Archive for Scotch Bar

Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 16) – Final Photography

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2011 by johnwiggers

After the installation was complete JLT was generous enough to allow access to his office for a day of professional photography. The resulting high resolution images are versatile enough to use not only in blogs, emails and websites but also printed media such as magazines and books.

As you can see from the full room images, the completed office looks magnificent.

The walnut on the Herman Miller sofa in the foreground nicely complements the East Indian Rosewood used on the other furniture pieces.

The desk is the focal point of the room, although the mass of the 108″ long top is visually lighted through the use of a deep undercut bevel and the inlay of over 250 pieces of mother-of-pearl around the perimeter.

The drawer pedestal on the desk has 2 box drawers over file drawer.

My favorite detail is the one which is barely seen – namely the point on the back side of the desk where the undercut bevel transitions into a vertical plane.

A total of 3 grommets were inlaid into the tops of the desk and credenza, with great care being taken to align the grains of the wood to make the grommets looks as unobtrusive as possible.

I love the sweep of this curve…

The credenza was custom fitted into the corner, with the curved edge of the top ending exactly at the edge of the window.

A single key enables all drawers to be locked at one time.

At first glance this looks like an architectural wood panel set into the wall.

The panels are actually doors, which conceal audio/video components above…

….and a safe down below.

The A/V components are mounted into a custom pull-out rack system, to allow for ease of installation and maintenance.

The Scotch Bar.

Showing the detail of the faux ivory inlays as they frame the satin nickel pull.

The split shells on the Scotch Bar pivot open to reveal a function interior, which provides a granite mixing surface as well as ample storage for beverages, glasses, ice bucket and accessories.

The corner detail of the Scotch Bar.

The motorized television cabinet, as viewed from the back.

The wedge shaped cabinet has 2 doors for access to storage. These doors also provide access to the lift mechanism for service and maintenance.

The motorized television cabinet, as viewed from the front.

The television raised; shown facing the sofa.

The television rotated 90 degrees so that JLT has the option to watch while sitting at his desk.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of this office is how all of the electronics and lighting that has been integrated into this space can be easily controlled using little more than the touch screen of an IPad.

Hopefully these features will be properly demonstrated in an upcoming video.

Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 15) – Accessories

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2011 by johnwiggers

On the custom office project for JLT I ended up becoming involved in many aspects of the interior design, from the creation of the furniture itself to the layout of the ceiling and lighting grid and, to a lesser degree, the selection of wall coverings, carpet and upholstered furniture from Herman Miller.

Admittedly, this participation on my part was motivated in part by my desire to create a thoroughly complete office environment that would help show off the actual furniture when it came time for photography.

My intense focus on the design of the furniture inadvertently spilled over into the creation of some accessories as well, specifically a wine stopper and an ice bucket for the scotch bar.

Given that JLT is an aficionado of fine wines I wanted to create a high quality stopper that would surpass the quality level of any other wine stopper currently on the market.

The stopper itself was milled from a solid billet of FDA food grade 304 stainless steel. Triple seals of FDA food grade nitrile were then inlaid into precision milled grooves. The handle portion was turned from a rare block of solid Macassar Ebony, which is one of the hardest woods in the world.

Sharp tools and considerable patience is required when working with woods such as Ebony. Because of its extreme density this wood must be slowly air dried, lest hairline cracks develop over time.

On this particular stopper the biggest challenge came from placing the inlay of a decorative cabachon into the end. A thin walled pocket was carefully turned with a parting tool to create the recess necessary to receive the inlay of fossilized coral.

The ice bucket ended up being the bigger undertaking, and I have to admit that I spent a great deal of time agonizing over the design.

In an earlier post I described the process of evaluating JLT’s office from a Feng Shui perspective. At the time it worked out that the proposed layout and design was conducive with 13 of the 14 recommended “DO’s” and “DON’T’s” for a balanced office from a Feng Shui perspective. The only element missing was a small aquarium containing a single Arowana fish.

As much as I aspired to achieve perfection with this project I wasn’t about to suggest something as contrived as plunking an aquarium in the middle of the office decor. But given that the Scotch Bar was already located in a most auspicious part of the office, and knowing that JLT also has a taste for single malt scotch and Grey Goose vodka, I came up with the idea of creating a functional ice bucket that could do double duty as a proverbial water feature. Instead of using a live fish I would substitute an image of an Arowana etched into the face of the glass.

