Friday, March 20, 2009

Project Journal - Lawry's Timberframe Home

I have the wonderful gift and opportunity to assist my client, Lawry (pictured left), in the design and creation of his new home. Situated on two hundred acres of woods in rural Ohio, it is a lovely and inspiring pastoral setting; the perfect location for his new timber frame abode. What is especially engaging about Lawry’s project is his desire and passion to create a home of beauty and integrity. All of the beams used in the framing were harvested from his property. The cherry wood that will be used in the Master Bedroom is drying, waiting to be milled. Often our discussions will involve what type of wood would be best for something (cabinets, etc.) and whether it is available on the property. I love this connection between Lawry’s heart, his land, and his new home.

Lawry and I began work together just after the framing had been completed. Unfortunately, I missed the installation of the massive beams and the execution of the fine detail in the joinery. My first day on site was a chilly one, late November 2008. Lawry had just completed and moved into the “bunk house” that he built on his property. We met, reviewed his plans, walked the site and, thus began our collaborative design journey.

To date, we have decided on several modifications to the original plan. Lawry is eager to have the home work for his lifestyle – this is the beauty of a “custom” home, and he is always open to new suggestions and ideas. The “what if’s” that lead to a better design. What if we open up the ceiling in the Master – we have the space available. What if we open the wall between the Master and the Living Room, at the 8’ belt line – it creates great openness and sense of scale. What if the doors at the den are on a 45 degree angle, or what if there are no doors? Better still, do we even need the walls at all? Lawry has lots of great ideas that I believe are evidence of his, “if it’s not fun, why do it” motto. It is a wonderful collaboration of passionate, engaged homeowner and jazzed designer.

The main fireplace has just been completed and is a grand focal point and anchor to the home. The moss rock was brought in from Bozeman, Montana. We shopped locally for the material but were unable to find just the right stone. The mantle was located at a local salvage company. We reviewed sketches of the fireplace and when the stone arrived Lawry worked on site with the mason to create the desired effect using the dry stack method. The result is stunning!

I will chronicle the progress of Lawry’s new home in this blog, keeping everyone up to date on the construction process. Please check in from time to time to see how we are doing. Hope you enjoy reading about Lawry’s journey and we look forward to hearing your comments.

I am off to look at our plan to determine if we should consider flipping the location of the dining room and the den. What if the small eat in kitchen area was more a gathering space (our kitchen table is pretty large for the location) and then the den becomes the dining area – great view of the fireplace, lots of floor space, good wall space for the super long buffet table, still adjacent to the kitchen…it could work…stay tuned.

Approaching the home-note Bunk House at right

Another view of Lawry's new home

Moss Rock installed dry stack method

Another view of the fireplace

Great Room view from Den area

Master Bedroom - back of fireplace exposed

View of hickory ceiling and exposed trusses


Ash ceiling and truss at Master Suite Porch - note peg

Porch off Master Suite

Lawry's buddy - Paco the wonder dog!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Taj Mahal for Jax the Cat?

I recently rescued our neighbor’s cat, Jax. Little did he know how close he came to an untimely end. Happy with my new little buddy, I immediately went shopping for him so that he would feel comfy in his new abode. I brought home several pet beds hoping that he would choose them over my light colored furniture. That worked for about…a day…and now I have a few kitty beds floating around our house. I am not too crazy about them, to be honest. They are just not that attractive!

Musing over the ugly kitty beds, my mind began to churn; surely we could have an attractive place that Jax could call his own and that I could live with too. Then I remembered the pet “homes” from the wonderful furniture designer, Amy Howard. The designs are pretty fun and I can just picture Jax’s face peeking out of the “Taj Mahal.” (pictured below)

I visited Amy Howard at her studio in Memphis two years ago and was extremely impressed with her wonderful designs, the high level of hand craftsmanship, attention to detail and her gorgeous finishes. As they say, “to die for.” They really have to be seen to fully appreciate the depth and beauty of the finish. Each piece is a unique work of art. They really do glow. It was great fun to see the artists at work and to try my hand at gold leaf.

I have included a few photos of my studio tour.

Capri Dining Table Base

Harlowe Console unfinished

Clarissa Cocktail Table being finished

St. Regis Stool being sanded

Renaissance Day Bed during finishing

Artist painting shell design on headboard

Gold leaf being applied

Followed by some images of Amy’s wonderful designs.

Quinet Rope Screen

Capri Dining Table (wonderful!!!)

Tate Chair

Camilia Nesting Tables

Clarissa Cocktail Table

Unfortunatly, I just missed the red carpet being unrolled at 5:00 p.m. at The Peabody Hotel for the ducks as they make their way from the fountain in the lobby, to the elevator, and then up to their penthouse apartment. They have been doing this daily since 1933.

The ducks at The Peabody Hotel

The Lobby at The Peabody

I went in search of some authentic, regional fare while in Memphis and found it at the Flying Fish.

Lunch at the Flying Fish

Mud Bugs at the Flying Fish - yum!

For today, Jax has found his favorite place, on his blanket, with Louie the Lobster, on the ottoman at the foot of the bed.