Bart and I have lived in our current house for just over three years. The main reason this seems absolutely impossible is that my son Hank turned 2 years old the day we closed. He's now about to start kindergarten. AGH. I'm not ready for what is coming.
Despite my trepidation, I have fond memories of the house we sold before we landed here. The fond memories include buying a house all by myself (thank you crazy mortgage market), making it a home with my husband, our awesome deck he built for the dogs, and most important: the ultimate custom kitchen.
The last memory happened because I was able to strike a deal: "I'm having your first born. A son. I want the kitchen I've always dreamed of." Silly us, we took this to heart. Bart managed to avoid making any money those last few months before our son was born and concentrated on building my kitchen. It turned out to be marvelous! Something I weep for to this day. I miss that kitchen because of the design, craftsmanship, and the memories or our infant son.
I reflect on this now because we finally have photos of a kitchen that was one of Bart's first labors of love. Well before our own kitchen. Imagine a time before Bart was Thrasher Works, and before he had an actual cabinet shop. Yes, you read that right. Bart found a way to just as crazy and accurate to the 1/132th of an inch long before he had a proper shop.
The home owner designed his own perfect kitchen with his wife. Disclaimer: Todd Howard, the home owner, has been my boss for the last nine years. In a strange sort of way, my detail oriented, cabinetry minded husband was the perfect match for the design as it involved beautiful Makore wood with perfectly matched horizontal grain--not to mention the functionality of the cabinets themselves.
When Bart and I sold our house with my beloved kitchen, we made the buyer promise not to paint over the cabinets. Let's hope we can say the same for this kitchen and home.
I had the blessing of a quiet evening the other day and took advantage of the situation by catching up on the fourth season of Downton Abby. It's the little vices in life that can make things worth it, right?
The sponsor of PBS' Masterpiece is Ralph Lauren which, of course, means a prominent commercial. It is a steady stream of models set against fabulous surroundings, reminiscent of the post-Edwardian era of the show. The voice over is Ralph Lauren explaining how design is a creative journey which starts with a feeling and evolves with the influences of the world around him. He creates a world for his heroine, his muse. It's a well crafted narrative which left me with an incredible sense of jealousy.
How indulgent it must be to create something which must only satisfy you. Now I'm sure his fashion house has critics to please and there is money to be made and a reputation to be upheld. What I'm really speaking to is the fact that in designing a line of clothing, in the most simplest way, one is simply creating what they think is best. There is no board or committee to dictate your direction. There are no codes to follow- no one's life will be at risk. There is no governing body to impose an ordinance outlining how one must carry out their creative process.
Now certainly I sound like I'm complaining. I'm really not--it's just a bit difficult to remember that those boundaries within which an architect must work within to actually 'create the world around themselves' can be just as inspiring if not simply challenging. Blah blah blah. So, to cheer myself up, I Googled "Sexiest Buildings". It seems curves are in these days.
The search revealed Calatrava's Milwauke has been declared the sexiest building. Not bad though I can't say I've been to Milwaukee. As of late, I prefer Aqua which is in Chicago...one of the sexiest towns when it comes to architecture. I love the curves but there is so much else--from the modern, to Art Deco, to historic.
Here's Bart and I at The Bean in 2012? That seems so long ago. I hope this year brings more opportunities to seek out sexy buildings. With any luck, it will also bring the opportunity to design just such buildings with the gleeful abandon of a fashion designer!
As you are most likely aware, Thrasher Works is hoping to participate in the competition to win one of twelve $250K grants offered by Chase in their Mission Main Street Grant program. Individuals have the opportunity to vote for the small business they would like to see 'make it big'…for their business and their community. We hope you will consider voting for Thrasher Works...we need a few more votes.
To sway your vote, here is a bit of background about Thrasher Works: our company, what we stand for & what we hope to accomplish.
After graduating from UTA’s architectural program in 1997, Bart started a small business called Office of Urban Renewal with the focus on residential design, renovation and construction. For years, this was a one-man-shop concentrating on residential construction 'done right'. By this, I mean that Bart constructed his projects whether they be bathroom remodels or handyman repairs, with the highest quality. Believe me, this is a man that measures everything by the 1/64th of an inch while I like to simply round up, like the rest of us!
Excitingly, over just this past year, we re-branded the business to help promote our new focus: high-end design in custom furniture, cabinetry, and design. It also morphed into a partnership...no longer a one man shop. Hence the website, the blog, and my various posts that try to explore, or at least recognize the never ending design ideas that pop into my head. Thank you Bart...I'm certain you have already reaped the benefits of quieting the beast.
Due to our collaboration, we are producing our own furniture line and making arrangements to sell our custom pieces in local shops in the Dallas Design District, the Dallas Museum of Art, and directly through our website. We have also continued to focus on building custom cabinetry that is far and above what you would ever hope to buy from your big box retailer. We prefer to review the drawings your architect produces and then work with them hand-in-hand to create the best possible space.
Now...for the bigger picture. We hope to take our shop one step further by becoming an physical presence in the local artisan scene. After moving to Oak Cliff just under three years ago, we are hoping to establish our roots here: our family and our business. Currently, we rent a shop that is not far from home but far enough to desire closer. Rather than being in an industrial area, we'd like to set up shop in one of two places: Oak Cliff or the Dallas Design District. We've actually identified a place in Oak Cliff situated between the artsy fun vibe of Bishop Arts and the downtown history of Jefferson Boulevard. Our.Dream.Shop. The location would allow us to have the shop + an actual showroom. I can imagine our handcrafted creations displayed within a room which we have curated every finish and refurbishment. It is the ultimate statement in design....well, outside of your own home.
This past year has been so much fun...and something of a relief. No longer is it a one-man-shop. Kevin Chapman, a master metal worker, has joined Bart to not only learn the art of wood working, but to enhance the artistry with which Thrasher Works can execute designs.
We are still discovering the ways in which this new media will push our aesthetic. Our new shop will have to have an area dedicated to welding and all those flying sparks...all outside a good distance from all the sawdust!
We have a lot of momentum building. From furniture, cabinets, and design build projects, we are doing what we love while delivering an incredible, high quality product we are proud to say is handcrafted in Dallas, Texas. I hope you will get just as excited as we are!
Hank joined Bart at the table as he was going through some house plans for bidding.
Hank said, "Daddy, this drawing looks like a road."
"Actually, these are house plans," Bart replied. "See, it's a drawing of a house but you're looking down as if you were Jesus."
Now, doesn't that sum up every architect's dream....'as if you we're Jesus'?
Driving about yesterday I spotted a cute tree house in a back yard. We have a pecan tree which is perfectly suited for a little house. I figure to meet the guidelines of our historic neighborhood, it would need to be in the craftsman style though I'd use a forced perspective to make it suitable for a child's imagination. The rope ladder is to keep the monsters out.