BIG NEWS: OUR SISTER SHOP, FAMILY

So, we've been working on this idea for a collection of utilitarian items, accessories that fit into all projects for both home and business. Through months of thoughts, prototypes, and finally photos, I am a puddle of melty excitement to announce KKDW's sister shop, FAMILY.

As the compadre of KKDW, Family provides you with beautiful accessories to help you create flexible storage solutions. More designs and pieces will be added regularly, so continue to check back, but to start with, check out our shelf brackets, hooks, and first door handle.

Logo by our very favorite Lauren Dickens. I literally cried when I opened up the logo file for the first time. She's the best, isn't she?

Video below by our exceptionally talented and genius friend, Drea. Give her a follow if you don't already. Video music by KKDW's very own Aaron Ward <3

IMG_1961.jpg
IMG_2026.jpg

Wreath Ring in Action

My friend Leah came over yesterday to play with flowers in the Ranchito Studio. We styled her KKDW Wreath Ring (the 36" in Sea Gray) with blooms she brought and also snips from trees around the studio and down the road. Hung up as a floral chandelier, I can't stand it. This baby just begs to be hung low above a crowded table during a dinner party.

Photos of the final chandelier and process shots in the studio below...

KKDW in New Mexico

We snuck away to New Mexico for a few days to drink beers, eat delicious food, and try to recharge our batteries. I took so many photos of the dogs and us on various hikes, and the scenery in every single one blows me away; I wanted to give the photos life other than buried deep in my phone's photos. I promise the next blog post is on NEW WORK in the shop (so soon), but until then, I hope you don't mind very photogenic dawgs in the mountains...

Our Early Summer Floral Day Camp

Earlier this summer, some friends joined us for a Floral Design Day Camp. As everyone arrived we sipped mimosas and ate strawberry scones & peach galettes from fruit I had picked the day before from a local orchard. Using those colors as our palette inspiration, and we jumped into learning about flowers, starting with care and temperament, and into every step of the design process from the how to properly cut flowers to peppering in wispy chocolate cosmos.

While we were working with flowers, Travis had been cooking ingredients for tacos on the smoker, so we ended the day camp with homemade tacos and cold beers. Take a peek at some of the photos we captured, and sign up for the KKDW newsletter to hear about future workshops!

NEW TO KKDW: WELCOME, TRAVIS!

I'm moving up from a one-woman show to a two-person party: please help me welcome Travis to KKDW! Over the past few years, my husband Travis and I have worked independently on our own fabrication businesses while joining forces on larger projects here and there, and now we’re making it official. Very stoked to see where this takes KKDW, and even more stoked to have y’all joining along.

This small change will mean more large-scale fabrication projects, more furniture, new workshops, a forthcoming sister shop for all your utilitarian needs (think: sleek shelf brackets, hooks, table bases, and much more), and best of all... a new branch we're working on called KKDW Ranchito (coming soon!). I can say that the future is out there, and it's all because of you.

And for anyone who has met Travis or seen his work, you already know that he is a rare jewel of multifaceted skills, vision, and consideration. KKDW is lucky to have him.

 

Sounds Like: You Got It

Here's a short list of the songs I've been listening to. These songs are best served over slower mornings with coffee (or bloody marys), and late afternoons right as the sun starts to sink. Hope y'all enjoy. Cheers!

9.

Wheels

The Flying Burrito Brothers

The Gilded Palace of Sin & Burrito Deluxe

 

10.

Baby You Got it

Brenton Wood

Brenton Wood's 18 Best

 

11.

Toujours Plus Loin

Johnny Hallyday

Le Pénitencier

 

12.

No Expectations

The Rolling Stones

Beggars Banquet

 

13.

All Strung Out

Nino Tempo & April Stevens

All Strung Out

 

14.

Down Here

Turnpike Troubadors

The Turnpike Troubadours

Please support the artists & their work by buying their music.

1. 

