The Story Behind the Door

Today if you are on our newsletter list, we are sharing a recent project which we are very proud to present!  Not only was it an exciting first time collaboration with the esteemed and talented team at Verner Architects, but it was a heavy challenge getting this door to its final spot.  I want to share a bit of background with you, because it was quite a technical feat. The door weighs 400 pounds! 

The project given to us was to design a sophisticated and functional door for an entry to a residence in Palo Alto. The design is comprised of bamboo branches, and reflects the bamboo which surrounds the modern home.  It was requested that this door be 1/4” solid steel and with more positive space than negative so this would provide some security to the home owners.  

I had a great time with the bamboo of course!  Always fun to create organic plants in metal because I love the dichotomy—something flowing and alive in a material that is unforgiving and solid.  Once it’s cut it’s cut, and the design has to stand the test of time. We are all very happy with the silhouette of the bamboo.  I was lucky enough to work with my RISD classmate, Lisa Perry, who happens to own and operate a high end metal fabrication shop with her husband on the east coast.  I like to take these more complex design oriented projects to them because Lisa understands my design sensibility (RISD Textiles ’94) and can relate and help me to maintain the integrity of the design throughout fabrication.  It’s safe to say that Lisa knows this bamboo door intimately!  

The design was the easy part,  and the task at hand was to get this very heavy piece of steel to hinge and install safely so that nobody would get hurt before during or after installation.  We contracted with our consultant who has a background in engineering.  He worked closely with the team at Verner, and with the contractor Pete Moffat to develop the locking mechanism and the logistics. This entailed many team meetings, and many technical installation discussions that were well beyond my scope of training.  I am so thankful to these skilled engineers, contractors and architects who made this a viable and safe door. 

Transportation was no joke.  It took the entire team of men at the cutting shop to haul this into the crate, and you can imagine how sturdy that custom made crate had to be!  Maybe that’s the photo I’ll share here!  Thankfully all went smoothly but only due to some super strong humans, and talents all along, who collaborated with us, treating this door like it needed to be treated, with tender loving care. We are so appreciative.  We are careful and very selective about who we work with from consultation to cutting to packaging and delivery, and it’s very rewarding when the customer and homeowner is as happy as we are.