New website under construction!

New website under construction!

If you’re hearing crickets on the Greenovision Blog, don’t worry- we’re still around! Our spare time is currently being used to build a new & improved website. We’ll be excited to share the new site when it’s ready, so please stay tuned. We’ll try to update our blog as time allows, but to keep up with the latest Greenovision news, be sure to check out our Facebook and Instagram pages as well as use the sign up form to receive our quarterly newsletter.

Crimson Bluffs: A few more interior photos

Crimson Bluffs: A few more interior photos

Mark went to Townsend in mid-February to take interior photos of the Crimson Bluffs Home as the interior finishes are finally complete! We’ve posted most of the photos and a better description on our website here, however, we have a few more to share here on our blog. We along with the homeowners are thrilled with how beautifully this home turned out. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this project including Katie the homeowner, who did an amazing job organizing the interior design. The style of this home is modern rustic. On the day that the photos were taken in February, this passive solar home was soaking up the sun’s natural energy, yet staying at a comfortable temperature.

The upstairs of this home has an open kitchen, living room, and dining room with a vaulted ceiling and 360 degree views of the Missouri River, various mountain ranges, and the Crimson Bluffs Hillsides.

Modern Kitchen

All of the custom finish work and built-ins were crafted by Dan Harrigfeld of Cadillac Custom Cabinets of Townsend, MT.

Daylight interior

The natural wood ceiling gives the home a bright and organic feeling. The lumber used is basswood, which was brought to Montana by the homeowners from their native home of Minnesota- a homage to their roots.

Douglas fir cabinets

The upstairs powder room is simple and clean. The high rectangular operable awning window provides privacy as well as a spectacular view of the Missouri River.

Daylight Powder room

View of the powder room from the open living room with the mudroom in the background.

Douglas fir doors against white walls

The railing of the open stairs leading to the lower level of the home. Notice the fun pocket windows along the west-facing wall. They were specifically designed to minimize the amount of glaring western sunlight entering the home and provide snippets of views of the beautiful hillside behind. They serve two other important functions: senses of security and privacy. The homeowners can see from their kitchen and living room small views of the road and who is entering their driveway, but drivers-by cannot see in.

Pocket windows

The stairs were designed and built by Marks Lumber of Clancy, MT and were installed by Dan Harrigfeld.

Open wood staircase

A view of the lower level family room looking out onto the eventual south-side patio area.

The custom rustic barn door to the guest bedroom.

rustic interior barn door

The custom-built rustic guest bed frame.

rustic bed

Crimson Bluffs July 18th Construction Update

Crimson Bluffs July 18th Construction Update

Here are some updated construction photos from July 18th. The large steel/polycarbonate awning and the railing system are now complete at the Crimson Bluffs Home. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this quality project. We’re thrilled with the results!

sun rays



Completed eastern deck railing, south side small polycarbonate awning, and large entryway awning.


Custom designed and fabricated steel and polycarbonate awning. This type of awning has many functions: 1) Rain and snow shed off the roof and away from the main entry door. 2) Harsh UV rays are broken down by the polycarbonate, protecting the deck and entryway. 2) Light is broken down some by the poolycarbonate, but still illuminates the entryway and enters through the glass door. This creates a bright and welcoming entryway rather than a gloomy one. This light will also be shared into the office, which is on the other side of the mudroom. 3) The welded steel has a lower profile than wood, so has a sleek and modern aesthetic.




Note that the home’s upper awning windows are open for passive cooling. It was in the mid 90’s outside, yet the home was naturally at a perfect temperature.


The deck provides a cool and shady place to rest on a hot summer’s day.


The deck and railing came out great!

below deck4

Custom designed and fabricated steel railing system with cable rail.

below deck3


below deck s.e.


front entry awning3

Brad’s deck came out great. There still needs to be infill around the home, deck, and driveway, so this deck won’t be as tall.

front entry awning




front entry awning2

We love the modern aesthetic of these polycarbonate awnings that we design.




Greenovision sponsors the Bozeman Doc Series

Greenovision sponsors the Bozeman Doc Series

Greenovision is proud to be a sponsor for Bozeman Doc Series’ 2015-2016 season of films! This means that we get to see our logo up on the big screen, but more importantly, sponsorship means that we are helping to bring new, award-winning documentary films from around the world to Bozeman, Montana. Films are usually every other Thursday night at the Emerson. For film listings and times, visit

Greenovision Summer 2015 Newsletter

We recently published our Summer 2015 Newsletter. In this edition, you can read about Greenovision current events and learn how to stay cool naturally.

