Recent Design Work: A French Inspired China Cabinet
Since our Paris trip, Sally and I have had opportunities to use what we learned and and absorbed in a number of our projects. (Posts can be seen here and here.) We have designed a paneled living room, and a chinoiserie style mud room, a Hall of Mirrors powder room, several hidden doors and pieces of furniture. Today, I will stick with a china cabinet. It was designed for a project in Chestnut Hill. Sadly, the two pieces that were commissioned were not built. So…, if you know any one…
For inspiration, we drew from a hutch we had seen while visiting Petit Trianon. Particularly it’s cabinet doors, fiches hinges and hardware.
And the stepped corners from this display case in the Louvre.
I drew two different sketches. One showing the cabinet in the context of the room setting. The cabinets show the stepped corners. One aspect of the design I was looking at were the esthetics of two doors (left) vs one door (right). The one door solution was selected.
I then drew larger partial elevations to prove to myself that the stepped corner worked visually and to check it’s proportion.
The base cabinet door was a raised panel door. The door panel trim on the left wold have been exquisite, but a custom knife needed to be made in order to mill the shape of the trim profile. The cost proved to be too much, so we settled for the style on the right, using a slightly modified panel trim profile I was able to find thru a local cabinet making shop.
With an approved design, I prepared a set of construction drawings, which the cabinet maker used to price the project. If the commission had gone forward, shop drawings would have been produced by the cabinet maker. Shop drawings are important because they provide an opportunity for demonstration of the cabinet maker’s understanding of the designer’s intent. Questions can be asked back and forth, details worked through, etc., such that there is a clear understanding by all parties as to what the final piece will look like and how it will be built.
You can see that the upper cabinet door was tweaked, giving the piece an updated feel. Yet the idea came from the circle at the top of the Petit Trianon hutch above.
This is an example of one of the horizontal detail sections I drew at full scale in order to sort thru the finer points of trim profiles, hinge clearances, etc.
At any rate, since the cabinets were never built, I found myself wondering what if the finish were jazzed up a bit, a la Grange. Not sure exactly how, maybe inside the upper cabinet interior with it’s glass doors? Pop the trim between the base and upper cabinet?
One inspiration idea from a Grange piece Sally and I saw in the Paris Grange showroom window. Liking the high gloss black paint as a finish, too.
Or possibly a wallpaper theme…
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