Dust & Shavings
Napa Valley/Jan. 2011

In this issue:

  1. Happy 2011 from Napa
  2. Expanding Custom
  3. Claro Writing Desk
  4. Waterfall Console
  5. The Star Slab Story
  6. Studio Sale
  7. Thank You

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Happy 2011 from Napa...

We hope you all are enjoying a strong start to the New Year!

In our post-holiday ramp up, we find ourselves reflecting on where we are in our minds and hearts, and how that shows in our current work. Many of you challenged us with "out of the box" opportunities this past year -- and for that we thank you! Such projects enable us to continue developing as designers, craftsmen and furnituremakers.

Since our last email, we've been involved with some pretty cool work, including:

  • An intriguing Hinged Dining Table designed by Martin Design and brought to life by Chajo
  • he debut of our Claro Writing Desk and Waterfall Console designs
  • Creating a Wine Tasting Table for the awesome new John Anthony Vineyards' tasting room in downtown Napa
  • And most recently completing the Star Slab coffee table for a San Francisco residence!

Thank you for your interest and support. You'll notice on our website that Chajo has joined Facebook – please feel free to "like" our company, and "like" any favorite Chajo pieces.
Your word-of-mouth referral is our best advertising.

We hope you enjoy reading on........

Expanding Custom...hinged dining table for Martin Design

martin design dining tableMany of you may know Erin Martin of Martin Design just up the road in St Helena.  Erin is known for daring interior design–a risk-taker and thus perfect match for our mixed media minds!

Our collaboration was a residential project in Mill Valley.  Erin envisioned an expanding dining table, and we said no problem–that's when we realized this was to be nothing ordinary about this table!

What Erin had in mind was a 10' long tabletop (fully extended) made from bookmatched Bay Laurel slabs with steel caps on the end and standing on steel plate stanchions. One end would fold down and somehow appear to be the table leg when the table was not full extended.

How did we make it a reality? We started with Erin's handdrawn sketch, and the client's thoughts on how the table would function as daily gathering spot for a young, active family in a contemporary, tri-level hillside home. The extension mechanism needed to be simple and uncluttered (so forget traditional leaves!) And while a fundamentally large piece, the dining table needed to not visually dominate the gathering area.

Erin joined us in our shop to work through the details–handcrafted hinged extensions in blackened steel for refined yet rustic feel that would be replicated in the end caps and stanchion legs. Jon determined the correct measurements, hinge calculations, and enhanced the closure with embedded magnets to the hinged end hangs truly flush when dropped down.

The Bay Laurel slabs were purchased before we got involved, so that part was easy–that is until we scraped down and revealed the naturally-blond wood. Not warm enough for this interior environment, so we showed Erin a Claro Walnut bench in our studio with strong color play…and out came the stains as Jon transformed the slabs. To keep the dining table visually "light" despite its length and thickness, we butted the boards and left a striking gap up the center. Enough of an opening that it divides the piece–but not enough to allow a wine glass to slip through!

We were graciously invited to attend a design magazine's "preview party" in the home, and must say the table is quite striking……..a challenging project we are proud to have our name on. Thank you to Martin Design for the opportunity!

Claro Writing Desk
one-of-a-kind slabs makes writing easy

We're blessed to live and work in the greater San Francisco Bay Area for a number of reasons (think past wine...)

claro writing deskNot the least of which is our access to stunning, indigenous and always reclaimed Claro Walnut slabs! This wood has become a standby in our shop and is our "go to" in many an instance that calls for medium-to-dark body, crazy figure, gold and red ribboning -- hmmmm, maybe not so different than a fine wine...

While we've built everything from dining tables to benches to bookcases out of Claro, we are particularly taken with Writing Desks. It seems recently we've had a few Claro slabs come claro writing desk detailinto the shop that were just naturally-formed to be desks. And true writing desks – just tabletop, pencil drawer (Italian leather-lined, of course!) and bronzed base. Oh and a few ebony butterflies thrown in here and there!

Visually strong enough to hold its own while keeping a petite enough for a bedroom or living room. One such piece was selected for the current BCG Masters Show at the Marin Arts Center (on display through March 17) so please go visit!

