Carpenter Builds Pergolas to Kitchen Cabinets

| June 18, 2012 | 0 Comments

A PEDESTRIAN GATE on Windsor Blvd. is among James O’Fallon’s local projects.

Years ago James O’Fallon was a chemist working for Pepsi-Cola when an acting friend asked him to help out on a carpentry job. Eager to get out from the lab, O’Fallon agreed. He has been fine-tuning his skills ever since.

The master carpenter numbers among his projects simple desks handcrafted of solid hardwoods to a grand 200-seat amphitheater. But whatever the scale, his work has a one-of-a-kind, often historic quality which makes his skills popular among area residents.

There is the white pergola and pedestrian gate he built at a Windsor Blvd. home. It’s a fairly straight forward assignment, but a closer look shows the octagonal pattern in the gate is Jeffersonian in style. They are similar to ones found at the University of Virginia, says O’Fallon. (President Jefferson founded the university and was closely involved in its design.)

The amphitheater O’Fallon built is decorated with river rock and includes a redwood deck he made in a herringbone pattern. Designed by a Disney Hall landscape architect for a Pasadena couple, guests watch outdoor movies in the spacious landscape and they dine under a pergola, also built by O’Fallon.

His stand-alone pieces include a computer desk made of solid walnut. Single, large X’s carved on each side add visual detail as does a gothic arch underneath the desk meeting at its center. Maple drawers complete the work. Remove the computer and the piece doubles as a bar during parties at a Lillian Way home. “It’s a stunning, stunning piece,” O’Fallon said.

Another work of his at the home is the Dutch-“Mr. Ed”-door. Swing open the top half, and a shelf on the lower half door works as a pass-through for drinks and food during outdoor entertaining. He has designed several custom-built kitchens in the area’s early 20th century homes, merging original period pieces with modern cabinetry.

A Las Palmas Ave. homeowner, wanting a specific layout for her catering business, combined half of the original kitchen with the new.
Another resident had him build a cabinet to look like a hutch. An art piece brought back from India was added to the top giving it a more formal look. “It doesn’t scream kitchen,” says O’Fallon.

A fan of negative space, he refrains from the wall-to-wall cabinet look “to break up the uniformi… to make it something special.” His built-ins also combine old world with new. Bookcases for a condominium surround a flat screen TV to “clash modern technology with Gutenberg,” he says.

Wine chests, a children’s loft and playground and a fence at a Malibu beach home are also in his portfolio.

To reach him call 310-276-8032, or visit

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Category: Design, People

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