Joinery, Custom and Built-In

June 24 2015
Dominic Bagnato
Houzz contributor.
There is no doubt that built-in joinery has become one of the most fundamental design considerations in my own architectural practice. In fact, it probably dominates, with storage such an important requirement of every home. So, where did my fascination with storage come from? Luckily, for me, it was the design of my very first client’s home, where not everything went to plan. Upon completion, the house was put up for sale – it was a speculative home designed in the early 1990s. Fascinated about what people thought of my design, I attended the ‘open house’ incognito. I managed to follow behind two women who were eagerly critiquing my design, when one of them said: “You can tell a man designed this home,” to which the other replied: “It’s so obvious.” I just had to know – what did I do or not do? By the end of the inspection, it was quite clear. I had incorporated no storage, no linen cupboard, not even a place for a broom and dust pan. It was a definite eye-opener for an inexperienced junior architect.
So what has our practice become known for now, other than our architectural design work? Joinery and our huge consideration for solving storage solutions. However, there are two camps on how this can be achieved. There are those that believe individual bespoke pieces of furniture can solve your storage issues … and can be taken with you when you sell your home. I believe, however, that there should be a balance, or rather an imbalance, tipped towards more built-in joinery. Some furniture dates and in part reflects the period in which it was made, and not all furniture goes with every architectural style. Building in your furniture or joinery so that it is part of the house allows you to leave it behind and start again in your new home, knowing that what you left behind reflects that home’s persona and a new persona awaits.Let’s take a look at different types of built-in joinery in various rooms of the house, and how using it can elevate the functionality and aesthetics of pretty much any space.