In October, a new friend asked me if I would consider profiling five magnificent homes that are going to be featured on the Cathedral Tour of Homes in Atlanta this January. I happily agreed to the task, and it was a wonderful experience. All of the homes represented transformations in some way or another; four of the five homes had been significantly renovated at some point over the past five years, and one has been beautifully redecorated. As part of the process I had a personal tour of each home with the homeowners, and as much as possible interviewed the architects, designers, and builders.
During the course of my research and investigation, I kept hearing a name come up: Ray Goins. In this room (pictured above, my own photo), Ray was hired to finish the panels in the library as well as the fireplace surround. Ray created an aged effect that truly makes the room feel as if it has been there for a century.
I had to use a flash in this picture (so it appears lighter than reality), as the detail in the fireplace surround could not be captured without it (the fretwork was designed by architect Bill Litchfield). Ray recommended the color palette for the paneling; there is a subtle but noticeable gray-blue undertone to the finish that melds beautifully with the wood, and makes the room truly one of a kind. Ray also created the most spectacular painted floor in the newly created kitchen, complete with specifically designed wear patterns that make the space look as if it was original to the house (I don’t want to give away too much before the tour!).
The following week, I was in another home and had the opportunity to chat with Karen Menge of Pulliam-Morris Interiors, the talented interior designer responsible for the exquisite French inspired interiors in the home. Karen selected a Raymond Goins Memphis bed for the master bedroom suite, and it is a stunning focal point in a room that is filled with exquisite architectural details, fabrics, and furnishings.
After hearing Ray’s name again, I did some research, and learned that Ray is an artist and a furniture maker based out of Atlanta (his products are sold throughout the country); his company, Raymond Goins, creates furniture the way it used to be made, all hand crafted and hand finished. I contacted Ray, and he graciously invited me for a personal tour of his showroom and production facility.
And here he is, Ray Goins! It was a pleasure meeting him and getting a tour of his wonderful facility. What was supposed to be a one hour tour stretched into three hours; he is definitely a kindred spirit, and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with him about his craft and his designs. In this picture, he is standing in front of the antique apothecary chest that he uses to store the hundreds of finish samples that he has developed for his furniture and architectural finishes. I told Ray that this scene reminded me of the wonderful art store Cornelissen & Son, on Great Russell Street in London; the store has been in existence since 1855, and most of the paints are stored in cabinets like this.
A close up of a few of the finish samples (I love the Chinoiserie sample). As you can see, each drawer has a color category. Ray is truly an expert at color, which comes from his artistic background and in depth understanding of the properties of color. Ray often serves as a color expert on a project, and recommends color palettes for an entire house.
Ray is known for his beautiful, beautiful finishes, and for designers and architects ‘in the know’, Ray can create an aged look to both wood and mirrors that makes them look as if they have been in a home for 100 years. Ray also utilizes his deep expertise in historical finishes with a new line of ready-to-install, aged wood panels and distressed painted finishes for ceilings, walls and floors; these can be shipped anywhere in the United States.
In the showroom section of Ray’s operations, the verre eglomise “Marseilles’ screen on the wall was amazing to see in person – Ray turned the lights on and off to show how the screen transforms according to the lighting conditions. The screen is ‘reverse painted’ on a piece of glass (which is hand blown), and when the artwork is completed, the glass then gets hand silvered. From that point, the level of oxidation is controlled according to the client’s preferences for the amount of aging that is desired. The screen in this picture was oxidized in a specific way in order to achieve a golden coloration, but the range of capability is endless. Ray also used the verre eglomise process for other patterns, trompe l’eoil artwork, and landscapes/scenes. The screen in this picture has a beautiful depth and a translucent, almost ethereal quality that sets it apart from an ordinary piece of art.
This piece was another favorite of mine, the ‘Biscarre Etagere’. It is hand crafted and wrapped in linen or burlap (according to the desired look and texture); the surface is then honed and sealed to resist stains. It is available in many different colors, but this one spoke to me.
