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Category: architecture

Navy Blue and Copper Kitchen

 

 

Here's what I was aiming at. The finished kitchen in Albany, NY

While the other contractors were at work elsewhere in the house, I decided to build myself a kitchen. The plumbing, electric, and sheetrock had already been installed. Here I've laid down some 2×4's to rest the carcasses of the cabinets on. Later I'll shoot the kickplate directly onto the 2×4's.
 
The carcasses were built of 3/4″ birch plywood with a 1/2″ birch ply back. The main cabinet (seen below) is one large rectangular box with two dividers–very easy and fast to build. These cabinets are significantly stronger than the higher grade stock cabinets available today.
 
I use copper counters on many of my projects. They're inexpensive, easy to make, and I like the way they look. The counter is made from two sheets of CDX plywood glued and screwed together and a sheet of copper that's bent on a brake. (I've also bent them by hand with a wood block.) When the copper is cut to size and bent it's glued with contact cement to the plywood.
 
The cabinet carcasses and face frames finished.
 
I don't usually make the doors myself. I use Keystone Wood Specialties. They're fast, reliable, and they do beautiful work. Below, I'm insetting a door into a face frame. I prefer inset doors; they make the cabinets look more like furniture.

 

The cabinets are painted Benjamin Moore Hale Navy. The pulls are solid unlacquered brass. The pulls and counter will both develop a patina in time. The floor is a new southern pine decking to be painted.

 
The finished kitchen

 

Stair Restoration

I'm not sure what the builders had in mind when they built this staircase, replacing what was probably a very attractive original.

 

Stripped down to something real. Already an improvement.

 

I found this walnut stair rail on Craig's list. There weren't enough spindles in the set so I had some made. The lighter colored are new.

 
The stair treads and stringer are original (note the new bullnose on the side of the treads) everything else is new.
 
After a lot of Bondo and sanding, the finished product.
 
I applied a custom finish to the banister of shellac flakes, denatured alcohol, and raw umber dye. The flooring is the original (circa 1910-1930's) fir flooring.

 

 

 

Cornices of Colorado

Cornices from Leadville and Silverton, mining boomtowns in the Colorado Rockies. The colors are more brash than what you might see in the Northeast but look good, I think, in the cool light of the surrounding mountains.

 

 

 

 

 

A glass Masonic Sign

 

Design Challenge

Here’s a niche in the entry of a building in Bed-Stuy. We could only guess what was there before. The search for similar woodwork in the neighbors’ buildings turned up nothing, so I had to invent something. The radiator needed a cover that integrated with the adjoining wainscot and didn’t keep the front door from opening. The niche was only 3-4 inches deep, so there wasn’t enough depth for shelving.

plaster wainscot radiator restoration brownstone brooklynplaster wainscot readiator restoration brownstone brooklyn

Below is the first design, based loosely on a 19th century stage. Note how the shelving is set in from the edge of the niche. This allows the “curiosity cabinet” to project forward without obscuring the plaster edge detail.

curiosity cabinet brownstone brooklyn

Below is a radiator grille similar to the one used above. This is a inexpensive way to make a Victorian looking radiator built-in. The nicest grilles can be bought from King Architectural Metals and then inserted into casework.

brownstone radiator grille victorian

Here’s the end result. Built out of hard maple and finished with hand mixed shellac to approximate the original 19th century finish. Some of the elements, the spindles, casing, and brackets were purchased from Vintage Woodworks. The other parts, most notably the top, were made in my shop on a band saw. The “pineapple” at the center top was inspired by my trip to Charleston. It’s a symbol of welcome there, found in many entries.

Brownstone entry brooklyn gavinyoungmaloney

Encaustic Tile

Encaustic tile’s color is “burnt in,” sometimes as deeply as a quarter inch into the substrate. It’s almost indestructible (it’s often used in exteriors) and has a beautiful matte finish. Unfortunately this tile can be extremely expensive, especially the tile manufactured in England.

The encaustic tiles below are the kind I most often find in Brooklyn. I’ve been told they are copies of English tile and manufactured in the US . It was not easy to find replacements for them, at least for a reasonable price. I did find one company, however: L’Antiquario Tile in Florida, www.lantiquario.com/.

encaustic tile brookly victorian tile

Bed-Stuy Entry

The tiles below, at least for my taste, are some of the nicest I’ve seen, and they’re quite reasonable. (Also from L’Antiquario Tile.) They are Flemish made around the beginning nineteenth century. There can be some irregularities in them, but I think that is part of their charm. Also, a good tile setter can lay them out to ease transitions between light and dark. The bathroom below was built from scratch, but the tile gives it a very genuine nineteenth century look.

Bed-Stuy Bath Renovation

Below is another type of encaustic tile, also very reasonable. It’s made in Morocco. It works best, I think, in a semi-formal or informal setting. I used it here in the little entrance of a carriage house.

morrocan tile encaustic brooklyn

Brooklyn Carriage House Entry

Venetian Carpet

ingrain carpet ventian victorian carpet design family heirloom

Ingrain and Venetian carpets are the first machine made carpets in the U.S.  The machines were invented in France in 1801 and brought to the U.S. in 1829. This carpet was designed using thread colors provided by the manufacturer.

Wool thread provided by Family Heirloom.

Here is the final product–manufactured in Pennsylvania on the original 19th century looms.

Acid Etched Glass

Acid etched glass allows light but retains privacy: in doors separating a dining room and parlor, in bathrooms, or in transoms. The design is used by a glazier to create decals that are temporarily affixed to glass. The acid “etches” the exposed glass while the area of the decals remains transparent.

Acid etched glass inserted into a library hutch in lieu of wood panels.

Acid Etched Glass Victorian Door Shellac Finish

A design taken from a Victorian pattern book and used in an entry.

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