Cumberland Journal

Augusta TEE Center (Now Augusta Convention Center)

Client: Augusta-Richmond County
Location: Augusta, GA
Architect: TVS Design

A large convention center in Augusta, Georgia. Mahogany paneling on very large wall requiring us to stack match the paneling. We also had to sequence in massive doors so that if you looked at the wall from the end, it just looked like all paneling.

The Bridge Building — Infinity Event Space

Date: 2012
Location: Nashville
Architect: Everton Oglesby Askew Architects

EOA called and said “we’ve got a ceiling that nobody else can do so we need you to do it.” It consists of long span beams stretching about 25 feet. These beams are about 12” wide and 18” high. Some of the beams are perforated. Some needed access panels and removable sections to access the HVAC and other infrastructure. No technical engineering drawings, just figure it out. We had to figure out how to hang it off the superstructure, which we did using Unistrut and cables. We had to lay it out on the floor and bring in an engineer to sign off on the connectors and cables we were going to use.

For installation, we had to lay it out and build it on the floor, then get with the HVAC, fire and electrical contractors and let them know where they had to run their lines and ductwork.

Tennessee Farmhouse (Private Residence)

Date: 2012
Location: Nashville
Architect: Meyer Davis Architects

The designer was Will Meyer, out of New York, who is originally from Nashville.

All of the exterior siding was Alaskan cedar. These were huge expanse trees that are clear, meaning no knots that came an Alaskan forest. When we got them, we had to build racks, because they’re a very light blonde in their natural state. They wanted an aged look that had been silvered in the sun so we let them sit out on the racks where we would turn them every month for four months to get consistent aging. This took up a huge field because there were thousands of linear feet of lumber. This lumber was used for the exterior of the house, the garage with huge airplane hangar style split doors and an huge barn.

The interior was done with 6” rift sawn oak planks that wire brushed then treated with a cerused finish, which is white amplification of the wood’s grain, a two-tone whitewashed type of look. The client also had a very strict tolerance for variations on the color and grain of the oak. With so much wood (64 doors and a whole lot of paneling), it obviously doesn’t all come from the same tree, so the color and grain can vary on a wide scale. To meet those tolerances, we went with the architect and hand culled all the wood, which was a big job.

Frost Brown Todd

Date: 2011
Client: Frost Brown Todd
Location: Nashville

A law firm in the Pinnacle building. The wood of choice for this job was a figured cherry. There is a huge long running wall that was curved so we had to do curved panels on the wall. Then where it terminates at the elevator lobby we built three giant (5’ x 10’) doors for a conference room that were on a center pivot. So, when the doors are closed it is a wall of figured cherry, and when they are open, it makes corridors for entry into the conference room.

In each of the smaller conference rooms we made these display units that had concealed runners to open. When you looked at it, it looked like a giant figured cherry board, then you could open it up and there was a blackboard hidden in it with a curved ledge that was radiused with drawers for dry erasers and stuff.

The reception desk had a lot of stone and little reveals. We like doing reception desks because every architect is trying to differentiate their desk for each project, which makes it fun. We build them special with removable panels and a dye wall with an electrical chase in them so you can feed electrical through the entire desk.


Date: 2011
Client: Lifepoint
Location: Nashville
Architect: Hastings Architecture

Did all the paneling. The lobby is a ribbon striped sapele, which is akin of mahogany, reddish brown, but the ribbon stripe gives it black striping. Standard paneling but with some hidden doors.

The cool part was the top two floors where the executives are. You’ve got columns and beams that run across, all sapele, you’ve got a monumental stairs that connects the floors, with a giant feature wall that’s all sapele. Going down the hallway that connects the executive offices to the board room you have all these cabinets with different drawers and set-ups, not your typical cabinets.

The board room is awesome. We did a huge conference table that seats 40 or 50 people. It’s a horseshoe that is radiused in and squared at the end and open in the center. So it is a radiused arc matched sapele.

A lot of the board members can’t be there, so on the front wall, there are sapele panels and a credenza. Then in the center are nine display screens that could be tied all together to be one screen, or you could have nine individual screens. They wanted frosted white glass panels to cover the display screens, and they wanted to be able to push a button and have those glass panels retract into the sapele columns and disappear, revealing the video screens. They were asking for something that doesn’t exist. We worked with a partner that does conveyor systems for companies like FedEx and Amazon, and we built a superstructure steel frame back in the shop. Then we made a lazy susan that is hidden in the panel that has a video camera so on a video conference it spins around out from the panel and can point to whoever is doing the talking.

Marriott Airport Hotel

Date: 2011
Client: Marriott Airport Hotel
Location: Nashville
Architect: Esmail Dilmaghani

We did the sports bar, Champions. Very modern, a whole lot of glass in the back bar with moveable doors and retractable doors with display cases to store liquor, which we backlit. It’s a huge bar, like 26 feet. The bar is serpintine and waves in and out with metal reveals cut into it, a seperate step to put your feet on. Really cool bar.

