remembering our loved ones. There is one particular story I would like to share about an antique Oak 4 poster bed that has been in my family for three generations. Between my three siblings (I was too young to recall any of this) we have patched together the history of my eldest sister's 4 poster bed she has in her guest room in Perth, Australia.

It was crafted in England sometime in the mid 1600's and spent it's first life as a Captain's bed aboard a tall ship. The bed is quite short in length, believed to be due to the cramped quarters it originally lived in. Upon retirement from the British Navy, the bed was handed down to the family of friends of my grandparents, and then gifted to them. The bed ultimately ended up in my maternal grandparent's home, Rugby House, in Rugby, England, where it stayed until it was handed down to my mother, Marnie.

When my eldest sister Judy was born, it was declared to be hers, and the family always referred to it as Judy's bed. But this 4 poster scared the pants off of her! She was convinced something called The Muns lived under the bed and that they would try to grab her when she tried to get into bed. She quaked every night at bedtime and begged to be read stories for as long as possible, so our father would be in her room as protection from The Muns. As with many childhood fears, time passes and we move on, but it certainly didn't stop Judy from making us younger siblings afraid of her bed and The Muns as well!

Judy moved to Perth, Australia over 35 years ago, and with her went the bed. Years passed and, in turn, it was given to her daughter, Siobhan. Interestingly, Siobhan was just as petrified of the bed as her mother! She, too, felt there was something scary lurking beneath it and would not sleep in it; therefore, it has been in the guest room of the Perth house all these years.

Judy sent these photos recently, and I marveled at how beautiful the bed is. The gorgeous patina of the Oak, the stunning fluted and reeded pilasters and the nicely turned posts. I would love to reproduce this 4 poster with all the details shown, but this time with normal queen or king dimensions. Give me a call and lets create something beautiful that will NOT scare the kids. Muns definitely not included!

Headboard detail showing fluted/reeded pilasters and raised panels.
Beautiful turned and chamfered posts.
Heading to NY state to collect Quartered White Oak
Thursday, May 19, 2016

Searching For Quartered White Oak

Of the locally available temperate hardwoods I most commonly use to craft custom furniture, Cherry and Walnut tend to be the most popular. The reasons for this are availability, grain, color and durability. I would say they are the two woods I use 75% of the time. However, as an Englishman who learned his craft in the beautiful countryside of The Cotswolds, Quartered White Oak used to be the wood of choice. I love it - the grain is gorgeous, it's extremely dense and the connection to furniture history has always appealed to me.

So I was thrilled to recently receive an order for a dining table, chairs and sideboard in Quartered White Oak - natural and unstained! I had to search far and wide to find a source for this wood that was, both beautiful, and available in various thicknesses. After many local calls to lumberyards and wood suppliers, I had to stretch beyond my usual sources. Finally, outside Saranac Lake, NY, I found a lumberyard with just the right boards.

Taking the ferry across Lake Champlain, I was able to enjoy the ride, basking in the spring sunshine and the beauty around me, feeling very thankful for choosing a career that allows me to be creative, work with amazing people, craft something that will last for generations and get to be out and about in interesting places.

I'll post pictures of the finished pieces in a future blog.

Lumberyard Outside Lake Placid, NY
Boards on the Trailer
Quartered White Oak Heading Back To The Wokshop
Custom coffee table in Maple, Cherry and Wenge
Coffee Table. Cherry and Maple with Wenge Accents
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Check out New Special Project Page

I am pleased to announce a brand new addition to my website called Special Projects. It currently showcases two large custom furniture commissions undertaken in recent months, and I hope to have the opportunity to expand the page over time.

For one of the commissions - the Stowe Home - I collaborated with the owner to manifest her stunning, contemporary design concept, focusing on clean shapes and simple lines, while utilizing different wood grains and colors to create a sense of unity and excitement.

On the opposite end of the custom commission spectrum, my next clients wanted several pieces for their Williston Home based on current collections. In the process I was able to add new designs to the Pickwell Collection. It's an honor to see so much of my work in one place!

I would love to hear from YOU about collaborating on a large scale project for your home! But of course, I am ALWAYS happy to hear from you, whatever your needs for your home or office. Let's talk!

Dining-set. Maple and Cherry.
Dining set. Maple and Cherry.
morris-chair
Easy chair. Pickwell collection. Adjustable back & goose down cushions.
Walnut & Curly Birch bench with Tiger Maple stretcher and Wenge details
Gorgeous grain in the Curly Birch top of this Pickwell Bench
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Bench of Many Woods

I made this bench for clients in Stowe to sit at the foot of their bed, but it seems to me that, with a slight tweak of the dimensions, it would also make an excellent coffee table. That's the beauty of custom furniture.

The woods in this example consist of Walnut for the frame, Curly Maple for the stretcher, Wenge for the end details and some amazing Curly Birch for the top. I have not worked with birch much until recently but, if I can find more boards as good as this one, I am quite sure I'll be finding a use for it again.

The bench adds another piece to the Pickwell Collection, which began with a very popular dining table. Please visit the Pickwell Collection for more details and images.

Louis 15th Commode after Restoration
Monday, January 4, 2016

Antique Restoration

This beautiful commode was made in France and now resides in Shelburne, VT. The ravages of time, central heating and poor repair work had left the piece in need of extensive restoration, (See photo below). After carefully removing many layers of dirt and poor refinishing, it was possible to reveal the true beauty of the original wood. The parquetry drawer fronts and side panels are veneered in Tulipwood and Satinwood, and the case is covered in Brazilian Rosewood. A total of around 50 patches and repairs were applied and blended with the original wood and most of the original parquetry pieces had to be re-laid.

The bronze mounts, known as ormolu in English, were loose and had lost their original luster. As you can see, with a little buffing and polishing they, once again, look quite gorgeous.

It is very important to use original materials when working on antiques. Modern glues and finishes will compromise the value of the piece. The original craftsman would have used hide glue for the construction and shellac for the finish. The process of applying the shellac is known as 'french polishing'. These materials are all reversible, meaning that any work done can be undone at a future date. It is this simple and convenient fact that makes furniture restoration a possibility.

My early training was as a restorer of fine antiques. Back in England I spent many years working with antique dealers and home owners, before moving to the United States to create my own work. If you have a valuable piece in need of some professional work, please give me a call.

Louis 15th Commode. BEFORE
Louis 15th Commode. AFTER