Why don’t you have more ordering specifications online?

Design Shoji Specifier Packet circa 1984

With so much information now online, people often ask us why we don’t put our Specifier Packet or our Wood and Insert samples online.    Our Specifier Packet has 13 wood/finish samples and 12 durable insert samples to select from.   Additional choices like acoustic liner, black-out material, rigid resin inserts, and C.O.M. fabric are also available.

Wood and Insert samples are easy; they are like paint chips.   You really need to see the actual wood and insert samples in the natural light of your interior to get an accurate feel for how your shoji will look.

Generally wood colors look half-a-shade to a full shade darker when held up to the light side by side with the shoji inserts.   Curiously enough, the shoji inserts do not look that very different when viewed from 6′ away;   this is a real surprise, as the individual 3″ x 3″ cuttings look radically different close-up.

Wood and insert samples

A few Design Shoji inserts/wood finish samples

So it is critical you view the actual samples in the room setting and from the perspective they will be installed at (ie in the vertical plane, not on a horizontal plane sitting on your desk).    We tell people to tape the samples to the wall or window where the shoji will go, and then just “live” with them until you come to a decision.   Glance at them at different times of the days and sunny vs. overcast days.   Just like paint colors, eventually one will look just right to you.

As for the Specifier Packet, we’ve struggled with how to best present the ordering process when we wrote it back in 1984.   There are just so many options, all dependent on what you are trying to do.  Take for example, something as basic as selecting sliding track.   At Design Shoji, that opens up so many possibilities…

Finishing details

Design Shoji tracks - custom milled details

We have our exclusive low-profile wood track and sheave system, our various grades of captured aluminum track in custom finishes, special pocket door track, our own boxed out aluminum track that conceals the metal so all you see is wood, or at the other extreme, beautiful stainless steel exposed flat track.   Then there are numerous related details such as motorization, panel pick-ups, center spline interlock where panels butt together on the same track, butt & pass corner details, fixed vs. semi-fixed vs. operable panels, panel returns, edge detailing on wood tracks, selecting fascia height, curved or railroad tracking…

So to put it in a nutshell, there really isn’t a way to package what we can build for you.   We basically start with your raw opening and ask a ton of questions to come up with what we think you will live living with the best.   Our greatest compliment is when our clients say, “Really?  I didn’t know you could do that . . . that’s exactly what I needed!”

So, the short answer is, specifying your unique custom door is a process between woodworker and client to get all the details right on the front end.   If you’ve got the desire for a distinctive shoji panel with all the “bells and whistles” a custom shop has to offer, you’ve come to the right place.   We work hard to help you visualize the possibilities and order what “fits.”   We honestly don’t know how to convey all the nuances in our Specifier Packet. I guess you could say we obsess about all the shoji details so you don’t have to. We do however, provide you with photos, appropriate samples, concept sketches and finally detailed shop drawings as we collaborate together on your custom shoji order.

In re-reading this post, which we first posted in 2010, I realize we are very old school.   Customer service on the front end is where we like to concentrate our efforts.   We do so because, just like Snow White, we look forward to the happy ending!

Please tell us what you would like to know about ordering custom shoji panels from Design Shoji in the poll below. We’ll do our best to streamline specifying/ordering for you. Thank you!
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