A Craftsman's Notes

The Marvelous Blog

Matching Existing Detailing in New Floor-to-Ceiling Bookcase

As custom woodworkers, Marvelous Woodworking has the opportunity to create unique projects for inspired homeowners. Making a space special involves hitting upon the perfect idea, then finding the right professional who can figure out how to make it work. In this home where we had previously made a custom fireplace mantel and matching cabinets, our clients again called on our expertise and knowledge of their style to build and install a floor-to-ceiling bookcase.

Our clients wanted to turn part of an expansive open dining room into a library. The room was in a quieter place in the house, perfect for unwinding in a chair with a good book. The challenge was to create large bookshelves that looked like they belonged in the home, matching the current architectural elements. Thinking through several different options, we landed upon a bookcase that would cover the entire wall side to side, top to bottom. Anything smaller just did not look right, and seemed to protrude awkwardly. A cabinet flush with its surroundings fit the style of the home, and worked best for that particular room. The clients had one specific request for the bookcases themselves—they needed a large-enough space to place a piece of artwork. Doug designed the middle cabinet with an extra-large space between shelves to accommodate it.

floor-to-ceiling bookcase_fullOn the surface, the bookshelves look built into the wall, but it is an entirely separate cabinet that sits in front of the drywall. With a big project like this, we cannot simply build the whole unit inside the house or inside our workshop. Using his engineering expertise, Doug designed the bookcase in five individual pieces so that we could carry it easily into the house. After putting these pieces together inside the room, we covered the seams with long, fluted panels, which matched the door frames in the house. Crown molding and trim join the top, bottom, and sides of the cabinet to the surrounding wall and ceiling. The result is a beautiful, seamless library wall.

floor-to-ceiling bookcase_flutedWhat was once an empty wall became a useful, quiet place to relax and read. If you are looking to bring something new to your space, be it organization, utility or beauty, Marvelous Woodworking would be glad to work with you. Contact us here or call (317) 679-5890.

You Know You Need Custom Cabinets When…

Time and again, homeowners and designers come to Marvelous Woodworking because stores don’t have what they need. In an older home in Meridian Kessler, we were given a project that is the epitome of why one has custom furniture built. Our client needed bookshelves and cabinets in a tricky part of her side room. To start, the window was off-center on the wall where the cabinets would be installed, meaning our design would have to somehow hide the imbalance. There was also an air vent we had to avoid covering, and we had to incorporate a place for a TV and a window seat.

We first tackled the aesthetic problem of building a pair of seemingly identical cabinets, despite the left side being larger than the right. Thinking about the project as a whole, we noticed the TV and all its components would need a lot of space, making the left side its ideal spot. To store the components, we created an open cubby hole against the wall. We then made the doors of the lower cabinet the same size on both sides of the wall, which tricks the eyes at first glance to see the cabinets as equal.

custom cabinetsIntegrating an air vent into a piece is something we have done many times before, and for this project it was an easy task to install a panel.

custom cabinetsOur client wanted a bench window seat with storage either beside or in it. We decided a bench with hidden storage underneath would provide the most space.

custom cabinetsIt’s always a good idea to leave enough space for servicing or replacing a window. So, we did not install any trim or casing around the window, and made sure the cabinets did not come right up to the frame.

custom cabinetsWe wanted to echo the natural look of the oak flooring in the room with the cabinets, so we proposed to make the cabinet counter top natural finish cherry wood. Our client loved the idea—the cherry complemented the floors nicely. Our final touches – the trim and casing – were also stylistic echoes, pulled from the home’s doors and other architectural details.

Our client gave us what we consider to be one of the best compliments we can receive—she can’t remember what the space looked like before we did our work. The new white cabinets look like they have always been a part of the house, and on top of that they accommodated every one of her needs. This project shows what custom-made furniture can truly accomplish, where store-bought options fall short. Nothing our client could have found in stores or catalogs would have solved all of the issues the room posed.

We love working with our clients to create furniture that fits perfectly in their home. Whether you need a matching piece for your existing furniture, or you have a unique design in mind, we would appreciate the opportunity to create the right solution for you. Please call (317) 679-5890 or contact us here.

