Transitioning from public to private space, from one level to another, from inside to outside: the staircase. We enjoy the creativity that can be expressed in the functional and essential staircase. Stairs are like furniture that flows, curving, lifting, descending; solid, floating, short, or lengthy…and always dependable.
Our fine woodworkers and our designers think of stairs as sculptural and architectural elements. Often a focal point in the home the options for customization are many. Materials, shape, location, and integration with the frame.
The stairs play a large design element and integration with the frame in this NJ home.
A short walk across the parking lot from the main office is the shop for our fine woodworking division, NEWwoodworks. While the walk stretches the legs, wandering through their space feeds every type of woodcraft obsession. On a recent visit to the shop, I was drawn to a thick live-edge slab, smoothly finished and awaiting shipment to its new home as a bar top. This led me to Rob, manager of NEWwoodworks for a chat about how this group of skilled woodworkers arrives at happy hour creations:
In a previous post we talked about ‘island living: pull up a stool’. Kitchen islands are a popular spot for wood tops, but what about the overall kitchen materials and design? What considerations are made to keep the chef(s) connected with family and guests? What about storage space? Wood species and finishes? Rob, GM of our fine woodworking division, NEWwoodworks, and Andrew, interiors specialist in our design group, offered some insights.
“Why custom?” Robclarified before answering: “We like to tailor the kitchen to exactly what the client wants and needs. We can match, and hopefully enhance, the way they cook, serve, eat, entertain and live.”
Kitchen islands—central for gathering, food, and when necessary a spot to perch for a great photo op as Jonathan demonstrates!
Kitchens are often considered the heart of the home. Andrew shared a little history: “Interestingly enough the kitchen has gone full-circle in the lifespan of our country. In the span of 200 years we’ve gone from one room cabins where gathering around the hearth was simply a way of life, to the affluent days of the to-be-left-unseen butler’s pantry and galley kitchen separate from the dining/social areas of the home, to a revival of the central hearth concept appearing today in the form of ‘open plan living’.”
“It’s a destination, a resort for the whole family. With NEW’s help we built the forever home in New York. The meaningful pieces are already there and we hope to pass it on to the next generation. To keep it in the family for decades.” –Homeowner, Laurie
On one of our typical cool, rainy, and windy Autumn days in upstate New York, I had the chance to chat with Laurie who was enjoying some sun and warmth down in Texas. We worked with Laurie and her husband Dan for over a year designing, building, and completing their multi-generational lakeside retreat home in nearby Canandaigua, NY. I asked Laurie if she would share her take on what it was like to build and decorate a custom timber frame home. Her enthusiasm was infectious and I know I spent much of our conversation nodding and smiling. Here’s what she shared:
Laurie and Dan (left) captured images as the frame came together for their lake home.
Megan: So much is about the build site. Why Canandaigua?
Laurie: Actually, Dan and I are both natives of Rochester [city north of Canandaigua]. We grew up in the area and were always frequenting the surrounding Finger Lakes. We admired Canandaigua Lake and wanted to build there specifically. It took a few years to find our site, but we were patient and persistent. What we found had an old fishing camp on it and the grade was pretty steep, but we loved it. It was December when we asked New Energy Works to take a look at the land with us. Ty and Pete came out, looked around, and told us ‘yes, we can definitely make something special here’.
Need storage space? Display space? Can’t find a piece of furniture that’s the right size? Let’s talk built-ins.
What is a built-in? We’ve found a variety of pieces answer this question. Their unifying characteristic is a permanent fastening to the structure they live in. They are specifically sized to fit an existing space and are optimized for efficiency. Ranging from large to small, from simplistic to complicated, from cabinetry to bunks and benches, built-ins are varied and specific.
This built-in combines open shelving scribed around a corner post with cabinets and a live-edge top.
Our fine woodworking team, NEWwoodworks, and our design team deep dive into these pieces, aiming for designs that will suit current and future needs of the homeowners. Creating flexible pieces in a fixed or permanent space is a challenge solved with collaboration—internally and especially with the family that will live with, and interact daily with, the resulting fixture.