Sunday, August 2, 2015


On occasion we get to design and fabricate a piece of architectural woodworking.

Here is a gate, especially designed by Hara Kumaran, to quietly announce a secret garden. Materials are home grown redwood and copper.

First designs for Karen to choose from:

Here are a few photos of the design selected:

Thursday, June 18, 2015


While in Los Angeles recently, we visited the Eames House in Pacific Palisades. Talented, prolific, Charles and Ray Eames, are among the most important American designers of the 20th. Century. Their home, overlooking Santa Monica Bay across a meadow,  designed with Eero Saarinen, used pre-fabricated parts, minimal materials, maximizing volume, integrating with nature, and setting the stage for 'life in work'.  What stood out?  In essence, the house and its adjacent studio are 'working' boxes: simple, direct, both inside and out, a flourish or two but no pretense, connects one in to out to in, open and comfortable. Certainly cutting edge for its era. Not reproducible directly as it is. Very reproducible amended for modern codes and energy efficiency.   The house is owned and maintained by the Eames Foundation with the family involved. During our visit a grand daughter was changing the flowers, colors chosen as her grand mother preferred.

There is much media available about them. This book is nice:
The Work of Charles and Ray Eames: a Legacy of Invention,
Abrams/ Library of Congress/ Vitra Design Museum.

                                Their studio at 901 Abbot Kinney in Venice, CA.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

To Define A Wonderful Work of Architecture

"... a pleasing overall form; consistency in use of materials; care in details; sensible scale and proportions; an overall coherence; and, above all, habitability."

From the essay "Origins, Evolutions, and Ironies" by Donald Canty
to be found in the book "The Sea Ranch" by Donlyn Lyndon and Jim Alinder.

So nicely put.  I might only add a spark of artistry, humor,  and a subtle yet palpable sense of craft.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Buildings I Like - Barns!

We recently volunteered to help fabricate and assemble a beautiful timberframe barn at UC Santa Cruz, recreating the Cowell Ranch hay barn. Slated to become a center for sustainability programs, properly maintained this 'new' barn should last hundreds of years - effectively the life cycle of the trees from which the timbers were milled. Congratulations are in order to Karl and Ginger Bareis of Santa Cruz Timberframes,, for their splendid work; proving some of the old ways are not a 'lost' art.

For the news release:

A short video:

And photos:

First and third photo credit: Guy Lasnier

Finally, timberframes are a core strength of Kumaran Design. Would you like one?

Thursday, February 12, 2015


I recently read two books I can recommend:  The Soul of a Tree by George Nakashima and its companion Nature Form & Spirit by his daughter Mira Nakashima. They chronicle his compelling life and work exploring the nexus between craft, design and finding the essence within.

I find lot's of similarities between his approach, outlook and understanding with my own. There is a kinship there.

Monday, December 1, 2014


There is a nice entry available at Houzz  titled: Design Workshop: 10 Reasons to Put Craft Into Modern Architecture.  

This article sits square with me. No craft - less heart - soul quite hard to find.   Talk to me about your next project. Marrying modern with craft with nature hits a sweet spot. Shall we?

See it here: 

Friday, October 3, 2014


Sometimes, in remodel designs, it is best to keep things simple. Do small things to affect utility,  flow and aesthetics.  For this mid-century modern, for all their noted openness, the kitchen was closed off from the public, living areas.   Hard to entertain to a wall. This we fixed. The other big flaw was the flow. While there was no way to economically change the path of travel through the kitchen. Nudging here and there could at least reduce the disruption at the core kitchen work areas. See the before and after plans and photos below: