Simply Beautiful Furniture.

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A Peep’s Eye View into an Apeepment on M St.

Date added: 09-04-2012

Semi-Finalist in the Washington Post Peep Contest!

Peepwood Artisans Logo

Peepwood Artisans Logo

Peep! Peep!  It is amazing all of the words you can make a Peep pun out of.  Peepwood Artisans, Peeplydes, Murpeepy beds, peepsters – we have been rolling on the floor laughing at how Peeplarious the word Peep can be.

We advertise in the Washington Post Magazine every week and for years have been laughing at the Peep contest they host every year. My background is in interior architecture and I spent years in school building tiny little models with exact-o blades and glue.  My co-worker and one of our very talented furniture designers, Katie has a similar background.  We decided to make the jump and enter the Peep contest with Peepwood Artisans delivering furniture to Peeptown (Georgetown) to an apeepment on top of Peeplyde’s. (See what I’m talking about with the Peep puns?).

After our planning phase we went onto getting the structure built. Here is our AutoCAD drawing of the box the shop built for us.

We painted the peep box the shop built for us

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Linda Jones Captures Our Eyes and Our Landscapes

Date added: 14-04-2011

Last fall, I had the opportunity to go to the Great Falls Studio Art Tour.  My first stop was at Linda Jones’ home/studio.  I fell in love with her paintings the moment I saw them, and I knew I had to ask her if she would be willing to display her artwork in our showrooms.  To our luck, she said yes.  And here we are now, with our newest artist displaying her artwork proudly at Hardwood Artisans.

Californian Oranges in acrylics by Linda Jones (This painting can be viewed in our Alexandria Showroom)

It’s no wonder that Linda has been inspired to paint.  Born and raised on the south coast of England, Linda has been surrounded by beautiful landscapes and scenery her entire life.  Her interest in landscapes transformed into the study of geology and geography, and even as she was teaching the subject, she encouraged her students to sketch the landscape to understand it better.

Turtle Stones in watercolor by Linda Jones (This painting can be viewed in our Rockville Showroom)

Like many families that move to the US (including my own), the plan was for Linda and her family to move temporarily to Virginia for 2 years.  That was in 1989.  22 years of living in the woods of Great Falls and within walking distance from the Potomac, gives her all the inspiration needed for her paintings.  Having been to her home, I can see why Linda is inspired.  She has pointed out to me the several birds that she painted just by looking out her window.

Red-Shouldered Hawk in watercolor by Linda Jones (This painting can be viewed in our Alexandria Showroom)

Although Linda has been sketching and painting since she was a child, she picked up her aunt’s set of watercolors at the age of 9 or 10 and started painting the roses outside in the garden, she had not studied any form of art until her daughter went away to college to study art herself.  Linda did not realize that by taking her daughter’s advice, she would be turning her whole life around.  (Linda’s daughter now works in art therapy with Alzheimer’s patients, and is also an extremely talented painter herself).

Limelight in watercolor by Linda Jones (This painting can be viewed in our Rockville Showroom)

Linda has experimented with different mediums, but she prefers watercolor, acrylics and mixed media (involving fabric and paper collages).  Almost all of her subjects tend towards realism, but she also enjoys painting abstracts.  “Although most of my paintings are inspired by my immediate environment, I am fortunate to have travelled to paint in other parts of North America and Europe”, she says.  She loves natural woods, such as maple, cherry and walnut, for framing her paintings, as she feels it’s very appropriate for her themes.  She does all the framing herself.

A painting in progress

Linda painting ‘plein air’

Considering all the inspiring landscapes around her, Linda loves painting ‘plein air’ but usually tends to finish her paintings in her studio.  She loves painting in subtleties and vibrancies of colors, especially showing the way the natural light hits her subjects.  The best way to truly understand what Linda does is to take a look at her paintings yourself.

Daybreak in watercolor by Linda Jones (This painting can be viewed in our Fairfax showroom)

Linda’s gorgeous artwork is on display at our Fairfax, Alexandria and Rockville showrooms.  For more information, go to the Great Falls Studios website (where Linda is a board member) to take a look at their annual tour, or click here to be directed to her website to view more of her artwork.

