People are so aften surprised to find that English Elm is available to work with.
The trees no longer survive in our southern part of the country (except for a few pockets eg. Preston Park Brighton) but they do grow healthily further north where climatic variations have meant they didn’t ‘go Dutch’… and here’s the proof!
Adrian and Chris at Cimtree ( fine furniture designer/makers www.cimitree.com ) have recently finished this handmade Elm kitchen.
Is this what you expected Elm to look like?
I knew it would have good grain pattern but I’m pleased to see how warm looking the wood is. I love Ash for it’s grain, which can be quite similar, but this Elm has a really nice range of colour across the board where Ash might be either pale and creamy or definitely more streaky in colour. So English Elm definitely gets the thumbs up!
The most exciting bit for me is the bowl in the solid Elm worktop… I LOVE that sweet little detail… and I bet the proud owners do too. Look at the way it digs down into the grain like it’s been cast or moulded…
I’d probably spend way too much time idling over that particular corner of the room if it was mine, wearing the nice oiled finish off with my grubby hands. Oh well… it’s not like I haven’t got enough wood to play with here is it…?
I’m just staring at that corner curve on the island and I realise it’s painted which is a surprise… but you can still see the grain if the wood. Just lovely. It’s this finessing that makes something special isn’t it?
Design is often about an overall aesthetic and functionality, and that’s as it should be, but I love to see these subtle touches. This isn’t about design, it’s usually evidence of genuine craftsmanship, like little signatures. Crafts people are so often reassuringly fastidious in the detail.
It’s quite noticeable that the timbers are contrasting so that in a room with alot of wood it’s not at all flat or bland in colour.
Adrian says that that the worktop and uprights are English Elm, the door frames are American Red Elm, and the door handles are American Black Walnut… that’s quite a shopping list of lovely timbers.
And they made curves too!… convex & concave! Curves have never been easy to work with when designing space, and in solid timber it’s a real challenge, but wood can be amazingly ‘plastic’… so Adrian and Chris used Plywood with the Elm to create that lovely asymmetrical centre piece.
And do you see the fantastic window seat looking out over a garden? Nice curved front to that one too, with integral storage drawers by the looks of it.
So, so neat.
In fact I look at it and I don’t know if I can see one sharp, straight edge across the whole kitchen. It must be a very human friendly space… not a thigh/hip bruising corner in sight!
We want to see more though don’t we ?…
Well you can visit their exotic website and browse the gallery, brushing your virtual hands over a glossy dining table or two… here’s a sneak preview of another stylish kitchen from their website that I couldn’t resist showing.
One kitchen is never enough is it? I need to see more kitchens… more bowls inset into worktops, more circular!!!! worktops and other design wizardry!
Cimitree have promised me pictures of a chest of drawers they’re working on made from English Walnut & English Rippled Sycamore…
she says drumming her fingers on the desk… I mean anyone would think they had better things to do then send me pictures all day long… !
See the Cimitree guys in all their glory http://www.cimitree.co.uk/
Kitchenisms.. A blog about kitchen stuff with a very very cool kitchen addition in wood… http://www.kitchenisms.com/finds/kitchens/cool-kitchen-the-one-piece-difference/2569
The natural History museum tells us all about Elm trees http://www.nhm.ac.uk/about-us/news/2011/march/is-there-hope-for-elms-help-find-out95151.html take part in their tree survey
And here’s what the Forestry Commission have to say http://www.forestry.gov.uk/newsrele.nsf/WebNewsReleases/FF89F44080523B2B8025795E004261E8