67 Gray Street exterior siding remodel


On returning to 67 Gray street, which I gutted and remodeled 5 years ago,  I convinced the owner it was time to turn his tyvek sided exterior into a real siding remodel.  Over my vacation I put in a few days and this is how it went.


This is was what it looked like when the new owner took this home under his wing


  what-happened-to-the-walls2   back-part-loses-skin  slidderoutside


tyvek  cedarbreather2

The yellow stuff is 'cedar breather' which helps give a venting space between siding and the tyvek

The yellow stuff is ‘cedar breather’ which helps give a venting space between siding and the tyvek


the homeowner putting in some 'cutman' time

the homeowner putting in some ‘cutman’ time


siding  siding2


Pretty simple materials, Pine shiplap boards, galvanized metal wainscoting with a chair rail, and Pine stained fascia boards.  For a reasonable price, coming from local lumberyards and mills I think it looks a heck of a lot better than the tyvek!  done  done2  done3

Follow up on 67 Gray Street Remodel


I recently returned to follow up on 67 Gray Street remodel to photograph the results.  There were a number of talented finishers that all helped to make this design become a very nice home.

Dining room Before


Dining room After


dinning2   dinning4      dinning3   porchview   ceiling2

Ceiling with old beams, new pine ceiling and drywall soffits

Kitchen Before


Kitchen After

kitchen3  kitchen2   kitchen

Living room Before

fireplace   2ndfront

Living  room After

fireplace    livingroom2


New Hall and staircase

 hall    stair2nd  stair                       stair-3rd

New 3rd Floor Office and Bedroom



Wood stove heat exchanger, pretty hot

I  want to report some news about the integration of a wood stove heat exchanger into my brother’s shop, WerkHaus (see the project here), that I designed and built.
Yep, my brother has finally finished off the heating system with the help of Norm Walters, a radiant heating tech. Its kind of exciting because its the final product of a giant experiment started about 4 years ago. To get the overall picture of the scheme of the heating system, please see this pic first. Oh, and this one, too.  These diagrammatically say a lot about the general idea we had years ago.
Originally we started with radiant heat tubing in the concrete slab and Phil used a wood stove up until this fall to heat the building using the fan systems to move heat around the building. This really was lacking though because Phil has to work on cars while on a dolly on the slab, which is really kind of cold down at that level. So, he knew that getting the slab up and running as the heat source would be the ultimate solution.

Phil is on a budget, so a typical on the wall, on demand propane condensing boiler was out of the question, at least for now. Originally Phil and I came up with an idea…What if the wood stove came with a heat exchange manifold? Would this do the trick and provide enough heat to run the slab? Well the answer is yes, but it isn’t quite that simple. Norm Walters filled Phil in on the possible scenario that might make it all work. What it comes down to is you need a tank to store the heat and this tank it was decided needed to be well insulated and preferably do some heating, too. So a couple of years ago, Phil purchased this unit.
Then he had Norm hook up his wood stove, which came with a very simple heat exchange coil by using a typical manifold and pump system like this…. Well to make along story short, he got this hooked up to the slab with a typical manifold system and ran it straight off the wood stove, but guess what? It just wasn’t enough of a heat coil on the stove to make it work or run warm enough. So, he resorted to running off the electric hot water heater, and guess what? His electric bill went nuts. So, Norm found a copper coil from some old refrigerator unit and installed it on the top of Phil’s wood stove to increase the heat capturing capability of the stove and water tank. I am making this sound all quite simple but in reality, it took some fiddling and some pumps, and gauges, and sensors, thermostats, and electric meters to make it all work, along with some rather confusing diagrams…I can’t figure it out too much, but what I do know is that Phil is quite happy with the fact that he is running his concrete slab with the wood stove and looks to save some electricity this winter. He sounds kind of excited about it and I would have to say that makes me happy. With some work, it is possible to make these systems happen and it does help to have a radiant heat techy on hand like Norm.

See if you can figure it all out from the the pictures I provided. I understand the concepts, but am not really on top of the electrical and plumbing part.  I believe with the proper research, the integration of a wood stove heat exchanger into homes could save on the heating in your home, too.

New Transparent Awning for home completed

Each transparent awning that I design is unique.   Every awning has a specific purpose.  My designs take into consideration orientation to site specifics such as daylighting, storm drainage, and how it structurally adapts to your home.

