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Top Two Reasons to Use Zinc on Table Tops

Zinc has been the rage in the last few years as a surface top for tables, and with good reason.  Here are three of the best.

#1 Styling

The combination of zinc tops on wood frames has expanded the design choices.  The old choices were limited--having an all wood wood table or having a wood and glass combination.  Glass tops are limited to having metal bases which tend to be either overly ornate Tuscany via Vegas style or very contemporary.  Zinc can be dressed up or dressed down with either wood or metal bases and it can be finished with  either a modern  high polish or a European aged patina. 

The weathered Oak, inlaid zinc and vintage railheads make this table look as if it came straight out of  a wine tasting in Bordeaux

 

 

This table prefers to spend it's time in the city. 

 

 

Zinc also adds a fresh material and texture to a room.  Particularly in kitchens having wooden cabinetry a zinc table provides visual relief and texture. Our custom zinc island provided a focal point to the kitchen. The sleek, polished surface balanced well against the heavier, earthier styling of the reclaimed wood cabinet.

 

#2 Durability

Wood has the drawback of being easily scratched and gouged by kids or most likely the men in the family that behave like kids.  Glass is forever smothered by  a fog of fingerprints, food or dog slobber (my personal case).  Zinc does not gouge as easily as wood, and when antiqued leaves no evidence of hand prints.  Unlike wood, zinc will never crack or warp or chip like glass. It is non-porous so water rings, etc. will fade and blend over time along with the natural patina that occurs.

 

 For  you germaphobes,  zinc has the benefit of being naturally anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and nonporous.  It also cleans with good old fashioned, non toxic  soap and water, perfect for the family's kitchen banquette table. 

We've been using this fabulous new wax to protect further against water rings.  It's 100% natural made from only hempseed oil and beeswax. I apply it without gloves and after years of having chapped hands from applying waxes with chemical, my hands are now pianist soft due to Fend Wax.  Get some!

 

Posted by Daniel Kucan on 21 June, 2017 0 comments | Read more →

The Banquette Kitchen Paradox

In the last year we've custom designed and created more banquette tables than I recall having ever done in years past.  I've always had a love hate relationship with banquettes.  Banquettes create lots of seating space by efficiently attaching benches to walls and providing the always welcome extra trunk storage or drawers.  The unusual shapes add interest and the upholstery adds a terrific opportunity to bring color and texture to kitchens which tend to we monochromatic.   The upholstery also creates a sense of warmth against the hard kitchen materials such as  granite, wood, and stainless steel.  The cozy nook ambiance instantly beckons us over for a quiet cup of coffee or family pizza night.  So what's not to love? my issue is what I refer to as Faux Functionality.
Have you sat at a banquette that where you can't possibly comfortably reach the table so you end up slumped over the table with an aching back or piling a bunch of pillows behind to?  This happens because banquettes are  a cleverly designed piece of  architecture is individually sized  for the particular house, but usually paired with a standard table making them often inefficient and uncomfortable (not to mention the slight sense of claustrophobia if your stuffed in the dreaded middle section).  The physics of a round table inside a hexagon shape doesn't work very well for optimal seating.
 
Of course our brilliant clients recognize this and have their tables custom made.  By making the table top mirror the banquette shape, at least two more seating areas become available. By making the overhang longer than on a standard oval or round top in proportion to the pedestal we ensure diners can have proper back support and reach their plates.  This can be tricky as we never want the top to wobbly or unbalanced.   
This fabulous metal and reclaimed table was 78 x 54, allowing seating for 8.
         This custom shape provides maximum seating and comfort.
 
 
This waxed zinc top can be easily sanded to brand new after the kids "distress" it.
This vintaged racetrack shape looked like it was built with the 1920's bungalow.
This industrial metal pedestal with ebonized solid walnut top proves not all banquettes need be traditional.  Whatever your style, we're ready to create your fantastic and functional banquette table.
Posted by maite garcia on 13 June, 2017 0 comments | Read more →

Mid century Metal Base & Oak Top

 Most of the projects we build these days are one of a kind custom pieces. The urban industrial trend has grown up and become more refined evolving from loft dwelling hipsters to formal dining rooms in custom homes using a sophisticated blend of clean, streamline metal and hardwoods.  