Current Claro Desk-in-works: Our take on the "traditional" desk design including pencil and file drawer. Schedule to debut mid-March 2011 – stay tuned!

Grain runs over in our Waterfall Console

This "new" design has us really excited–new is in parens because we actually designed and built the first on spec for a 2009 show–and a loyal client snapped it up immediately. We've built 3 since and none have hung around long enough to be photographed…so here's a belated but heartfelt introduction to our  Waterfall Console.

And FYI, inlaying that bronze is NOT as easy as it looks...

fallen consoleHandcrafted from a single slab of wood (in this case figured Jatoba wood but we've also created in Bubinga, Mahogany and Claro Walnut) this console design has what woodworkers call "waterfall edges" where the wood grain literally falls over each edge(end) and continues down the sides to the floor. (This effect is only possible when using a single slab of wood or continuous veneer.) Challenges are obvious–you need to find a beautiful board that has the length depth and thickness to carry the design. Dimensions as shown are 60"W x 16"D x 31"H (about 1.75"thick.)

If that weren't enough. We threw in bronze inlays as well. The juxtaposition between the flowing grain and geometric bronze resonates with us. Since Jon does all the wood inlay–and chisels each inlay by hand–he can attest to the difficulty of inlaying such pieces and maintaining the even polish while finishing the wood (feel free to email him with questions!) "We wanted to follow the continuous wood grain and not force it to end in a top or in a side," says Chajo partner Jonathan Edie. "The Waterfall design allows for that continuity. And the Bronze inlays play off the luminescent, (rippling) figure, like stylized rocks in a stream." And as with most of our work, the Waterfall console may be customized and is available in a variety of woods–just ask!

The Star Slab story.......

star slab coffee table 1Despite loads of slabs in the shop and stashed in various locales, every now and again a slab strikes us as being so "right" we cannot pass it by. The Star Slab is one such piece.

At approx. 75"W x 48"D x 4" thick, the Star Slab is a unique example of a cross-cut slab with its natural "live edge" all the way around. The organic "star" shape is what caught our eye, and we immediately thought "coffee table, floating steel base, showstopping piece." So we went to work and our efforts paid off–the resulting piece drew huge attention and sold at first showing, now residing in a lovely San Francisco residence.

star slab coffee table 2star slab coffee table 2

Sister Star Slab is coming in February........

And the good news is we have a "sister" star slab arriving in February!

The star slab was reclaimed off property a friend of ours is working in Indonesia. Initially he thought only one could slab could be salvaged but there is one more coming our way.

So if you are wanting a truly, unique, strongly organic-feeling piece for your home or office, let us know. In addition to coffee table, the star slab would be a stunning entry piece, reception area desk or kitchen table. The wood is very hard and heavy, ideal for high-functioning, multi-use purposes.

Come see it in person in our shop in February! (or email us for pics and dimensions)

Just a few pieces in current Studio Sale

A few of you helped with our annual Studio clean out, so we only have a few "steals" in our Studio Sale section, like this single Otto Cube with fossil stone top and gunmetal Italian leather upholstery. Our Otto Cubes function as tables and seats, giving you options in design.

We usually sell them in pairs and split this one up for a client and now have the "brother."  At 20"x20"x16"H, we envision this piece in front of a loveseat, or in between a pair of occasional chairs or wherever it looks best! Email us for more pics/info.

And see more sale here…

We're now in the midst of our rainy season, the shop machines are humming and we're building out new ideas to unveil in the coming year.

A past client recently approached us with a custom buffet project that is exciting and challenging. After our design mtg, they turned us on to the Fitzgerald Marine Preserve on the San Mateo Coast (pictured, in midst of tidal pooling.) If you're ever down that way at low-tide, be sure to check it out–amazing marine creatures and formations to behold!

And of course, we appreciate you keeping us in mind if you have a special project for your home.

Thank you again for your ongoing support, and please feel free to share this enewsletter with anyone you think may be interested in our work!

All our best,
Jon, Chanin & Quinn