March 23, 2011


Whidbey Island Kitchen

 Every project has its' beginnings. This the space for a new kitchen I am developing in concert with Dave Pate, our local contractor, Anne McCulloch of Anne McCulloch Studio in Portland, Oregon and, of course the clients, Marjie and Doug Gutafson. The kitchen is in a modest beach front house/cabin with an extraordinary view on Whidbey Island, WA.

The kitchen will be a shaker style constructed from vertical grain fir. Below, you can see a stack of fir boards that will be used in the project. These are all rough cut shorts from a NW mill.

The case work will be made from pre-finished maple faced ply. This has been a standard of mine for many years. It gives the interiors a functional durability and light glowing interior. Here you can see some of the maple panels cut for case work. This is the first step in prepping parts for case construction.

 The heart of most projects that I work on are the layout or story boards. They contain  full scale drawings of the kitchen as related to me from the designers' plans. There are side to side plan views as well as a front to back plan views. I also draw a typical elevation noting any special circumstances.
     I learned this technique from a now closed cabinet/furniture shop owner in Coupeville, WA some twenty-five years ago. The beauty of it is that one is able to take full scale drawings to the job site or use them in the shop to check that all is correct. Once a case is built I am able to lay a story board on the work and see my mistakes or successes. The story board is where I can plan for complicated joinery or difficult layouts
     I would just like to give a special thanks to Brad Gallahar, a Whidbey Island furniture maker, for recommending me to the Gustafsons,  offering me an opportunity to be involved in another wonderful Whidbey project.

May your chisels be sharp and your planes tuned,
Rob Hetler
Whidbey Island, WA

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