Montgomery Bell Academy Wallace Hall

Date: 2011
Client: Montgomery Bell Academy
Location: Nashville
Architect: Hastings Architecture

Wallace Hall — MBA dining facility
Hogwarts. Massive opening. Apex of the ceiling is probably 30 feet. We built these huge trusses that are laminated white oak then panels where they have etched glass that has lasered in all of the graduating classes going back to the 1800s when the school was founded. We made the panels as the backdrop for the etched glass.

The logistics was interesting, mostly because it was such high work. So we had to get the lifts to set everything, but mostly because our paneling had to be cut into supply diffusers. So we would cut out a diffuser and get with the HVAC company and build grills to allow proper airflow. The square footage dictates how big the holes have to be, we would factor that in and cut it out, so you’d have a wood panel that goes up and there would be these grills to allow the HVAC to work.

Zimmerman Room — MBA Board Room

Aside from the Iroquois Room at the Belle Meade Country Club, this is probably the nicest room in Nashville. Classical architecture. We worked with the architect, Hastings Architecture, and they came to us and said hey look, we need help with the proportions for the size of the room so it will be true classical architecture. Primarily, when you work with classical architecture, you look at a house or a pediment of a house and you say, it just looks wrong and it’s always the proportions. So if you have a column, the size of the column is directly proportional to the size of the entablature. The entablature what tops the column with a fascia, a soffit, and the size of the moldings and crown is all tied together with a specific ratio of size to the column. So we worked with them on issues with the limitations on the height of the ceiling, and issues on the windows and where they time out, where do the doors time out. We played a significant role in the design of the moldings and the sizes of it. And it’s all butternut which is very similar to walnut, but a softer, richer brown. But you can’t get butternut in veneer, so it’s all panels, it’s all lumber, consisting of glued up boards, which is very difficult to make. So it was essential old style construction, because back in the 1800s they didn’t have veneers, so this is the way they made panels.

Within the pediments, above the doors and windows, are carvings of oak leaves. We did several of them, and we had a partner that we work with out of Massachusetts do some of the carvings. We did the two that were the focal points over the doors and they did the ones that work all the way around. They are hand carved. The cool thing is, and I always tell people to look, is that we hand drew all the leaves for approval from the architect. They are oak leaves and acorns, and if you look closely every so often you’ll see twigs and acorns, and in about two or three spots the acorns are missing and there’s just the cap, like it would be in nature. So there are two or three acorns missing and you have to really look to find them.

Ridgetop (Private Residence)

Date: 2011
Location: Nashville
Architect: Inform Architects (Now Smallwood Nickle)

Very modern. Lot of exotic veneers. Curupixa was the main selection they had in the living room. There was an indoor balcony walkway that ran the length of the house, and from that walkway, there were two bridges that led to an island structure that were actually two bedrooms. There was paneling that went all the way down to the first floor on this island veneered in a figured curupixa which we laid up in a herringbone pattern. This was tricky to get it just right so that the chevrons of the herringbone were symmetrical throughout the opening.

The master closet was a koto veneer, which was interesting because koto is a difficult wood to cut, and you can only get veneer, you can’t get lumber. In order to build out the closet (and the cabinetry?) we had to find some type of lumber that would come a close as possible to matching the koto veneer, which is very blonde, almost a yellow-white. We ended up using avodire lumber, which was quite a good match with the koto.

The library had curupixa as a stile and rail, and inside is birdseye maple panels. There is a hidden bookcase behind a cabinet we had to design and engineer because the client wanted it to swing open. We installed a Rixson hinge in the floor, built a steel frame to support the cabinet and put in stops, allowing the whole structure to swing open a closed easily.

We used wenge, which is a rich, dark African wood. The entryway we had to build some hidden doors using soss hinges, which you machine into the door and the jam so when you open and close the door you never see the hinge. We covered the pull with the same veneer so you couldn’t tell it was a door and you had to know where to push to get the doors open.

Rome County Georgia Courthouse

Date: 2010
Client: Federal Government
Location: Rome, GA

There is a huge old federal courthouse in the small town in rural Georgia that needed renovation. The entire courtroom all walnut burl, book and balanced match and end match that makes each panel look like a kaleidoscope of wood. The judge’s bench is very classical, with ornate embellishments and large columns. Then, within the framework of the desk, the entire thing is lined with bulletproof Kevlar panels.

The tooling needed to cut those panels was quite a challenge. Being bulletproof material, you might get one or two cuts out of a blade at the most. We burned through a lot of blades.

Franklin Theater

Date: 2010
Client: Franklin Theater
Location: Franklin, TN
Architect: Hastings Architecture

The old Franklin Theater right on Franklin Square. It was mostly paid for through private donations.

The design is Art Deco. A lot of metal laminates. We primarily did trim in the auditorium. We did perforated panels to go in front of the state of the art sound system to hide the speakers and equipment.

The coolest thing was the concession stand in the lobby. It features art deco wings that spread out, made of stainless steel and metal laminate with glass inlays. We did that and the ticket office and ticket window, all of it was a really cool art deco design. The most interesting part was engineering all of it, because the design called for metal to be shaped in way that were very tricky to pull of. We collaborated with Falcon Fabricators who did the stainless steel portion of it.