Project Highlight: Making a Murphy Bed

Murphy beds have been around for a long time. If you aren’t familiar with the term, murphy beds are the kind that fold up against the wall. They previously gained popularity in many tiny big city apartments and spare guest bedrooms. They are making a comeback these days as a space-saving, home organization trend.

While murphy bed kits are widely available, there is catch—they are not easy to put together. They come with complicated instructions, and unsurprisingly aren’t custom-fit to your home. That is why a Zionsville couple came to Marvelous Woodworking to put together a murphy bed in their guest bedroom. They didn’t have the tools or the experience to construct it, and they also wanted to add built-in cabinetry around the bed frame. Our clients didn’t just want a murphy bed—they wanted a beautiful, functional room that looked like it belonged to the rest of the house.

We started with the kit, constructing the frame and base boards. This build-a-bed project is very technical—the bed relies on springs, hinges, and hydraulic lifting mechanisms to make folding it up incredibly easy. Properly constructed, you should be able to raise the bed with one finger. In order to achieve this seeming weightlessness, all the physics need to be just right. Holes must be drilled precisely, hardware must be mounted correctly, and everything must fit perfectly together for the bed to fit effortlessly in its wall container.

Murphy Bed FitInstalling a murphy bed against a wall can also be tricky. Drywall is rarely ever straight vertically or horizontally. Walls bow in and out, even as they appear flat. If a murphy bed is installed on an uneven wall, the frame will twist and the bed won’t operate as it should. Using levels, plumbs, and a laser set, we were able to install the bed squarely so twisting would not occur, at least not for a long time to come.

Murphy Bed CollapsingTo integrate this murphy bed into the room, our clients asked us to build cabinetry on either side. We matched the white paneling and trim to the rest of the house, a modern, straight-lined look that is very clean and soft. The cabinets act as bookshelves, extra storage, and as the bed’s nightstands.

Murphy Bed CabinetsThe paneling on the lower third of the folded-up bed matches the cabinet doors, practically mimicking wainscoting, and visually tying in the bed and the cabinets.

Murphy Bed Folded UpWith care and precision, but also with an eye to style and neatness, our clients now have a lovely multi-functional guest bedroom.

Have you been thinking about installing a murphy bed in your home? Call (317) 679-5890 or contact us.

Creating New Beauty with Reclaimed Wood

Decorating with reclaimed wood is a popular trend these days. The old wood look has a lot of value, and we see items such as live-edge tables and recycled wood doors in rustic style homes as well as modern ones. Marvelous Woodworking has created a number of pieces by repurposing wood our clients have brought us. Sometimes they find a pile of logs in a shed their dad had cut years ago, or they are tearing down an old barn but want to keep part of it for the memories. We have built everything from small frames to fireplace mantels to new furniture pieces from found wood.

A Rare Find

Typically, houses are built with common woods like pine and poplar, used in baseboards, door casings and shelving. However, every once in a while you’ll find richer woods like oak, cherry, walnut, and even mahogany. We were on a remodel project when our client found her home had hidden stashes of mahogany in the door casings as well as big wooden planks serving as closet shelves. Mahogany is a lovely material, and our client wanted to use it for something more prominent than stacking her towels on. We replaced the mahogany with pine, and built a bathroom vanity and a matching bench from the richer material.

custom built furniture | Reclaimed WoodThis is a rare find—the home was built in the 50s or 60s, and at the time expensive woods like mahogany were incorporated into houses that were considered upscale. Sometimes these woods have been painted over and remain hidden treasures, until the homeowner starts to pull things apart.

Reclaimed Barn Door

As housing development expands, and the Indiana fields are turned into neighborhoods, many old barns are coming down and becoming reclaimed wood resources. A client was tearing down a horse barn where she had grown up, and she salvaged one half of a door. We mounted it on a sliding hardware hanger for her and turned it into a decorative piece that holds many great childhood memories.

Barn Door | Custom Woodworking | Reclaimed WoodIf you have found some raw wood that has sentimental or family value, Marvelous Woodworking can turn it into a beautiful piece, either small memorabilia items like a coat rack, or sometimes even heirloom-quality furniture. Contact us, or call 317-679-5890.