Project Spotlight: Marri Vanna Washington DC

Luxury Restaurant Millwork | Custom Restaurant Interiors

Luxury Restaurant Millwork | Custom Restaurant Interiors

Our biggeest project in 2013 fits the Marri Vanna restaurant with custom woodworking in their eclectic design style.

Luxury Restaurant Millwork | Custom Restaurant Interiors

The three-level restaurant, just down the way from the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel, offers Russian cuisine in a space that makes the diner feel like they’re seated in someone’s home.
~ Huffington Post

Wooden Restaurant Fittings

Wooden Restaurant Fittings

Gepetto specializes in fabricating wooden restaurant fittings and furnishings to your design:

19th Century Replica Wooden bar and cabinet for restaurant ambiance

19th Century Replica Wooden bar and cabinet for restaurant ambiance

Above even the televisions at Mari Vanna are faced with naturally weathered and antique barn wood. Below we created intricate arcs and openings to visually separate this wine bar.

wooden wine bar custom eclectic

We tore down the barn wood for this Bar project just a few miles from where it was to be installed.

This Washington DC Restaurant was funded by Kickstarter, and features cuisine from the west asian country of Georgia.

Washington DC luxury restaurant builder

Southern Plantation Historic restoration contractor

Historic Virginia Plantation Restoration Contractor
Historic Wooden Staircase Restoration Contractor
Rift or quarter-grain cuts are best. These cuts are the most stable. Flat grain often expands and contracts seasonally at twice the rate of quartered stock.
Historic Mantle and Trim Manufacturer Virginia
With that said, here are 10 things to keep in mind when determining which approach will work best for you:

1. Identify the factors that will shape your decision. Deciding whether to restore or rehabilitate your house, and to what extent, involves understanding its history; its architecture; and the present condition of its materials, finishes, and systems. You should also consider your household’s lifestyle and what personal needs the finished house must accommodate. More broadly, local historic district designations, local building codes, property insurance, and other regulatory or financial considerations will impact the path you take.

2. Review the house’s history. Who lived in the house and when? Did important events occur there? Did either (or both) scenarios have historical significance? If so, you could consider restoring the house to that period to help interpret its history.

Historic Home Renovation with Modern Kitchen
Install plain sawn lumber with the heart side up. Flat lumber will wear better with the heart facing up. If there’s cupping, the edges will stay flat, and only the center will hump slightly.
Virginia Historic Mantle and Trim Supplier
3. Know what “restore” means. To restore a house means to return its interior and exterior appearance to a particular date or time period. Strict restorations—ones that eliminate everything not present during the period chosen—are rare for homes, with most owners opting to maintain modern systems (plumbing, anyone?) and sympathetically designed changes, such as later additions, that add to the house’s history.

4. Know what “rehabilitate” means. To rehabilitate a house means to make it useful and functional for contemporary living while preserving important historic and architectural features. For example, a rehabilitated old house would always include modern electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems, a modern kitchen, and other attributes typical of present-day homes.

Historic Home Renovation Cabinetry
Use traditional joinery. Component repairs should be made using traditional joinery instead of non-historic methods like a wholesale epoxy casting of a missing part.
Virginia Historic Home Restoration Supplier
5. Choose your approach. The major difference between restoring and rehabilitating is to either exactly duplicate a particular period or concentrate on preserving a sense of the changes that have occurred over time. For example, if an Italianate-style house had lost its wood eave brackets, a restoration project would duplicate them in wood as they originally appeared, while a rehab project would add new brackets of a compatible design in an appropriate substitute material (ex. fiberglass).

6. Evaluate existing alterations. Consider the quality, design, materials, and craftsmanship of the original house as well as the changes that have occurred over time. Compatible interior and exterior changes of the same or better quality than the original house, even if done in different styles or materials, should probably be kept and restored. Conversely, you should probably remove any poorly designed or executed changes.

9. Take care not to falsify the history of the house. This might seem counter-intuitive, but you actually do want to be able to tell additions apart from the original. That way, the house’s history is visible and transparent. Also be careful not to design additions that make the house appear to date from an earlier or later period, or alter the house’s details to an extent that suggest a different architectural period.

10. Look to the experts. For a more detailed list of recommendations, check out the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. This jam-packed resource from the National Park Service includes guidelines on preserving, rehabilitating, restoring, and reconstructing historic buildings.

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to determining whether you should restore or rehabilitate your historic home. Let your property, capabilities, and needs help guide your decision, and chances are you’ll arrive at an accurate, appropriate solution.

The Glen Roy Estate was renovated and restored with the fine wood fabricated pieces by Gepetto Millworks.

We built most of the wooden construction, which was restored from a gutted historical property including:

  • cabinetry
  • kitchen design
  • wardrobe style kitchen storage
  • fireplace mantles
  • bathroom storage
  • laundry hideaway
  • china display shelving
  • custom closet design (NYC theme)
  • skylight


Glen Roy Plantation is a pristine 3-story, Georgian Revival home, which was completed in 1852. The intact interior features Greek Revival detailing and includes twelve fireplaces, forty windows, fifteen foot ceilings and a widows walk. The house sits on sixty acres with 500 feet of waterfront along the Ware River. There are also extensive lawns and gardens and numerous outbuildings including an 18th century library and a late 19th century carriage house. The property also features a stable, garage, swimming pool and dock.

Historic Home Window Repair Services

Project Spotlight: Theater Room and hybrid spaces

Project Spotlight: Theater Room and hybrid spaces

I was hired for this large home hybrid kitchen design project by a local contractor I have years of experience working with.  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 successful 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

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.


Project Spotlight: Pecky Cypress Custom Kitchen and Hand-Crafted Built-Ins

The concept for the pecky cypress kitchen project came from a lack in the home builder’s kitchen’s ‘spirit’. The floor plan layout make the kitchen viewable from the entry hall, and left much to be desired in it’s style and warmth for this central piece of the home design.  The homeowner was not able to get a satisfactory response from the general contractor and so turned to Gepetto.  We brought a willingness to listen, and extensive design experience to the table to help the home owner make an organic visual and tactile experience come to life in their central living space.

The key component that breaks the design mold, achieving the goals of the homeowner in the process, was to use the exotic and difficult to work with Pecky Cypress wood species. Matthew Wiley’s modern eclectic design sensibility and daring to work with the unique scarred grain pattern in the cypress brings the unique look and functional success to this kitchen and bookshelf project. You may be wondering where the difficulty comes from.  Take a look at this closeup picture:

pecky cypress kitchen

pecky cypress kitchen