Interior Design and Custom Made Furniture in Texas Ranch Architecture
TEXAS ARCHITECT, STEVE CHAMBERS, COLLABORATES WITH GOODCHILD RESTORATION ON THE DESIGN AND FABRICATION OF A BED AND TABLE FOR THE J-5 RANCH IN WEATHERFORD, TEXAS
Peter Goodchild, third generation English furniture maker, has a workshop in the Dallas Design Center on Dragon Street, where he restores and fabricates period and modern furniture. Peter appreciates Texas ranching and raises goats on his own ranch. All photos by Stephanie Chambers, Chambers Architects, Inc.
The J-5 is a world-class Cutting Horse Ranch in Parker County, a region often called the “Cutting Horse Capitol of the World.” The owner and his daughter are cutting horse competitors. Dallas Architect, Steve Chambers of Chambers Architects integrated three antique buildings into the design of the ranch home: a Revolutionary War-era Scots barn from Schenectady County, New York, and two log homes from the 1800s. The rehabilitation of the antique structures was completed at Heritage Restorations in Waco, Texas and constructed into the home by English Heritage Homes of Texas. “Marriage marks” can still be seen on the timber connections of 1770s antique barn.
As with the other phases of the design and construction of the J-5 Ranch, the team of architect, interior designer and client collaborated to create ‘bespoke’ furniture design for the home. Unlike factory made furniture, bespoke design defines and encompasses everything that is unique and individual about the client, in addition to echoing the architecture and historical references of the home. Daniel and his wife, Francesca, are residents of Geneva Switzerland and chose Parker County as the site for the J-5. Once the conceptual drawings provided by Chambers Architects of the furniture were approved, the process for the selection of a craftsman to complete the design began.
Peter Goodchild was selected for the fabrication of the wood pieces because of his appreciation for un-retouched surfaces, patination, minimalist restoration and knowledge of authentic historic furniture making. Peter is descended from three generations of furniture designers and makers in England. His signature aesthetic is to stay as close as possible to historic references, whether he is making Elizabethan or Early Texas style furniture. From remaking horsehair bedding in England at the turn of the 20th century to receiving Royal Commissions, this small family business has a storied history. When King George V died in 1936, leaving the throne to Edward VIII, Edward married Wallis Simpson. The couple moved into the hunting lodge called Fort Belvedere, where Edward signed his abdication papers. Peter’s grandfather refinished all of their furniture, loose covers, carpets and curtains. The Goodchild family shop is located in South Ascot, where the movie industry in the UK often films motions pictures. On one occasion, Gregory Peck called on the Goodchilds to repair a leather seat in his Rolls Royce.
In addition to antique furnishings imported exclusively from England, Goodchild’s can create and build unique furniture designs to fit specialized requirements. The workshop offers a full range of restoration and conservation services. Peter Goodchild, is the company president and third generation period furniture restorer and builder.
In the mid-nineteenth century, furniture making in Texas flourished as an art form. Most furniture craftsmen began as cabinetmakers. Two important influences on Texas cabinetmaking were the Anglo-American and German traditions. Texas furniture arts were driven by early Texans’ desire for refinement, gentility and marquetry work. The unavailability of factory-produced furniture due to limited transportation before the arrival of the railroads made custom furniture a necessity. A well-known Swiss German furniture craftsman, Johann Umland, lived in the southeast Texas Hill Country. The bed for the J-5 Ranch master bedroom is based on design created in walnut by Mr. Umland for a Swiss family, the Amslers from Cat Springs, Texas. It is featured in the book, Texas Furniture, Volume 2 by Lonn Taylor and David B. Warren.
Chambers Architects’ conceptual sketch for the bed for J-5 ranch. Research for Umland ‘s Hill Country Swiss German bed was obtained from “Texas Furniture” Volume 2 by Taylor and Warren.
Phases of design and fabrication of the master bed for the J-5 Ranch:
1. Research on period furniture
2. Sketches, selection and approval of the design
3. Dimensions and drawings for the furniture maker
4. Creation of a model from cardboard and chipboard to perfect the scale and dimensions
5. Selection of the walnut to be used
6. Decisions on grain and where to place the figured wood
7. Approval of the model
8. Cutting and carving of walnut pieces.
9. Assembly and refinement of the design and carving
10. Selection of color, finishes and patination.
11. Approval of color and finishes on wood samples
12. Application of stains, wax, and finish
13. Delivery to site
14. Assembly onsite
The gallery of photographs below demonstrates the steps that Chambers Architects took to collaborate with the client and furniture maker to develop the design and fabrication of the wood furniture. A future article will detail the fabrication of the wrought iron furniture with blacksmith Caleb Nolen at the Heritage Forge near Elm Mott Texas.