Dwell Home Venice: Part 18

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By Michael Sylvester / Published by Dwell
In this series, Sebastian Mariscal designs a home in Venice, California, that brings the outside in. We track the project from start to finish with future resident Michael Sylvester. Part 18, October 2012 – March 2013: Fabricating and installing the cabinets.

For the built-in cabinets located throughout Dwell Home Venice we selected Semihandmade, a company based in Duarte, just outside of Pasadena CA, lead by John McDonald. The home features both custom-made mahogany cabinets and also, in the guest bathrooms, Semihandmade’s custom doors combined with IKEA cabinet boxes. This latter method is a very cost-effective way to produce well finished cabinets.

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For this project, Semihandmade’s cabinet boxes were made from MDF with a gray laminate and the MDF was cut on a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine.

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The CNC machine is computer controlled to create rapid, precise cuts with efficient use of material. This machine is manufactured in Germany by Weeke.

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Cuts are optimized to produce the maximum yield from a panel of MDF.

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The system generates labels for each panel, identifying the component, the cabinet and the location in each room of the house.

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Cabinet components are stacked up ready to be joined into boxes or delivered as panels for interior cabinet shelving.

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Selecting the mahogany veneers to be used on all cabinet doors, exterior panels and various trim.

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John McDonald from Semihandmade discusses the cabinet installation in an upstairs bedroom with General Contractor Peter DeMaria.

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Planning a cabinet installation. The drywall panels are in place temporarily to simulate cabinet panels or to check dimensions between finished walls.

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The Semihandmade team installs wardrobe cabinets in an upstairs guest bedroom.

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This guest bedroom has an integrated wardrobe and built-in desk under a light well. Additional mahogany wall panels and desk shelves are yet to be installed.

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The great room is converted into a temporary wood shop as the kitchen and other cabinets are installed.

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The Semihandmade team delivers the living room bookshelf.

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Preparing to stain the kitchen cabinets. The ceiling drywall and all cabinet openings are papered and taped to keep the stain contained..

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Comparing the first coat of stain on the living room bookshelf against sample stains. The final sealer coat will bring out the warmth of the mahogany color, amplifying any amber tones.

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A mahogany cabinet in a hallway has been stained and sealed. The doors are stained off-site and will be installed towards the end of the project.

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There is an art to matching the mahogany stain on the cabinets with the large doors that were provided by a different vendor. The image shows a good color match.

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A close-up of the living room bookshelf.

The completed cabinets will play a prominent role in the finished presentation of the home. Stay tuned for photography of the house at completion.