‘A visual feast of texture’ is how judge Rob Kleeman describes this winning entry from Bright Wood Works.


Bright Wood Works Inc.


Project: “Man’s Space” study with period Deco theme.

Year Established: 1981

# of Employees: 7

Shop Size: 11,000 square feet

Specialty: High-end residential kitchens, libraries, custom furniture and cabinetry.

Project Notes: The room itself was converted into a field spray booth after everything was installed.

Michael Bright says that putting this “man space” study together was not unlike putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Working from an initial design by Urban Innovations, a frequent collaborator, Bright Wood Works created a room that combines functional use and storage with unmistakable warmth and beauty.

Bright Wood Work’s specialty niche is custom high-end residential kitchens, with the company winning the top spot in CWB’s Design Portfolio Kitchen and Bath category in 2006, as well as again winning the top award in this year’s competition. Featured in the February 2007 issue of CWB. Bright was touted as having a “bright future” for its work in the luxury kitchen niche market. Michael Bright says that in many cases, the kitchen work can lead to more.

“When we do a kitchen, oftentimes it can evolve to doing the entire house — vanities, study, whatever other entertainment built-ins that there are,” he explains.

In the case of this study, built in a luxury waterfront home in St. Petersburg, FL, space was an immediate issue. “We put the proverbial 10 pounds of potatoes in a five-pound bag,” Bright says with a laugh.

More challenges were overcome on this job during the 3-1/2 to 4 months it took to complete. Not all of the tradesmen involved were part of the initial planning meetings, so many important questions lingered unanswered. 

On the shop side, custom jigs had to be cut. Almost all pieces had to be pre-assembled in the shop and then brought on location for field assembly. The amount of detail involved was staggering, according to Bright, who notes that the detail in each piece interacts with the other pieces. Like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, the pieces had to be methodically put together.

The project uses Columbia Forest Products plywood, custom laid-up veneered panels from Veneer Source, Blum hinges and drawer slides, and Chemcraft finishing products.

Quartersawn sapele was milled and laminated into the beams. Then the coffered ceiling, with its metallic finish, was installed. Subsequently, the ceiling was protected by plastic as the base cabinets and panel systems were put in place. The parts were blind-fastened and captured with the next sequentially-placed piece.

Bright credits the shop’s Martin T-73 sliding table saw for much of the project’s success.

“There were lots of layout, joinery and precision cuts that needed to be done repetitively,” Bright says, “and that saw came through with flying colors.”

The layup of some of the veneers was done using a Vac-U-Clamp 5-foot by 10-foot vacuum table.

In an unusual final step, after everything was installed, Bright turned the room itself into a field spray booth using plastic and fans. Applying the finish in this way required more labor than expected, but Bright believes the results speak for themselves.

With the limited space available, one goal was to maximize what space there was. Bright succeeded in this with, as Design Portfolio judge Romy Schafer notes, “ample hidden storage, open display space and functional workspace.”

Another goal successfully met was to make the Deco-inspired room a warm and inviting interior. “You can feel it when you walk into the room,” says Bright. “It has an energy.”

Bright’s future in building high-end kitchens and custom cabinetry seems “bright” indeed. “We have been lucky to work with people who have good taste,” he notes. “We have been moving from one project to the next and they are all equally challenging. It’s just another day at the office for us.”

So how does it feel to be a double winner in this year’s CWB Design Portfolio Awards?

“I am on cloud nine,” says Bright.

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