11 Apr

Busy in the Kitchen

Green Kitchen Remodel


So, lately I have been lax in building anything in the workshop that was not part of improvements to my house. It has been months, but I hope to get back to furniture soon.

Over the past year I have redone my kitchen from a ’70s tragedy to a lighter, greener, retro-modern workspace. The change was significant enough that a writer friend pitched the story to HGTV. They liked it enough to send a stylist and photographer and the resultant story was published to HGTVRemodels.com. The piece, “A Kitchen Crafted for the Eco-Friendly”, features really great shots of my kitchen redo. Note: they stretched the main photo horizontally making me look a bit wider than normal. Not happy about it!

This project included plumbing, flooring, cabinetry, counter-tops, tile, electrical, and lots of painting. Some of it was a bit intimidating, but nothing was so daunting that it couldn’t be tackled if broken down into smaller pieces.

The anchors were a granite composite sink I found marked down at a box store and a very green counter-top material made of plastic and recycled paper that the manufacturer compared to Bakelight. It is a cool product that can be cut and milled very similar to wood. I found it handles much like hard maple.

Other hooks that sold the story were probably the low budget, the do-it-myself angle, and the before pictures I had taken during the process. The stylist did a great job of giving me better kitchen equipment than I actually have. I am proud that she liked my cafe table and chairs and left them in the shoot. The photographer made everything look great and my friend the writer caught the essence of what I was trying to do. A great experience!

21 Feb

Kid in a Candy Store

Southern Accents

Remember what that was like? Remember the awe and wonder you felt seeing so many wonderful things all in one place? The anticipation and decision making involved in choosing from so many options?

This is the essence of a visit to Southern Accents Architectural Antiques in Cullman, AL, for me and I would bet for anybody who fixes or builds furniture or does restoration. SA is a museum of architectural history and oddities that you can touch—and take home with you.

I am always amazed at what I see when I get to visit. I know I am going to see salvaged doors, mantles, shutters, leaded glass, claw-foot tubs, hinges, door knobs, and newel posts. All really wonderful handcrafted items with history and character. But there is always at least one thing that is totally random.

On a recent trip with a friend, I was not disappointed. She was there to find a claw-foot tub for a new home build. I was there because I never miss a chance to visit. I don’t know the number of items they have there, but it has to be hundreds of thousands, if you count all the hinges, antique keys, and drawer pulls. We browsed through rooms and rooms of salvaged materials and most of it I had seen the like of there or somewhere else.

But as I said, there is always at least one thing that is weirdly out of place—if you are in the market for a 5 foot tall concrete Chinese lion, they have one for sale.

01 Sep

Natural Stone Hardware

Montana StonesI ran across this cool use of natural stones for cabinet hardware. The company, Montana Stones, uses natural stones, available in multiple colors, to make cabinet knobs, drawer pulls, robe knobs, and bottle stoppers. It is a neat idea that makes use of a natural material in an alternative way. The slightly polished stones are pretty, but it is a bit strange to me that the stones are polished at all. I would prefer a natural unpolished, unfinished look that maximizes the nature of these beautiful stones. Also, there is a bit of a dichotomy in the drawer pull construction in that the base is very manufactured and polished. Again, I would rather have seen a more rustic base for these pieces.

But they are very nicely made and would compliment a new kitchen installation or a more modern style of furniture.

01 Mar

The Latest

Kelly’s table is coming along and will shortly be finished–literally. Below is a picture of it unfinished and assembled. The band clamps are there to hold the two halves of the top together so I can mark the spots for the alignment pins and other hardware. That should be done tomorrow. Then what remains is a final sanding and a few coats of oil finish.

Unfinished Table