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Built-ins with Japanese elegance.

Fine craftsmanship transforms existing walls into works of art

A REVERENCE FOR wood, good proportions, and fine craftsmanship translates to built-in units equally as well as it does to freestanding furniture.

In this house in Oakland, California, a homely coat closet and a plain bedroom wall were both remodeled to reflect the refined lines and elegant simplicity of a traditional Japanese tansu (chest of drawers). Gene Agress of Berkeley Millwork and Furniture Company designed and built the units.

Although they stand in different rooms, the built-ins interrelate through the use of tansu-style drawers and doors formed with classic mortise-and-tenon construction.

The coat closet originally was part of a truncated wall between a hall and living room. Changes were limited to the interior and facade of the closet side. They include new door framing and doors, and four drawers across the bottom. The doors slide like shoji along grooves in the drawer and door frames. The remodeled bedroom wall is more complex. By combining the roles played by many pieces of furniture, it reorganizes the room to make it seem less crowded. The highest level consists of open display shelves with built-in down lights. The middle level conceals television and stereo equipment, and the bottom level serves as built-in chests of drawers.

The asymmetrical design, consisting of modules attached to furring strips on the back wall, breaks the wall into squares, rectangles, and recesses that flank the existing but refaced fireplace.
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Copyright 1994 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Whiteley, Peter O.
Date:Feb 1, 1994
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