Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Furniture, furniture

Oh goody! I have a rare hour or so of isolation while Steve goes to a physical therapist to learn some exercises for his shoulder, which has been afflicted with bursitis because of some of the heavier-than-usual lifting we've both been doing in the past couple of months. I'm interested in whatever routines he's sent home with, because I've had the same problem, just not to the extent he has. With all the walking I've done all my life, my lower body is in fine shape. But I've neglected maintenance of the scaffolding and infrastructure above the waist, and it shows. I guess carrying occasional heavy grocery and trash bags does represent a minimum of upkeep, but I could use more....

Today should interesting. We've been looking at (and buying) some of the furniture the new house is going to need: a couple of love seats for the great room, tables, dressers, pictures, etc. I've mentioned before that the main TV, a 48-inch flat screen, is going to be in the great room in this house. It's an arrangement neither of us is fond of--we don't like making a huge TV screen the focal point of an area meant for conversation--but it's what the space configuration of the house permits. (In the old place, we converted the basement to a media room, problem solved. No basement here.) The solution is an armoire that will stand alone as a piece of furniture when we are having people over, hiding the TV screen while at the same time allowing access to other techie components, such as a good mp3 player. Armoires for today's huge screens, however, are hard to find in most furniture showrooms.

We know North Carolina is renowned for its furniture industry, and have been contemplating a foray to the furniture outlets in the western part of the state to see what we can find. But such an outing has seemed daunting, frankly. We can both get overwhelemed by too much choice, and what we've learned about these furniture outlets is that they are basically a series of airplane-hangar sized buidlings crammed with every style of furnture imaginable. My first impulse upon entering such a place would be to run back out, screaming. Enter Creswell Furniture.

Creswell is a little town about 30 minutes south of us. The furniture store there had an inventory sale last fall which we decided to check out. We were delighted to find beautiful stuff at good prices, and ended up buying almost everything there, thus making the awful trip out west less necessary. Needless to say, we and our furniture dollars have become "best friends" with the manager there, and we mentioned our armoire conundrum to her. It turns out she had exactly the same problem, for the same aesthetic reasons, when she built her house a few years ago, and she found a cabinet maker who happens to live right in Hertford, where we're building. She praised his craftsmanship, as well as his reasonable prices, so we gave him a call. Lo and behold, it turns out he's actually building a house right across the creek from us. All we need to do is bring him a picture of the type of piece we want, and he can make it, adding the custom touches that we'll need. We'll be meeting him today--he'll even be able to come to our house and actually see the space the armoire will occupy.

An armoire is a massive piece of furniture any way you slice it, and it should be fun to play with design details. It will be placed in the part of the room that is under the highest part of the vaulted ceiling, thus making the big size appropriate. We've never had that kind of space to play with, so we're looking forward to what we can do with it. Don't worry, pics will be forthcoming when it all becomes a reality!

We're expecting another major storm this weekend--thank you, El NiƱo, for creating storms that make mudslides in California and then travel our way to create huge nor'easters. All the rain we've been having is starting to interfere with our house construction. Rain makes mud--too much of it for a heavy machine to be able to dig the 50-foot trench for the main drainpipe that will carry waste from the house to the septic tank. No drain means no water hookup; no water hookup means no installation of indoor faucets, showers, toilets, etc. Now is the time all that should be happening, and it can't. Other interior work is continuing, and Gary is still talking about an end-of-February occupancy. He's been known to have a rabbit hidden under his hat in the past--we're hoping he does now!

9 comments:

Zoey and Me said...

We were just talking about buying a flat screen to replace the TV in the family room. I went through some Armoires and hated the fact that most are not real wood, rather that compressed board or whatever you call it for a high price. It says Mahoghany finish but it only means they apply a piece of pressed M to the stuff made of cardboard. I will check around my third world Brevard and see if we too have a carpenter with the talent to make an entertainment center from real Oak or even a nice Cherry finish would be good. Let me know what you find out.

Ralph said...

Z&M, there's no doubt in my mind that you can find cabinetmakers in that area. I'd look under "cabinetmakers," not just "carpenters."

Jenny said...

In Kentucky we were fortunate to have a handcrafted cherry furniture store in nearby Somerset. When we discovered that his furniture makers would work from a photo or duplicate an existing piece of furniture, we went wild! Over the years we had him make 2 platform beds, 2 nightstands, 2 end tables, a glass fronted bookcase and a large armoire/TV cabinet made--all solid wood, mostly cherry, but some oak and all at a very reasonable price, especially considering it was solid wood. Sounds like you've run into a similar situation. We had a lot people suggest that we get rid of our furniture and just buy new stuff when we moved. Not on your life! We moved every bit of it out here to Lac Le Jeune where it looks great in our new house too.

Ralph said...

God what a treasure trove, Jenny! We're still waiting hear what this guy wants to charge, so we're holding any huge enthusiasm in abeyance--the reasonable prices we heard about were on work done 7 years ago, we know things can change, etc., etc. (Hate to build up hopes only to have them dashed.) He seems like a nice and honest enough guy, though, and if he can become our go-to for odd pieces we need, it'll be fantastic.

Cuidado said...

My son did the same thing for furniture for his house. He lives in Mennonite country where there are some furniture makers who do very simple and beautifulluy made furniturw which is what he was looking for. Found it in his own back yard. Lucky you too.

Ralph said...

We love the clean lines of Amish (Mennonite) furniture, Cuidado, and if that was around here we'd sure be looking at it. The guy we're talking to seems to be a jack of all trades, style-wise--he'll just copy anything you show him. Amazing talent. Like I said, hope he's as affordable as we've heard!

LONELY RIVERS said...

Moving to the city for a spell, I decided to bring only a small flat screen TV(not much bigger than my laptop screen!)to my urban digs. This TV would not be the focal point of any room - and it would make the fairly true statement to all that this wildly interesting city sophisticate does not need much TV...(though the truth is I would never miss a new episode of Mad Men!) - The problem is I can't see well enough to enjoy any program on this small screen! Yes, I have read more books since moving here and listened to more music, taken more walks and entertained more friends - and yes of course NPR is my city home companion. Still I will admit, just to you...... iwishihadabiggerscreen. LR

Ralph said...

LOL! Your secret is safe here, LR! I have to admit that since we got cable with HD I actually watch more TV now that there are so many choices. My experience has not been what so many say, "the same crap, just more of it." There are wonderful niche channels that show things--movies, some series--that are truly interesting, which by definition means not mainstream. I watch hardly any of the Big Three networks ("Jeopardy" and Letterman are the only shows) (and I know there are really four networks but I don't even count Fox), and thanks to the DVR, I don't even watch commercials on the network and basic cable shows--Jon Stewart, Food Network) I do watch. "Nature" is a truly amazing show on PBS, broadcast in HD, that needs more exposure. It's a huge treat to see such consistently amazing videography in HD. American Masters and The American Experience are also flat-out wonderful presentations that happen to be on TV, also on PBS. I could go on and on....

Mim said...

Ralph
Enjoyable to read about your newest furniture you are designing and ho
pefully having built!
Adds a little pleasure to all those housing details you've been so faithful with.