In my ‘behind the scenes’ tour, I got to see some new product offerings that Ray’s studio is working on. This is the Etruscan screen, designed to conceal flat screen TVs.
Here is an actual screen that is in process – this one has more oxidation, hence the more golden tones. These panels are assembled onto a wooden case that is framed out, and painted on the inside and out; rosettes are placed at the joining corners/sections. The TV is then housed in the piece.
Another piece that I loved – the Cosimo Demilune. The architectural fragments on the wall are antiques from France, and Ray is slowly but surely collecting them for this wall display. Also in this picture is a sneak peek of a new line that Raymond Goins is coming out with – it has not been named, but it is a ‘Raymond Goins by the foot’ type concept of trim and wall coverings, all made with natural elements.
A beautifully hand crafted trumeau from Ray’s line, created with old world methods that seem to be disappearing in this day and age: every piece in Ray’s line is hand made, hand finished, hand painted. As Ray said, he is creating furniture pieces that are designed to last for generations.
The other side of the room had a desk that was the most exquisite shade of Prussian blue – I couldn’t capture the beautiful tone effectively with my camera, it has to be seen in person to appreciate its luminosity. On the wall is a small preview of one of the hand painted screens that is a signature item from Raymond Goins, the perfect intersection of artistry and furniture.
To the side and behind the showroom is the warehouse, where the furniture is designed, made, and painted. Upon entering the warehouse I was greeted with this beautiful scene – five of Ray’s stunning hand painted screens. These screens are all custom crafted and the materials carefully selected. For example, the tree of life screen (second from the left) is hand painted by Ray and his skilled artisans on a stretched piece of leather – the specific piece of leather is very carefully selected for its grain and texture, as it must be quite smooth to be a painting support. The Italian Boar screen on the left is painted on burlap in order to achieve texture and depth.
Each screen is truly a unique piece of art, and can be customized to the client’s color specifications or even their personal artistic preferences. For example, the boar on the hunting scene (seen on the screen to the left) can be changed in any way, or can even be painted as a deer. The tree of life screen on the right was my favorite. Ray said that while painting each screen, there is a special moment, a special place on the screen where the art starts to come alive; it reminded me of the quote by one of my favorite artists Alfred Sisley - “Every picture shows a spot with which the artist has fallen in love”.
A peek into the product development area, where Ray and team work on prototypes. I immediately spotted the factory carts – they are from the early 1900s, and Ray bought them from an old furniture factory in South Carolina that was closing its doors. Ray and his team use them as their counterparts 100 years ago used them - to move furniture around the warehouse (they are not part of his line).
A few more stunning pieces from the Raymond Goins furniture line – this is the Radke Gothic Cabinet. The front panels are trompe l’oeiled verre eglomise – hand painted by Ray and his artisans.
The Paris bed by Raymond Goins. The frame features a limed finish, which is (without a doubt) my favorite finish for wood.
A custom creation for a Raymond Goins client – the Gothic swing. Note the pretty quatrefoil cut outs on the back. I am not sure why I love Gothic inspired designs so much, but they really speak to me.
Raymond Goins also has a lighting collection. This was my favorite – the scale and proportions are beautiful. The lamp can be custom painted in any color, and the base can be solid or created with a small hand painted scene (as seen in this picture). This is just a small selection of the furniture and lighting offerings from Raymond Goins – please visit his website (email subscribers, click here) for more information.
It was a pleasure to meet Ray and his staff. I found his personal story to be so interesting – he is first and foremost an artist, and that is where he began his career, but the extension into furniture was natural as his furniture is truly three dimensional art – after all, a beautiful piece of furniture must take into account scale, proportion, color, material, and beauty to be truly successful. All of Ray’s products are highly customized, and the company prides itself on its customer service and its ability to create totally custom furniture to suit clients’ specific needs. Raymond Goins products are primarily sold directly through the company, but the product is represented in a small number of showrooms around the country. For more information, first contact Raymond Goins - http://www.rlgoins.com • 1-877-944-6467 • firstname.lastname@example.org.
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