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Family pitches in on unique commission

Flammang Woodwork's construction of a Boston brownstone-inspired entertainment center is finished in eight weeks

Team Flammang

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Paul Flammang, principal of Flammang Woodwork in Centerbrook, Conn., has been busy building an eclectic commission for a Boston client with the help of his family members - a group he calls Team Flammang.

The commission, offered through Diamond Baratta Design in New York City, is an entertainment center featuring the facade of a brownstone building, representative of architecture from the Boston area. Made of curly maple and rosewood, the top half of the 'brownstone' disappears to reveal a flat-screen television.

Flammang accepted the order in November and was given an eight-week deadline. The design featured extensive detail, which Flammang says would have been impossible to complete without extra help. So he put out the call to his father, brothers and children.

"It was an opportunity to bring the family out again and work together. We've done this a couple of times for other projects where I've been on a tight deadline," says Flammang.

The brownstone replica features 280 hand-turned balusters and hides a flat-screen television.

Helping out in his 3,400-sq.ft. shop were Flammang's father, Donald, and brother, John, both from Black Canyon, Ariz.; his brother, David, a professional guitar maker in Greene, Iowa; and his children, Christopher, Joseph and Rose, all from Old Saybrook, Conn.

The construction details seemed endless. Once the carcass was built, the TV lift mechanism had to be installed. The 'bricks,' made with rosewood paneling, required the use of another shop's CNC router. "The carcass was the simple part," says Flammang. "All of the work was in the detailing of the front paneling. There are three sides, with 27 windows and over 200 balusters - all hand-turned."

The most difficult challenge was making the engineered drawings work with the actual piece.

"If you sat down with the drawings, you'd find out pretty quickly that you couldn't build it that way. The drawing is one-dimensional, and where you're working with curves like on the front of this cabinet, things don't want to align the way they are drawn."

Flammang got started on one-off pieces through his association with Diamond Baratta, which he's been working for the last 20 years building unique furniture designs in every shape and size.

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Team Flammang completed a similar piece, a replica of the old Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston, for the same client. Flammang says the statehouse was just as ornate, featuring 28 windows, 280 balusters and a dome, and took seven weeks to complete. Flammang jokes that it really seemed like one long day.

Each commission was worth about $60,000.


Flammang Woodwork, 13-3 Essex Industrial Park, Centerbrook, CT 06409. Tel: 860-767-7786. E-mail:

This article originally appeared in the February 2010 issue.

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