To view this newsletter, please click here. To read our previous newsletters, click Past Issues on the top left corner of the newsletter. That top bar also has a sign up form to subscribe to our quarterly newsletter.

Greenovision on Houzz

I recently registered Greenovision with Houzz.Com, an “online platform for home remodeling and design.” Several past clients have left really nice comments about the work I’ve done for them. Please check out my profile, view photos of projects, and read Greenovision client reviews and testimonials here. houzz interior design ideas

A Small Home That Grows When You Do

The following images are Greenovision computer generated models

Small home design

Why build a small home?  There are many reasons.  In my past blog, I discussed the construction cost reasons; see that blog here. Just keep in mind that the “American Dream” of owning a home should not indenture you for life to a bank.

Plan to build small with the option growing as your needs and budget grows. Plan to save materials before the home is built. Plan on using quality recycled materials by designing them into the home and saving them before construction begins. Building an affordable, functional, and beautiful home is all dependent on design.

The home I am designing for myself employs these principles. The “tiny home movement” is valid in that it teaches people to live simpler and in smaller spaces with less clutter, however, it does have its short comings.  I have friends that started with tiny homes (10′ x 9′) and it worked for a while, but guess what?  When it came time to have someone over there was no room to ‘entertain’ them.  These homes were just too small and were not designed to be added on to.  So, they had to start over and build something larger.

This is where I am heading with my small home design- how to build small to get on a site affordably, but how to plan for addition of space as funds and more spaces are needed. The top rendering shows Volume 1 as the main volume, which is two stories.  The other volumes can be added on later. This does take some planing so that wiring and conduits won’t have to be rerouted.  Also, with good planing and design, windows come out and an interior door goes into its hole making passage to the new addition.  Another area of concern is where the new roof meets the old wall. This can be built into the exterior wall with flashing and ledger so that when it is time to add on, no siding has to be removed.  Some siding looks rather nice as an interior wall, such as a vertical cedar board v-match or ship-lap.

open interior space of living area


Loft bedroom and desk

I have come up with several key ingredients to a small home design.  One is, don’t make it too small. Create a main space that gives ample room for a kitchen, a place to eat, and a place to entertain, meaning some nice seating with pleasant outdoor views. Such seating can as act as a place to sleep if a guest stays over if the couch is a ‘fold out’.  Give room for stairs that meet modern codes ( 7.75 inches of rise to 10″ of tread usually).  Have a loft above or a second story where you will sleep and can have a desk and closet space.  Having a second story saves on roofing, insulation, and foundation.

By making this main volume tall, the home is prepared for lower, smaller additions to be easily added on later. Such additions can be another bedroom on the first floor, a mudroom with increased storage, and laundry and counter top space for gardening projects or household tasks that you don’t want to be doing on the kitchen counter.  Also, a main bathroom could be added to another side of the building at a later date or at the beginning.  Which volumes you choose to begin with all depends on your initial start-up budget.  Remember: building too small will make it harder down the road for adding on.

Don’t forget that with good design, built-in shelving and storage can use space that once seemed unusable (under the stairs, etc). Efficient storage space is important in a small home. Many small homes never a plan for enough storage. This simply doesn’t work and the residents often end up storing their stuff outside in the weather, cluttering up their site.

My home shown here starts out with a main volume that is 16′ X 24′  with a second story, or 768 square ft. The additional spaces are a bedroom at 12′ X 13′-6″ (162 sq ft), a mudroom at 8′ X 10′ (80 sq ft), and a bathroom at 8′-6″ x 11′ (94.6 sq ft)  for a total of 337 sq ft more. All of the volumes together gives the plan a total 1105 sq ft. This is a very comfortable-sized home for a couple or small family.

The design of my home will change a bit when I find a specific building site.  This home is designed for passive solar gain; there is a concrete slab floor to the south.  Depending on the site, the concrete can either be slab on grade or a slab over a typical joisted floor system. I will configure some of the building to have a full basement for utility and washer/dryer if the site is conducive to this.

Cheaper land often has ledges, which makes a basement expensive. In this case, there will have to be an additional volume built for utility and laundry.  Some of the foundation can be on piers, some can be crawlspace foundation, but those issues depend on the site.

I have posted this project under a new section on my website,, that is dedicated to small home design. Check it out here. To see a similar small home that I designed and built in Maine, check out Liberty House.

The computer images and drawings shown on this blog were created by Mark Pelletier and are property of Greenovision, LLC. Beware of the copyright monster!

