As a craftsman, there's no greater privilege than having long-term clients who grow with you through the years. The first time I met Blue and Yoko, I was there to replace the roof on their outdoor covered space. All went well and my crew and I were in and out. Time passed and I was asked back to help with a kitchen remodel, an accent passthrough wall, and new trim throughout the house. Now, I'm back again to help with the final touches of a garage renovation that went from unfinished to full-blown sound lounge in a matter of months.
When finishing off a remodel you have one chance to really bring it home in style. If you don't, you tend to let it linger without that final piece to really set the tone for the space. B&Y frequently host guests and have an extensive record collection that they want to show off. They aren't afraid of artistic woodwork and wanted a truly one of a kind piece that provided record storage, builtin seating, and danced harmoniously with their new diamond shaped window. We got to grinding on ideas and designs. After numerous iterations, we had a basic sketch in Shaper 3D that could be rendered into a simple image to guide us forward:
With drawings and dimensions in hand, the next step was to research and confirm wood species. The primary wood was an easy pick with cherry. We've already done plenty of cherry throughout the home so this would be an easy tie-in. However, our design included several racing stripes that would waterfall through the piece and would be best suited as an alternate species. A quick trip to the local hardwood dealer, Crosscut, gave them the opportunity to get eyes, and hands, on a huge selection of wood. While there are many options to choose from, they found and fell in love with Bolivian Rosewood. With that, I was off to the shop for an exciting build.
The primary structure is relatively straightforward construction, using cherry panels to build the individual boxes that would store their record collection. The challenges would revolve around the waterfall accents, grain wraps, and relief lines that would allow each strip of wood to stand alone. None of these techniques should necessarily be considered profoundly difficult. However, they do require perfect milling to ensure all pieces line up evenly. 100% success rate on cut accuracy and machine calibration is required, otherwise the grain wraps will fail to line up. A mistake means replacing the entire run of hardwood. Lastly, after you've taken the time to perfectly mill and cut all 40-50 pieces, you have to keep them organized so you don't mistakenly assemble the wrong grain wraps that you worked so diligently to craft. Patience and attention to detail are your friends here.
Finishing and Installation
I am a big fan of hardwax oils and have already completed several projects in B&Y's home using a product known as Osmo. It's a very easy product to apply that requires no mixing of accelerates and leaves a beautifully natural look to the wood. Two coats are applied prior to installation and additional coats can be applied for extra sheen, as well as for easy DIY client maintenance on the project. This project was finished in the shop, then disassembled, transported, and rebuilt on site. No touchups, tuning, or alterations were needed. While we were there we trimmed out the new windows in cherry to match the new project, as well as the rest of the house.
While I always try to get some good closeout photos upon completion of installation, lighting is rarely perfect and there's something about a bunch of empty unloved shelves that just don't tell the whole story. As such, I am always excited to receive client pictures a week or two after project completion when they are fully moved in. Seeing the realized potential of a piece that was designed in collaboration with the client, and built by myself, brings a profound sense of closure to the project for me.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the final photos as much as I do.
Chasing grain from floor to ceiling:
Living its best life, full of music and ready to make memories:
Overview of the space today:
Yoko, stretched out in the new sound lounge:
Blue, warm and cozy with some good tunes on during the 50 year ice storm: