Oh Bless me Father, for we have built…

ImageFather Hieu, from Lady of Loretto church on Union St, stopped by a few weeks ago. He was inquiring if we would be interested in building some prayer benches for the prayer room at his Church. “Why yes I would, Father” was my reply. The building is a 60’s style that I understand and like very much. We looked at the room, we looked at pictures, we looked at material…..This is what we came up with…Four benches with upholstered seats, and two kneelers that have the same burgundy velvet for your knees. They all fit into a tiny little prayer room that is full most of the time.

Years ago in N.Y. I built a pedestal and rail for a Catholic Church on 7th Ave. It’s still there and probably will be for years. Its feels good to build something that will last.

My daughter is Catholic, and while I am not, I can say I helped build the local church. I feel blessed to have been able to participate, and Damn, they look good…!


A little of this and a little of that…

unnamedSorry folks…We have been remiss, and have not posted recently. Here at Chris Karlson Design some things changed. Then they changed back. So …what can I say about that.

   So far this year we have been very busy building the Basement Bar, The United Artists Theater, Our Lady of Loretta Church. and a few other little things.  We also have plans to work on a restaurant in The Grove, A  Chateau in Beverly Hills,  an incredible bathroom in Calabasas, and a house in Lake Tahoe. The Tahoe house is going to require some onsite work, so we’ll be gone in May.

   Here is a picture of “us”.  I’m on the left, Wesley Enoch, Rafael Chavez, and Heather Stephens, our office manager. Together we are a mighty force and we take care of “plenty business”.

One of the things we’re working on is a business facelift. We’re going to upgrade our website, blog, letterhead, cards and overall appearance. That is going to be coupled with a new plan to design and market our own pieces. I like to think I have a good eye for creating modern furniture, and I see credenza’s, bookcases. dining tables and chairs, and bedroom sets in my future. All this will be available through our online store.

Please keep your eyes peeled every week for “Made in L.A.” and repost and share as much as you can…..CK

Hollywood Vanity


    Pictured above is a vanity we built for a house in Hollywood. I was a little surprised when I first saw the drawing for this. It’s not the style we usually do, and I was a little hesitant. But …you know me, I hate to turn down work..So I went out and bought the bun feet..then we built the case, which is wider in the back… The door and drawer faces we made ourselves. They’re oak plywood with a thin strip of oak stick all around.

Once the thing was made we decided to stain it ourselves too, which is something we try to stay away from. We threw on a coat of brown, then gray , then brown, then something else….Then finally we clear coated and brought it in.

We had a heck of a time getting it up the stairs…It weighs a ton and it’s large. We squeaked it up this little tiny 1929 stairway, through one door, around a corner, took another door off the hinges and finally dropped her in place. The plumber did his thing, then the marble guy added the counter and there you have it.

This is a “his and hers” vanity..I wonder who will get the drawers in the center..?

Basement Bar

Basement Bar

Currently at Chris Karlson Design, we are building cabinets and the bar back for the soon to open Basement Bar. Here Rafael fits some shelving and drawers that will be assembled into the bar back or bar center. It’s all made of Okoume plywood, which is inexpensive, but stains well.  The parts you see will fit around a refridgerator and hold cash drawers. It doesn’t look like much now, but wait till it’s installed and stained.



One amenity which Basement Bar will offer is that patrons can keep bottles at the bar. The cabinets you see here will have glass and lock, so that each person can keep an eye on his personal reserve, something I was never able to do. There will be a bottle behind each window…and they’ll be lit up. All in all there’s storage for 100 bottles. I imagine there’s going to be some pretty exotic beverages stored under lock and key…




Here is a bunch of black walnut that will be made into drink rails, and other vertical surfaces. We buy it rough sawn and mill it ourselves…That way we get maximum use of this treasured resource.

HUM Studio in Santa Monica


We were recently awarded the job of building the bar and bar-back for HUM Studios in Santa Monica.  HUM studios is best known for producing music for TV. Pictured above is the lobby. It’s arranged with a club like atmosphere, around the bar.

