Monday, July 26, 2010

Brooklyn Bridge reclaimed

127 years ago the Brooklyn Bridge was built to connect Brooklyn to lower Manhattan. Approximately 50 years ago, during a renovation, several wooden beams were removed and placed in storage by the renovation contractor whose fondness for the Brooklyn Bridge would not allow him to reuse or discard the old beams. In early 2010 the building where those beams were being stored was sold by the decendents of that renovation contractor and the wood beams were sent to my friends at M. Fine lumber in Queens where I was among the lucky few who purchased some of them for use in a very special project...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I have the best clients! In this case, 2 design-minded clients with an amazing loft on Greenwich Street in the West Village that features an amazing 165" wide arched brick window that was just begging for some love. The design we arrived at would not only conceal the old radiator that sat in the center of the window, but would provide open shelving on either side of the radiator for display of books and sculpture. The cabinetry is made of regionally produced, eco-friendly Maple plywood and solids and finished with Benjamin Moore's "Natura" paint purchased at Janovic.

Sitting atop the open cabinetry and spanning the entire length and depth of the window would be 2 joined Brooklyn Bridge beams allowing visitors to sit during parties and my clients to display prized items. In our celebration of the history of these 2 beams we elected not to mill or perfect the wood in any way. Instead, all prep work was performed with simple hand tools and all original nail holes and saw marks were left intact so as to preserve and display the story of these historical beams. The tung oil finish was carefully formulated and applied to further enhance and preserve these time-earned imperfections. Not only did the new cabinetry and original beams look and perform to the clients' expectations, but the resulting installation matched the original wooden casement windows so well that the entire installation looks original to the apartment. What an amazing privilege as a New York City woodworker to design and execute a vision that so proudly features a significant relic of our city's history.

*And a VERY special "Thank you!" to Solie Jordan of Soliemoves who carefully transported this 14' long plank of wood to the site and masterfully lifted it through the second floor window into the clients' home.

Please enjoy these pictures I took with my iPhone...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tribeca Wall Unit - Views, views, and more views...

As the elevator opens into this 7th floor condo on Spring Street you're immediately drawn to the expanse of glass windows offering amazing views of the Hudson River and surrounding landmark buildings. It's an amazing view that's flawless except for one structural column that breaks up the wall of windows. Clearly, this column needed to be addressed and made a thing of beauty. Working once again with the brilliant Avi Kendi of Metal Dimensions his complex, yet minimal eco-friendly design was arrived at.

From floor to ceiling the entire column was wrapped in sheet metal using an intricate sub-frame of square steel tubing behind which the many wires and electrical outlets for the TV and associated A/V equipment are hidden away. The sheet metal skin was treated to a custom patina process, which beautifully compliments the neopolitan plyboo shelving that floats from its metal backing while allowing the column to disappear behind them.

The shelving was made using 3/4" plyboo and was constructed as a sandwich using an inset spacer to allow us to fit a hand-hammered strip of bronze that wraps around the face of the shelving and cabinets. We edge-banded and ebonized the plyboo to darken it so that it would coordinate with the walnut flooring, the beautiful walnut slab dining table from Hudson Furniture, and the darkened sheet metal wrapping the column. The base cabinet features 2 deep drawers that ride on soft-close hydraulic drawer slides.

This project offered many complications and opportunities for us to overcome obstacles. Standing back and enjoying the sight of this completed project is reward enough... what a view!!!