18 November, 2013

The Anatomy of a Built-In

by Ally Evander Allied Member, ASID
At LiLu, we always say every project is different. But we commonly design built ins for a lot of our clients. Why? Built ins add storage and an architectural element that furniture case pieces cannot always provide. It's easy to get stuck doing the same thing over and over, a simple door style, an ordinary toe kick... But one design does not fit all!
Designing custom built ins and furniture is one of my favorite parts of the job. There are so many things to consider and the possibilities are endless. Here's a run down of a few things we keep in mind when designing:
-Amount of storage needed
-Depth of storage needed; what is being stored? will special items fit?
Design in the details:
-Door/drawer style
-Base/toekick style
-Decorative elements
Design intent:
-Do we want it to look like cabinetry?
-Do we want it to look like a piece of furniture?
-What do we want it to be made out of and why?
-Wood stain or painted?
-Decorative materials applied?
-What will the durability of this finish be? Will it last? Will it stand up to kids/pets?
It's a long list! All of the answers to these questions are important and vary depending on the client and project. Now that I have droned on about the intricacies of the built in, (can you tell it's my favorite thing to work on?) let's take a look at some of the ways LiLu has applied these ideas....

A locally built, custom cabinet with applied hand made wallcovering

Here we created our own door style! These doors have patterned dimension for visual interest. And let's not forget the custom toe kick- no detail was overlooked! No hardware on this piece- we used touch latch doors so hardware wouldn't distract from the design.

Another wallcovering applied to a built in media unit. But this time with an extra thick wood top. No thick stile and rail on the doors, just a really thin bead.

We used really simple details for this contemporary residence. Kerf lined doors, a solid surface top instead of plain wood, and sleek hardware. Monochromatic finishes for a really architectural look.