The bar is made of black walnut lumber to match the entertainment center and other decor. The room looks large, but has a lot in a small space. It is used for lunch during the day and events after work usually with live music.

HUM Music Studios looks like a nice place to work.


Table Tops for Daily Grill Restaurant at Graton Rancheria Casino

We recently got a job through Kelly Architects to build fifty-four table tops for the brand new Daily Grill restaurant at the Graton Rancheria Casino in Rohnert Park. Rohnert Park is about fifty miles North of San Francisco. We built fifty-four table tops; some were two tops, some were four tops for booths and, some were square freestanding four tops that would flip out to six person round tops.

We got the job on short notice and had just about six weeks to complete the whole thing.

Here is Rafi (pictured bellow) arriving in the Uhaul that we rented for the drive from LA. The bases were shipped to our shop and we assembled on location. The fifty-four tops maxed out our production capability and we ended up working long hours and some weekends to finish on time.

I was hoping to be able to hit the casino (pictured above) after we finished the delivery but it was not quite open yet, maybe next week.

It is a privilege to be one of Daily Grill’s preferred vendors and we are very happy to have jobs like this.

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Living Estate Sale

   ImageImageOur big sale, that we’ve been planning for months, is a week away. September 28-29.  It’s at 2530 Outpost Dr.  (north from Franklyn). I am posting some pictures of the hundreds or thousands of items offered. We have old victorian transferware in the shape of really nice platters. Lots and lots of old maps, some framed, some loose. There are boxes full of porcelain cats. There is a collection of Napoleon prints, busts, dishes,etc.. We are offering antique european tiles from the 16th -17th -18th centuries. Here are a few pictures of a small selection of the collection.  ImageImageImage

Living Estate Sale

ImageMy Dad, who is a “collector”, is having a sale. At 83, he realizes he can’t take it with him. The sale will be September 28 and 29  in Hollywood. We’ll give the address next week.Image

There are items from 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, including maps, prints, pottery, wood carvings from primitive lands….. Lots of Napoleon…. Military medals. Knives and swords…… Pottery from Giovanni Desimone and Roget Capron, both of whom were friends of my dad….. Lots of porcelain cats and figurines. Tapa cloths from Fiji…… A huge bunch of Balinese stuff, he went there a few times…..Image

ImageDisplay boxes with exotic seashells…..I’ll have some modern furniture…..

I guarantee there’s something for everybody…

Incredible Antique Estate Sale

ImageFor the serious collector….We are having a sale.   It’s an estate sale, although the owner is still with us…My dad has been collecting for years and he wants to make room.  Here are a few pictures of some of the things available…There’s an old birdcage. ImageSpanish sleds used for threshing wheat, they have hundreds of flint stones cut into the bottom. Porceline cats and figurines, Old mustard jars from the turn of the century. Carved wood things from Indonesia, Africa, New Guinea.  There are 100 – 200 year old maps….Prints from the Biblioteque. I will also have a small section of handmade modern furniture…!
I guarantee you’ll find a treasure.

     The sale will be the weekend of September 28-29. Hollywood Hills near the Hollywood Bowl.  Stay tuned for more info….ImageImageImage

    ImageWe were commissioned by Hotel de Ville to reproduce this antique display case. Hotel de Ville is a purveyor of fine vintage and antique eye-wear . With three stores in Los Angeles they need lots of ways to show their goods. I have built them quite a few cases over the years, starting with the original store on Rosewood. I met them when I was working next door at HUNDREDS and accidentally drilled through the wall. We’ve been friends ever since…Image


Xavier has a very distinctive style. He found the original case at a flea market. It’s an old sewing store case that has lost all it’s drawers. We made a reproduction in African Mahogany which will, over time,  take on a lovely patina. It holds 96 pairs of glasses and spins around so it’s fun to look for the right pair…

 Xavier found these claw feet, that ,must be a hundred years old. We had Skinny B, metal worker, fabricate this cool victorian stand…Image

    We rarely do something we’ve done before….and this was no different. Now we have an octagonal glasses display in our resume. If you have an odd furniture request call us…..