Friday, July 29th, 2016

Modern cabinet lovers are here

Simple, but not mysteriousWhat we’re hearing

Even here in the sultry southeastern US, people love modern design.

They like the simplicity of slab doors. They like how easy they are to clean, and they like how a modern kitchen lets the food, wine, & even the homework have the spotlight.

People tell us they’re tired of raised panel wood doors that everybody and their brother seems to have. They are done with wiping spills & dust out of all those curves.

They want something neater, but not mysterious. Refined, but not snooty. Simple, but not mundane.

Durable quality is worth it

Most of all, people tell us they love the look of IKEA, but doubt the quality. So do we.

And we still absolutely love the fabulous options that Semihandmade offers. Great, great door designs from our good friends over there.

People tell us they love European style, but not the cost. So do we.

Besh = the happy medium.

It checks all the boxes. Modern. Well engineered. Good looking. Affordable. We’re so convinced, that it’s the only cabinet line we work with! If you’re ready to check those boxes, call us. Fall is closer than you think.

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

NC Green Home Tour Apr 30-May 1 and May 7-8

If you’re in the Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill NC area and want to check out some green homes, look no further than the Green Home Tour this weekend & next!

The tour is put on annually by the Durham, Orange and Chatham county homebuilders association.

And hey! We’ve got some Besh cabinets in an awesome modern house on this tour that got a GOLD, that’s right, GOLD NGBS certification!!

Want to see it? It’s site O2 in Orange County, 1012 Reaves Dr.:

NC Green Home Tour - Gold certified

Directions to 1012 Reaves Dr.

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

Welcome, Besh cabinet buyers!

Besh logo

You want ’em? We got ’em!

After the launch of the newly redesigned Besh website we’ve seen an uptick in traffic coming to Ecomod. We thought it would be a good idea to roll out the welcome mat, so that folks looking for Besh cabinets in their modern kitchen know they’re in the right place.

We’ve got a bunch of projects in progress this spring, from commercial breakrooms to new homes. That includes kitchens, laundry rooms, bathrooms and home offices. We’ve also got projects booked into the summer – a nice mix of remodels sprinkled with some more new homes.

Designers & Builders stand up and say Yeah

If you’ve got designs underway & are in the pricing stage, send over the plans & we’ll crunch out a quote that keeps you on time & on budget.

If you’re between projects & curious about where Besh lands pricing wise, send us a recently completed project & we’ll price it out for you.

In general, a good rule of thumb number is 20% less than custom.

We are also exploring partnerships with Design-Build firms on a case by case basis in which we provide a few display cabinets for their conference room or sample library. If you’re interested, give us a shout.

Newest Completions

For ideas on what can be done with Besh, here are a few shots from some of our recently finished projects.

overall-CouchForeground

Modern Loft Kitchen

Niche and Mobile Island installation

Downtown Modern

Modern Zen Kitchen

Modern Zen Kitchen

 

 

Friday, March 11th, 2016

What shoes and cabinets have in common

First, the shoes.

I had a beloved pair of chelsea style boots on which the soles were showing their 10 years of service. These boots served me through thick & thin, on jobsites and in showrooms. They were easy and quick to put on and take off, required no intense maintenance, and they put up with all kinds of weather. All while being ridiculously comfortable. I absolutely loved them.

Went to order a replacement pair and was bummed to see the style had been discontinued. Searching alternate brands of similar styles yielded no successor, leading to even more bummage.

Then, I found a shoe restoration service in CA (www.NuShoe.com) that replaces soles, threading, laces, and rejuvenates leather. And they will work on ANY brand and style of shoe. I shipped my precious boots westward and waited patiently for about 6 weeks. I figured I had nothing to lose, since they were on their last legs anyway.

It was worth it! They came back with new hole-free soles and brand new tread, ready for more outings. The leather was restored and best of all – they fit just like they did when I shipped them off!

This service is GREAT. Not just great because it’s easy to use, but also because it is rejecting the throw-away shoe mindset that has prevailed in the footwear industry for decades. It takes the perfectly good parts and replaces the worn ones. That extends the life of the shoe years, literally. Which keeps it out of the landfill. And uses fewer raw materials. It’s earth friendly.

Now, the cabinets.

This is one of the primary reasons why we made Besh cabinets: to replace the fronts, not the boxes or the hardware. Like my boots, we keep that backbone in place & extend the life of the product. As long as the functional elements work fine, there’s no need to replace them. And because it’s a modular system, cabinet sizes are common across multiple installations.

That’s not to say it lasts forever. Nothing does. But if a component reaches the end of its life cycle, we’ll do our best to find another life for it, whether it’s

  • raw material for other products, like metal recycling, or post consumer wood products
  • refurbishable – like a fresh sanding and paint finish
  • resizeable to another of our modular fronts

If we’re going to make things, we should make them responsibly. The first step is using only what we need to begin with. That’s the right way. For all life and this planet on which it depends.