You can also view Linda’s works at the Garrett Arts Gallery Shop in Oakland, MD and the Deep Creek Lake Visitor’s Center in McHenry, MD.

Photo Contest 2010 – Results 3/3

Date added: 03-02-2011

The third and final installment of our Photo Contest results contains several of our favorites. Enjoy!

This custom built-in window bench looks great in this room and made most of us want to pick up a book and settle in.

I can’t decide what looks better – the ship or the Hall Table underneath it!

Can you just say ‘aww’? This adorable dog makes this dining table look absolutely adorable.

Marleen’s Highland Dining Table and sideboard look great together!

Nicole has a great dining room set! And great photography skills – she was one of our Honorable Mentions.

This Waterfall bed fits in perfectly with the feel of the oriental decor in this bedroom.

This photo shows off the dovetail joinery of our drawers and the gorgeous cut of our wood… but it’s hard to look beyond the cute cat. Nick doesn’t need to get a cat bed – it looks perfectly happy in our Craftsman chest.

Thank you for looking at the results and entering the contest! We all enjoyed it. Keep an eye out for more blogs in the future – especially for one on our Cutting Edge event for those of you who can’t make it down for the festivities.

Inspirational Art by Suzanne Clifford-Clark

Date added: 10-09-2010

Old paintings made new, or more like new paintings made old. Suzanne Clifford-Clark is a local painter who is inspired to do just that; bring that antique feeling into her works of art. Her motivation comes from traditional paintings and she uses the same age-old methods and tools to create art that will give you a feeling of nostalgia.

The Sliding Hour by Suzanne Clifford-Clark

The Sliding Hour by Suzanne Clifford-Clark

Suzanne has loved art since she was a child, and quickly became enthused in creating her own works. With a family that frequently moved, Suzanne took up the portable habit of drawing and it quickly became an activity that she enjoyed. Soon drawing escalated to painting, and a wonderful relationship was shaped.

We’re proud to showcase 16 of Suzanne’s paintings in our showrooms, all of which are available for sale. Suzanne is a noted equestrian artist, inspired by the gracefulness and muscles of a horse’s large form. When she paints horses, Suzanne tries to portray the individuality of these animals. She doesn’t remember exactly when she first painted a horse, but she is continually trying to improve by not only studying photographs of them, but also by spending time with her own horse. She studies their hair growth, the way their bodies move, even the personalities that many of them convey.

Horse #1 by Suzanne Clifford-Clark

Suzanne  enjoys working with paint; from the way you can apply it to a canvas with broad strokes and thick lines or loosely and light. She’s inspired by colors, the ever changing way you can mix two colors to make another, the different tones and brightness. However, despite the obvious love expressed for such art, painting is a skill that Suzanne sometimes has a love/hate relationship with. When you have such endless possibilities, she does occasionally find herself frustrated with the inability to find that perfect color effect, the details she’s looking for, or even the tone of the piece itself. Painting never leaves her bored, but it does require a couple steps back to reevaluate the art being expressed.

Late Day by Suzanne Clifford-Clark

To create such a beautiful piece, Suzanne starts by stretching a fabric over stretcher bars and tightly securing it. She then paints the first layer of her painting, a layer that is called imprimatura.  This layer consists of a single color that covers the whole surface, therefore making it easier to estimate the value of a stroke on a solid background.

Imprimatura Layer

The next step is emphasizing the subject of her piece with either charcoal or thinned paint. Suzanne has to wait for this layer to dry before continuing onto the next layer, which is painting from the general to the specific. This layer usually consists of two or three layers, both of which have to dry before she continues on. This step is when the details begin to form.

General to Specific

Suzanne’s work is a slow and deliberate process, which pulls from years of painting and centuries of tradition. She has accomplished the goal of creating the traditional and now has several paintings to prove such skill. If you want to see her beautiful paintings or contact Suzanne, you can visit her website or you can visit our Rockville, Alexandria, or Fairfax showrooms to see these gorgeous works in person!

Quick, easy kitchen fixes

Date added: 15-02-2010

Kitchen remodels are never inexpensive, particularly when you have a personal commitment to quality like many of our customers. Let’s say you aren’t ready to completely overhaul your kitchen, at least not for the next few years. There are several easy-to-do solutions that can give your kitchen a quick facelift.

