Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Doing the first thing last!

In the continuing saga of the Cheers office,....ironically, the last thing I ended up doing was the first thing I had conceived of and honestly was the entire scope of the project when I first considered doing it,....
The door.

That Iconic door was just about the apex of my grand plan. I thought,...."I'll just do up my door like the Cheers door!" and as the project blossomed into madness from there, the door fell by the wayside.

But as the project neared completion, the door turned into the cherry on the sundae, so to speak.

I got to work by digitally re-mastering the Cheers logo in Photoshop and having a local sign shop print it onto a sheet of acrylic. I then designed the framing insert to slip the acrylic into.

I then set about finding the proper boards to skin the door with. In dealing with the height and width restrictions of the door I found that six inch wide boards gave the door just about the right shape.

The Cheers door is considerably shorter and a tad wider but I had to work with what I had.

Now while leaving a hole in the wood to accommodate the deadbolt was easy, (though I still screwed it up), It was gonna be quite a different story to make puzzle pieces to account for the awkward industrial door handle and while I considered it, I took the lazy man's way out and simply left a gap in the wood. Because measuring something in one place, and crafting something for it in another can often be a tricky proposition.

It's amazing what a coat of Walnut stain can do.

And after three coats of polyurethane gloss, it was ready for a test-fit!

Here we see the skinning of the door in progress,....and the one board I screwed up. The hole I drilled was 1/2 in too low. :-(
Can you imagine if I'd tried to muddle my way around that handle? I never said I was a carpenter. I'm an artist who builds stuff! Occasionally I even use TOOLS!

OH! And in case you were wondering how I stuck the boards to the door? It's a magic little invention called industrial strength Velcro!

More to come!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Building the Cheers office: Part Two!

Test fitting the bar was a hoot! On a VERY warm Southern California day, I set aside the normal build day I might do for a "couple's hang out day" and a leisurely test fit of the bar on my VERY uneven backyard asphalt.
Now as I said in the first installment of this silly saga, the bar was designed to be modular and fit snugly around a raised, two-piece platform which would also serve to lock the post beams in place. The beams support the lightweight glass rail above and feature six beautiful track lighting fixtures that after an exhaustive search, are the closest, present-day equivalent to the ones they had in the show!


Here's a shot of it at night! Using low-key forty watt bulbs!

After a successful proof of concept, I was ready to move everything into the office! There was just one thing holding me up! The floor! Now with the floor, it  took me even longer to find a close match than the lighting fixtures did but I was finally able to find a very close match in some Armstrong cushion step, (who's stock number escapes me at the moment), and as luck would have it, my 12x14 foot piece came in right before a long weekend. Leaving me the perfect window to come in and set up the space like it was Christmas!

Here we see, (after trimming two feet off of the twelve), the floor in all it's reddish-tinged glory as I fine tune the fit over the carpet!

And the platform is in! With my Swain's desk in place and all my computer stuff back up and in place! I know it look like I don't have a lot of room but I really don't go far. Besides, I have the drop-down to keep me from sliding too far back, (in theory. Assuming I don't go for a tumble one day).

Reverse shot. You can see the fake paneling next to the door that will lock in the partition to come later.

With the platform in place, the bar goes around it like legos. The bar bodies sliding into the bases and the bar-tops sliding into the bodies and all working together to hold the posts in place. At the end of the day, the bar is all dialed in, posts in place and glass rails waiting to be mounted.

But MAN, was I tired! So off home I went, working over in my brain what I could get done the next day!

More to come!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Building the Cheers office: Part one!

It was a show about a "nice little neighborhood bar" that SET the bar for ensemble character comedy and has has every show that came after it trying to beat it at it's own game.
For me it was a point of pride that I was from the town where Cheers took place and when I first moved out here to LA it was my go-to show for an instant remedy for homesickness.
So last year when I found myself, for the first time in ten years, at a new job, in a new place, where I didn't know a lot of people, I was feeling a little,...well, a little unsure.
Like doing a tightrope walk without a net. But fortunately, the people I work for are all about embracing creativity and love to nurture the crazy creative streak.so when we were told, (inspired by some of the elaborate environments the creatives at Pixar transformed for their workspaces), that we were free to transform our offices in a similar fashion I thought,...."AH! Now THERE'S something that'll make me feel at home! I'll create a nest!"
I immediately thought a mini-pub would be a hoot of an idea To transform the office into a convivial outpost of warm conversation and laughs simply for the sake of creating an extraordinary environment. A second later I thought,..."NO! Wait!......Cheers."
Now for those that know, I love replicas and movie props of every kind and I've always pipe-dreamed about having a big ol' cellar someday that I could transform into a brick-by-brick perfect replica of the Cheers set because,....well, because why wouldn't I? :-)
So I thought,....that's it,....it'll be a little proof of concept! So I asked "Can I turn my office into Cheers?" Which turned several heads and raised several eyebrows and smirks. But good on em' for entertaining my crazy. So I went away and started researching. I dug out my old research photos and started researching things like flooring and light fixtures and bar stools and photographs.
In fact I spent SO much time on research I think people forgot I ever said i was gonna do this but as the pieces came together, the test builds began!

Here we see a rough test fit of the initial bar. The office was roughly 10x14 feet with a 9ft.ceiling so I designed the bar to sit in the rear left corner of the room.

My desk would sit on a raised platform, (so those on the stools and I would all roughly be at eye level), behind the bar and the posts would support a small lightweight glass rail above.

Here we see the gorgeous brass I ordered. Here in So-Cal we're lucky enough to have enough of the movie industry that you can get just about anything, especially for set design so when I found out that one of the metal places I go to out here has "bar parts" I made a beeline for it.

And finally, after a year of planning, I was able to test-fit the bar on one very hot summer night!

More to come in part two!