Pen to Paper: Media Console…..

Sometimes you get inspiration from the least likely of places.  I have been working with a client on his San Francisco condo for about a year now, slowly adding pieces that we think represent his urban rustic aesthetic.  He loves the mix of wood and metals but craves a touch of color in subtle ways.  In his living room, we had to contend with his beloved red overstuffed sleeper sofa.  It isn’t my first choice for seating but sometimes you have to play the hand you are dealt.  He then informed me that he wanted a place to house all of his electronics, stand alone speakers and his large flat screen TV.

So I was tasked with providing storage for his electronics and TV, incorporate color and tie in his sofa along with the more rustic elements in the space.  Common sense told me that we needed to do something custom to fit all the requirements.   I immediately set out seeking inspiration for the piece.  During my research, I ran across this image from Mondrian ……


It was instantly struck by the colors and the clean lines.  It led me to do a quick sketch of this…….

Media Console Sketch_Oct23

I worked with the fantastic team at Oak and Wood to bring my drawing to reality.  After a few back and forth’s with the client and myself, we agreed on this design……

HawthorneMedia_V3See the Mondrian inspiration?  We all agreed that we could leave the speakers out of the final piece as the client would probably downsize.  However, we did create space for all his electronics in the “tower” to the left, creating a false bottom so we could place a power cord and only snake out a single plug.  The television will sit on top and the drawers will hide all those cords and things that we all seem to have.

A few months later and I could not be happier with the final piece…..

Hawthorne Media Console

It has all the elements we needed to tie the room together but still hold true to the urban vibe the client desired.  It’s a beautiful piece and I am not saying that just because I designed it!  It is going to be the jewel in the living room and I can’t wait to get the space done!

Need design services?  Feel free to email me to inquire!  Okay I am off to a photo shoot – details to come shortly!  Have a GREAT weekend……

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Profile: Luke Austin – Furniture Maker……

Luke Austin_WalterBlodgetQuote

I had the opportunity to talk with Luke Austin, a California-based furniture maker for FOLK Magazine’s blog about his career path, his love of wood and what clients should consider before pursuing custom-made furniture.

I have been lucky enough to work with Luke on at least three different projects for clients and each time, he has impressed me with not only his cool demeanor but more importantly his ability to look at a piece of wood and tell you what it should be.  I jokingly call him the “Wood Whisperer” as he is completely attune and is able to unlock the potential a piece of wood has to present the best piece of furniture possible…..


But then I am bias….why else would have used him for most of my projects?  As I dream of new ways to use Luke and his wood whispering abilities, why don’t you go check out his profile on FOLK?

Have a great weekend!

[photography: Photo by Adza]

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Luke’s Woodshop…Custom Coffee Table

I had the great fortune of meeting Luke Austin while working on the Calvert Court project.  He is a fantastic furniture maker and restorer that we used to bring the house’s original floors and cabinets back to life.  Plus he is funny to boot and to be honest, you spend so much time in cramped space with your contractors and vendors, the last thing you want is someone you don’t like.

I currently kicked off the last phase of a long term project and was in desperate need of a coffee table.  The client already has a couch he wishes to keep and is good condition.  However, his current table can only be described as “sad”.  And what was more sad, I couldn’t find anything on the market that the price point I wanted to spend that was not just as sad as the coffee table he currently possesses.  As luck would have it, I needed to stop by Luke’s work room to drop off a project and ran across these….

They are side tables that one of Luke’s patrons commissioned.  While I personally think the video console tops and the ability for the inside shelf to hold pint glasses are a fun touch, they are not exactly my client’s aesthetic.  However, the general shape was interesting and with a few modifications, I thought it would be the perfect coffee table.

A quick conversation with my suggestions created this…

The video console glass has been replaced with smoked black/grey glass panes that will sandwich my client’s rotating photography prints.  The legs are slightly more angular and the area formerly for pint glasses was shrunk to accommodate remotes and magazines. We are doing a two-tone treatment with dark stained walnut on the outside and varnished unstained walnut on the inside.

I am super excited for the project and the client is chomping at the bit to get this puppy started which is always a good sign.  As a general rule, I am finding that doing custom pieces for my clients is a great option that isn’t as price prohibitive as people think.  Additionally, in some ways it is cost effective since trying to find the “perfect” piece takes man hours – hours that I charge for – so once you factor that in, your great deal may not be all that cost effective.

Okay, I need to suit up as I am crawling under a deck today to look at foundations.  Not glamourous but the “design dork” in me is quite excited.  Now let’s pray I don’t encounter snakes, rats or the angry skunk because I will scream like a school girl – just keeping it real folks!

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