Cabinetry

Simplicity and continuity are also the hallmarks of the cabinet designs for the kitchen, bathrooms, and sitting rooms. The cabinet doors echo the wall paneling with flat panels set into square-cut frames. They were built by Hibernian Millwork, which is led by Cathal McGreal. At just 36, McGreal has been working with wood for more than 25 years. Like Al Syr's tight-tolerance trimwork, McGreal's cabinetmaking shows the craft at its best. His joints all but disappear under paint, and with his natural-wood units he carefully chooses material for both color- and grain-matching.


The seeming simplicity of the trim and cabinets belies what it really took to get the job done. Haverson had the kitchen cabinets painted in place and the natural wood hand-finished in a technique called a French polish. The wood was rubbed and buffed with pads dipped in a combination of low-sheen lacquer and stain, producing a timeless sheen. "We wanted to give the wood a shimmer," says Haverson, "as though it had become burnished over the years."

McGreal has worked with Haverson for more than 10 years. "After all this time," he says, "I know what he's trying to achieve." This kind of familiarity fosters better teamwork, which is key to getting quality results on time and on budget. Steady communication, coordination, give-and-take, and early error correction among the several different teams are all paramount, and for this house that job fell to Al Syr. "When Al came on, he threw a wide blanket over the whole project and made sure that everything went right," says Haverson. "There's so much complexity, five or six things going on at once, it takes someone who really cares about the big picture."


As the new old house neared completion, it was snapped up by a couple who fell for Haverson's vision of an open, light-filled, low-key home free of excess formality. "What blew us away was the light and the 270-degree view of the lake," says one of the new homeowners. "And when you look at the whole package, the room proportions, the woodwork, the tilework are all so well done." And so, at last, Haverson's ideal site got the architecturally distinguished house that suited it. The Shingle style, he says, "has its own integrity and spirit, and so the house becomes a piece of our environment that will live on beyond all our years. Being able to produce something like that gives you a great feeling. It's why architects are architects."

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