Enchanted Homes

9 questions: Amos Barwick

Barwick's Red Willow Woodworks


What brought you to New Mexico and how did you start your business?

I moved from San Diego with my family in 1990 and started the family business with my father Mike and twin brother Ben. We built our woodworking shop in Angel Fire in 1999. My father already had an established business in California.

Are there things to consider when deciding to have custom cabinets in a home or office?

Design, finish and function. Today there are so many accessories you can put inside your cabinets, more than shelves and drawers. Some are rollout shelves, pull out trash cans, pantry pullouts, a Lazy Susan, file drawers and spice drawers. There are even drawers that open by an electronic motor which is activated by a slight push on the drawer. When I meet with a homeowner, I do a walk thru; we talk about layout, wood finishes and door styles. Sometimes we have the flexibility to move plumbing and appliances, or we build around what is already there.

Do you have favorite materials to work with and why?

Quarter Sawn white oak and cherry. They are beautiful and age nicely. We also work with pine, alder, hickory, walnut, vertical grain fir, maple and any other wood in clear and rustic grades. Things to consider when selecting wood is what they will look like after sun exposure, especially here in the Southwest. Walnut gets beached in the sun and tends to fade while maple turns yellow. Cherry turns a golden red while oak gets a tan patina over time. The wood used in cabinetry must be kiln dried; we use two lumber places in Albuquerque.

What is your involvement in the project, is it start to finish?

Yes, we are involved in every stage of the project. From design to material selection fabrication and installation.

Are there trends happening today in cabinet making?

There are painted and frameless cabinets but we can do every style of cabinet from traditional to contemporary, distressed to refined in a variety of finishes and wood choices.

Do you pick out your own material?

Yes, every piece of wood is sorted for color and grain. I look for the grain of the wood to flow throughout the kitchen, I like everything to match including the color and grain.

What kinds of finishes do you use?

Painted, stain and glaze and distressed finishes.

Why would someone choose custom cabinetry over less expensive box options?

You can get what you want with custom cabinetry, design, finishes and material. But we also carry two lines of semi custom cabinets.

Name a project you are most proud of and why?

The woodworking we did at the Cone residence in Taos Ski Valley. Everything from the staircase, Wainscot paneling and trim all done in a Bavarian theme. This was a once in a lifetime job, it was unique not the ordinary. We completed the project start to finish over a four-month period. We did all the trim work , and there is wainscot paneling 42 inches along the walls. We did all the doors and door casings as well.

We also worked on the Ford House in Black Lake. We custom designed and built a walnut entertainment center and a bookcase that was 19 feet wide and 14 feet tall. We also designed and installed the kitchen, it was a modern with a clean look. There are jobs I go back to that we did 10 or 15 years ago and they still look great.

I’m 39 years-old and have no plans to retire soon, I like the satisfaction of looking at a custom project done with real wood, designed with the client’s lifestyle in mind.


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