We did it all for the Fishys!
Good morning lovely! :)
I was reorganizing some of my project files and pictures and stumbled upon a gem. One that, sadly, I've not shared with a buddy. :)
If you're anything like me, after reading the title, I know you've got the late 90's song, "We did it all for the nookie" by Limp Bizkit stuck deep in your head!
Three years ago I made a bomb ass post called "A GUD Lighting Idea, DUN!" it was a really cool job, one that I was super proud of. The skinny of that post was about being hired by Gud clients to install some artwork... from there the relationship blossomed so much that they let me reinvent their living room.
She said have fun... so I did.
Here's a super short video showing what I did:
This will help understand where I'm going with this awesome story! :) A year or so later she reached out to me saying she needed another piece of art hung and also had a neat idea but she didn't know where to take it and needed my creative perspective. When I got there she showed me her personal collection of glass figurines she had gathered over the many years. They had been moving into their home from the east coast and while unpacking (cause it takes time) she came across this collection. I feel like a dud because I did not take a picture of what she had... and it was super cool! to help convey the details, I'm reluctantly using this stock image hahah!
There in front of me, vulnerably exposed, was a vast collection of these super detailed glass figurines. Like talking to a person with many tattoos, or a wild scar here and there, each one had their own personal memory. It was a little stressful holding each one, but damnit man! it was a fun time. She said that she really likes these and used to have them in a hutch on display but when they moved to AZ they started over with new furniture. Now a history of memories is locked away in a box tucked in a safe corner in the closet. Like a forgotten toy on toy story, or an unused tool (like in my shop) they all have feelings that are lef0 alone, they quietly wither away with each passing moment. Likely not to be discovered again until one moves away. So there we are, she says I'd like them over there near the pool table area, but I don't know what to do.
She had become very fond of the pool table room after a creative idea came across my head. I suggested she look online to find some neat stainless steel floating shelves, like a mantel, but not. It needed to be big enough to hold a beer, or 7, so you could watch a college football game and also play rounds of pool. She took me up on that idea! Then once she did get them and I was installing them, my wise ass said...
you know what?! lights underneath these would be really cool!!
She said yes! so we did! :)
Having already earned a lot of creative trust with her and her husband, we spent a chunk of time sharing out ideas. We all bounced between walking to a wall and back into our phones looking for something. I had my tape measure out, blue tape, and stud finder. You'd think we were on a treasure hunt! She had her heart set on a plastic like case that could openly display them, but they were odd in shape and cost an ass-ton, all with little win for the expense. Then she started asking about lighting them and how we could pull that off.. I was like man! Random studs, dust, drywall cutting.. all for a plastic enclosure! all I could hear in my head was the plasticky creaking the doors would make. How unsatisfying it would be to open it. This was a lifetimes collection of incredibly colorful glass art pieces, not some dry baseball cards or diecast model set.
There had to be a better idea!
Suddenly it hit me! I asked, do you know what is behind this wall?
She said I think it's the bathroom, or it might be our closet. Man! the creative juices were flowing! Again! grabbed the tape measure, found a landmark we could measure to.. then again! like reading a treasure map.
it was the closet!
I said, how would you feel if we cut in a hole in wall where we could build our own enclosure? Also, picture this: it will be built of super crystal clear glass shelves, with a solid 1/2 tempered piece glass right in the front. No pool ball or pool stick will harm the finish. With having access from your closet. we can design a panel that can come off the wall allowing us to fill it with all your figurines while keeping the front entirely fixed. Instead of using a blank panel, the rear panel will be again, a crystal clear mirror, accompanied by super bright, but dimmable LED lights. Using a mirror it will explode with light and also reflect your collection making it appear twice as big! All while allowing you to see behind the decorative glass pieces. To top it off, we'll get have a piece of stainless-steel cut out to wrap the enclosure up making it appear to be part of the curved stainless-steel shelf AND! AND! it will literally be built into the wall. Then I showed her my phone. :)
I said, we can call this a "Static Aquarium" I ended it by saying, from your pot here in the living room, you will always be able to see them!
She was thrilled!! :) followed by her infectious laugh she said,
I knew you would think of something! When can we get started?!
a direct perspective from Sarah's spot :)
This is that story! :)
Given the custom nature of the project I needed to nerd out hardcore. This meant taking precise measurements and not ordering anything until I knew exactly what was going to be required. So did what any nerd ass designer builder would do... I took my fair share of dimensions! :)
Back in my office, I took this info and nerded out even more!
A: Design tunes from my favorite epic soundtrack scores B: Dimensions from my pics C: The culmination of creativity like playing the damn piano!.. but graphics and measurements are my music!
