Heavenly Doors: Why Custom Doors Are Worth It

High-quality doors add value and beauty to a home, last longer, and can reduce sound-seepage. They look good, feel good. As long as you’re going to invest in them, you might want to consider customization. A custom door can be made to fit not only any size opening but also so many shapes—while incorporating pleasing touches like arches, angles, and glass inserts.

One Size Does Not Fit All

One hang-up people tend to have when considering the doors for their home is the assumption they have to stick with a standard size, especially for interior doors. But you’re bound to those dimensions only when you buy off-the-shelf doors. With handmade doors you can go big, really big. You can also opt for doors that slide open, barn-door style, rather than swing open. Or you can go for the arched look that adds height and drama. A door that colors outside the lines in these ways adds instant drama.

The Devil Is in the Details

With custom doors, you also get select hinges, decorative nails (aka, clavos), knobs, and pulls. You’d be surprised what a difference this hardware makes. Basically, you treat the door like a canvas, and the result is a work of art.

Durability by Design

We handcraft the rails and stiles for our doors with materials and techniques that prevent warping. The jambs are just as important, framing and complementing the door and taking a lot of wear and tear, so we put just as much energy into crafting them with style and durability.

Changing the Tone of Your Home or Room

You can select from single-species or multiple-species wood design as well as a variety of hand-applied finishes. Working with these variables, you can easily warm up or cool down a room. (Note that not all wood species work well together, but our designers offer great guidance in selecting combos.)

A Touch of Glass

Adding clear glass adds sophistication, imparting a sense of space, openness, and accessibility. If preferred, textured/art glass can be used to allow in light and create warmth without sacrificing privacy. Again, think of the door as a canvas.

Brunsell Lumber - Custom Doors

The doors to your home, and to the rooms in your home, set the tone for what lies beyond them. They are the perfect opportunity to make a style statement. Whether from scratch or from inspirational photos/drawings you bring to us, we can design a just-right door for you that has both a pleasing look and pleasing feel. Forget run-of-the-mill doors and try custom milled doors instead!

Hole in the Wall: Our Little Place that’s Not So Little

You’ve heard the phrase hole in the wall, right? Maybe you’ve used it to describe your favorite tucked-away bar with the best Old Fashioned. Or the little fabric store in your hometown that sells vintage designs by the yard. Or the breakfast café with twelve tables and two waitresses that bring extra bacon, just because. At any rate, you know what is: a small, usually modest place—often one that’s way better on than inside than one might expect from the outside.

Our Madison mill and lumber yard aren’t particularly small, but they do appear that way to drivers passing by us. We’re tucked behind the Verona Road Home Depot and its neighboring stores and it’s sometimes difficult to see going 55 mph on the Beltline. In that regard, we might look like a little hole in the wall. But here are some of the things you’ll find inside:

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We work hard to craft and carry beautiful things—pieces with gorgeous curves, lines, and other details. Not only are our finished pieces eye candy but so also are the architectural “ingredients” we carry. These include a vast array of cabinets, countertop surfaces, cabinet hardware, decking, railings, stair parts and more. If you’re renovating or constructing a room or home, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store here.

Our place is also a nice sensory experience, rich with colors and the smell of wood. But that fragrance isn’t all from the stuff in the showroom. It’s carried over from our expansive mill located just behind the showroom.

“I had no idea all of this was back here!”

We hear that a lot, even from people who’ve made a million runs to the Home Depot that neighbors us. Yet our mill is actually an impressively big and elaborate operation, where wood varieties of all kinds, fresh from the forest, are artfully crafted into stunning pieces and parts of a home. We are well known for our high-end work, which comes as the result of having the best tools and equipment wielded in the best hands in the biz. From our door shop to our cabinet shop, from custom closet-making to custom moldings, beautiful things are forged here by talented craftsmen who genuinely love their work:

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If you haven’t visited our showroom and mill, consider this your invite. Now that the worst of the construction on Verona Road at the beltline is complete, it’s a lot easier to get to us again. And we’re confident you’ll learn we’re the kind of “hole in the wall” you’re glad you found.

Stairway to Heaven: Custom Stairways from Brunsell

Lucky you, if you have a home with more than one story. You get to have a stairway. And a stairway is one of very few large architectural elements in a home’s interior that adds as much beauty as it does functionality. It’s much more than a way to get from floor A to floor B.