 This design for Mark Findlay Interiors is an elegant 10ft extension dining table in solid White Oak top paired with a streamline mid century base. Originally, the design had been drawn with a wood base; there was no way a structure this thin could hold the weight on a large extension table; we suggested replicating the base in metal.  The fabulous part working with metal is it allows for a design that looks airy and delicate, but can carry the weight of a three hundred pound top.  

Fortunately for us one of our main metal supplier is  right next door. 

The center column needed to be a bit wider than the original wood design so we fabricated  scale wood mock-up so we could get the angles and design approved before fabricating the final version. 

The frame is made of 2" metal tube to ensure stability and no lateral wobbling.  Over building is our motto (sorry delivery guys!)

Now that the top and base have been assembled to make sure everything is level and the extensions working well we can start the finishing process. 

  Before we added the finish coat to the metal we applied a primer coat.

 The top upside down in the spray booth . Our client wanted a simple and low profile leaf extension mechanism so we were able to make the apron 2" which left lots of leg room.

 Finished and waiting for our white glove shipping company to pickup.

 

Daniel's Valentine Cutting Board

This year we had a more than the usual requests for special pieces that were special order Valentine surprises.  Our clients seemed very sentimental and creative about wanting to make this year an out-of-the-box event for there loved ones.  

Perhaps after all the tumult and vitriole in our country recently, the concept of snuggling with someone you trust and having gentle conversations while sipping wine or tea became even more important than ever before.  Unless of course, there are alternate facts that prove me wrong...

This year the award for sweetest custom valentine surprise went to our very own Daniel Kucan, move over Cupid

 

Daniel decided to make a custom cutting board for his special person using solid walnut and oak in a parquet design.

 He used the end grains of the wood which are strong and tight grained,  allowing the wood strikes to be absorbed against the board without causing knicks to the knife or gauging the board.  Antibacterial for the board and good for the knife blades!

 

I was the puppy wrangler for the secret photo shoot, and Cozy, the star of the cutting board,  was happy to be the center of attention...

Posted by maite garcia on 17 February, 2017 0 comments | Read more →

Red, a history

First of all let me just say, no, Daniel was not on any illegal hallucinatory substance as he was writing his enormously flowery and somewhat stream of consciousness blog "Red, an introduction".   He was, however,  downing Trader Joe’s dark chocolate espresso beans by the fistful. That said, here is my less flowery, more scientific post "Red, a history".
Until recent times, the color red in fabric was a sign of power and prestige worn only by  royalty or religious leaders through out most of the world as it was very expensive to produce. 
 Back in the 1500s the Spaniards brought back the intense dye the Maya and Aztecs had been using on their cotton for blankets and closing.  
The fab picture above comes from Xtreme Horticulture.
  The color came from the cochineal, a tiny parasite that attaches to cactus, and when crushed secretes an intense blood red color, carminic acid, that will stain cloth (or anything for that matter) in that classic, quintessential red impossible to reproduce earlier.  It  caused such a rage of red across Europe and Asia, that this lowly bug was  valued in the stock exchange!
In the 1600s the cochineal was used to dye the coats for guards at Buckingham Palace,  and the contract with the dye company lasted through the 20th century.
Before you wonder how many innocent cochineals were slaughtered for our sexy red velvet sofa, relax.  By the eighteen hundreds synthetic dyes were being used; cochineal is on somewhat of a come back tour being used in food in lieu of some of the red chemical coloring that seems to be toxic particularly to children.  
So next time you eat your favorite red velvet cake, you may be eating some of these guys as well.
Daniel's advice if you see cochineal scale starting on your cactus, act fast with some fungicide.  They can kill even mature plants.
Posted by maite garcia on 08 February, 2017 0 comments | Read more →

Red, an introduction. Not to be confused with Valentine's Day because you should learn some patience.

