March 2, 2011
I have learned a lot of new things about tile, plaster, HVAC systems and the like during our remodel. But perhaps the most interesting fact that I have learned throughout this process is that there is a neighborhood in Los Angeles called Frogtown.
Frogtown is an area in the Elysian Valley between Glassell Park and Silverlake where cabinetmaker Larry Bucklan, of Bucklan Design Woodworks,has his workshop. It is also an area where the Los Angeles River (yes folks, Los Angeles has a river) has a natural riverbed, and therefore is home to a surprising amount of wildlife, including great blue herons, white egrets, mallards and the western toad—the animal responsible for the area's name. It is fitting that this unique area of Los Angeles is where Larry works, because he is also one of a kind. Larry brought not only his excellent woodworking craftsmanship and design sensibilities to the project, but also a marvelous sense of humor, which has been a wonderful stress-buster for us throughout this process.
Larry created all of our cabinetry for the house but his work in our kitchen has been the most stunning. Kurt and I had only basic ideas for our kitchen design so we met with Larry, as well as Home Front's Steve Pallrand and Shelby Roberts, to give them our thoughts and then let them brainstorm the best possible layout for the space. They all agreed that the arched doorway from the old kitchen nook (now the "gentleman caller" area) into the kitchen needed to be walled in, since we would have two other entrances into the new kitchen and needed space for cabinets and appliances. They also came up with a plan to have the plaster in the kitchen meet up flush with the cabinet faces to give the cabinets an inset look, as if they were almost part of the wall.This was hard for Kurt and I to visualize, but conceptually it sounded pretty amazing. We decided to go for it. Larry also wanted to incorporate the Moorish archway shapes into the cabinet design and have corbels similar to those on the outside of the house to continue these themes in the kitchen. The cabinets are completely installed now, and the craftsmanship is wonderful. The details are what really make them gorgeous. Larry was spot-on by suggesting the arch design and the corbels.The housing for the fridge is pretty spectacular, too. Even Norm Abrams was impressed!