There are several high water marks in the last 30+ years of building and renovating homes.

The construction of the Mendelson house was just about the highest. The opportunity to realize the designs and dreams of client and architect can more easily be recognized after the dust has settled, the home lived in, and watching how it has become part of the land.

Maybe some more stories later on the adventures that resulted in this sanctuary in the hills of Napa.

It has been a pleasure to re-visit this place on several occasions, to maintain a friendship with the owners, and listen to their stories of how the construction project turned into a home.



When it gets to be Punchlist time, the list always seems to get bigger as you progress towards completion. The tipping point is hard to discern, and the drudgery of details can be wearing. In the most unexpected way however, there can be creative solutions that can make all that effort seem worthwhile. It helps to have clients who are willing to compensate you for the process, and who themselves get involved personally in the events that result in unique solutions. The coat rack ..... started with a chunk of walnut ..... then the search for hooks. Rummaging through a salvage yard produced a pile of old brace handles that will be very friendly to whatever happens to hang there. Sort of a melody of discoveries, now with a new purpose. The discussion about spacing and alignment was truly entertaining. Something you can hang your hat on .........



There is a balance necessary to make all of this work.

Fitting a modern steel structure within the walls of an old cottage of a home in the hills of Mill Valley poses more than technical challenges.

Between design changes, structural revisions, the beaurocratic log jams and opposing priorities of (very wonderful) clients, there really is no safety rail to grab on to.

You just have to put one foot in front of the other, being careful where you step, and explore the possibilities that present themselves, trusting in your instincts, and watch the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

Watching the fog roll in over the ridge provides a reminder that this is a fluid process, remodeling that is, and experience shows that it will all work out in the end. Just enjoy the ride.



a gift

You never know what may fall out of the sky.

Just working away one day and this steelhead almost lands on my worker's head.

That would have been an interesting workman's comp claim.

The job was several miles from the SF Bay and I guess the bird must have just lost it's grip.

Or ........ those in control thought we needed an example of unexpected provision.

I have been thankful that God has blessed my company with work and unique projects to sustain my business, even when times have been tight. 

You just never know what may fall out of the sky.




A fresh gate. So the project is coming to a close. Yet another transformation of a tired old yard and falling down fence to a backyard enclosure with patios and trellis and decks and hot tub, just waiting for gardens to go in. The budget tends to get stretched near the end, and some of the final details that define the project don't want to be compromised. This one was a labor of love. I do love what I do, which is crafting wood into objects with purpose and beauty. This gateway is not only a way into the backyard, but a chance for a graceful exit as well.