Brunsell Lumber - Custom Stairways

A home’s stairway is kind of like a stage. It’s where the wedding-day photos are taken. It’s where the teenager descends, decked out in prom attire, against the backdrop of sweet portraits going back to kindergarten. It’s where little pajama-clad bodies appear way too early on Christmas morning, eager to check their stockings. Yes, there’s a lot of sentiment wrapped up in a good stairway.

So, what makes for a good stairway?

  • It’s safe and functional. Stairways designs can get pretty wild, often downright impractical. That quirky, gorgeous stairway you spotted on the Internet may make your heart go pitter-pat, but would it pass– with the building inspector? A good stairway is one that balances aesthetics with physical safety and functionality. But it’s not just the building inspector you need to consider. You must also think about the people that will be using the stairs in your home. Young children? Pets? Seniors? Some designs, such as those with open risers, might not be the best choice for these users.
  • It fits the style of the house. Some homeowners like the idea of mixing up styles: a little roaring ‘20s mixed with a little 1890s farmhouse, for example, can simply mean a crystal chandelier against a backdrop of reclaimed barn wood. Nice! Just don’t monkey around with a new style when it comes to a stairway. Stairways are an integral part of a home’s architecture, so they should be the same style as the rest of the architecture.
  • It adds character and interest. Keep in mind that it’s not just the stairs themselves that add interest. It’s also the space created around them. You can turn the space under the actual stairs into a manner of things. Cabinetry and shelving are both popular choices for this space. Or you could use it as a reading nook, a little bar, closet space, or…

Custom Stairways are one of the things our designers most enjoy designing. That’s because stairs offer seemingly endless ways to add pizzazz to a home while often presenting some mind-bending design challenges. We like a challenge! It’s gratifying to meet with a client and find the perfect intersection between aesthetics, home style, city building codes, geometry, and the laws of physics. When you work with us to create your home’s staircase, you can select from our large inventory of standard stair parts, or let us design a custom stairway that reflects your personal style. Check out some of our custom stairways here, and let us know when you’re ready to talk about the perfect stairs for your home!

Why a Custom Fireplace Mantel?

In cold climates like Madison, there’s nothing like a night by the fire. On top of the ambiance and warmth, a fireplace gives a mantel a reason for being. Mantels are under-appreciated in the design stages of a lot of homes, but they are easy to update and can make a huge difference in the aesthetics of a room.

Why are we thinking about mantels? Maybe because we know mantels get more attention around the holidays—stockings hung with care, a string of lights from corner to corner, maybe a glass of milk on the ledge for the man in the red suit. It seems like a good time to point out that mantels can actually serve as a focal point for any room all year. The fireplace naturally draws attention in any room already, and the mantel typically does the nice job of pulling room accessories up to (or near) eye level.

We create gorgeous, one-of-a-kind, custom fireplace mantels in our mill, giving attention to each curve and line and groove to create something that’s more than just functional. We want the end result to do for your crackling fire what the perfect picture frame can do for a cherished photograph: pull it all together.

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We work with customers to design something that will complement the overall aesthetics of their fireplace and its surround. Our mantels can be designed by our skilled craftsmen to fit any shape or size of fireplace. And they can think outside the box with you to create something unique to your home.

For inspiration, try checking out some great mantel designs on Houzz and Pinterest. Then stop by and see what’s in our showroom and portfolio. It’s a great time to get a mantel that’s more than a supporting actor in your Christmas decorating!

Former Glory: Custom Millwork for Historic Reproductions

The city of Madison is nearly 170 years old. That’s just a baby by European standards, but in its time, it has accumulated many buildings of historic architectural significance. Look to the Queen Anne, prairie-style, and period-revival homes of University Heights. Look to the 1920s bungalows of the Marquette District. Look the Victorian houses of Mansion Hill. In Madison, you can see the gorgeous work of Keck and Keck, George W. Maher, Frank Lloyd Wright, and other nationally known architects. In fact, more than two dozen architectural styles are represented by the many homes here on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. Continue reading

Replacing Your Kitchen Cabinets

Do you walk into your kitchen and look around and let out a loud sigh? Are you thinking, this just doesn’t work for us, and it’s time to do something about it! We understand that feeling and want to offer you a way to make some changes to the kitchen starting with what is probably the biggest part of your kitchen, the cabinets. Any kitchen remodel should start here and Brunsell Lumber and Millwork can help with custom designs or with one of our many quality cabinet lines. We can also help with quick fixes such as just replacing your kitchen cabinet doors and the hardware. Continue reading