You've read the psychological profiles about the poor. Men wearing it  are consistently perceived by women as having pernicious mommy issues and probably some sort of fungal infection that is best not talked about; women wearing it are seen as being overly attracted to cheap wine from Trader Joe’s and a have a nasty tendency to leave Legos lying around where you’ll step on them in the dark. In your bare feet. Savage.

 R E D 

I don’t know man, I didn’t actually read the study, too many words. It was all like “aggression” and “sexual attractiveness” and “high social status” and whatever. Maite likes red, she thinks it’s passionate and spicy. Not gonna lie, red makes me a little nervous. Maybe it’s all the variations: ruby, wine, crimson, cherry, blush, garnet, spilled blood of my vanquished enemies, you know, that sort of thing.

 

But check out this bad boy:

 

 

No denying. That is a red that weaves opulence with a masculine derring-do. (Yeah, I said derring-do. Errol Flyn style, bitches. That's how we roll.) 

 Or what about this chair and rug:

 

 

 

Maite' says that the red here is like the cool sub-plot of a bad action movie. It's the romantic "will they or won't they" of the two side characters that is way more interesting than the big robots smashing up the city to fight the mutant teenagers. 

 

But you've seen all that before, let's be honest, no broken ground. But take a gander at this chandelier and try to sum it up in a word. You can't.

 

It's like candy and dancing and a princess who doesn't wait for some daffy prince to rescue her, she does that shit herself. It's a late night hallucination after that last tequila mockingbird you probably shouldn't have drunk quite so fast (Not your fault, your buddy ordered it for you.). It's the swirling skirt of a salsa dancer with a giant boyfriend who just caught you looking, but he ain't mad. It's got a little Christmas ornament in it, and some heat, and enough glimmer to make a disco ball a little jealous. 

 

Or you could just say it's RED. Because red has all that inside of it and doesn't need these long-winded explanations, just like that study (that I still haven't read) didn't need all those words.

 

 

Posted by Daniel Kucan on 02 February, 2017 0 comments | Read more →

Hollywood Hills Tumbleweed Snowman

Daniel and I decided we wouldn't let the 75 degree L.A. winter deter us from doing some traditional winter activities.  We embraced the challenge of doing something quintessentially chilly amidst the sun and the heat and the parched terrain--building a snowman, albeit a tumbleweed snowman.  Of course we would have to make some major substitutions, but as designers who value breaking rules and doing things out of the box we were confident.

The hardest part was the dust and the sweat hiking up hills in Griffith Park searching for the perfect material. Tumbleweeds  aren't as easily found as we thought.  They seem to prefer rolling across highways and sticking to car grills instead of growing right off a trail in the Hollywood Hills. It took some bushwhacking to harvest the perfect specimens and  a few splinters for Daniel (I told him to wear gloves--men). In the end we were sweatier and a bit dustier than we expected, but triumphant!

Bizarre & Mysterious Statue at Ace Hotel Theatre

A few months ago I went to the Ace Theatre to see Trevor Noah at an interview discussing his new book.  I had never been inside this remarkable theatre and was jubilant to see a lot of the original details still intact.  

The building was the creation of the actors behind United Artists, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin, and the architecture is a riot of styles which has been restored to it 1920's splendor by the folks at the Ace Hotel. Every area held a surprise.

 

According to the La Conservancy's website, the faces of some of th evil Hollywood producers are carved in the columns along side other gargoyles and grotesques.

I was lured through a red velvet curtain (of course) and  drawn  into this powder room glamorously frozen in time.

Did Mary Pickford ever sit here?

The tiles on the stairways are perfect for a home; theatrical and magnificent, yet whimsical and over the top (what are those animals?)