Working with Eva Milinkovic of Tsunami Glassworks we selected a colour of blue that would not only become a symbolic representation of water but do so in a way that would also complement the colours found on a Grey Goose bottle.

The most difficult part was coming up with an image of an Arowana fish that was subtle enough not to be overpowering. I didn’t want this thing to look like it had Charlie the Tuna tattooed onto the side.

Once the concept was finalized I left it to Eva to work her magic with the glass.

It’s no surprise that I was quite pleased with the result.

Next: Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 16) – Final Photography

Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 13) – Another Road Trip !

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2011 by johnwiggers

With the jobsite now ready to receive our work, it’s time for another road trip.

The truck is ready to load.

Kevin wrapping pieces in protective tissue, then blankets.

The truck’s almost loaded. Time to gather the tools.

The office appears as a blank canvas – ready to receive our work.

Installation starts with the credenza, in the far corner of the room.

The cantilevered top fits perfectly between the wall and the window.

Kevin assembles the desk, while Heath works on the motorized TV cabinet.

There’s a reason for the cabinet angle – to be explained in a subsequent post.

The lift basket showing built-in mounts to receive the flat screen TV.

The Scotch Bar: Closed

The Scotch Bar: Open

Executive Desk and Credenza.

JLT especially loved the detail on the inlaid wood grommet.

Desk, Credenza, Scotch Bar, and Television Cabinet.

Although this looks like an architectural wall panel, it’s actually a built-in closet. This cabinet will be shown in greater detail after the audio-video guys are finished doing their work.

Next: Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 14) – The Audio/Video Guys Do Their Thing

Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 8) – Hardware

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2011 by johnwiggers

The previous post was focussed on the woodworking aspect of the motorized T.V. cabinet being made for JLT’s office. Today’s post will showcase some of the cool hardware and technology that’s also being integrated into this project.

This is the keyboard tray that will be mounted to the underside of the desk. Made by Accuride, this unit has integrated wire management and holds a keyboard and mouse, along with added storage for pens, pencils, and DVDs.

This satin nickel pull will be the focal point of the Scotch Bar. Since wood is the predominant material being used on the custom furniture we are making, it felt prudent to introduce other materials and textures as well.


JLT liked the idea of using simple, yet substantial, metal pulls for opening the drawers and doors. After tremendous research and experimentation we finally found the perfect balance with these satin nickel pulls, designed by Adam Laws of Australia.

The photo above shows the custom pull-out/rotating mechanism that will be the heart and soul of all the electronics going into JLT’s office. In addition to the audio and video components, this rack mount system will also house all of the lighting controls as well as a state-of-the-art Savant home automation system.

What is a Savant system?

Let’s just say that if James Bond had an office, he would be getting “Q” to trick it out with a Savant.

This video will explain it better.

Next: Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 9) – The Finishing Process

Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 7) – The Motorized T.V. Cabinet

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2011 by johnwiggers

The previous post provided details of the custom Scotch Bar being made for JLT’s office. This next post will show the work in progress on the motorized T.V. cabinet being made for the same space.

Since the T.V. needs to be angled into the room, this special triangle shaped cabinet had to be made. This cabinet will house the electronics, with the openings in the back meant to receive access panels that will allow for future service – if required.

This is the main cabinet that will house the T.V. lift mechanism. The cabinet exterior is crafted from East Indian Rosewood panels that have been secured together with glued rabbet joinery. Once the glue has dried some inlay beads of solid Rosewood will be precision fit into the corners.

This image shows the two cabinets joined together. The vertical channel at the back left of the cabinet allows the cables to move freely with the lift mechanism as it travels up and down.

These images show the lift mechanism going through a dry run. Cut outs for outlets and data cables have been added to the left gable, based on site measurements taken earlier. The recessed base will be clad in stainless steel, and a black granite top will be made for the triangular cabinet.

This shows the T.V. cabinet from the opposite side. The lift cabinet enclosure will be finished in satin black lacquer, with its removable front panel being shaped as a template that will be custom fit around the T.V. after installation.

By the way, did I mention that the T.V. also rotates?

It does, but that’s not the best part. It turns out that the coolest feature of this project is the Savant wireless control system that’s being installed which will allow all electronics in this office to be run off an IPad.

Technogeeks should stay tuned for the next post, because it’s going to include a video previewing the Savant system going into JLT’s office. (It totally rocks!!!)

Next: Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – (Part 8) – Hardware

Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 4) – Applying Feng Shui to the Design

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2011 by johnwiggers

In my previous post I discussed the process of finalizing the custom furniture designs for JLT’s office.

