It Can’t Be Done


Trivet - from one solid piece of wood

My friend, Terry, is a brilliant woodworker.  He makes utilitarian objects like cutting boards and trivets, cupboards and shelves, doors and ceilings, and the frames for my pictures.  He also likes to take on the projects that all the other carpenters turned down, the ones that prompted them to say, “It can’t done,” a phrase often followed by the command, “Call Terry.”

Yesterday, I got a chance to see some of those kinds of projects in the home of a local designer (David) whose imagination has no bounds and who asks for things no one else even thinks of doing.  I was there to take pictures for a website upgrade that Terry is working on.  When I asked to be shown the things that Terry had worked on I heard, “Terry did this.  Terry did that…”

The front entry to the house is the tamest of the projects – a custom-made door as well as the architectural pieces framing the door including side brackets for hanging lanterns.

Front Entryway

Take a step inside the house and your mouth drops open.  We entered a side door which took us directly into the kitchen where a new project was under discussion – converting an old cupboard and drawer to make room for a wine refrigerator.  While they discussed that, I was directed to photograph a section of panelled ceiling over the stove and a pair of curved cupboard doors under the sink.

David's House-17
Panelled Ceiling over the Stove

David's House-10
Curved Cupboard Doors under the Sink

One of the designer’s favorite things to do is to find carved pieces from around the world, then use them in unusual ways. One such piece was round – a disk perhaps 2 feet in diameter. It was to be cut into quarters to go into the corners of the diningroom ceiling. But that was not enough! Terry was to turn a column and add designs that would compliment the carving on the original disk, then cut the column into quarters to go under the disk pieces.

David's House-6
Ceiling Detail in Diningroom

(David does all the finishing, including gold leaf on these!)

David's House-7David once found himself in rather a dilemma. He had two vases like the one pictured here, but only one table on which to place them. He asked Terry to make a duplicate. I don’t honestly know whether the one pictured here is the original or the duplicate. They looked identical to me.

David's House-12I’m not exactly sure what Terry did on the carved screens for this window. All I know is, they were too small and some magic had to be worked with enlarging that involved matching the carving on the original. I couldn’t tell what was original and what was added.

In a similar project, a wooden valence for above a window was not long enough. David had a couple of matching wooden carvings that almost made up the extra length, but frames and decorative pieces with carved fish and pineapples, had to be made to match the center.

Wooden Valence

But now, for the piece that blows my mind: the fireplace in the livingroom. The white fireplace surround was made from wood by Terry and finished in a stucco-like white by David.

Fireplace in the Livingroom

Now look closely – not at the fireplace surround itself – but at the housing for the statue that sits on the mantel. David came to Terry with a box of wooden pieces resembling Tinker Toys, a pair of carved lotus flowers, four matching carved diamonds, and an idea.

David's House-15
The “Tinker Toys”

I visited the shop a couple of times when Terry was working on it. He explained to me what it was going to look like, but I couldn’t visualize this:

David's House-1

I’m not sure even Terry could visualize the finished product with David’s gold leaf and gem finish!

David's House-3While I would not choose such lavish surroundings for my living space, I can certainly appreciate the home David has created for himself. I feel honored to know these two: David for his no-holds-barred creative design and Terry for his ability to make those designs happen.

I don’t know if David has a website. I can put you in touch with him if you are looking for a designer.

If you have the designs and just need the craftsmanship to make them happen, call Terry.  His website is

2 thoughts on “It Can’t Be Done

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