Alice In Wonderland dressing table..

Sometimes a client knows exactly what he wants, but lets you make it work your way..

Matt and I had a chat a little while ago, about a piece of 'upcycled' furniture to fit in the master bedroom, of the lovely old mill where he and his family live. The idea was to have a chest of drawers that would be covered in different 'off-cuts' and timbers to create a truly unique piece of furniture.
When he came to my workshop to see what I had found, there was a slight change in direction.

"Can you make me a dressing table for Cathy first..forget about the drawers for a bit"

So I went through a few Fine Woodworking Design books with him.. and he was "yes.. like this"

To give them some inspiration, I lent Matt a couple of design books to show his children, I also asked them to write down what Mom does at her current dressing table.. What they came back with was amazing..

A list of requirements..
  • Somewhere for hairdryer and jewellery, and her 'stuff'
  • She puts her hair straighteners on the floor.. "can you make somewhere for them, please"
  • She wears bangles, "what about keys, fob watch, rings" Says Rui
  • Prosecco, "somewhere for a bottle of wine"
The list went on.. and on .. and on..

we chatted. The next time they came "Alice In Wonderland" 

"Blimey.. I was just so excited by this.. crikey.. This we could go Mad with this.. " and Matt and I did..We drew and scribbled..

A few days later, I went over to their beautiful old Mill, to see the space.. the light. To get an idea of what they like, what they have around.. Matt likes thing that are very different. Over a coffee, in their kitchen he started to sketch some ideas, " can you make this" he'd say.. " yeah that sounds great, I could do this or that" etc.. just a great design review. I left with lots of 'scribbles'

Inspiration I got from old books, the internet, and tattoo's

Here are some that made me think.. 

I love the perspective of the flooring on this back piece (ouch)..

The lifting of a lid, And Matts idea of the tapered leg.

Just look at the hole  with the tree growing around it..

the madness of it all...

I hope you like it, I have loved making it..

Oak 'tree' base, with door in the main body. A toadstool supports the Maple leg

Well why not !

On the tree, carved where you would carve it if you were sitting in the tree..
Matt carved the heart and the arrow..
then asked me to just go over his writing with a sharp chisel

The top is of Maple, with the lid in Padauk and Maple.

The right hand end is where the tree meets the fence.
Panels of random widths, tapering with 'gaps' and doweled in place.
Using timber 'with' knots in.. trying to find my worst examples of Oak to bring life to the piece..

It was mad.. and making that lid.. with my eyesight, was tough

Walnut and Maple dovetailed drawer, with lined base to take jewellery...

I love the tree coming out of the top, an Art Deco mirror hangs from it with the inscription

"You're entirely bonkers. But let me tell you a secret.. All the best people are."

and yes it has a couple of hiding places and a secret drawer..we just had to

The hole at top right on the front.. takes Cathy's hair dryer, and wont fall out,
A tile sits inside the 'tree door', for Cathy's straighteners to cool down on.

With the lid lifted, Walnut and Maple with a lined base,
The Maple panel takes the hinges but also has a slot in the top to take love letters or notes..

The drawer front is made so that it has the feel of blending in when shut.

It was going to have a button knob on the front, but we felt that the button 
would spoil the simplicity of the left hand side

With some fun with dates, completing it was busy but on a real high. Delivered to Matts house at 7pm the night before Cathy's 40th birthday, while she was out.

The Mad Hatters hat, sits on the left hand side of the dressing table

In Oak with carved brim not bent or laminated.

Matt came to my workshop to sand down this hat to get exactly the right fading of the Blue Dye

Lined with the same velvet as the drawers,
this could take a bottle, bangles or whatever Cathy wants.

I will be going over to the house once the celebrations are over, to set it into the dressing room and give it a polish up. hopefully I'll get to dress it with all of the other bits and pieces that have been bought to make it a real one off.

thanks for looking



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