Walnut Banco Seat Progress

Walnut banco seat during construction, ready for cushion top. (Credit: Robert Schutz)

Walnut banco seat during construction, ready for cushion top. (Credit: Robert Schutz)

Traditional banco seating is a familiar part of pueblo style architecture you see in the American Southwest. Often formed out of adobe or concrete and following the same organic “form meets function” tradition of pueblo and pueblo revival construction, bancos offer efficient, comfortable indoor and outdoor bench-like seating. Often referred to as banquette or bench seating in other parts of the world, many iterations exist.

Ancient Meets Modern

We wanted to create standalone furniture in the master bedroom that reinterpreted the traditional pueblo vernacular with modern, minimalist materials and lines. Page Kelleher from Santa Fe Modern Home was the perfect designer/fabricator partner. Two walnut side tables and the walnut banco seat in Adobe Oasis’s master bedroom are the result. We doff our hats to Page for her perennial enthusiasm and solution-driven design collaborations and to Robert Schutz, an able (and gentle) woodworker with both the communication and cabinetry skills to transform our visions into handsome, functional heirlooms. Robert sent us that photograph above to show us his progress. Almost done!

The rich hue and texture of walnut will interact with the viga ceiling and the darker-than-normal custom saltillo tile floors once this bench is installed. The rugged steel and leather elements balance practical, functional needs with an unadorned, organic aesthetic. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, the leather drawer pulls – designed by Steve Roberts in Barnstaple, England – echo the handles of old steamer trunks, a subtle paean to the golden age of travel and adventure.

When the cushion is finished and the walnut banco seat is installed in the Adobe Oasis master bedroom, I’ll add a new post with some finished photos.

Walnut Banco Seat, er, Dresser…

There was actually a fourth beautiful piece, a walnut and steel dresser, in this collection that we developed with Santa Fe Modern Home. But once installed we realized that we had underestimated the impact such a tall, dominant piece would have in the bedroom. We also underestimated the impact it would have of sight lines of the beautiful kiva fireplace. Fortunately experimenting with the dresser in the master bedroom helped us come up with the walnut banco seat with drawer storage as a more suitable alternative for the space. It offers ample storage, but is low enough that it blends with the profile of the king bed. And it’s the perfect place to sit and watch the fire before bed.

Bjorling-Grant Walnut Desk

Bjorling-Grant Walnut Desk

Bjorling-Grant Walnut Desk

Adobe Oasis is an escape from work and schedules and clients and deadlines. Adobe Oasis is — in a seductive, albeit addictive sense — the quintessential anti-office!

And yet, you may find yourself inspired to pen a postcard to a friend. Or compose a poem. Maybe even fine-tune a sonata…

For your flights of creative genius, Adobe Oasis offers you the minimalist luxury of a handcrafted walnut desk.

Birth of a Masterpiece

This handsome bureau was custom designed and built for you by Bjorling-Grant (www.bjorlinggrant.com), the brainchild of a Minneapolis-based traveler, collector, designer and “relic hunter” named Ian Grant.

The furniture we make in our Minneapolis workshop is all done piece by piece, from selecting the raw slabs of lumber – all either FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) certified or reclaimed wood – for each project to hand milling, hand sanding, assembling and shipping. It’s all custom work done to the buyer’s sepcifications based on our loose design ethics of a sort of modern-organic-mid-century appeal. (The Bjorling-Grant Story)

We turned to Grant for a unique bureau that will transport you away from your humdrum workaday associations and into a refreshingly creative mindset. The minimalist walnut desk in the Adobe Oasis guest bedroom is not about work. It’s about calm. Communication. Creativity. Reflection. This desk will inspire you!

Green Design: From Slab to Oasis

Adobe Oasis is a green (ecologically responsible, non-toxic) home. We take that pledge seriously! Recycling, repurposing and fabrication with eco-friendly, chemical free materials was top priority. In the case of this one-of-a-kind walnut desk, we found the perfect design+build partner in Ian Grant.

The middle slab (in the image of three slabs) is what we used for the drawer fronts – it looks spectacular in person… The walnut we will use for this project is all locally sourced here in Minnesota. All dead fall or taken down urban trees that we get from various tree service companies around the Twin Cities. As I’m sure you… [understand] renewable forestry and sourcing is a big deal to us. ~ Ian Grant

Instead of synthetically derived sealers that would outgas for years to come, we asked Grant to finish the desk with natural linseed oil. We find that 12-15 coats of wiped-on-wiped-off linseed oil applied with plenty of time to dry in between offers one of the most handsome (and least noxious) finishes available. In addition a linseed oil finish is easy to maintain.

The following photographs chronicle the evolution of the walnut desk from salvaged lumber to museum-worthy, masterpiece composition ready desk. (Note: Click on any image for larger lightbox view.)

Who is Ian Grant?

Ian Grant is a travel aficionado with a passion and gift for ferreting out remarkable artifacts. You may know him better as the relic hunter. If not, the following video offers a brief introduction. Enjoy!

Historic + Modern Vacation Rental in Santa Fe

Historic + Modern Living Room (Photo: Peter Ogilvie)

Historic + Modern Living Room (Photo: Peter Ogilvie)

Adobe Oasis’s Historic Eastside property (new location opening summer 2018!) offers authentic Santa Fe charm with century-old Pueblo Revival architecture and quintessential New Mexican design elements such as wood burning kiva fireplaces, viga ceilings, private courtyards with soothing fountains, and a traditional portal-covered patio.

Historic + Modern Vacation Rental

Totally renovated three times since 2008, Adobe Oasis is a modern vacation rental featuring lofty, natural light-filled rooms and an open floor plan with plenty of space for cooking, dining and entertaining. Luxurious green design (eco-friendly, nontoxic materials and furnishings) and user friendly amenities throughout the home pamper the most discriminating travelers.

Antique and contemporary décor mingle in a whimsical marriage of design and adventure. The owners offset original design+built furnishings (many commissioned by local Santa Fe artists and designers) and tastefully restored midcentury modern furniture with a meticulously curated collection of art and artifacts from all around the world.

Inside + Outside Santa Fe

Unwind in two enclosed, private outdoor areas with gardens, fountains, dining, lounging and grilling. The portals, patio, seamless inside/outside flow and lofty ceiling heights create an open, expansive feeling yet ensure your total privacy.

2013 Photo Gallery

Enjoy this photo gallery of Adobe Oasis before the redesign which will be completed in early 2014. Most of these images were taken in the late summer of 2013, just prior to the purchase of our Santa Fe dream home. New photographs will be posted over the coming months to document our green design improvements and top-to-bottom refurnishing.

Click thumbnails below to see larger photo.