Saturday, September 8, 2012

Alex's Bedroom -- Fanciful Children's Furniture

A few years ago I built a really whimsical set of bunk beds for Alex; it was a project that demonstrated the sad truth that drawing furniture is usually a lot easier than making it. The problem on this occasion was that I left much of the designing to my friend and reluctant sometime-employee Paul, a very talented and creative guy who can easily draw things that can barely be built. On this occasion he designed a bed that was covered with over one hundred hand-carved and -painted fish and aquatic creatures, as well as undulating blue and green epoxy-filled grooves. Here's Paul painting all those fish:
"How hard can a bed be to build?" I thought. As I discovered, pretty damn hard, but it was very cool in the end:
Here's a closeup of a post. You cannot -- I could not -- believe how much work went into these!

Fast forward to now. Alex's mom, Catherine, wanted some more furniture for Alex's room, and when you have a bed that looks like this one, most factory furniture pales in comparison. So I sketched some ideas for Catherine, and after some back and forth we decided on designs that are less obviously fanciful -- Alex IS getting older -- and with more sophisticated shapes; but we tried to that pick up the colors and panache of the original work. We built a desk, a bookcase/dresser, and a night stand. Here they are:
Catherine and her interior designer chose the blue and green, and Paul mixed the colors for the knobs. Looks like a fun bedroom! I've been out of the fish business for a little while, though -- until my next commission, anyway. Here's a desk we built for the first children of my ornithologist friend McGrady:
The starfish twirl out of the fishes' tails to raise and lower the writing surface, and the chair seat spins up and down like a piano stool. Paul designed this desk too, and painted the fish. We had a good time building this one.


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