Building a Custom Art Deco Media Center

Introduction: Building a Custom Art Deco Media Center

About: Designer and builder of high end, custom fine furniture since 1989.

Originally drawn toward sculpture, Earl Nesbitt took a motorcycle trip around the country in 1989 to find a furniture-making and designing program. He ended up in an intensive one-year apprenticeship that began his business designing and building sculptural, fine solid wood furniture. Over the years his designs have become more and more intricate and unusual with his latest installation the most ambitious to date. These three cabinets for long-time, loyal clients have tested his skills and creative problem solving abilities.

Perhaps the most inventive piece of the three is the entertainment center, what the clients have deemed “functional art.” They wanted a piece that would accent the art deco theme present in their treasured radio. The finished product has now become the centerpiece of their living room. The top slab of the entertainment center is a striking combination of solid birdseye maple framed with solid wenge. The front has two center pocket doors and two side doors that pivot outward. Creatively solving the problem of the design of the front, Earl milled and then glued together multiple bubinga and lacewood bent laminate strips that were 1/16” thick to build the doors. Each door has 6 panels and each panel is made from 6 strips. The end result is a front made from over 300 strips of bent laminate. Dimensions: entertainment center 94” x 33” x 35”.

The designing process with these clients began in their dining room with another ambitious piece – an 86” circular dining table with a striking 2-inch thick zebrawood top and walnut base. The base has curly maple bent laminate slats. The table includes 10 matching chairs made from zebrawood, walnut, curly maple and bubinga pegs. The clients loved the table and chairs so much that they commissioned Earl to build two other cabinets to complete the dining room set. The corner cabinet has a sculpted zebrawood centerpiece. The cabinet’s visual impact is a quilted maple top with a 2-inch thick sculpted edge.  The cabinet has a solid walnut base and can be separated by removing the zebrawood centerpiece. Each cabinet has drawers, adjustable shelves, and zebrawood pulls. There is a lined silverware drawer in the smaller cabinet. Dimensions: smaller cabinet 72” x 21” x 37”; larger cabinet 82” x 21” x 37”.

Finally the china cabinet assumes an impressive fairytale image, with its front made from quilted and spalted maple doors and drawers with zebrawood pulls. The upper doors have glass inserts. Adjustable shelves. Dimensions: china cabinet 84” x 56” x 20 ½”.

Copyright 2011 by Earl Nesbitt Fine Furniture.



    • Tiny Home Contest

      Tiny Home Contest
    • Water Contest

      Water Contest
    • Fix It! Contest

      Fix It! Contest

    7 Discussions

    Earl, come on man, you're killing me here. This piece looks amazing! You made it with YOUR HANDS! That's so awesome!

    2 replies

    I absolutely LOVE art deco. This is the first instruction I have found for this style. Do you plan to put up instructions for other art deco pieces? Thank you so much.

    Simply beautiful. I hope to get around to making this one day. Consider it added to a long list of things I want to build. Thank you.

    1 reply