In a Cape bungalow (which had been a summer cottage and needed to be remodeled for year round use) we made the kitchen/dining room area look like it was built by a Japanese peasant-craftsman from another era. I got the wood in northern Vermont (sustainably harvested), it was spalted yellow birch. It all came from one very large old tree that had a lot of character.
Every piece was selected for its place in a composition which exploited its grain properties of figure and color depth. A local mill shaped the lumber. Cygnet painting pre-finished the birch by driving in Danish oil. The carpenter assembled the pieces according to our design which was in the early east-Asian style of rural simplicity.
I painted a mural of one of the homeowner’s favorite places on the wall. Another collaborator – a cabinet maker who had milled the lumber – made a dining table of the same material (from the same tree, so that it would blend in to be almost invisible).
Finally, I finished the room with Danish modern chairs of like materials.
New Bedford Restoration
My brother Peter and nabbed this old gem in New Bedford, Massachusetts right before the real estate bubble burst. We restored the surfaces, tearing out every 20th century addition that wasn’t essential.
After that phase, we finished it according to historical period colors and attempted to furnish the place appropriately (which can sometimes take many years).
Peter’s girlfriend was inspired and bought a Greek revival treasure in the Historic district – I was envious. She actually hired us to start the restoration on this house, as well. It offered some wonderful details to work on, but we barely stayed ahead of natural process of decay. New Bedford is a great old industrial city with many fine examples of historic architecture. We will eventually restore another house there after the city has sorted out some public transportation issues.