Swappable Fronts & Guts

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Where’ve ya been?

2015: Last Call!

zapped tape measureWe don’t get much time to write these blurbs. That’s because we’re out in the wild, doing things like this:

Frying our tape measures on electrical plugs that were slightly askew in the outlet. Fortunately I was holding the rubber casing, so I still have my famously darty, non-linear way of thinking intact.

I just can’t measure anything between 6″ and 7″ now, though.

So much for getting that job. (I didn’t.)

I also didn’t bother to go out & get a new tape measure. I just have to watch the edges.

And  figuring out column details:

column section

Designing & installing extra storage for brand new modern condos:

niche storage

 

And new kitchens:

modern kitchen sink wall  modern kitchen angle 2

 

Designing many new kitchens and baths for people who dig modern:

aerial into dining Bath 2  new modern kitchen

Cool projects like the sketch below, which turned into the 3D model & will become reality sometime in 2016!

Concept A modern kitchen  modern kitchen concept accepted

 

The goal is to have new shots of what we did in 2015 included in the gallery over at the Besh website before the end of January, so stay tuned. Speaking of Besh, we’ve also been working on a new website for it. Aside from making it cleaner & easier to navigate, it will be much more friendly to designers and builders to use!

We’ll leave you with this sneak peek snippet from the new site coming soon to a screen near you….

sustainability screen clip

 

As always, Cheers.

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Pulse check!

Fraser Fir. Mmmmmm.blip. blip. blip.

Yep, still here!

And I have to report that 2015 has been an interesting year. We started out anemic, but when May rolled around our pulse came back & in spite of a slow start it’s been a manageable Steady.

We’re transitioning from a B2C business model to a B2B. That means we’re working directly with builders & designers more than with homeowners. We’ll probably never give up direct homeowner projects, because we learn so much from them, and we meet some really wonderful people!

At the same time, it’s great to work with seasoned folks who understand the building process completely, so we can seamlessly interface with them without extra time for education. That’s a plus when it comes to making product & process improvements too.

Around the corner.

2016 will bring a new & improved Besh website that we’re very excited about. It will make it easier to find the info you’re looking for, whether it’s specs, door style options, or inspiration. And it will be especially Builder and Designer friendly, for the creative folks out there looking to finish out their modern projects with the perfect cabinets!

So take time to smell the Fraser Firs – we sure are. Tis the season!

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Thanks, Houzz! Also: Summer wrap up notes

We were awarded 2 new badges from Houzz today: An Influencer badge and a Recommended badge.

The Influencer badge is given to pros whose advice and knowledgeable posts are most appreciated by the Houzz community, while the Recommended badge goes only to the top-rated pros on Houzz.

Remodeling and Home Design  Remodeling and Home Design

 

Summer 2015 wrap up

It’s been hoppin’, kids. We’ll be shooting some of our completed projects over the summer in the next couple of weeks & posting to our gallery page over at the Besh website.   In the meantime, here are some progress shots.

Green. Literally and in principle!

This is an awesome net zero home going up in West Chapel Hill. The house was designed by architect Arielle Schechter and is being built by Newphire Construction. We’re so happy & lucky to be working with such top notch folks. There’s a lot to talk about with this house, from solar roof panels to our CA emission compliant Besh cabinets going in as we speak. More to come.

Exterior progress

 

Another Greenie. (It’s exterior wrap, not the actual color of the house. :)

This project is in the middle of nowhere in central NC. Also a high efficiency project, designed by architect Jay Fulkerson, and also built by Newphire. We’ll be putting in Besh cabinets with a custom low VOC gray stain in the kitchen. Here’s a quick exterior:

exteriorProgress

 

Here’s a chunk of the columns that will go in next to the framing.

columnSection

And here are a couple of shots of the doors & panels on the drying rack in the shop after staining:

stainRack1

stainRack2

 

 

Garage storage

Yup, Besh works in garages too. We installed these in a VRBO house complete with locks so the owner’s tools don’t walk out with the renters. Lots of work going on there that day, hence the partial picture.

GarageStorage

 

Etc:

And lots of other things like drunk design shenanigans:

drunkDesign

learning guitar to take short breaks from crazy work:

newTaylor

and…

4 leggers. Always.

GatorLove

Gator. Best black lab ever.

OttoFetch

Otto being Otto on National Dog Day.

 

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Filling the chasm

Market demand: good quality modern cabinets that don’t clear your bank account

Good news – the choice is no longer between the ultra low (cost and quality) end and the ultra high end!

Chasm no more

For folks who want something a step or two up from IKEA, but don’t want the cost or hassle with either fully custom or non US products, Besh is the answer.

