Getting to tour the facilities where some of the most beautiful carved wood products are made was worth clearing my calendar for the day. I felt like a kid getting to go behind the mysterious gates of Mr. Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Fascinating. It has that same sense of mystery, anticipation and excitement. I was waiting to see if the Oompa Loompas would appear.
Upon entering the wrought iron garden gates, a stone and brick pathway gently winds its way to the hand carved front doors of this authentic styled Tudor Castle.
Security was very serious. I have been sworn to secrecy not to reveal anything. Cameras were not allowed. These photos are courtesy from the Enkeboll web site. I toured the front offices, the showroom, the factory floor and the Master Carver’s wood shop. I wish I could show you photos of the employee kitchen. Let me just say, these folks are soooo happy to work here. Many have been with Enkeboll from 15 to 25 years. They are a lovely group of people. They treated us like family, so proud to show us around, and so helpful and really offering their help with future projects. I received first class service. Our tour guide, Felipe, who began his career with Enkeboll over twenty years ago as the lowest man on the totem pole; now runs the show as plant manager. He showed us the inner workings of the plant, and remember I am sworn to secrecy not to reveal trade secrets. So to keep “Willy Wonka’s Slugworth” at bay, sorry, but mums the word about the plant.
Upon completion of the tour, one of the highlights was getting to meet highly acclaimed, accomplished kitchen and bath designer and our guest speaker, Ellen Cheever, CMKBD. I have admired her work and contributions to our industry for a very long time. I considered her an industry giant and I have to admit, I was a little bit intimidated to talk with her. And so when she personally reached out to greet everyone who came, I was so impressed with her graciousness and wonderful kind spirit.
We were treated to an interactive creative design session learning to use molding in new ways. Mrs. Cheever was helpful in showing her own design mistakes with molding and tricks to avoid making them. We then formed into small think tank groups. We had the run of the molding showroom, coming up with new ways to use these amazing moldings. A designer’s candy store at our disposal. It was fabulous!
But wait, it gets better, I was able to work with the Master Carver, who created the Vineyard series. I learned how to correct a molding piece that was installed wrong. I learned the proper way to sand and hold carving tools. He was so patient, making sure I did not impale myself with his carving tools. Such a doll!
And so to end our day, back to the castle, we drank wine and delectable appetizers, and yes, there was chocolate! My very own Willy Wonka experience come true. However, there were no Oompa Loompas, (at least not during the day), and fortunately, unlike Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket tour, nobody in our group fell in the chocolate river, or got sucked into a tube, or turned blue, or sent down the garbage chute, or miniaturized. We did make new friends, chatted with other kitchen designers from Los Angeles and had an all together wonderful time. So thanks to John Pujol, President of Enkeboll, for opening your doors to us, and thanks to his wonderful staff and to Omega Cabinetry for giving us a golden ticket of an experience that I will never forget.