A Larchmont Villiage Deck

IMG_1724This is a deck that we recently built in Larchmont Village. It’s the backyard of a house which contains a small publishing business. They produce really cool kids books, and kids are going to be spending time on the new deck. When it’s finished it’ll be stained and have a “sail” awning. It gets hot out there in the summer. 

  IMG_1723 We were really lucky and got to do this job with Johnny Littlefield from Extreme Makover. Johnny’s a great carpenter and fun to work with. We look forward to working with Johnny again.

Summer the time were on vacation, Summer the time we’re busy


Here at Chris Karlson Design, it looks like we won’t be Imagespending much time at the beach this summer. We’ll be in the shop building stuff. We have a whole bunch of little jobs running and a couple of bigger ones too. We are doing all the cabinets, kitchen, all bathrooms, music room, laundry room and several bedrooms, for a vacation house in Lake Tahoe…We are building vanities and other small items for a house in Venice. On top of all that, we have been building stands and frames for artwork through Sam Kaufman Gallery. And…we have been making molds for Ernsdorf Design…..Busy Busy Busy….

We are very grateful for the work AND it’ll keep me out of trouble…


Here we are doing something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. We set up shop at The Melrose Trading Post, it’s the flea market every Sunday at Fairfax High. We brought our goods and had a pretty good reception. Our stuff was different than anybody else’s, and in my mind way higher in quality. We rented a big booth, so we could keep the truck  in it and by the time we spread everything out, we still had a bunch of space. Oh well…who needs clutter..?  Next time I’ll bring more stuff.  Look for us again in the future at Melrose n Fairfax.  We’ll tweet. We’ll FB . We’ll send it out on instagram.

90 year old recycled wood…..

  Image My love affair with wood goes primitive here. For years I’ve watched beautiful old 2 x 4’s get thrown out when a 1920’s house gets remodeled. I looked on in horror as this beautiful resource was disposed of.
   Then, I said, “I’ll build something with them”.
    We got a load from a house we were working on and made a dining room table. So the new table had actually been in the house for 90 years. But the table’s Imagebrand new. See it on the home page at chriskarlsondesign.com…With the rest of the wood I started building frames. We put mirrors in them and upholstery tacks on the front and “Bang…!” Medieval Mirror Frames. We can make them in any size. And we do all kinds of patterns with the studs… Actually what happens is…When I’m happy with someone…They get to do the studs on a frame.
   Pictured here see 17 1/4″ squares, 19 1/4″ squares, 19 1/4″ x 25″, and 20″ x 40″. We’ve also made a matched pair of 20 x 40, with big studs and a custom matched pair of 26 x 40 for a person in South Carolina…!  It was our first sale of this item…

Shining new “high end” bathroom

ImageHere’s an update on our “high end” bath. This room , as we worked on it, took on a “classic” feel like I’ve never seen before. I was not aware of the color of the marble floor until we brought our cabinets in. When I saw the two together, I realized there was magic in the air. The grey veined, white marble was laid very carefully, to create a subtle pattern in the floor. The glossy pale grey lacquer on our cabinets boxes really fit well with the floor.

After the counters went on, which were cut from the same marble as the floor, I realized our work was being presented really well. It felt like a piece of art in a really nice frame…Image

The marble made our work look good….After the counters went on, we went back to install the upper.

By this time we had created the delicate little filigree for the two doors. I had never made anything like this before…but now we have a new trick in our repertoire.

The project continued to “grow” when it was decided to put mirror in every panel. My first thought was ” NNOOOOOOOoooooooo”, but we are in Hollywood and why not go shiny, big , and loud every time you get the chance?