Even though it's only me doing the fabrication and installation, it was important to me that "I" knew what the hell I was doing, while also sharing with my customers what we were getting into.
Note the extreme nerderyness! I even had to include what baseboard looked like. lol! Design closure! Knowing the overall details were very crucial. I keep mentioning "crystal clear glass". Normal glass is clear, however, the leading edges are not. All glass has remnants of copper inside it. When this happens the edges become green. Since we were trying to show off how amazing the colors were, we could not risk a green hue affecting the overall look. Not only is this "Starphire" glass incredible to look through, shit is also expensive. I needed to make damn sure I knew what we were getting into before ordering. Material day!! :) I'm not sure if everyone feels this way, but damnit man! I love picking up custom designed material! It brings a lot of excitement! :) and it's kinda like holding a baby! :) Check out those leading edges! :) NO GREEN!
Now that I had the glass and stainless-steel skirt, the next step was install day! :) Nothing makes for a successful installation without ridiculous assembly instructions!
Without my drawings! buddy! Has to be similar to how a Police Officer feels without their gun! :) The drawings made a huge difference! and made for an incredibly smooth fabrication/installation :) Hole on pool table side
Hole on closet side
Now I could fabricate the inside frame.
The left and right would have grooves cut out to hold the glass shelves and the tops would hold the foundation for the heavy front piece of glass and the back mirrored panel.
not bad if I say so myself!
Now time to dry-fit and tune up.
Can barley see the edges of the glass!! Although at this point I was far from done, I was giddy with excitement! Now for the rear enclosure fabrication.
I inserted the 1/2 piece of tempered glass on the front and slid on the floating shelf.
By this time I could hardly contain myself! I was laughing and talking nothing but excitement! Dude it was awesome! So now that everything fit, next step was to paint the inside pieces and then get started on the electrical requirements. I would bounce between spraying the wood then go back to electrical. I would do this for every 20/30 min until the cans of paint were gone, ensuring there was no grain seen on the framing.
Shit looks SOOOO good! Man, I'm laughing as I recall this breakdown. Now that everything was good and set, next is the fun details.
"MAN KNITTING!" = LED lighting! :) :)
I was compelled to take this picture. :) Again, more self-inflicted jobsite laughter. Clients must have thought I was losing my shit!?! haha!
Oh my gosh bro!
Can you feel the excitement in my long waited for anticipation?!?!!?
Designing shit, then building it, then actually putting it together, like this?! DUDE! It's like a premonition of the future... but instead it came from my computer! and now is a reality :)
All dialed in!! :) Works like a charm! :)
Upgrade day! Remote control for all the LED lights... from the Kitchen, TV Wall, Mantels, and now the Aquarium. :)
Next step was to meticulously handle and set up the glass figurines. This took some time, but it was a very fun engaged time with Sarah and her memories. :)
Note this bottom corner... designed with spectacular precision! :) :)
The intent behind the glass was that it lay 100% flush with the finish of the drywall. This made for a flawless installation of the stainless-steel skirt we put around it, locking in the heavy 1/2" tempered piece of glass.
Second to last step next was to caulk the SS-skirt, paint it to the wall, then remove the protective covering...
Final step, slide on stainless-steel mantel and twist the LED wires together.
Hot. Damn. Shit!
I amaze myself sometimes! hahah
It looks SOOOOOOO GGGUUUUUDDD!!!!!
Here I show a close up video. No talking in this one cause I get stage fright when customers are watching. lol! But you get the detail behind the video. :)
We did it all for the Fishys! Yeah! Yeah! the Fishys! ....
We did it!... So Josh, there's this blank wall outside, the one right across from the pool table. Wait, what? (insert bumped record sound here)
Yes, I found a really cool art piece that is a bunch of aluminum fishys. I want them on the wall here to go with my new aquarium.
Think you can figure something out?
Hmmm.... and you probably want that lit up with lights too, am I right?
If you can, that would be amazing! :)
Standby for amazing! lol :) I found some distressed shiplap and SpongeBobed them up!
More man knitting :)
This moment literally felt like I had a table full of fish! I could almost smell it! haha! :)
A little logistical dance of "hmmm"...
A few days later I made it over to their house to put the final touches on the wall. Goodness this turned out great! :)
We did it all for the fishys! yeah! We straight up did! :)
AND hot damn what a turnout :) All my friend Sarah said was "To have fun"... So we did! :) That was a fun revisit of creative effort. I'm happy I could share it with a buddy. :) Have a grateful weekend! Chas and I are here if you need anything.