Ain't It A Sin

Charles Bradley

Changes

 

2.

Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White

The Standells

Dirty Water - The Hot Ones

 

3.

Are You Ready For The Country?

Waylon Jennings

Are You Ready For The Country?

 

4.

Todo Terminó

Juan Wauters

Who Me?

 

5.

Satisfation

Otis Redding

The Very Best of Otis Redding

 

6.

Come Tomorrow

Townes Van Zandt

Delta Momma Blues

 

7.

What Good Could Ever Come of This

Eliot Sumner

Information

 

8.

Pay You Back With Interest

The Hollies

The Hollies' Greatest Hits

New to the shop: Mahogany

New mahogany coffee table & XXL mirror, two designs now in the shop.

Mahogany is at once burly and delicate, a perfect marriage for these XXL pieces that showcase the hefty lines mahogany's capable of. The thickness of the mahogany, particularly on the coffee table, is hands-down one of the front-runners for my favorite aspect of the design, but it's neck and neck with the coffee table base. The pedestal base is bent steel, welded into a tripod, with a matte black powder coat. Que bella.

I shot everything at the shining start of sites, One Eleven East. The space is naturally filled with light so soft you'll just want to lay down on the floor and never leave. Which is what I almost did. One Eleven East is a historic building (constructed c. 1983) recently renovated into an event space and studio. Side note: my husband, Travis, built out a lot of the space throughout the renovation--lotsa reasons to love this place.

Flowers & Furniture

A few months ago I had a dream that I was building furniture out of flowers. Unlike so many dreams, this one seemed too beautiful and too attainable to not give it a go, so I welded up a steel cage to house florals, along with a credenza base, and got to work. I am still stunned by the result (in a good way). The best part of the Floral Credenza is that because I welded the cage, I'm able to restock and redesign the florals anytime, or let everything dry for something more permanent.

I've also got a new piece of actual furniture to share. This one is a solid wood credenza in lightened maple. I was using some maple scrap from my shop, so to make the most of it, I built the top in a herringbone design. I also added a handful of rectangular and double-dovetail keys on the top, which ended up looking so ethereal and beautiful in the lightened maple. Because the entire piece is 100% solid wood, creating the herringbone design without the aid of a plywood anchor or something to nail the maple to was a little tricky to finagle at first, but in the end I got it to work like a dream. The base is welded & waxed steel.

maple-herringbone-credenza-4.jpg

Spalted Pecan Side Tables

Spalted Pecan Side Tables. This design is now up in the web shop. Solid pecan case & drawer fronts, and solid cedar drawers; welded and waxed steel base. The drawer pulls are heavyweight leather with brass hardware. The original design for these is for a friend of mine, and god bless her for feeling adventurous about this pecan. It teeters between a blush pink and a high-contrast beige and dark gray--it's really, really beautiful in person.

Giveaway: Long & Low Table in Ready To Ship

Hey, you guys! Fall is my favorite season. After a brutal Central Texas summer, a day under 80 degrees feels like a gift, and it always gets my little mind-cogs turning again. The past couple summers have struck me down; I wade through the heat as if I have no creativity, no thoughts, no brain, and no business doing my job--I just end up go-go-going, pouring literal sweat into projects that don't inspire me or feel real to me. I'm still stumped as to why things have had a habit of following that pattern.

But then, without me expecting it, Fall snaps me out of it. I get to thinking again, dreaming about designs, stoked to be in my shop building (and building and building). And that disparity between my fall attitude and summer saditude got me analyzing my business and trying to drill into the fulfilling aspects. I'll be driving around, making lists of my dreams (a favorite pastime), and I have a somewhat new one I'd love to share with you...

The way KKDW functions at this very moment, I will build one version of a piece of furniture for a specific person, then I'll photograph it and put it on my website, and there the design will remain for infinite future people to order it, made-to-order-style. So, if you wanted a Small Open Record Cabinet, for example, you'd need to wait 6-8 weeks for me to build it. In other words, I don't have an inventory of furniture.