It’s here, it’s real, it’s US made, and in 2014 we did projects with it like this:

Besh kitchen

And this:

Besh kitchen

 

 

Besh has a simplified menu of 4 door styles:

Besh door styles

 

They can be finished with paint, vinyl, or stain. You can even pick what glass option you want, from textured to opaque to clear. And you can finish it off with dividers and organizers to your heart’s content.

Modular means flexible. And responsible.

It’s even got an option to swap your fronts or the cabinet interior components. Just opt in & pick when you want to swap. How cool is that?

 

Swappable Fronts & Guts

Get the kitchen designed correctly. Then invest in a cabinet system where the boxes stay put & the fronts and insides can change. And in the process you keep it out of the landfill. THAT is worth investing in, we think.

Even if you don’t want to do the swap thing, you still win with a good looking & solid US made cabinet system. We’re ready when you are.

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Formaldehyde: here’s the thing

Formaldehyde MoleculeIt’s everywhere! Remain calm.

Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring compound that is basically all around us in varying amounts, from the planet’s surface to its atmosphere and out into interstellar space. To learn more about it, here’s a link to the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formaldehyde

 

It’s also used heavily in no-iron clothing material and is present in a LOT of the foods we eat:
http://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/whatsnew/whatsnew_fa/files/formaldehyde.pdf

It sounds like the trouble starts when it gets combined with other compounds to make resins & glues, which is why it has been regulated so closely in the last 10-15 years. There are innumerable other products it’s used to make as well, both inside & outside the construction industry.

Besh cabinets do use California compliant materials, which have the strictest regulations in the US, but does not use 100% formaldehyde free *anything*. You can read the consumer FAQ on the California Air Resources Board page at this link: http://www.arb.ca.gov/toxics/compwood/consumer_faq.pdf  The short version is, there is no such thing as 100% formaldehyde free plywood.

All that being said, the best info I could find in response to health concerns is this one from Joel Hirschberg, Green Building Supply Center in Fairfield IA on the Green Home Guide:
http://greenhomeguide.com/askapro/question/how-long-does-it-take-for-oil-based-wood-stain-minwax-to-finish-off-gasing

From that response, basically, applying an encapsulated sealer is the best thing that can block formaldehyde outgassing.

The challenge with all the risk minimization is twofold:

1) Sensitivity levels vary from individual to individual, so a certain level may not affect one person as much as the next. And because formaldehyde is so ubiquitous, it’s difficult to isolate the source, even with an allergy patch test.
2) There is significant added cost for products that minimize outgassing, both in terms of labor (to apply multiple coats of AFM safecoat for example) and materials (specialty produced bamboo or other exotic woods, for example).

My guess is that outgassing is less of a concern in older homes because they aren’t as tightly enclosed as new ones.

Not a black & white easy answer, but there it is.

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Now offering Besh Cabinets

Cat = out of bag!

Out of the bag!

After almost 7 years of designing with Ikea kitchen cabinets, we are happy to announce that we’re now offering a new line of cabinets called Besh!

Besh: The deets!

Besh is made in the US and is fabricated locally to each project site. It’s got a combined core plywood construction for the boxes themselves. That gives it the structural heft for support & reliable bite for hardware, while having the uber smooth skin ideal for both painting and veneers.

Besh is truly modular in design based on 3″ increments. No more random skipping of sizes in the lineup! That means we can maximize available space you have for storage, not fillers, and without modifying stock components!

Besh: Modern cabinets for work and play

Swappable Fronts!

Besh utilizes genuine, robust hardware from Blum and Hafele, and get this:  it has a SWAPPABLE FRONT system option!! This is huge! Up until now, you could change all kinds of things in the room: paint, wallpaper, plumbing & lighting fixtures, & wall decor. With Besh, you can now change out the door & drawer fronts easily, because it’s modular!

So let’s say next fall, you know winter’s coming, right? You can swap in some bright gloss doors to keep it cheery on those short gloomy days. Or, if you get the dream job on the west coast & suddenly have to sell, the cabinet fronts are now fair game for staging. So if you like those high gloss Back the Pack red doors, but a potential buyer doesn’t, swap in some neutrals.

The greenest strategy of all: use as little as possible

Everyone knows a kitchen sells a house. Now we can change the looks without yanking out the whole carcass. And all of it can stay out of the landfill. Win-win-win.

We are super excited to be able to offer another option to folks who are fans of modern at a modest price point! For now, Ecomod is the official US Besh dealer.

We’d be remiss not to let folks know that we know Besh inside & out, because we created it. And we’ll continue to improve and innovate it: we see it as a living system. Something indeed you’ll be proud to use daily and keep our collective footprint as light as possible.

Go check it out!

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