Cute and colorful knobs can brighten up your kitchen.

Cute and colorful knobs can brighten up your kitchen.

Replace (or add) knobs and pulls. When my parents bought their latest home, it was brand new and completely built and finished, therefore, it was up to them to customize it.  One of the first things to go was the standard bronze knob on the all the cabinets. My mom is a very cute, crafty lady, so she chose very cute hand painted ceramic knobs, similar to this one. What a difference it made to the kitchen! What was a once pretty standard became whimsical and inviting. Imagine what knobs like these could do to your cabinets.  Just be sure to check the size you need before you buy. If you have 3″ handles, you’ll need to purchase handles that screw in at the same place – you don’t want to fill holes.

A sophisticated glass knob

A sophisticated glass knob

Replace light fixtures. If you have a kitchen light in the middle of your kitchen or hanging over your kitchen table, swap it out. Don’t be afraid to throw some color into your lighting.

Colorful lighting can cheer up any kitchen.

Colorful lighting can cheer up any kitchen.

New floor coverings, linens and upholstery. If you  have rugs in your kitchen, say at the kitchen sink, put a different colored or textured one down. Not only are new rugs more squishy (therefore better for your back), but a brightly colored one could really pop! New hand towels, table cloths, placemats and kitchen chair seats can make a world of a change too. You can keep within the establish color scheme by trying out a new pattern too – got flowers? Try stripes!

A new rug can completely change how you look at your kitchen.

A new rug can completely change how you look at your kitchen.

Clean off your countertops. This may seem silly, and more of a cleaning issue than a design one, but it’s shocking how different your kitchen can look when you de-clutter your countertop.

So the next time you think you need a new kitchen and don’t have the funds or motivation for a re-haul, try even one of these things and for a fraction of the cost and time you can get a new look!

Katie Grech is a designer at Hardwood Artisans. You can email your design dilemmas to Katie here and she will answer as many as possible in future posts.

Get started redesigning your space

Date added: 25-01-2010

You’ve decided it’s time to re-do a room, so where do you begin?

Many people would head straight to the paint store. If a fresh coat of paint is all you need then buy that paint, spend a few hours and Viola! a refreshed living room. If your plans lie beyond just paint and you want a whole new room then the paint store would be the last place to start, after all there are thousands of paint colors, but a only so many sofas, dining tables or rugs.

I like to pick at least one thing that I love and is going to stay. Maybe it’s an heirloom rug or a $5 vase from a DC flea market.  While I’m not suggesting to build your room around that one piece, it’s a great place to start and may help guide your color and style selection.

Choose a unique item that will serve as inspiration for your room

After you have the one piece squared away and your color & style gears are beginning to grind – look towards the floor for your next clue.  Whether you’re laying down wood, bringing in carpet, or in search of the perfect rug, this is the time to really consider what you are trying to accomplish in that room. Warm and fuzzy? Shag carpet may be your ticket! Minimalistic? Hard wood or a very neutral, no-pattern rug would add subtle, non-competing beauty.

Once that flooring is chosen it’s time for a trip to Hardwood Artisans, or to another furniture store. You are ready to choose that sofa/dining table/queen size bed. Keep in mind the style and color scheme you began to develop and the hints that your special piece gave you. Furniture will guide you almost the rest of the way to your solidified color & style. Now is a good time to choose lighting fixtures as well!

Image from House of Turquoise

From furniture it’s time for the window treatments. But like paint, you have various window options and just need to follow your theme and tried not to get tied up in fabric swatches.

Now you’ve earned your trip to paint store. It may seem silly to have to move that furniture one more time, but it’s a lot better than getting the room done and pictures hung only to realize the one thing you hate and one thing that does not create a cohesive look is the paint. Just don’t forget to grab a few drop clothes for your new floor and furniture!

Lastly are accessories. Personally, I don’t like to buy accessories all at once. I like to buy things that strike me as I find them and let them slowly make their presence in my home.

Katie Grech is a designer with Hardwood Artisans. She has dual Bachelor’s degrees in interior design and furniture design. She’d love to help you with your design dilemmas. If you have an interior design challenge, email her at katie@hardwoodartisans.com and you could be featured on our blog.

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