Design for Quiddity

cedar cabinet

I reserved the best of the clear and quarter-sawn stock for cabinets and doors

Today when my interior design project in Marin passed final inspections and the stress of pushing for completion began to recede, I was reminded of my initial inspiration- to make a place that has a distinct smell, identifiable with local flora. Whenever I travel back to the East Coast and spend time in old farmhouses and barns, I find a visceral comfort in the sweet, woody perfume of white pine and oak, still resonant in buildings over 100 years old. While the equivalent can be found throughout the Sierra, I wanted the same effect in the densely populated Bay Area, especially for the rustic interior I’ve prepared over the past year for a Guest House nestled among live oak, buckeye and coast redwood trees. I wanted the guests of the cottage to experience an instant calm the moment they walk inside, to associate the perfume of deodar cedar with the enveloping glow of its grain. I will be curious to experience how the smell of the cottage develops over the years.

Craft is most rewarding when it continues to engage all of the senses over time.

To read more about the development of the Guest House interior, click here and scroll down.

4 replies on “Design for Quiddity”

  1. Sweet! What do you use for a finish?
    Which reminds me–The Swedish fish is the sweetest fish, but the Finnish fish is the finest fish—

  2. I left most of the wood unfinished because the deodar is so naturally resinous. It develops a kind of waxy skin over time, which polishes nicely when it’s wiped down. For floors and doors I used a penetrating oil/urethane blend for durability, and for cabinet shelves I used tung oil.
    I always thought we used to say ‘the Swedish fish is the sweetest dish bit the Finish fish is the finest dish’.

  3. You may be right…..because, if I’m not mistaken, there was some line about the Danish fish (or dish)–that would be a good way to round it out. I’ll be damned if I can think of it, though

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