Over the weekend the new kitchen dining room that is now more a family hub came into use and for me it’s time to consider designs to develop as new furniture pieces to be made over the coming months and years. After three months of wall removal, foundation digging and rebuilding to create a blank canvass for me, I felt the inspiration building over the months and now my mind is flooded with designs that pass in and out of my head as I look from kitchen to wall to corner — my design juices just never stop. I think that most woodworkers I have ever known somehow aspire to making their own dining table over just about any other piece for the house. I wonder if it is to do with eating together and the sharing of food, space, conversations and family as much if not more than anything. Just as the kitchen is the hub of family life, perhaps the table is the hub of conversation. (The original kitchen definitely defied such things) I find that the thought others might have about making their own dining table stems from the reality that, having made many a dozen tables for others as customers, family and friends, it’s now time to make one’s own. Of course, this will not be my first and it may not be my last, I don’t altogether know, but it will be very special no matter what.
The pieces for Sellers’ home are indeed expanding steadily one by one. They are all utterly hand made in the truest sense of the word and will be permanent to the future plans we have. I am tending towards freestanding pieces as much as possible because I may want to pick and mix at some point and of course, they may need to be moved elsewhere in the future we know nothing of. I am trying to think of those who move house because of work yet want to still build their own furniture in the years to come. There are a dozen reasons for moving house not the least of which is not owning your own home but renting. Many are in transient backgrounds, being in the military, for instance, job requirements, education, etc.
I have made inroads into what’s needed for the living room or lounge area in the front room of Sellers’ home. It’s a modest start when I think of the other rooms yet to be approached. Part of my designing is the reality that the style I want might not be the want of others. I try to design so that the techniques and methods can indeed be adapted and adopted for a change in the style so that makers following elsewhere can add their own ambitions to the design and create their own masterpieces. I am enjoying myself designing and making and so far I have been working in cherry wood, a definte favourite of mine, with the latest being a combination of oak and cherry. My choice of cherry stems from the wood being a colourful species with rich, flowing grain patterns and contrasts that I really just love. It finishes to a silky smoothness with just hand tools and a some light sanding and then you can finish with many finish types too. Shellac, my favourite finish of all, flows on with a brush or sprayer and once buffed with steel wool and furniture wax, feels as good as any ancient piece we know from the earliest days of furniture making.
For the kitchen, I anticipate a recipe cookbook bookshelf of one style or another. Should it be wall hung or floor-standing? Perhaps it’s not an either or but one of each! This was but one suggestion that came in, and then of course there’s a dining table to be made, side cupboards, and dining chairs, all of which feature high up on the list.
You might recall a dining bench seat we made years ago with unturned spindles that came from spokeshave work in the Shaker-style. This was a great piece to make but benches are not always that practical for getting in and out at the table. Two two-seaters might be a good consideration though because a two seater will indeed seat just one just fine. Anyway, who knows?
With LED lighting and roof lights above, lots of large windows and openness, unlike before the demolition of walls, a conservatory and such, the whole area is flooded with good light and has a bright and airy feel to it. We’ve ordered a couple of armchairs to relax in because there is a wall of glass doors and windows overlooking the width and length of the rear garden. The windows are currently being made from wood instead of the plastic ones that were previously installed and will arrive mid September for installation. Until then we have a temporary wall and door.
Until I get to this space, I will content myself with a drawing pad, some pencils and some thoughtful interaction with this thing called negative space. I am not sure what Thanksgiving and Christmas will bring this year, because COVID was the year of such uncertainty, nor where they will take place just yet, but I look forward to the possibilities Sellers’ home kitchen and dining area have.