But I'm toying with this new idea where I'd build the piece of furniture first, and let the sale come second.

This would be rad for me because I'd get to spend as much time as I desired to perfect each and every piece without the deadline of shipping the furniture in a certain amount of time, and it would mean that when you see a piece you like, BOOM, out it goes in a matter a days, not weeks/months. Of course, I'll still be building the canon of designs in my web shop for folks, but I also feel really excited about this "ready to ship" section of the shop. So excited that I'm giving away a sample piece: the Long & Low Table. Want it?

To win the Long & Low Table, follow @kkdwco on Instagram and answer the following question in the comments section right here on the blog: What is the piece of furniture you'd most like to see in the new "ready to ship" section of the KKDW shop? Answers can include stuff like functionality, materials (type of wood or something that's only wood or something that's wood & steel, etc.), size, anything you think would be helpful so we can all be awesome together.
Enter through Friday, November 13 at 11:59 p.m. CST, and be sure to associate your comment with your best email address, because that's how I'll notify the winner. I'll choose the winner randomly and let the person know on Monday, November 16. Shipping and/or delivery is included**.

Thank you all, really, for what feels like endless support already. And I'm not just saying that because Fall has me in a good mood. Love you.

**Please keep in mind that I can ship the Long & Low Table to USA addresses only. Sorry, international peeps! But if you enter the drawing and I pick your name, I'll send you a little something, too!

EDIT 11/16/2015

Wow, thank you so much to everyone who entered and for some incredibly thoughtful comments. And congratulations to our winner: Jen! I'll do this again sometime soon, y'all.

20151109-IMG_8230.jpg

Design & Build: Kettle & Brine

I teamed up with Travis for another large-scale design & build project, this time for new Austin, TX-based home and kitchen shop Kettle & Brine. The project was an intense straight 30 days of muscle-screaming work, worth every ache because the end vision came through beautifully. The pièce de résistance is the solid brass checkout counter--an L-shaped 8-ft leg and 5-ft leg beauty queen.

Custom shelves line the back walls: spalted pecan and welded steel shelf supports. That pecan... man, that was a trip. The boards I used were so gnarled and short, it took a full week of work to get everything to flat & smooth perfection so you can appreciate the beautiful spalting. The bank of drawers beneath the shelves grounds the design and also gives Kettle & Brine a lot of extra storage space. Also built from pecan is the 12-ft-long live-edge slab table and accompanying benches.

Finishing out the space is a tiered display credenza, built-in shelves, a long bank of drawers along the east window, cubbies along the west window, and a butcher block kitchen island with welded steel base. The triangle-shaped walnut display shelves and the paneled side wall were done by my friend Matt at Only Sun Woodworks.

Kettle & Brine is every food enthusiast's dream, so be sure to give them a visit if you're in the area.

New to the shop: shaker bed

 The newest addition to my webshop is the Shaker Bed

This Shaker Bed is solid wood through and through. Knotty alder makes up the headboard, footboard, and aprons; the slats that support the mattress are poplar; the pins I used on the headboard are white oak. The head- and footboards are built with mortise & tenon joints that I used a drawbore technique on, which is a fancy way of saying they're not going anywhere. No nails or screws or other non-wood fasteners, and the whole thing is finished with natural oils, waxes, and a series of steps that take days to carry out. The entire bed feels so lovely, I'm plotting my next bed design--but the next one I might need to keep for myself.

If you're interested in a little more information about traditional joinery, check out a brief intro to it in my previous post.

What the hell is joinery?

If you scroll through the furniture in my shop or follow along on Instagram, you may have seen me mention the term "traditional joinery." The type of joinery I use in my pieces is important to me, and ultimately it's the reason my furniture works.

So, what the hell is joinery, and why do I keep talking about it?

