November 23, 2022
  • November 23, 2022

Incorporate carpentry into a modern aesthetic

By on August 11, 2021 0

Each week, Mansion Global tackles a topic with an elite group of designers from around the world who work on luxury properties. This week, we take a look at integrating carpentry into your home in a contemporary way.

You would think the carpentry was loud, heavy, and traditional, with ornate moldings and historic details. But a lot of carpentry is not difficult. These days, built-in elements and panels are more streamlined to complement contemporary architecture and interiors while keeping everyday necessities hidden behind closed doors.

“Carpentry is expensive but useful – nothing eliminates clutter, organizes and holds necessary but unsightly gadgets and hides things better,” said Kimberley Seldon of Kimberley Seldon Design Group in Toronto. “We remind our customers that quality carpentry is a big investment. “

“Clean lines and simple molding details give a more modern feel,” added Whitney Kraus, head of architecture and design at Brown Harris Stevens Development Marketing in New York City. “For the details it really depends on the design intent, but you generally want the woodwork design to stay consistent with the rest of the residence. “

Even though you can imagine your living space with stylish built-in elements, it helps to know a few tricks of the trade before installing cabinetry. We turned to several design professionals who share their advice on integrating carpentry into modern residential spaces.

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Play the height

“Large proportions are a key part of the design of a modern home. To achieve a contemporary look, wood panels should always extend from floor to ceiling; never make half a wall. With modern carpentry, you really want to lengthen the space and make it look as high as possible. It helps to create a feeling of vastness.

“Flat panel doors with integrated handles create a clean, uniform look, because the idea is to create a monolithic appearance. For high ceilings, you need to incorporate disclosures as most woodworking materials are only available in certain sizes, so a reveal will compensate for the limitation. Use disclosures between panels to create a minimalist, linear design that adds visual intrigue and feels more decorative than plain panels while remaining clean and contemporary. In general, corners or floor-to-ceiling windows are the best places to start and end paneling.

Candace Matlock of ITALKRAFT recommended laying wood panels up to the ceiling and adding revelations as needed, as seen in her residential project in Miami Beach, Florida.


– Candace Matlock, senior designer at ITALKRAFT in Miami

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Dive into the details

“I generally recommend using classic wood species like white oak, walnut or ash for carpentry if you want to see the wood. These are all timeless woods with beautiful natural colors and lovely grain patterns. The best finishes for feeling the current are a clear polyurethane, a smoked finish, or a limed finish.

“Flexibility is nice in the long run, so design adjustable shelves and make sure there is an accessible outlet.

“There are so many great LED products available now that adding lighting details is one way to make a simple piece of woodwork more upscale. ”

Whitney Kraus of Brown Harris Stevens suggested using timeless wood species like white oak, walnut or ash, as in this space at 200 Amsterdam Ave. in New York, a model designed by Jarvis Wong of Jarvis Wong Studio.

Joshua McHugh

– Whitney Kraus, Director of Architecture and Design at Brown Harris Stevens Development Marketing in New York

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Use custom features

“Avoiding the ubiquitous styles you can find at IKEA is one way to create an upscale, personalized look. For example, we will use louvers or custom designs on the joinery. We also like to incorporate custom features such as sliding panels.

“For a recent project, our client wanted his downstairs office to disappear when not in use. The panels are hand painted and slide out to expose office necessities such as a printer and files when needed or to quickly hide those same items.

“For a contemporary project in Santa Monica, we eliminated the hardware store and opted for finger prints. Materials, like lighting, date on their own as styles change. We are also fans of the modern handles that appear discreetly under the worktop.

Designer Kimberley Seldon said you have to avoid ubiquitous cabinet styles and implement custom features like louvers to create an upscale look.

Roberto Caruso

– Kimberley Seldon from the Kimberley Seldon Design Group in Toronto

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Consider a painted or special finish

“Often, carpenters buy exotic veneers and apply them to compressed cardboard or MDF because of the cost. Exotic woods are used less often but can look fantastic with high epoxy finishes for a glamorous element.

“One of my favorite finishes is Rubio Monocoat, which is an oil-based rub and adds a more natural touch (not shiny and lets the grains show).

“If it’s painted, you’d be using a paint-grade wood that has little movement and is smooth like maple. The benefits of paint quality are cost savings (about 10-20% less than coloring), color match, and color sharpness.

“A piano finish (super high lacquer) is coveted but very expensive because you have to sand and prime several times. The wood must be perfect (without imperfections) for this finish to work.

“Fine Paints of Europe is oil based and looks rich and elegant for regular paint application as an alternative to a piano finish. Be sure to paint or stain your wreath the same color as your insert.

Karen B. Wolf of Karen B. Wolf Interiors in Short Hills, New Jersey

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