Taking orders for Awnings

Hi all. Just wanted to get the word out that I am ordering up polycarbonate panels for this summer of awning construction. I hope you will give me a call and get me out to talk about your awning needs. Check out my awnings here. Call me at 406-539-2339 (my cell number). I am located in Bozeman, Montana.

On Old Plaster, can I save it ?

Here is a really exciting topic! Old buildings and old plaster. Everyone wants to save the plaster because it is so damn much work to remove it. Is this a wise choice? Well, there are number of things to be taken into account about old plaster. For one, old buildings (when I say old I am talking 100 plus years) didn’t have insulation for many many years, this is a problem to the plaster.
The plaster in a building in New England with no insulation is doomed. Over years and years moisture builds up in the wall cavities due to the extreme temperature difference between the indoors and outdoors. This causes the condensation point to occur inside the cavity… what this means is the lath nails rust away over time.
A lath nail is a very small diameter cut nail with no corrosion resistance, it is the weak point. Once the nail rusts through the lath is essentially detached from the wall studs. What happens next is that the movement of the building (these old building do move, foundation issues, and improper loading cause deflection and uplift) flexes the plaster wall. Over time cracks begin to show, from this point on the plaster is doomed. After years of movement the lath nails are rusted through and the lath is essentially detached from the studs. The only thing holding it there is the hooking action of the plaster. When the Plaster is troweled onto the gaped lath it smears through the gaps and blobs to the inside of the wall cavity creating a hook which once hardened holds the plaster in place, kind of like Velcro.
The lath itself is rough sawn so it assists in grabbing the plaster too. Once the lathe is detached and the heaving and settling of the building work on it the ‘hooks’ of plaster shear off (partly due to the moisture inside the wall cavity causing the plaster to become soft and punky); once this occurs the plaster begins to fall off the walls.
Well I know some Mr fix it will say that you can use a washer headed screw to hold this ailing plaster on, its a short term fix.
Especially when it comes to ceilings, gravity works on the plaster and literally the ceiling falls in, and I mean large chunks of heavy plaster, a real headache. So what most Mr fix it types do next is to patch the bad spots with drywall, or they drywall over the plaster to cover it and to hold it on. All of this type of remedying the ailing plaster is even more of a blight to the ‘old building’….it is adding more dead weight to the structure, and most of these structures were under built in load bearing design. The floors were often over spanned or the distance the joists run from wall to wall or beam was too far for the depth of the joist. Most old buildings used square joists because the economy of milling beams is such that you can get more squares out of a round log than taller boards.
Taller is better in joists and beams when you talk floor deflection as long as there is blocking to hold the joists upright. Getting a bit off the subject here, back to the plaster, so more dead weight is added and now the building is groaning under the weight. This is very bad for the structures beams and joists.
Because the old builders didn’t have metal joist hangers like we use today, they notched the beams and joists together as a form of joinery, sometimes a mortise and tenon connection, they thought this was superior workmanship but as we can see in old buildings it was a mistake to notch. The notches reduce the total effective height of the joist or beam and under years of loading splits will occur in the timber beam at the notches. So the modern re-modeler that is too lazy to make a mess and clean it up that plaster removal causes adds more layers of remodel weight to a structure already ailing in load carrying capacity.
This is so chronic in old homes that it is not unusual to peal 6 or 7 layers of wood paneling, drywall, more paneling, wall paper, then plaster and lathe. In the end no builder is willing to take down the layers to the start because its just hell. It is time consuming, it is dirty, it is dangerous, and it is expensive. And after days of work the wood frame is revealed…only to show sagging beams, cracked joists at notched ends, settled and sagged floors, etc… Also once you peal all this off and clean up the mess you will usually have to bring everything up to modern code. And if not mandated to do this by municipal building codes the builder will usually suggest a complete modernization because it is so much work to do this plaster removal you should bite the bullet and really fix the building .
This will include a full redo of the wiring, insulating meaning furring the walls out to accommodate reasonable priced insulation, and creating a consistent stud layout that will accommodate drywall (16″ or
24″ on center stud spacing).

So in a nutshell if you want to buy a building with old plaster that shows cracking, you might want to reconsider …this is a very expensive proposition.

And if you do buy such a building and think a quick cover up with a skim coat of plaster is going to do the trick, well it wont last, the building will most likely be energy inefficient in that it still misses proper insulation, and worse a chunk of ceiling plaster might fall on your head as you freeze to death in your bed on a cold blustery winter night.

How about new construction? Why not spend your money where it can go towards building what you really want rather than demolition and reconstruction of what most likely is at the end of it’s life cycle anyway.