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...