Semi-Finalist in the Washington Post Peep Contest!
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?).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
We have finished installing our fully working kitchen in Fairfax. Our showroom staff have been enjoying the opportunity to bake fresh cookies and sit at the bar to relax. Co-owner Mark Gatterdam tells the story of how and why we went into building kitchens:”In 2001 I needed a kitchen to go into the new home my wife Erika and I were building. I actually went to Home Depot and to get an estimate for a kitchen design. It was $12,000 for just the cabinets, and was not what I actually wanted. They were simply stock cases that didn’t fit the space and left a lot of wasted areas in the design. I felt that I wasn’t being heard by the sales person and it became clear to me that this was not going to work.
I was too busy to build the cabinets myself – I was building a house! I hired Ricardo, then a craftsman and now my partner, to build my kitchen. I designed it, and he executed it. I was asked my opinion on how I wanted things to look or work, and he would then get that done. I got exactly what I wanted, and it was perfect.” Here is a picture of it:
And one more:
“We have been building vanities, odd spaces, unusual looks, that sort of thing, but not kitchens. After Greg built his home and subsequently his kitchen using some of the craftsmen in the shop, we decided that doing kitchens was sort of different and fun.
We had always resisted doing them because we felt we could not compete with companies who do it exclusively. The reality is that people are willing to pay a little more to get the service, attention, and product they need. So, here we are launching off on our kitchen cabinet venture. Typical Hardwood Artisans quality and construction. Designed and built to meet your individual wants and needs.”
We have two kitchen designers if you need help designing or visualizing your space. Any thoughts or questions you have e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
What, you don’t think “fun” and “kitchen remodeling” belong in the same sentence? Having gone through one myself, and written about countless others, I think the sentence is possible if you go into it with the right expectations.
Hardwood Artisans has recently gotten into the business of kitchens, and the new Fairfax showroom has cabinetry on display to show the kind of work they do:
As you might guess, cabinetry from Hardwood Artisans isn’t cheap – in fact, no cabinetry ever is, according to this great write-up on the HGTV Web site. Cabinetry accounts for 35 percent of your remodeling budget – the biggest chunk of all line items, including labor and appliances.
As they say, you get what you pay for. So check out the cabinetry General Manager Greg Gloor and co-owner Mark Gatterdam built for their own kitchens:
Going back to HGTV, I tend to think its programming gets a little goofy at times, but the articles on its Web site are very informative. (Full disclosure: I’ve written a couple of them!)
Here are some other great links to kitchen remodeling on that site, which are worth printing and keeping. This one talks about finding a good contractor, and this one details how to set a budget, plan, and even pay the remodeling bills.
Another great resource for researching remodels is the National Kitchen and Bath Association, or NKBA for short. I found a good all-around article with consumer tips here, which talks about when — and why – to update, and there is an exhaustive Q&A that gets down to the nitty gritty of every aspect of kitchen remodeling, right here.
And if you want to know how the marketers have you figured out as a kitchen consumer, read this interesting article about a survey of more than 3 million households, which asked people about their searching and buying habits for kitchen upgrades.
So once you have your remodeling plan, you’ve set aside enough money for each of the line items (including those unexpected expenses that always enter the equation), you’re ready to have fun, right?
Speaking of fun…
Owner Ricardo Berrum is working with a couple who who just ordered a kitchen plan for their DC condo. They came back to Hardwood Artisans after buying a piece of furniture from us 20 years ago.
Part of the new kitchen plan includes custom-carved drawer fronts of quarter-sawn white oak, which the customer provided.
“That’s most likely the reason they went with us,” Ricardo says. There are about 20 panels that the couple purchased 10 years ago. “We’re going to try to use all of them and integrate them into their kitchen,” he says.
We’ll post pictures of the finished product in 10-12 weeks, once the project is installed.
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.
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!
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 email@example.com and you could be featured on our blog.
For more than 30 years, Hardwood Artisans has sold, well, hardwood furniture made by artisans. Hence the name, right? Well, we decided to throw some more new artisans into the mix with our new Fairfax showroom, as part of our endeavor to make it different from the way we’ve always displayed our furniture in the past.
We’re now offering more accessories made in the same loving manner as our furniture, and they can be purchased only in Fairfax. Come take a look.
Gorgeous traditional shaker boxes made by Brent Roarke in New Brunswick, Canada
A cabinetmaker by trade, Brent Roarke has been making these boxes for 13 years, while continually coming out with new sizes and styles. Roarke, who works from a restored century-old barn, says the boxes are based on traditional sizes, but some of the newer products, such as a divided carrier, jewelry box, and bureau tray, are adapted to today’s uses.
He explains their popularity: “It’s a very tactile thing. It’s pleasing to the eye, but when you pick it up, it’s smooth to the touch, and they have an interesting shape.”
Handblown glassware by Simon Pearce
Pearce grew up in Ireland, working with his brother out of their father’s potter’s shed. As he came into his own as a potter, he traveled to work as an apprentice in New Zealand, where his passion extended to glassmaking as he started collecting old glass. “Each glass is made by one person, hand finished,” Pearce says in a video on his Web site. “That’s what really got me into glass.”
Pearce opened his first glass workshop in Ireland in the ’60s. “Like any skilled craftsperson, the way you learn is by doing,” Pearce says, “and that’s how I learned over two years, by blowing glass all day, every day.”
He moved to the United States in the late ’70s, settling in Quechee, VT, on a bucolic river the company produces its own electricity through hydro-energy. The facility is now a tourist destination, with a highly rated restaurant on the premises. As creative director Liz Ross describes the Pearce glassware and pottery, “It’s affordable luxury, to be used every day, and passed on to future generations.”
Bedding produced by the Rockville-based Blissliving Home
When Blissliving Home Founder Mei Xu was traveling the country, promoting her lines from the Chesapeake Bay Candle company, she noticed that the hotel beds she slept in had inferior linens.
That’s why she set out to create her own bedding, made from high-quality cotton from the Orient. In addition, spokeswoman Stephanie Tait says, “she’s always had this thing about how there’s a disconnect between home décor and fashion.”
The bold colors and patterns on the Blissliving duvet and comforter sets are inspired by nature, travel and fashion. “I get inspired anywhere and anytime,” Mei says in her style profile. “It can be a visit to the museum, a book I am reading, a fashion magazine, or a movie. Another major source of inspiration for my designs is my travels around the globe. I love to travel – I would not be happy without it – and I am fascinated with the different cultures of the world.”
We at Hardwood Artisans, of course, are steeped in the craft tradition, so when we are looking for accessories to sell with our handmade wood products, we want purveyors who are like-minded. In the Fairfax showroom here, you will be able to see that we’ve found them.