Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Met with our cabinet maker, Kaelsie Saravia of Surface Workshop, this morning, and picked up two big samples of bamboo plywood. This is probably the material we'll use for the kitchen cabinetry, and it'll bring some warm color and rich texture to an otherwise cool, smooth palette of steel, glass, concrete and gypsum board.

The "plywood" is made by Smith & Fong under the Plyboo name, and has three great attributes from a sustainability standpoint: it is made from fast growing bamboo, not trees, it is made without formaldehyde, and it is very durable. Aesthetically, it is gorgeous, and its grain makes it easy to disguise the slight inconsistencies from board to board, which will allow us to build a run of cabinetry over twenty feet long that looks like it was made from a single batch of (far more expensive) matched plywood.

The two samples shown are the flat grain (left) and end grain (right) options. We're not yet sure which one we'll choose. Plyboo makes other finishes, but we're not as keen on them. Kaelsie gave each board a satin, water-based finish, which is both beautiful and free of volatile organic compounds.

In the foreground are three countertop samples from Richlite. They also have serious sustainability cred by virtue of the materials (FSC wood, recycled paper, low-VOC binders) used in their manufacture.

All the samples are sitting on a sample panel from the exterior of the house, to give you an idea of what the silver paint finish looks like. These materials won't ever be juxtaposed like this, unless the cabinets somehow go for a walk outside, but they look good together. In the background is the wall of the living room in the house we're renting, which will NOT be replicated in the new house.

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