Thursday, February 25, 2016

How to 'accent' when you are 'accenting' - pictures! pictures! pictures!

Chapter 1 - Good advice on how to select the right custom door OR accent doors for your IKEA Sektion kitchen ALSO KNOW AS Spend your money wisely

Since I started offering custom made doors for IKEA Sektion box - and I mean really custom doors; you can have anything you like and it will come with design matching panels, bulkheads or valances - it has generated an interesting pattern of queries and requests. It turns out that having custom options for your IKEA Sektion boxes is an exciting option for a homeowner who is looking for a bit more of 'designer look'. This especially true when the owner is investing in better looking, professional appliances.* He or she wants to know that the custom options they select will match their purchase seamlessly. 

But don't fret, it can made to 'look like a million bucks' without going that route - purchasing designer appliances - if you hire me, I will make sure that it 'all flows' - I make wonders with fridges - LOL - fridges are tough cookies occasionally. 

And since I can make really nice slab doors out of any species of wood - I get sheets laid up - you can really get some interesting, one of a kind looks, and people are really considering interesting opportunities. But on several occasions I had dissuade people from pursuing that course of actions. Hey! I made a list of things you should consider when accenting! Way down there below!

So now that you have settled on an IKEA Sektion kitchen for your reno - you've done all the research and you know that SEKTION is a great value, superior functionality and great flexible design. Now, the value of the kitchen is so amazing that you consider giving it some custom flare, take it a bit away from the standard IKEA kitchen look [oh there is something like that!] - great! IKEA kitchens were meant to be customized. 

*I make IKEA kitchens not look like IKEA kitchens. 

The modular design of the SEKTION system yields itself nicely to custom production runs of doors and panel styles - something like Semihandmade doors does, except they are about $1000 dollars away in California.**  Don't fret thought, it seems that the 'number of manufacturers that are working with homeowners' in producing custom doors is getting ever larger - you just got to google who makes 'custom ikea doors' in your neighbourhood.  Chances are that if you live in a large metropolis, or near one,  then you will find someone who claims they do it. The trouble with those places though is that while they may offer door styles that IKEA doesn't produce, there is very little that they are able to give you in terms of non-IKEA look - you are still limited by the installation methods and creativity of your installer. 

This is where I shine. Most of the time I get hired for my creative solutions - don't get boxed in by the IKEA kitchen planner!

*I can make you any door that you like. And it will fit the IKEA Sektion box. 

It is an exciting time in any homeowners renovation journey - the selection of door style. There are several key factors to consider - your design should showcase that extra expense well - there are many things to consider, you will have to trust someone's advice and I want to say that should be me.

You will hate me for saying this, but after this many years of woodworking and seeing kitchens slowly fail - laminate doors are best choice for lowers. The laminates I work with, from ABET Laminati, offer an incredible choice of colours and textures that can easily be beautifully matched across a whole series of doors. Laminate doors look best for years. FOR YEARS. The quality of the finish does not diminish. It is a very durable hard wearing surface and you can even use nail-polish remover to clean up stubborn surface stains - that's right, I said Acetone! Just try doing that on a regular door....[hint: it will ruin the finish, just sayin']

Laminate doors also have the preferred durability when you have an eat-at area - like a bar or a breakfast counter. People will kick and scuff those lower panels or doors. It happens - some of those scuffs and nicks are easier to get out than others. So what do you do? 

You do laminates - they rock! - they are very durable. And same story - very wide selection of finishes and textures. Often times those areas will not receive as much light - because of the overhang of the countertop - you want to make sure to select, what I call a 'higher grain contrast selection' or go for lighter solid colour. No one will appreciate the subtlety of rift-sawn wenge [because I had a request like that] buried deep below somewhere by your knees - and wenge is a beautiful, exotic hardwood that is also very expensive - all everyone will see is just dark brown doors, and you should not have to pay a premium for dark brown doors. 

Wood grains? Best place to showcase nice wood grain are the uppers with some good lighting. At eye - level, well lit, you or any of your guests will be able to notice the beauty of natural wood grain. Match the grain across all doors, edge it in 1/8" inch solid and it's a winner I say. 

