How the Design Process Works

First Step

The evolution of this cabinet offers good insight into how the design process works.  After initial consultation with the client, we came up with some basic concepts as conversation starters.  The first step was to layout the “footprint” of the cabinet.  The challenge here is that the cabinet will be placed in a corner of the room, but turned at a slight angle.  This means that the length of the sides can’t be symmetrical as is usual for a corner cabinet.  The idea is that the piece functions as a “built-in,” but will be a stand-alone.    Everything involved in the design must stay within this footprint or it won’t fit properly into the corner.

Basic Concepts

The next steps were to generate some basic ideas.  These were good conversation starters.  They allowed us to see form and shape as well as give us direction regarding design.  Here are some of those initial drawings.

Refine the Design

Client input at this point is critical and the client for this piece was up to the challenge, offering great ideas and feedback. That allowed us to narrow the focus and come up with the next steps in the process.  Each of these drawings offer a slightly different look.  But the overall goal was to insure that the final piece would be a good fit in a room that already has several beautiful and unique pieces of furniture.


Close in on a Decision

The next steps were to sharpen the design.  The collaborative process continued here as the client was able to see the options and state preferences for the elements that will make up the final cabinet.  At this stage, since we were getting closer to a design decision, we started adding some color options as well.

The Decision

Using elements from all the previous designs, we were able to arrive at something that worked.  It features several carved elements and antique hardware.

The Final Drawing

But even after we began to build the piece, we tweaked the design a bit more to provide more substance and life.  At this point, again after a meeting with the client, we decided the color direction and tone for the final piece.

The Real Thing

We’re about halfway through the finishing process in these photographs.  the entire cabinet is made of cherry.  We’ve enhanced the natural color of the wood with a treatment that showcases its beauty.  The complex carved pieces, also cherry, give this cabinet a substantial look.