Super unique Venice job!!!

IMG_6924Here I am, Chris Karlson, of Chris Karlson Design, along with Heather Stephens, also of Chris Karlson Design, on top of a custom wardrobe, closet, room divider we’re building for Katinka. This project was started almost a year ago, when the house was being framed. Katinka and Peter had some very specific and cool ideas for a piece that serves as a room divider that seperates the master bedroom from the hallway. This includes a wardrobe, closet, linen closet, bench with toy storage and a bookcase, for their newly built house in Venice.  IMG_6951

     The doors were built in the shop out of 9/16ths poplar and have little spaces between the slats. They’ll get painted and so will the plywood , but not the edges.   On top of the whole thing there is a big window frame. The glass goes in tomorrow. The way Heather’s smiling at me, I think she must be in love (..of course not with me) . I know we’re happy to be working together on cool projects like this.

     It’s always nice to work at the beach…although we didn’t actually get into the ocean and go swimming.
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Parquet and Brass

IMG_6245     These credenzas were designed by and built for Ryan Pritchard at Loft 13. They’re adaptations of a few different things put together. Ryan is the King of credenzas. We built these and when I saw them finished and on a base, I was super happy with the result. We’ve never done doors like this before and I was skeptical as to how it would work out…But I guess we nailed it..
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Scientist “DUB”

IMG_5311We are commissioned to build four huge speakers for Scientist. The legendary engineer has come back and hired us again to build “sum speakers mon” . The set we built four years ago is in a recording studio in Maryland and that amp, and those speakers…”There’s nothing else like it in the country.” IMG_5309
These will end up in the Echo, in Echo Park. They’ll be used exclusively for Wednesday Night Reggae.
These boxes will rock. I’m glad to participate in any project where the music has a rhythm like a heartbeat and the bass lets you know that the foundations of Babylon soon shall crumble and fall.

Note: Heather crawling around inside looking for her…She musta lost something…

“Chris-must” be busy with his elves in his workshop……..

Our busy busy workshop……

     photo 1-1      We’re wrapping up a job for Public School’s new restaurant, “818”. It’s located where Sisely used to be at Ventura and Sepulveda Blvds.. The two big “communal ” tables are solid oak, 9 feet long and weigh about 200 lbs.  They have a custom, beer pong graphic, that was laboriously hand 2

     photo 3There’s a hostess stand that will be the first thing you see at P.S. 818. Probably manned by some charming little hostess…”Can I get you a table..?”photo 1
     We’ve been doing spring cleaning as our Christmas present to ourselves…Can you do that..?   

     photo 5See also a Stereo stack, we’re rebuilding, for our tax preparer, Russell Saffer. He’s a music buff and we want to help.
    We also have a bunch of molds for our friends down the street, Ernsdorf Design. They are quickly becoming our best friends.. photo 4
   The best part was, Heather and I gave the guys the day off, Wednesday, and pulled the whole office apart, and then put it back together. It’s new and clean so we’re organized for the new Year…
    This is Chris Karlson Design saying “Merry Christmas to all… we’ll see you next year..!” photo 2-1

More chic than shabby now……

IMG_4468We were recently commissioned to restore a small cabinet that had belonged to our clients mom. The 2 door case had sentimental value which far exceeded it’s usefullness. It is a small 50’s style case with appliques on the front, doors, and a lot of ornate molding. It had been painted white at some point in it’s life and looked more shabby than chic…! Heather Stephens, our office manager, has decided she likes finishing and asked, (…no, begged) if she could do the whole thing from start to finish. I looked at her, i looked at the case, and I looked back at her and made a face and said “I guess”. I thought of all that paint in all those little spaces and thought to myself ” thank god”. I feel like I tricked her.


   Over a period of 3 weeks and about 25 hrs, Heather brushed on paint remover, scratched into the little cravishes, and meticulously picked paint out of hundreds of tiny cracks.IMG_4048
   In the end, the piece has become more than it ever was before.  When a simple piece of furniture has been lovingly restored it takes on the personality of the girl that wanted to work on it. Thanks for the effort Heather, your time and patience is greatly appreciated.

Earth to Chris Karlson Design…..come in Chris Karlson Design

IMG_4374Occasionally we get a chance to do some work right here on our own planet. Here I am with Scientist (Hopeton Brown) and The Interactive Space Karaoke Ship. Scientist is a music producer and also a designer of sound systems. We build the speaker boxes for him, and they are wicked….! IMG_4377

The ship belongs to Brian Wallace and it’ll be traveling the universe spreading reggae beats far and wide (check it out at The music has a rhythm like a heartbeat and the bass line lets you know that the foundations of Babylon soon shall crumble and fall. Jah will provide.

Fire Table with a beautiful ipe top

IMG_4012      Some of the coolest work we do gets thrown out and is not part of a finished product. This is the work we do for Ernsdorf Design. They are right down the street from us and not a week goes by that they don’t have us build something. They make concrete furniture. We make the molds for them.

     Pictured here is a round “Fire Table”. It’s a big round cylinder of cast concrete with a gas flame mechanism. The reason it looks so perfect is the mold was made by Chris Karlson Design.  We’ve built five or six of these in various sizes and a bunch of rectangular ones too.
    In addition to ” Fire Tables”, we make molds for counter tops, sinks, seats, tables, and pedestals.IMG_4013
   We like Ernsdorf Design, and they seem to like us too.  We are very grateful to work with them on these amazing projects.

Holy sawdust!!!!

IMG_3852This is a little update on our last blog. That huge pile of oak has been milled into blocks for butcher block. We’re turning it into thirty table tops for the new Public School restaurant.

    It’s a lot of cutting and glueing.   We’ve generated huge bags of sawdust…..
    Meanwhile Heather is working feverishly on the stain color. It’s amazing how much thought goes into a “which shade of brown…?”
     There’s metal work involved and in a week or two these are going to be looking like really nice tables, ready to be sat at and order food.

Fresh Project


Chris and the guys are unloading 600 board feet of 8/4 red oak. The wood comes from Chris’s favorite lumber yard, Bohnhoff Lumber, in Los Angeles.

These boards will be made into table for Public School 818. Thanks to George Kelly of Kelly Architects for the opportunity to be part of this great restaurant.

I’m not just blowing smoke up your ass…….

   l 2  Here’s a little job we just finished. Golden State Vape Shop on Temple Street hired us to build a vapor rack / display. This whole “vape” craze is out of control. Everybody’s vaping….It’s the new thing, and we’re in on it. 

    IMG_2415We worked with the client to design a rack that would look great and show a lot of product. This classic looking display case will hold about 4,000 bottles of juice. It takes up zero floor space and makes the shop look appealing and abundant… It looks like an old classic hotel with mail slots. 
    We were working within a very tight budget, so we built it out of MDF and painted it. Painting was a lot more work than we imagined. There are 276 slots and each one holds about fifteen bottles. While we were painting , it seemed like a million slots.
IMG_2311   We precut all the parts and pre-painted them too…. Then we assembled it and painted the front edge.  It’s more work than we imagined. But in the end our rack looks great, and Golden State is going to sell a lot of bottles. I am not blowing smoke up your ass…The end.