Hostetler Custom Cabinetry: Top Shelf Workmanship and Service

One of four custom plywood gate fabricated by Hostetler Custom Cabinetry When we put the design documents for the renovation of the nursery at St. John's Parish church we knew that the cabinetry was going to be proportionally expensive and important in distinguishing the space.  Working against a very tight budget for the project, we elected to keep most elements of the finish simple and production in quality.  The cabinetry would provide the character, warmth and tactile quality for the project.  It would also serve to functionally divide the space and provide the vast storage capacity for all of the toys and books needed to keep a couple of generations of little ones occupied.

View from one play corral to two play areas; cabinetry and custom plywood gates divide and organize the space while allowing visual access over the pine tops

It was critical that we identify a cabinetmaker capable of carrying out the project successfully with the quality and budget that we needed.  Our office reached out to Hostetler Custom Cabinetry, a family owned company on James Island that we'd worked successfully with before.  Their capabilities have few limits, with in-house CNC routing machinery among other equipment, and their ethics are very sound.  In order to reduce the total cost to of the project to its absolute minimum, we pulled the cabinetry out of the basic construction contract and I vouched personally for Hostetler, convincing the church that they would execute their work appropriately.  Branks General Contractors was also willing to work with them on these terms for the good of the project, and we thank them for that.  We felt confident enough in Hostetler, and they came through for us all.

Completed nursery at St. John's Parish Church, just before soft opening on Sunday.

In order to reduce the budget for the cabinetry, we agreed that the specifications for the some of the items would have to be altered to reduce the time and cost to Hostetler.  In the end, Hostetler restored the specifications to the original and beyond, producing fully inset cabinetry construction throughout, with dovetail drawer boxes in the couple of places where we had drawers.  The finishes are impeccable, including the five warm colors carefully selected for the cabinetry, a sixth color for the custom plywood gates (an shade of eggplant) and the clear finished for the pine play tops. They sourced the 2' thick pine material for the edges from Will Albrecht and his company, Southern Lumber and Millwork, and milled it in a wide radius to provide a safer contact point for the heads of new, unsteady walkers.

Custom plywood gates divide the play corrals, adding a fun, whimsical feel to the nursery.

Hostetler also took on the challenge of fabricating the custom plywood gates that allow flexibility in organizing the various play corrals in the nursery space. Fabricated using the CNC routing equipment of two layers of high quality plywood, we specified that the flat planes of the door be painted while the edges be finished clear to expose the material. This is a difficult finish to pull off, but the Hostetler team did a fabulous job with them.  We thank them for their good work, and Branks General Contractors for their patience and cooperation.

You might know these colors from such places as the GSW building in Berlin; one of my favorite uses of color ever in a work of architecture.

Sign Concept for St. John's Parish Nursery

Hanging sign concept for St. John's Parish Church Nursery. Now that the St. John's Parish church nursery is all but complete, we put together a sign concept this morning to help visitors locate the facility. Chris Hostetler, of Hostetler Custom Cabinetry, volunteered to make a sign using their CNC routing table.  Hostetler already did a fabulous job with the cabinetry inside, which forms the storage capability, play top areas, and spatial divisions within the space.  The sign concept, which would be rendered in colors to coordinate with the vibrant interior, would be an appealing element to welcome the congregation and visitors to this completely renovated space.  Two would be made, one to hang on each side of the new entry porch structure.  We may go a different direction with the signage, but I enjoyed a bit of graphic design this morning.

Completed nursery at St. John's Parish Church, just before soft opening on Sunday.

Nursery interior with custom cabinetry and plywood gates that we designed, all fabricated by Hostetler Custom Cabinetry.


St. John's Nursery closing in

New portico with integrated benches marks the preferred entry into St. John's Church nursery.

Branks General Contractors and Hostetler Custom Cabinetry are closing in on the completion of the renovation to the nursery at St. John's Church on Johns Isand.  There are a number of items to complete, including the staining of the new entry portico and installing the remaining room division cabinetry tops.  Both Branks and Hostetler are doing a great job in delivering a worthwhile product to this historic congregation.

Corral divider cabinetry, in progress; a variety of saturated warm colors were selected for the cabinetry components, which also varies in height and width.

Our response to the programmatic requirement of have an open space subdivided into distinct, controllable spaces was to design a series of low cabinetry forming corrals for this purpose.  The cabinetry organizes the spaces while also organizing the toys and games provided for the children. We carefully selected five saturated colors, all in the warm family, to enliven the space.  Custom tops in southern yellow pine with chunky, rounded edges grounds the space in its rural, Lowcountry setting and protects the young inhabitants as they enjoy the fellowship in their early and unsteady steps.

Hostetler Custom Cabinetry fabricated the cabinetry and pine tops for the St. John's Church nursery.

Southern yellow pine structure (to be stained) and cypress ceilings were used for the new entry portico at the St. John's Church nursery.

Quick visit: St. Johns Parish Nursery

Painting nearly complete within St. John's Parish nursery space under renovation. Intern Architect Harrison Wallace and I made a quick visit to the St. John's Parish Church on our way back in from some meetings on Kiawah. The nursery renovation that we designed for the first level of St. John's LaRoche Building is moving along nicely. Most of the painting has been completed and the new flooring finishes have been installed. We expect some of the cabinetry to be delivered and installed today to allow the plumbing to be completed.  Early next week, the balance of the cabinetry will be installed. This will be the signature element of the design, finished in a variety of warm colors ranging from yellow to deep burgundy, will serve as plentiful storage for toys and game storage as well dividers for the interior space into 3 distinct play areas. The idea is that one or two parents can monitor the whole nursery visually while keeping children separated when appropriate. We're glad to be working with Hostetler Custom Cabinetry in the production of the all of the casework. Branks General Contractors is handling the renovation.

Space divider cabinetry detail. Copyright Tyler A. Smyth Architect, LLC 2013

The new entry door will be protected by a porch roof with flanking integrated benches.

St. John's Parish Nursery Renovation Underway

The once and future nursery in the LaRoche Building on the grounds of St. John's Parish Church on Johns Island. We are so glad to have a renovation of the St. John's Parish nursery, the design of which we have worked on for many months, finally underway.  The work to open up the interior and moderninze the space being carried out by Branks Construction of Johns Island.

This project means a lot to me for a few reasons.  St. Johns is one of the oldest churches and most traditional churches on John Island. It's congregation is filled with the bedrock families that created and maintain the essential character of Johns and Wadmalaw Islands.  Aside from that, this is the church that my mother drew strength from before she passed ten years ago.  It is also the church in which Michelle and I were married and through which our son was baptised.

The opportunity to assist in the redesign of their nursery was and honor and one that we couldn't pass up.  We are glad to be underway.

1961 plumbing, in passable shape but ready for a makeover.