Because of my personal interest in some of the world’s older civilizations and traditions, one of the disciplines I occasionally like to integrate into my design process is an ancient practice known as Feng shui.

What is Feng shui? In simple terms Feng shui is an ancient art and science that first developed in China over 3,000 years ago. It is a complex body of knowledge that provides guidelines on how to balance energies in any given space to assure the health and good fortune for the people inhabiting it.

Feng means wind and shui means water, and in Chinese culture wind and water are associated with good health. Thus, good feng shui has come to mean good fortune, while bad feng shui means bad luck, or misfortune.

Feng shui is based on the Taoist vision and understanding of nature, particularly on the idea that the land is alive and filled with Chi, or energy. The ancient Chinese believed that the land’s energy could either make or break the kingdom. With that in mind the theories of yin and yang, as well as the five feng shui elements, are some of the basic aspects of a Feng shui analysis that come from Taoism.

Although the actual process of determining whether a given space has good Feng shui is rather complex, there is a list of parameters that are considered essential to optimizing the positive flow of Chi in a modern executive office.

First, on the design of the desk itself a kidney shaped desk is considered to be ideal, since the rounded corners are most conducive to the free flow of Chi.

The desk should be positioned in the corner farthest from the entrance to the room, thereby giving the person sitting at it a “command” position of the space;

When sitting at the desk you should not be in direct line with the door, as you will be in the path of negative energy;

DO keep your back toward a corner or a wall for support. If a post protrudes from the corner or wall, either reshape it to hide the protrusion or correct it by covering it with a hanging plant’s draping foliage;

DO sit with a tall building behind you to provide the support of a “mountain” if your back is to a window;

DON’T face away from the door if you are conducting business from home. Business will symbolically come to you through the door, so don’t turn your back on it;

DON’T arrange your workspace so that you look straight out into a corridor or see the stairs, storage rooms, closets, elevators, escalators, or toilets;

DO put your computer in the North or West area of your office to enhance your creativity. Place the computer in the Southeast if you use it to generate income;

DO place an aquarium or tabletop fountain in the East, North, or Southeast. A small aquarium with black or blue fish in the North area of your desk or office will activate your business and career success. Guppies or a single arrowana are ideal for an aquarium made of glass and metal;

DO place a safe, which is usually constructed of metal, in either West or Northwest, which both represent the metal element. The safe symbolizes the prosperity and financial security of a business;

DO have a good balance of yin (female) and yang (male) energies when decorating your workspace. Balance light and dark colors, soft and hard surfaces, and smooth and rough textures in your choice of window treatments, furniture, and flooring;

DON’T have any mirrors in your office, as they can reflect negative energy from clients to other people in the room. You should always maintain control over the energy in your office;

DO treat the files in your office with respect. They represent your past, present, and future business;

DO keep the cords to your office equipment well hidden. This elimates clutter and allows for the free flow of chi;

It was early in the discussion phase of the furniture design process that I suggested to JLT that he consider his space from a Feng shui perspective. Although he acknowledged and seemed politely receptive to the idea, I didn’t sense enough of an interest to pursue it further – so I let it be.

Nevertheless, as the design of the space came together I remained curious as to how “balanced” it was shaping up to be from a Feng shui perspective. What I discovered was pleasantly surprising.

On the basis of the 14 simple “DOs” and “DON’Ts” listed above, the initial design of JLT’s office is consistent with 13 of them. The only element missing for a perfect score is having an aquarium or fountain in the space.

With that in mind I began to wonder if a Scotch Bar could be interpreted as a fountain, or water feature – especially if it had a seltzer bottle contained within.

It was just a thought….

Next: Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 5) – Let the Furniture Making Begin!

Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 3) – The Renovation Begins

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2011 by johnwiggers

In my previous post I described the initial site meeting with JLT to discuss the parameters of the furniture designs for his office.

Shortly after this meeting took place the actual renovation work began.

In the photo above you can see the aluminum studs in place for the extended wall section going in. The big screen television will back onto this wall.


JLT and I both agreed that the desk and credenza should be set into the far back corner of the space – between the windows. There is a funky piece of wall angle bridging that corner which seems to be hiding a conduit of some kind. This will be integrated into the final design so that it all but disappears from view.