I produce doors in matching sets - all are custom measure - wood grains and Italian laminates. Looks like a million bucks, every time. 

Pictures first! Sometimes amazing doors for IKEA kitchens need to be documented - very well made and gorgeous looking. First, this baby - I wanna show it off - these doors were designed specifically to work for this space. Rift sawn white oak, eight inch solid, matched across all door - appropriately lit - no pull - longer @ 42" in length. With the horizontal solid blending in at the top and the bottom, it's the verticals that introduce that nice vertical element. The eye is drawn to that contrast between the grain running in perpendicular. Just really nice doors. 

For the laminate fans, I want to say that ABET's Diafos is by far my favourite laminate so far - it's a classic that is going away. After 30 years in production  ABET will stop running the press. Check out these 2 pics - Diafos has translucent properties - those light lines are the edges of the cabinet and the doors. The surface of the laminate 'gathers' the light and it releases it at the edge - acrylic sheets behave the same way. Nice.

*just this past Saturday, I went to Caplan's in Toronto to see the appliances 'in-person'. I wanted exactly see how they 'intersect' with the millwork - it has to look best. The client invested in really nice, very clean, very sharp looking professional appliances - very minimal looking. I want to make sure that, that aesthetic is reflected in my design - it has to be effortless blend. 'The appliances were meant to be there'.

** Semihandmade actually went through a quite a few changes to their line up and I don't think we quite compete. John does one thing and I do something else - hey! I say we complement each other. Cheers John!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

so WHAT'S the DEAL with IKEA furniture and the launch of FILM CABINETRY[tm]

This is not an IKEA piece. This is Canadian made, solid cherry hutch that my parents - we were fresh off the boat immigrants back in '91 - bought for an equivalent of about 70% of a month's rent on a 3 bedroom unit. It came with a beautiful,  book-matched solid cherry table and 8 nice chairs. It has aged amazingly. The picture above,  shows how natural cherry ages when exposed to sunlight - it acquires this wonderful rich red-brown patina. 

The flooring is also mine - my brothers and me built our parents' house, I want to say, about 20 years ago. The house features nice hardwood floors through out, with the dining room featuring red oak framed with a border in walnut and maple - fancy floors. I still occasionally do flooring - only fancy though, sorry. I am experiencing a mid-life crisis I think - I feel very skilled, I reached a plateau, in terms of flooring. I can resolve or turn anything into flooring. We are talking historic, reclaimed, anything - give me the best wood you've got and I am gonna turn into work of art. I pre-sort Moncer floors before installs - I want to know the available flooring before I install it - I  build 'the average' tone in my mind as well keep an eye out for potential gems.  I want to set aside book-matched boards so that they may be used in an another way, maybe built-into the cabinetry - I love designing with that large board. I told a friend - it's like building a tabletop - every board matters. And so imagine my great surprise when I discovered that something that used to bring me great pleasure stopped doing so. 

And so I have been in search for a new muse. I want to find passion again. Something ambitious that will make me crave work everyday and will challenge my pre-conceived notions. I want something beautiful and breathtaking. When I build,  I want to wow myself. And I found it - Film Cabinetry.

I love movies - no! - I enjoy great cinematography. I like good plots and story lines and twists. I like movies that mirror intricacies of human relationship - and I don't mind dark or sadness but comedy is always good. 

' T'were it so simple! '

One thing that always impressed me were movies sets - the furniture used in movies is amazing. My favourites are wooden filing cabinets from the 1940's war time movies and cabinetry found in apothecaries - those millions of little drawers and large panes of clear glass [I would only use starfire glass! - for clarity]. And I love Woody Allen's New York apartments - that's my style. Hahaha!

So if you want some amazing cabinetry built that you've seen in a great scene ['Crimes and Misdemeanors' and 'Hannah and her Sisters', are my two absolutely faves and 'Hail Cesar!' had some amazing movies sets too], then get in touch. I can build anything. 

ps. I started designing this - I am not sure how these things happen to me.