Creative Thinking: Part 5
We’re (almost) in the homestretch as custom cabinets and storage solutions go into the addition.
John Eigo and Tim Gotsch of Hemingway Custom Cabinetry and Architectural Millwork measure the teeny-tiny new home office. The space was carved out of the former mudroom, and with the removal of a door and addition of a window—ouala, we have an office.
There is always something that starts you thinking about a renovation, and often the idea to change things around stews for years before you can (or are ready to) address the issue. When I designed and built my house in 2005, I intentionally did not include much storage space in hopes of living more minimally. That didn’t work out. So, the addition began.
You’ve seen the evolution of my project from that starting point, and now the basic structure is complete and we’re ready to cram as much storage in as possible. To make my vision for the wet bar, office and under-stair storage a reality, I called Hemingway Custom Cabinetry and Architectural Millwork, who did my island countertop when I first built the house. They bring together the best of what full-service kitchen design firms and millwork shops have to offer—in owner George Krawiec’s words, they are “a true custom design-build firm.” Where millwork shops often work off of other designer’s drawings, and kitchen design companies will design your kitchen and then outsource the construction of the cabinets (and possibly charge a serious markup), Hemingway has the unique capability to work from a white piece of paper and create a truly custom kitchen that’s exactly what you want, and then fabricate it in their 12,000-square-foot workshop in Black Rock.
I knew that my collaboration with them would be great, but what I didn’t realize is how integral they would become to my entire project. When I left for work every day, I had to trust that things would get done the way I wanted them to. With Hemingway, they always did. Their follow-through is unbeatable, and when you’re spending time and money and working like mad, you are so appreciative of people who make the process easier on you. “We do a lot of hand-holding,” says Chief Operating Officer John Eigo. “We almost become the hub of communication for everybody so a lot less falls through the cracks.”
Even though my design background gave me a pretty clear vision of what I wanted the project to look like in the end, John did push me a little outside of my comfort zone, and in the end, I was happy that he did. John has strong opinions and a good, solid design sense, but knew that this was ultimately our project, and when I was uncomfortable, I always felt that I could talk to him about it. “So many designers want house to have their stamp on it, and I don’t believe in that. They tend to take too much ownership of a job, but you must marry yourself to the clients vision,” he says. And, since John has control over what happens in the shop, we had some flexibility to make changes along the way that doesn’t exist with other cabinet companies (and that flexibility can also save you money—a late-in-the-game change is going to be a costly one with other firms). Flip through the photo gallery to see how it all came together…