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Summer 2023

For Business and Pleasure

Words by Andrea Darr  |  Photos by Nate Sheets

A woodworker customizes his home for family—and potential clients.

A

fter living in the same house for 24 years, Bob and Lisa Gillpatrick were ready for their next chapter. With their four kids grown up, it was time to think about a new lifestyle that would bring everyone back home.

“We wanted to build a house to attract our kids and grandkids,” Bob says.  

There was also a secondary motivator. As the owner of Gillpatrick Woodworks, Bob wanted his home to be a showcase of his work—the creative possibilities were endless…and also paralyzing. 

“I may have overanalyzed everything,” Bob says. 

He and Lisa both wanted a sleek, modern and moody kitchen but questioned whether that style would attract or deter potential clients. 

“We had to find the balance of creating a showhome and a home that Lisa could live in,” Bob says. 

“I hate dusting,” Lisa chimes in. “I am a minimalist and I don’t feel that modern needs a lot. The fireplace is unique; the cabinets are unique—and that’s enough.” 

The house couldn’t have just any old cabinets or wood treatments. Bob was going to build it all in his shop. (Except for the hardwood floors; those he left for Acme Floor Company.) But he came up against another fine line to balance. 

“I didn’t want people to walk in and go, ‘Oh, this is a woodworker’s house’—in a bad way,” Bob says. “It was a lot of pressure because it’s a show home. It had to be really special.”

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The project started with the interior doors. One of Bob’s closest industry contacts, Troy Moore of Madi Mali Homes, showed him a set of 9-foot-tall solid white oak doors that were available from another project—and he was inspired. Troy was hired to  build the house after plans utilizing those doors were drawn up by architect Wolfgang Trost. Interior designer Kristen Ridler also joined the team to help keep Bob’s woodworking ambitions in check.  

Bob mentally walked through each room and envisioned various creative solutions. Every detail down to the trim was carefully considered. 

“There’s not a lot of trim,” he notes. “What is there is clean and simple. People think that’s easy, but it’s really a challenge, design-wise and fabrication-wise.”

He agonized over the veneer selections. Veneer is real wood, sliced thin. It’s used especially for rare wood species, which Bob wanted to highlight here. From one tree, the flitch is cut and stacked in order  to be consistent throughout. Using this method, you get more square footage out of it. 

Bob ended up using several types of wood, end grains and stains that, while different from each other, create a cohesive whole that draws attention but isn’t overpowering. 

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous price hikes, manpower shortages and long furniture lead times were all part of the process.

“I learned a ton from the customer side,” Bob says. “Even normal construction can be frustrating.”

And how have his clients responded to the end result? 

“Lots of people have asked if we’d sell the house to them,” Lisa says.  

@gillpatrickwoodworks 

@madimalihomes 

@kristenridlerdesign

website: wolfgangtrost.com

Resources

Architect: Wolfgang Trost Architects 
Interior Designer: Kristen Ridler Interior Design 
Contractor: Madi Mali Homes 
New Home Community: Southern Lakes 
Real Estate Agent: Doug Mitts

Cabinets and Closet: Gillpatrick Woodworks 
Countertops: Central Surfaces 
Electronics: Nebraska Furniture Mart 
Flooring: Acme Floor Company 
Lighting Fixtures: Wilson Lighting

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