I have been looking at so much Greene & Greene furniture, my head hurts. I keep hoping I’ll see something that helps me break out of the design block which currently has a hold on me. What you see above is the current design idea for my daughter’s window seat bookcase.
During the past week, it has become clear to me that my first design was just that: mine. My daughter, wants the window seat bookcase to be more of a bench with a seat back. So instead of viewing this project as a case piece, I really need to view it a little more from a chair perspective.
So far I have gained most of my design inspiration for this project from Darrell Peart, a fantastic woodworker who specializes in the Greene & Greene style. Another design source: David Mathias’ book, “Greene & Greene Furniture: Poems of Wood & Light”. Mathias’ book easily gets my creative juices flowing because it is full of actual photos of Greene & Greene homes and furnishings (as opposed to interpretive work).
But, I think what I have drawn above doesn’t really have Greene & Greene bones. Sure I could add cloud lifts and ebony plugs and make it look more like something the Greene brothers would have designed, but I have found only a couple of side tables which have similar proportions. The Greene brothers designed furniture which was lighter than what I have drawn, so I am thinking there is something about my design that does not fit. I think it has too much mass.
You can see from the image above that the two designs are vastly different especially the height of the bookcase area. The second design, shown on the left, has a much smaller storage area for books. The fact that this bookcase will sit in front of two windows limits the bookcase height. Add in a seat back and designing a bookcase which has meaningful storage space has been challenging.
The good news: my daughter likes this new design. Until I started drawing the first design, she had never heard of Greene & Greene. Even though I explained how years from now she could tell her friends she has a Greene & Greene inspired piece, all she really wants is a bookcase that fits under the windows in her bedroom. I am the one that wants to build it in the G & G style. Some more images of the current design…
I do like how the arch in the lower front stretcher is repeated in the bench crest rail. The crest rail also curves front to back matching the curve on the seat back posts. The cut-out detail in the side panels seen in the first design remains and it would be extra cool to find some figured wood for them. I did thin the legs slightly when compared to the first design.
FOLLOW THE CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS
Here are the blog posts showing how construction is progressing..
Window Seat Bookcase: Planning for the Top
Window Seat Bookcase: The Back is Completed
Window Seat Bookcase: Making the Back Slats
Window Seat Bookcase: Making the Shelves
Window Seat Bookcase: The Lower Shelf
Window Seat Bookcase: The Aprons, Part 2
Window Seat Bookcase: The Aprons, Part 1
Window Seat Bookcase: Making the Sides and Dividers, Part 2
Window Seat Bookcase: Building the Sides and Dividers, Part 1
Window Seat Bookcase: Getting Underway
Creating a Complex Crest Rail in SketchUp
My First Full Size Mock-Up
So, what do you think? I love the first design, but I like this one too. According to SketchUp, there are 49 parts to make for design two. That is nothing to sneeze at (I’ve been sick, so pun intended). I will soon begin making a full-size mock-up of the window seat bookcase which I suspect will lead to some minor design tweaks. Then construction will begin. Can’t wait.