Ann & Mike in their Boylan Heights studio

The 2012 winner of NCMH's "Matsumoto Prize"

The Banbury House, Raleigh NC

The Banbury House, Raleigh NC

When you think of what a custom carpentry workshop looks like, we promise you you’re picturing Eidolon. A timber filled studio heated by a vintage wood stove, with saw blades and antique tools cascading the walls alongside vintage metal filing cabinets full of stains, sealers, and decades of inspiration. On any given day you’re likely to find owners Mike Parker and Ann Cowperthwaite discussing a new project over Ann’s famous ginger-carrot soup.

Ann, a sculptor, teacher, and affable personality, is the voice to the vision. She translates client’s hopes into instructional form for Mike, the engineer craftsman who matches complex systems and attention to detail, to produce a version of the original idea that more often than not exceeds client’s expectations.  

The studio, located in downtown Raleigh’s Boylan Heights neighborhood, contains selections of hardwoods harvested from certified tree farms, formaldehyde-free sheet goods, and non-toxic waterborne finishes. They’ve employed sustainable practices long before it was trending and they believe in uncompromising standards when it comes to materials and production.  Ann and Mike are mindful throughout the entire process - from vision, to production, to installation, ensuring successful integration whether it be an entertainment system architecturally engineered to rise from a concrete slab or a cantilevered concrete slab reception desk.

Bespoke shelving unit with gas fire elements below, engineered for  Buildsense's  custom design.

Bespoke shelving unit with gas fire elements below, engineered for Buildsense's custom design.

Bespoke technology stations designed for Snohetta's Hunt Library at NCSU

You’ll find their work in neighborhoods from Asheville to the coast and commercial projects from NC State’s James Hunt Library to Raleigh’s Crawford & Sons. Currently, they are working on a sculpture for the Gregg Museum of Art + Design, re-purposing two monumental oak trees that had to be removed from the grounds during the museum’s construction. You can learn about the conceptual inspiration, renderings, and process photos at The Gregg Tree Project.

Spiraling around the column will be the sandblasted Rilke poem, reading from bottom to top, earth to sky; posing an eternal question of individual quest. The spiraling words are meant to lift the face, draw the eyes upward, as the motion of vision when following the reach of a magnificent tree, making the connection of the rooted form to the vast, open expanse of sky. A most positive human stance.

I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world. I may not ever complete the last one, but I give myself to it. I circle around God, that primordial tower. I have been circling for thousands of years, And I still don’t know: am I a falcon, A storm, or a great song? - Rainer Maria Wilke, Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

The Assemblage Studio