Here's the most recent
version of my 'jobs' email:
my new card:
My friend's wife is a graphic designer. She helped me create it,
using the blueprint Henrik Bull, below, had drawn for his deck
project. I'm trading the hours, working on their house and rental
to pay for her time.
Click to email
The California Contractors State License Board website
resources for property owners and builders.
Gail Durkin, in Rockridge, had an old arbor across her little
driveway. It had tapered-square pillars on either side that were
sided with shingles, like her house. They were rotted and blew
over in a wind storm. I took out the old concrete piers, poured
new ones with Simpson post anchors, and built an arbor supported by
redwood 8x8's with a gate for privacy.
In Berkeley, the Schroeders have a studio house on a smallish lot with
a garage in front. Their son has recently graduated from college
and plans to live at home for a while. His bedroom is in a
finished portion of the garage and I was asked to design/build a
bathroom with toilet, sink, space heater, etc... Link to
pictures: Schroeder's project page.
An architect, Henrik Bull, and his wife, Barbara, live next to a creek
on the Arlington in Kensington. Their old deck was rotting and
they wanted to replace it, lowering it by about 7" and re-using the
lower steps he had built himself, cutting one step out. The
elevation had to be precise in order for his steps to fit right.
I broke out a little laser level for the first time and it worked out
pretty well. The benches are of 3x12 "Super-select" and better
redwood from Lumber Baron, the planters are 1/2" pressure-treated
plywood over p.t. 2x4, wrapped with 1x8 redwood, the decking and steps
are of IPE, Brazilian walnut that is really nice stuff. We were
going to overlay the porch with 1x4 t&g IPE but had trouble
locating some and heard some bad experiences, so I did tile,
instead. The Bulls are happy with it.
Here's a slideshow of pictures taken when the project was done, before
and after the landscaping was complete: Bull's deck.
Ed Walker accepted my proposal to remodel his bathroom: Ed's
A year later, he commissioned me to turn his backyard workshop into a
studio: Ed's Studio
MORE IN THE WAY OF TILING...
Stephen Lau and Wendy Liao gave me two bathroom remodels involving tile
in their home. The first entailed a complete gut, moving the
toilet closer to the wall, installing new drains and water supplies for
the vanity and shower, moving the heater register from the floor to the
wall, reinforcing and leveling the floor for tile....
The owners chose tile and fixtures. Steve took pictures of the
finished bathroom, seen here: lau's
Amy and Franco Romano have a deck off the kitchen on the second
floor. It was rotting and needed replacement. I designed
and built a new one on the same foundation with more practical
pressure-treated frame, rot-free, low-maintenance Trex decking, redwood
railing. I expanded it a little toward the driveway and added a
cantilever toward the garage to give them a little more space for
themselves and company: Romano's deck.
This deck was for the Schroeders, whose project I did putting a
bathroom in their garage. It is a small house on a small lot and
working with lumber of any appreciable length is like trying to build a
ship in a bottle!
Part of the deck was replaced not so long ago, and was to be saved, but
the part that runs down the side of the house past the back door and
wraps a bit around the back, up to the new portion, was built by Jim
and his dad some 25 years ago, was rotting, falling down, and needed to
be torn out, replaced. This is how it looked in the rear corner of the
property, where the fences on two property lines come together:
I tore out all the old redwood and replaced the framing with
pressure-treated fir. 'Sleepers' attach to the back porch with concrete
screws (Titen) and 2x6 joists hang from that framework. It has to match
up with the saved section and the entry steps at the side are to be
The new decking is 5/4 x 4 (1" x 3 1/2") Santa Maria, one of the South
American hardwoods that is supposed to be certified 'Green',
sustainable, and is currently in fashion as a substitute for the
disappearing redwood. It is beautiful, weather/rot-resistant, and hard,
requiring that each of the circa 500 stainless steel screws have a
pilot hole drilled before screwing. This is from the entrance with the
original steps hanging on the edge, the sun low in the sky!:
Saturday, I worked more than 12 hours to get finished. The lumber yard
is only open in the morning on Saturday, so I tried to get everything I
would need first thing. Luckily, there were some short pieces of nice
redwood that had been cut up for recycle and I imagined using them in
the design of the new railing section at the back, which was to have
two shelves for cactus plants. As evening approached and that part was
to be done, I discovered I had not quite accurately visualized the
lengths that would be needed: the new 1x6 redwood board I had bought
for the top shelf was 1" short, the upright 2x4 middle support needed
to be longer than either of the two boards I had picked up for this
purpose, and I thought long and hard about how to use what I had in a
sound, attractive assembly. The sun has set, I would clean up in
deepening darkness, and I was pleased to have finished with a
satisfactory, I think, resolution:
Another fence project can be seen >HERE<