At the opposite end of the space a private washroom (with shower) is being installed. To achieve this the concrete floors had to be cut to allow for the necessary plumbing to be brought in. To the right of this photo you can see a small niche space that has been created to house a built-in cabinet for storage. In addition to general storage this cabinet will also be the “brain centre” that holds all the electronics for audio, video and lighting control systems.

By this stage the overall dimension of the room were mostly determined, which made it possible to clarify the approximate size, location and shape of the desk, credenza, storage cabinet and motorized television cabinet. The inclusion of a Scotch Bar was not yet a certainty, since a suitable location for it had yet to be determined.

As the details of the furniture designs were being clarified, JLT worked with his interior designer to finalize the selection of carpet and wallpaper for the office. Based on these samples we narrowed our range of wood finish options to Chestnut Ribbon Sapele, Macassar Ebony, Madagascar Rosewood, Ipe and East Indian Rosewood.

Although JLT really liked the Chestnut Ribbon Sapele sample we showed him, I cautioned against it because of how the Chestnut stain would likely “bleed” into any inlays such as mother-of-pearl we might use. Macassar Ebony was deemed to be too dark, and the flitch sizes too small, to work successfully on large surfaces such as a desk top.

Madagascar Rosewood was rejected because the colour and grain texture simply didn’t work.

The Ipe looked magnificent, but I was concerned about a random “splotch” that appeared in the actual test samples we made. While this discolouration may have been a natural element of the wood itself, it would end up looking ugly if it appeared unexpectedly on the top of the desk. Therefore, I decided to err on the side of caution by insisting that we not use that species.

Of all the woods under consideration the East Indian Rosewood looked best of all. In its raw state it almost seemed too purple in colour, but once a finish was applied to the test panels a depth and richness appeared that worked perfectly with the carpet and wallpaper samples.

JLT concurred with this assessment, so based on his approval we decided to go with this for the furniture.

The design of the furniture was now starting to gel, and in my mind’s eye I could actually see what the finished office was going to look like.

We were now at the defining moment of the design of this space, and it is here that someone like JLT actually becomes a dream client for a studio furniture maker such as myself. Although he was always very clear on what he liked and disliked, JLT always managed to curb his veto power enough so it didn’t smother the creative process. In fact, it would be appropriate to say that he actually participates in the creative process enough so that collectively the ideas end up manifesting in a manner that was not only effortless but almost intuitive in some cases.

Although this last part is difficult to articulate, hopefully I can illustrate it better in the next post. That post will evaluate the resulting furniture designs and office layout from the standpoint of Feng Shui , which is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetic that is growing in popularity in North America and around the world.

Feng shui is ultimately about flow and balance, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well the final design of the office melded almost perfectly with those principles – especially since very little conscious effort was made to do so.

Next: Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 4) – Applying Feng Shui to the Design.

Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 2) – The Initial Site Meeting

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2011 by johnwiggers

In my previous post I described my first meeting with our client JLT at the 2005 Interior Design Show. For a variety of reasons more than 5 years would pass before any tangible work would begin on the custom furniture for his office.

On some level this was a good thing, because it gave me ample time to mull over ideas and consider the most appropriate design for his furniture. From talking with him I knew that JLT dislikes clutter, so any design would have to be done in a way to ensure that everything had its place – out of sight as much as possible.

JLT also insisted that he didn’t want a “throne”,  so I knew the desk would have to be light in design – ideally with no modesty panel. He also liked the possibility of the Gentleman’s Valet reconfigured as some kind of Scotch Bar, and having a big screen T.V. that could be hidden from view when not in use.

With these parameters in mind we had our initial site meeting to discuss possible options.

The photos that follow show the raw office space that would soon be renovated to create JLT’s new executive office.

At first glance it seemed obvious that JLT’s desk should back onto this corner. Notice the tiles and the fluorescent lighting in the ceiling – I insisted on replacing these with proper fixtures, since the limited spectrum of fluorescent light is too narrow to do proper justice to fine woodwork. (Fluorescents simply “wash out”  the warmth and natural beauty of wood.)

I also made note of the locations of outlets and phone jacks. Since JLT wanted to hide all wires and cables to the greatest degree possible, it would be necessary to have outlets and jacks moved to where they’d be hidden by the built-in furniture.

In this photo the wall on the left was slated for removal so that the adjoining room could be merged with the corner office to create one large space. The door in the foreground will also be replaced with an extended wall from the right, to allow for the installation of a flat screen television that is to be hidden in a motorized lift mechanism.

Next: Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 3) – The Renovation Begins