Fine woodwork mixes with Cement……

ImageWe have recently come in contact with Ernsdorf Design. They are just about 1/2 a mile down the road from us, so we’ve been neighbors for two years, but only just met. They are a family business. There’s Seth, his dad John, and John’s brother Steven.        
     What these guys do is cast concrete. They make table and counter surfaces, large bowls for fire or plants and all other kinds of cast “things”. They have approached us to make molds.
     We like to think of ourselves as fine woodworkers, but we are very happy making the part that gets thrown away. With these molds its about perfecting the inside.Image

    Pictured here is the first piece we made for them in our shop, and then there’s a picture of it being filled with cement…in their place, just down the road…

      The second project was two small cubes. See them with foam inserts. And then see the finished planter.  These molds can be used several times and we are overjoyed to be part of the process…We really like the final products…Image

   Image It looks like there could be some big things on the horizon with Ernsdorf Design and Chris Karlson Design. It’s funny that we both have “design” in our names when really what we do is mostly hard work…


Do you do high end work?………

I was approached recently with the question, ” Do you do high end work? ” . Why, of course we do… This is a the master bath in a rather large house in Caalabassas. They wanted a contemporary bath that had classic feel. So grey veined white marble was used and the cabinets were sprayed a glossy pale grey…It’s a look for the ages.
Madam wanted a place where she could sit   and have all her “stuff” so we made a drawer , that holds hairdryers and all sorts of electric, beauty gadgets. There will also be a custom stool for her vanity.
We’re not quite done…They’re are two doors that go on the upper cabinets. They’ll have glass or mirror. And obviously the knobs haven’t been installed yet. But the whole thing is coming together…









We’ll keep you posted as events unfold..



Here at Chris Karlson Design, we are updating, modernizing, streamlining, and keeping up with the Jones’s. Part of this massive overhaul is our new website. It’s currently under construction. All the work is being done “in house” and at “her house” by the office manager, Heather Stephens. 
   We are going through thousands of pictures, taken over the last few years, and selecting the best. Then we write a little blurb, if we can remember anything about it. 
   Going back through all these pictures reminds us of all the work we’ve done. All I can say is “It’s a lot..” 
   It’s funny…but even a website can collect dust if it’s not spruced up once in a while..The new site will include a line of our own designs. We’re trying to get away from custom work which is fun, but tiring after all these years. 
  In a few weeks we’ll have a grand re-opening..You’ll see our new website, our blog, our ETSY store, and products available through our new website.
    We’re particularly excited about a line being developed for people that live in small apartments and need small, affordable ,but very coool furnishings…..Keep your eyes open…..

Limed Oak Credenza

Image     We built this credenza a few weeks ago. It’s a model that I’ve built several times. 80′ long with tambour doors. The design came through Ryan at Loft Thirteen. Usually we make ’em out of walnut, but I got to thinking, which most of the time gets me in trouble. I had a bunch of oak laying around so I fabricated this with the idea of the black limed oak finish. This is sometimes referred to as cerused oak…

   ImageNow let me say right here…it’s a fifty’s piece, with a forty’s finish…I’m not a guy who mixes up my decades, but when you know the rules, you can break them. Especially when it’s done with style and taste. The finish really seems to fit, especially the tambour doors which are made of 1/2 round pieces of oak. The cut seems to bring out the fineness of the grain.
   We called Ryan and he came over, then he came back with this outlandish malachite and brass handle by Pepe Mendoza. It brings back the glorious days when Hollywood was still Hollywood and furniture was colorful, bold and fun…Image

Light Lavender Lullabys…….

Heather Stephens is our office manager. She has a beautiful 5 year old named Dahlia. Dahlia recently graduated from her old toddler bed, which gave us an opportunity to build her one. Dahlia, like her beautiful mom, is rather petite, so we used the same crib mattress and spring. We built a kind of traditional bed in the shabby chic style. To make it special we hand carved a “D” in the headboard. There was a lot of discussion about what kind of lettering and  the exact position….
 The parameters were…It had to have 9″ clearance underneath…it couldn’t be more than 24″ high total. And it had to fit the existing mattress. Like Dahlia and her mom, the apartment is small, so we didn’t want to waste any space….and we wanted storage under.

    The final results are, with lavender paint, super cute…just like Dahlia..!