In last week's post I showed off a couple of custom Shaker-style barn doors that I've been working on in my studio.
So naturally this week's blog post is all about those doors, and where they ended up.
It all started when Leslie Huntley of Roost Interior Design contacted me about putting a pair of sliding barn doors in her clients' home office in their downtown condo.
They had a perfectly good door there...
...but floor space in these condos is limited, and they wanted a new door that didn't swing open, so they could put more furniture on the wall.
We couldn't find any pre-made doors that would work well in the space, so I got to work in my shop.
By the way, check out that respirator! It's my new toy... top of the line and easy on the lungs.
Plus it looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.
Side note: I never realized how many sci-fi astronauts are wearing standard dust-filter respirators until I started researching dust filtration. It seems to be a Hollywood shortcut: buy a mask from Lowe's, spraypaint everything black, and slap on a few extra gadgets and hoses.
And once I noticed that, I started noticing all kinds of things, like plastic French drains being used as spaceship "pipes." Low-budget Netflix space operas just haven't been the same since then.
Anyway, back to the job...
I also make custom cabinets at our sister company, Artisan Built-ins, so Leslie commissioned us to build a set of white bookcases with a custom shelf to hold a printer. Here's the 3D model we created so she could preview the design.
And here they are in our workshop, alongside another project for the same condo... an electric chimneyless fireplace.
As you can see, our model was very accurate.
Back on the job site, the office walls were painted a striking cobalt blue...
...the better to set off the crisp white sliding barn doors and the bookshelves.
If you've got sharp eyes, you might notice that the printer shelf is a little lower than it was in the drawing. That's because I planned ahead and made it repositionable or removable so that if they don't need a printer there any more, they can take the shelf off and have a plain bookcase once again.
The whole project came together beautifully, and the formerly bland room is now a striking office that looks just as interesting as the view of downtown Asheville.
If you've got a tight floor plan that needs a custom solution to make it workable, give us a call. We can come up with a plan that optimizes your office and makes it fun to go to work.
It's peak season for handyman work, and I'm keeping busy...
...making a pair of custom sliding barn doors among other things.
More pics of that to follow!
Meanwhile we still have a bit of fun in the summer, and last weekend I got a chance to indulge another favorite pastime: music. Since this tune is about Asheville, I thought I'd share it here.
I wrote this one when I moved here... could it be 20 years ago already?
Which is how I've gotten to know so many of the best local handymen. Give us a call when you're ready to get your projects done.
August in Asheville is in full swing, and I think it must be ten years since I"ve seen such a cool and pleasant mountain summer. Perfect weather for getting out the motorcycle.
Well, maybe not that one. It only looks like a road warrior! That's from one of the local workshops. I was driving past one day and couldn't resist stopping for a photo. I believe they recycle metal, and clearly they've been putting their scrap to good use.
Speaking of workshops, I thought I'd show you a peek behind the scenes at my cabinet shop. Because although we're still doing lots of handyman work in Asheville, I've been working on a couple of really cool woodworking projects as well. You're going to love these!
Here's the shop...
You can't tell, but there's a creek just outside the window. And there's nothing like turning off the ventilation system for awhile and letting Nature do the work while I assemble a few cabinets and listen to the creek rush by. I've even got an outdoor workbench in the shade for those really nice afternoons.
Those gray boards eventually turned into a pair of bookshelves and a mantel to go around an electric fireplace. This is going in a brand new condo in downtown Asheville. I love these electric fireplaces because they don't require a chimney, so you can put them anywhere.
You might have noticed that I haven't added the crown molding or baseboard on one side. That's because the tobacco poles are getting in the way. That's right... my shop is built into an old tobacco barn. The poles aren't holding anything together... they're just there for sentimental value.
Here's what the shelves will look like when they're installed. We create models like these for most of our handmade cabinets.... it gives you a chance to preview your project before we install it, so you can make changes and get exactly what you want.
Here's another view of the shop... I snapped this one a couple of weeks ago when I was working on another ventless fireplace. You can see it in the back of the room there.