Door entryways should be well-lit. Typical awnings create a dark alcove.  To avoid this, I build many of my transparent awnings for home s with 1” polycarbonate panels.  This type of awning celebrates natural light by allowing the sunlight through.  Polycarbonate is also strong, flexible, and slick, which helps the awning to shed snow efficiently.

Greenovision transparent Awning for home s are designed
to be aesthetically pleasing, fitting to
the style of your home, as well as
performance oriented.

More Here

Movable garden Blog is up!

Our new blog for Movable gardens is up! Take a look- you could be growing veggies on your apartment deck!

Desk and Bookshelves for my folks

Well Just finished this beautiful desk for my Folks. It was the last detail to their new home that I designed and built several years back. You can see other parts of this home by following this link.


lgcomputerdrawer lgentry lgfolkscomptray lgfolksdesk lgfolksdeskdrawer washdryweb washdryopen


Historic Remodel in October

Well some new photos…. Built the new deck and staircase to the second floor.Emily and Carlos have painstakingly almost finished the Tongue and groove ceilings.Jon has been working hard in all directions physical and mental pondering financial difficulties, and scrap’n the old siding off… hang on Jon! step-4-755832




Some of the Northstar woodworking custom made windows have been delivered by Scott Reeves himself. We are slowly putting them in… its not like slamming in new windows into a new house… this is fussy stuff.There is a lot of prep work in order to get the new windows into the old holes, seems like it takes every tool we have to get it done too.


When we started in on the front of the building there have been staging issues… how do we get way up there to put that top window in?And when we finally got staged ‘way up there’ we realized there was no sense to just put in the window so this opened up a can of worms.Remove old siding, scrape old paint, paint trim… etc.In any case some of the work has revealed good news like the high gable wall is sided with a beautiful ship lap fir … and that the siding is maybe save-able with the right paint and putty.



It’s gradually getting colder here in Portland and we are working faster and harder to get ‘her/him’ closed in before the cold howling winds of Canada come.


Also to note … Emily and I have unfortunately become commuters for the month of October… driving down everyday from Harpswell area for the days work… I have to commute and it makes me feel stupid.It’s a whole 2 hours of our day to make the drives and pretty much has ended our ability to have an hour run or bike each day… oh well this isn’t for ever we tell ourselves, and it is a beautiful place to wake up.


To anyone interested out there… we don’t mind folks stopping by to see us… its lonely on this kind of job, isolating , and mind numbing hours… so drop by and rip a piece of old green siding off… we would love it!  


Latest . manifolds..concrete, ceilings, and cellar insulation


And for those wondering about the pics of me and the guys sitting around from last blog entryno we don’t just sit around all day drinking beer. That’s an after work duty. Next 67 Grey st. Blog Here

Historic remodeling needs a new crew

Well a new crew came to help…blacky the cat,

Carlos from Manhattan, and Tucker too.  These photos are a testimony of much work, not all fun, but hell its a job that is finally cleaning up. I love to bore people with images of insulation…about as boring as installing it…just ask Emily and Carlos they love to insulate…its insulting.

A work in progress

Hi all, just merrily working away here, wanted to throw a few images up of our furring and insulation job….I know extremely interesting….not!

And a word of advice for all of you out there looking to buy a ancient decrepit historic building…please if you do….don’t call me I am up to the elbows in filth and soot. Emily puts it that the building takes a crap every night, and it sure seems like it. Every day there is a new coating of filth on the floor after having cleaned it the afternoon before. I think of it as puke myself, the building is rather bilious. So if you like dirt, filth, decay, rot, mold, gross smells, buy one of these historic warships… a building like this is all about spending a whole bunch of cash just to remedy it, and pay for dumpster removal…oh by the way we are on dumpster 6 or 7…losing track now… and the house keeps puking it up.

Oh and another word of warning…dont be like the past ‘craftsmen’ and keep adding layers to a problematic interior…remove and rebuild otherwise the frame gets so loaded up with weight that it contorts the structure….these old buildings were not designed structurally, and they were really not designed to hold up 3 to 4 times of remodel layers. I guess ‘craft’ over the years in this building was about who could buy a 10 lb bag of nails and pound ’em home every day. Nailing is a small part of construction and remodeling…Sometimes folks ask me are you recycling materials from the building? Well believe you me I would if there was a damn thing worth saving …this building consists of mostly puke covering a skeleton that has been oh so stressed.

Again dont call me on this sort of building. Life is just too short for historisism.