The quickest definition of “joinery” is a technique woodworkers use to connect (or join, get it?) pieces of wood together. But from there nothing else about it is quick. I’m gonna give you a very basic primer on joinery to better explain what I’m talking about when I say a piece is built with only traditional joinery, and why it’s a totally awesome thing that when done correctly cannot be matched in terms of strength, longevity, or beauty.

First up: never nails. The problems with fasteners like nails or screws are vast, but not inherent; the bulk of the issues stem from the fact that when you're using a nail or screw, you're most likely putting the wood together in the weakest of all ways--something called a butt joint. With a butt joint, the connection between two pieces of wood is deriving strength from only the nail or screw; the connection is not only spectacularly weak, loose, and fallible, but it has the longevity of something akin to the budget end of Ikea furniture.

Wood--a once living, growing, organic thing--is susceptible to moisture changes, which can lead to movement. Even slight changes in wood will compromise that flat surface-to-surface butt joint that you have with the nails and screws, and in more extreme circumstances this can tear out the nail/screw, totally failing the piece of furniture.

But, fear not! Because if you have a piece of furniture that is build correctly using traditional joinery, this ain’t no thing.

There are hundreds of types of joints, some better than others. Some slide in and then can't slide out, some you pound in with a mallet, some you use wood pins to secure. But the key to a strong joint is that you make a cut in one of your pieces of wood that can some how receive the cut you make you make in your second piece of wood. It's all about fit.

A mechanical joint, for example, is a type of joint that derives its strength from the physical action of working a giving end into a receiving end--like the joint above on the left. Physically malleting one of the sides into the other, then working the wood pins in creates friction and tension, and that tight fit (when you've done your work right) translates to a joint that's not going anywhere. Joints like these also account for the natural movement of the wood. As the wood expands and contracts over time, as it's wont to do, the joint will never fail. Beautiful, right?

To make joints fit right & tight and achieve their peak functionality, there are lots of different cuts involved, different tools, different bits, measurements, tests, and planning. And there are a bunch of forms of joinery, but they're all basically variations on the main theme: strength, flexibility, and toughness.

And at the risk of giving you way more information than you want to wade through about joinery, I'll leave it here: The bottom line is that joinery takes years to learn, implement, and perfect. But when I build a piece using traditional joinery, you can see the level of attention I've put into it, which to me is one of the best parts. What you’re getting out of a piece that’s built with traditional joinery is something strong, engineered to last a lifetime, and something that took hours to build and get juuuuuust right. The beauty's in the details.

**Edit** For those who are wanting more joinery info, I encourage you to check out Woodwork Joints.

Sounds Like: Forgetting Everything I Know

Man. I've been listening to these songs for weeks and haven't figured out why I like them all together like this, but I'll say that they're perfect to put on if you're taking a road trip, drinking cold beers for your health, or finally getting to that pile of dirty dishes in the sink. Speaking from experience. And that Beach Boys track is a trip, huh? Enjoy!

.

1.
Lonesome L.A. Cowboy
New Riders of the Purple Sage
The Adventures of Panama Red


2.
Empty Nesters
Toro y Moi
What For?


3.
This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)
The Isley Brothers
This Old Heart of Mine


4.
Pata Pata
Miriam Makeba
Pata Pata


5.
I Got a Line On You
Spirit
The Best of Spirit


6.
Give Back the Key to My Heart
Uncle Tupelo
Anodyne


7.
I've Been Lonely Too Long
The Rascals
The Rascals: Collections


8.
Christine's Tune
The Flying Burrito Brothers
The Gilded Palace of Sin and Burrito Deluxe


9.
Willin'
Little Feat
The Best of Little Feat


10.
Welfare Bread
King Khan & The Shrines
What Is?!


11.
Stoked
The Beach Boys
Surfin' USA


12.
Pretty Pimpin
Kurt Vile
b'lieve i'm goin down...


13.
Joy In the Morning
The Gaylads
BB Seaton Presents Sunshine Reggae, Vol.1

Please support the artists & their work by buying their music.

