Through the eyes of a wood craftsman

Through the eyes of a wood craftsman

What do you see in this picture?

Old dilapidated barn used for reclaimed lumber

An old dilapidated barn?  Well of course!!! But through the eyes of a skilled Craftsman, you see an outdoor aging process ripe for picking.

Wood can be like wine, getting better with age.  The age shows itself in the richer colors in the wood-grain, the character marks and weather stains.

Do you love the natural and inviting look of wood? Then you’ll love our unique kitchen and living space designs made from reclaimed lumber.

What is reclaimed lumber?

Wood that isn’t rotten, is reusable – reclaiming it from it’s first build is a great way to recycle, but can also give your project a unique look in one of two ways:

  1. The Aging Process: produces unique defects, accentuates grain color and contrast
  2. Unique Trees: modern lumber comes from trees grown for cutting, whereas 100 year old wood from barns, and buildings was lumber harvested from naturally grown trees – giving a different and amazing rich contrast that young trees just can not do. If you are looking to give your Barn a new life. Let us help with you ideas.




Project Spotlight: Hewicks Plantation Historic Restoration

Project Spotlight: Hewicks Plantation Historic Restoration

Historically woodworkers did not have machine tools available for constructing the decorative and functional pieces for large plantation homes.  Gepetto craftsmen try to replicate the all wood construction techniques used historically, with a blend of late 19th century machinery to keep the labor time at a minimum while achieving an authentic all wood construction.  Gepetto gives restoration projects a budget friendly approach for replacing all wood features.

At the Hewicks plantation project, solid wood gates constructed from spanish cedar form an understated entrance to the historially long diveway lined with mature willow oak trees.  True to 18th century construction methods our shop craftsmen used true through mortise for the pickets.  Underlying their elegant beauty lies the arc of the upper support.  Cutting and shaping the arc challenges the technique of  solid wood mortise construction because of the difficult alignment of the holes through which each slat passes.  The Gepetto craftsmen hand built shop tools to speed the intricate manufacture process while meeting the tight production schedule allowing five days of shop time.  The four gate pieces set the stage at the public road and just in front of the house at the end of the private drive.  The plantation estate is a popular site for weddings with it’s rich character.  Now restored, the wooden gates greet the eyes of new generations of visitors to this historic 18th century home.

Please take a look through the gallery of images detailing the construction it’s accent to the grounds of the plantation.

Gepetto also fabricated the exterior trim, historically accurate windows, and refurbished the doors in this project.

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Project Spotlight: Theater Room and hybrid spaces

Project Spotlight: Theater Room and hybrid spaces

I was hired for this large home project by a local contractor I have experience working with in the past.  Trust is a valuable and scarce commodity in the building industry unfortunately.  I write these articles in the trust building process with you, as you consider hiring your contractor, because creativity and better design come out of a trusting working relationship!  The theater room hybrid project showcases a design suggestion made by the Gepetto Craftsman after looking at the plans drawn by the architect for elliptical windows topping off the glass doors to the porch.  When I got the architectural drawings and took a look at them I felt that the drawings were leaving out a huge opportunity in the woodworking in the room. Let me give you a picture to set the stage:

The arches are a repeated architectural theme throughout the home and I felt that the architect didn’t draw this wall with a grasp on the abilities of a skilled modern woodworker. Drawing on the relationship I have with the builder and client,  I suggested some changes to the plans to include a solid wood arched raised panel to finish the look of the wall.  The builder and client agreed with me that the warmth, classicism, and functional results of my proposed drawings would be a great direction to refurbish this 1920’s home.

Eliptical raised panel – all solid wood – no veneeering – click to enlarge

A solid wood, arched raised panel is a difficult construction challenge because the solid wood used in construction doesn’t naturally conform to the designed arch.  I have to measure precisely and use old world wood bending techniques.  The highly technical machinery setups to manufacture the wooden arc of trim would baffle less accomplished craftsmen.

Arched Panel Detail – click to enlarge

While I am very proud of the arched panels – they’re only the beginning of the mixed spaces designed into this home renovation.  Take a look at three more detail pictures and then let’s move on into the kitchen.


Frank Lloyd Wright inspired custom kitchen design

Frank Lloyd Wright inspired custom kitchen design

The Story of a Kitchen’s 3rd renovation

Creatively the client wanted a little diversity through out this kitchen design. Originally the client had a very dark raised panel Kitchen that they renovated  20 years back so this was the 3rd renovation this customer had done in this house. The conversation about how they had evolved the house through the years was very educational. In this renovation, they wanted a timeless, simple, and open approach to their central living environment as the kitchen adjoins an open sitting room and is the most used space in the house.  The open transitions and framework are to facilitate family conversations while doing mixed tasks like homework and food prep.

The first idea on the drawing board was filling the whole room with cabinets, but as we talked with the client about their needs and style we evolved into a super simple result. The original kitchen was full of late 80’s raised panel and dark cherry when we started.

In the design process we opened up the feeling with open-front shelving to achieve a sleeker, clean, zen feeling. The craftsman feel was brought out with an eclectic warm touch and breaking the kitchen into sections.  The front area is composed of the wooden front dishwasher, the mosaic tile back-splashes behind the sink and granite counter tops for food preparation next to the stove and between the sink.


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