None of the architectural delights were as fantastical and wondrous as this mysterious shrine which greets you as you enter the lobby. Was this original to the theatre?  If not, why, who, what???

 

Yep, that's a corona of fingers with matching staff... 

with a herd of bizarre blue cats at her feet.  Fab shoes too...

A quintessential example of why I both love and hate this city is  that no one else seemed particularly intrigued, delighted, or disturbed by this centerpiece--it just accepted like most things in our city.  No staff I questioned knew anything about him.  I was shocked there was no mmention of this sculpture on either the Ace Hotels site or even the L.A. Conservancy site.  Only when I googles "weird finger statue Ace Theatre" did i get to the answer.

The statue is the work of artist Kevin Willis who created it during the remodeling of the hotel and theatre and  also did other installations at the hotel.

 

It is called Cathedral of Our Lady Fingers. He also refers to him  as the patron saint of feral cats.  No other explanation is necessary in L.A. 

White Fir Fantasy Furniture

Faux fur is back in style with a vengeance particularly the pure white (ten years ago the mottled browns were the rage)  I understand the allure--anything in white feels luxurious and elegant.  The fur adds a sexy yet comfy vibe.  When paired together I think we're psychologically drawn back to the comfort of our naked-baby-on-bear-skin-rug days and find the combination irresistible.

Our Elsa chair takes the lodge look out of the Appalachians and into Manhattan.

 

These Sylvan chairs stylishly  blend the minimal bentwood moderne vibe with the flashy/trashy bling vibe. Who would have thought??? and yet the pairing is so fresh.

 

Anybody remember the Hostess Snowballs in your lunch bag?

Posted by maite garcia on 12 January, 2017 0 comments | Read more →

Indigenous Christmas Chandelier

Every year we Americans spend monster amounts of money decorating our homes for Christmas ranging from magnificent old trees magically transformed into lighted silhouettes of white twinkle lights outside to the ubiquitous sparkling Christmas trees, poinsettias, garlands, and stockings hung on fireplaces.  Often however much of this decor is centered in the living room which isn't a daily throughway and the decor ends up being visited instead of encountered on a daily basis.

Years ago I began decorating chandeliers in clients' dining rooms and kitchens for the holidays and found them to be a unique, refreshing and yet utterly practical way to transform a dining room or kitchen.  The height and placement of a chandelier is already in a perfect visual plane and when it is festooned with ornaments,  garlands, and greenery alongs its lights, it literally commands center stage of the room.

This year, instead of snowflakes, pine cones or fir evergreens which manynative Angeleno have never even seen, I was determined  to use locally sourced, indigenous material that we, the drought stricken, sun drenched Angelenos, can relate to.

All I had to do was don sunglasses, sunscreen and clippers and walk the neighborhood.

First, of course, Bougainvillea, the queen of California color.  Originally from So. America, these tough thorny vines are at the heart of the taunt  "our colors are better than your colors", that west coast gardeners hurl at their east coast counterparts right around this time of year.

 

 

 Next Toyon,  which is a California native which birds love to feast on and provide us some traditional red color for the holidays.  I removed some leaves to give the branches a more ethereal  feel.

 

I also cut some Satsuma Mandarins for their fruity ornaments and leaves to provide some classic greenery and texture as well as succulents and orange hyacinth.

 

 

I knew the ornaments would reflect at night with the lights on, but was even more pleasantly surprised how the llglass ornaments glowed and the sparkles caught the natural light during the day.

 

 

Battery powered dew drop lights are the greatest Christmas innovation since  snow!  and made the chandelier look celestial when the bulbs weren't on.

I love the way this chandelier design came out and can't wait for February to start  my Valentines Chandelier. 

 

 

Posted by maite garcia on 05 January, 2017 0 comments | Read more →
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  • Top Two Reasons to Use Zinc on Table Tops

    Zinc has been the rage in the last few years as a surface top for tables, and with good reason.  Here are three of the best. #1 Styling The combination of zinc tops on wood frames has expanded the design... Read more →