 

Design & Build: El Cosmico, Marfa, pt. 2

For the past few weeks I've been working alongside Travis to build a new space for El Cosmico: a 21-acre nomadic hotel and campground in Marfa, Texas. He and I worked with the crew extremadamente talentoso of Bunkhouse. We focused on The Highland House of El Cosmico, installing a collection of original designs that elevated the building's inherent magic.

The project included welded shelf supports that worked with a series of shelves, drawers, and hanging racks so that the space could be changed easily and as seen fit. We also built two display tables; two table-top mirrors; a full-length mirror; a reception desk with a waterfall steel top and alder front; steel window; steel & alder pendant lights; record storage & credenza. Materials included alder and raw steel.

You can see photos of the full project below or check out some process & behind-the-scenes dog pics in pt. 1, or view the entire collection of final photos via my recently added Special Projects page.

Design & Build: El Cosmico, Marfa, pt. 1

For the past few weeks I've been working alongside Travis to build a new space for El Cosmico: a 21-acre nomadic hotel and campground in Marfa, Texas. T & I are gonna get hitched in December, but as far as work goes, we usually do our own things, and collaborations start after hours when we're working together on a pizza. This project was the first time we've teamed up, and it has been an incredible, synergistic experience.

We focused on The Highland House at El Cosmico, and spent this past week installing a new shelving system, tables, a credenza, a new front desk, and more to create a fresh retail space. It was a lovely week filled with burritos, dogs, and friends. Check out some of the process photos I shot throughout the installation process. Part 2 photos of the final space, comin' up next!

THE NEW KKDW PROJECT

KKDW has gone through a bit of a reawakening, thanks to the mind & hand of Lauren Dickens. She worked on new n improved design elements to reflect what my little biz has evolved into since inception. KKDW is my name--Kathryn Kelly DeWitt--which means it's whatever I want to do, right? Which felt like a revelatory thought! Usually what I want to do is build furniture, but maybe not always with wood; and what I also want to do is photograph and style my work, and build weird backdrops, and make mixtapes, and who knows what else. Do you ever feel like you want the option to do anything?

With that in mind, Lauren and I decided it was time for a redesign that reflected this subtle personal and business evolution. She knocked it out of the park. Not to mention, the geniuses of Ft. Lonesome chain-stitched Lauren's work onto a flag that was hand-dyed by my pal Maura. It's all so beautiful I don't even think I can stand it.

Below are some photos I took of Lauren working on this project, along with the final designs.

NEW TO THE SHOP: OPEN RECORD & PLAYER CABINET

A new open record cabinet design is available in the webshop, and, lo n behold it's in alder! I built the original version of this cabinet for my best bud, Lauren Dickens. Lauren is a mega-talent who designed the KKDW logo as well as some KKDW redesign elements that I'm just busting to share soon. Because Lauren's the best.

This cabinet is 100% solid alder, through and through. No nails or screws or other non-wood fastners, built with traditional & modern joinery, including sliding dovetail joints. The apron & legs were attached with full mortise & tenon joints, and the whole thing is finished in my favorite way: natural oils, waxes, and a series of some secret steps that leave the whole thing feeling like that really soft part of a dog's ear. I'll be keeping this design around for a while.

 

SOUNDS LIKE: TIDES

It's been a helluva month, and April closed with the mark of two milestones: I turned a year older, and I hit one year of my current KKDW carnation. Time flies and changes things, and I'm so grateful for everything that's happened over the past 12 months. Here's a little playlist to propel all these vibes into the upcoming year of KKDW, aka me & you, baby.

Listen, reflect, dance fast, dance slow, drink whiskey, drink water. Ok? Enjoy it! And don't make fun of me for choosing that Elvis Presley version over the Waylon Jennings version--I, like maybe at least one other person, love it just the way it is.