In the foreground you can see why every cabinet shop seems to have a million clamps! Believe it or not, I still plan to buy a few dozen more of them.
Here's a pic of the fireplace mantel that I was clamping. It had a fiery cherry grain and it turned out really well.
It looks great from a distance, too. The homeowner had a set of Craftsman tiles custom made just for this hearth. And as I said, this is another one of those chimneyless fireplaces, so it can go anywhere.
You can see more photos of this Arts and Crafts fireplace on our custom cabinets website. including the inside of the cabinet, which is hiding an entertainment center. It's a great way to disguise your TV.
Or if you're here for handyman work, we can help you with that, too. Just give us a call.
I met him for a cup of coffee and thought he'd be a great fit for Asheville... he's very low-key and easy to talk with. Naturally I called his references, and they were stellar. One guy talked about how Joshua went the extra mile on a long project, and was very patient when they ran into unexpected problems during a big wall repair..
Joshua is a third-generation contractor, and as time has gone by, it's become clear he knows his business well. You can see his work ethic in this before-and-after of a triple-decker porch which he painted in his hometown in Cape May, NJ.
I'll start with the "after." The photo looks like it's black-and-white but I think it was just a cloudy day.
Here's how it looked before he started painting. As you can see, he's already done the prep work by scraping away the loose paint so that the new coat of paint will adhere better.
Here's another "before" of a garage apartment that really needed some TLC.
And here's the "after." He's gone all the way up to the roofline, and the building looks brand new.
That's just a small part of the entire project. He did the whole house. Exterior painting at this height has always given me the heebie-jeebies but it seems that Joshua is fearless. He must have a steady hand even when he's on a tall ladder, because every line is neatly cut in.
He also does cabinet painting using a spray rig. Here are a few doors painted and hanging to dry. I like his set-up with the ladders and hangers. It's a great way to paint all sides of the wood without having to touch it.
Here's the finished kitchen... very fresh and clean. The finishes are very smooth, and he's clearly kept track of the doors and reinstalled them correctly.
All in all, I think he's been a great addition to our network. Our customers seem very happy with him, and I like him too. He's competent and calm, and he returns phone calls and emails in a timely manner... which is a "must" in my book.
If you'd like to work with Joshua, give us a call and we'll put you in touch.
As a trim carpenter, I'm always looking for new ways to do a better job. One of the problems I regularly run into is breaking caulk lines, and I think I've finally found a solution.
When I install trim, I caulk it where it meets the wall so that it looks continuous with the wall. If the caulk breaks, as it often does due to the natural movement of the wooden trim, it leaves a dark gap.
Here's an example via Allan Bailey, one of the craftsmen in our network. On the left you can see trim which was installed a long time ago, where the caulk lines have all broken. In this example, the problem was caused by moisture from a poorly sealed shower door, but it can also happen when new trim is installed and dries out as it adjusts to the local humidity.
On the right, you can see where Allan has re-caulked and painted the trim. It looks much better, doesn't it?
Caulk lines have such a high tendency to break that we don't warranty them on handyman work. But I do like to do things right, warranty or not, and that's where Big Stretch comes in.
It's a new product by Sashco which supposedly resists moving and cracking. Here's a video to show the difference. (Warning: it's a little bit corny.)
I've been putting Big Stretch to the test on some of the built-in furniture projects I've finished lately. On most of these projects, my goal is to install a piece that looks like it's part of the home, like these two benches which I installed on either side of an existing fireplace.
So far Big Stretch has held up well.
The only drawback I noticed is that although Sashco says Big Stretch is "easy to install, even for a novice," I find it to be a little trickier to work with than regular caulk.
I usually like to go over my caulk lines with my fingertip to smooth them out. You can do that with Big Stretch, but you only have a few chances to get it right before it starts boogering up.
But overall I'd give this a "thumbs up" rating. The superior performance outweighs the slight difficulty of installation.
If you're looking for a handyman who loves to do things right, give us a call. We've got a whole network of craftsmen who are at least as picky as me.
I was not compensated for this review.