Frati Portico


Most Sunday mornings I cut wood with my friends Richard and Pierre on Richard’s homestead outside of Occidental. I call it chainsaw yoga and it is perhaps the only thing I do with such regularity. The routine is triply rewarding- we manage Richard’s woodlot by removing dead oak, supply ourselves with fuel to fire our wood stoves, and we get a good workout. It’s a great way to spend time together and I value our working rapport- Richard fells the trees, Pierre drags them to a clearing with the tractor where I limb the trees and buck them up for firewood.

I arrived early last week and spent some time admiring Richard’s strikingly simple barn entry. Richard is an inspired designer/builder and I always learn something new from his buildings. He has an unbiased mind and a deep feel for practical comfort. I especially love the outhouse/entryway to his barn/painting studio (pictured above), made of bent PVC and off-the-shelf steel framing and corrugated panels. The idea was so successful he incorporated it into his family’s house on the property, swapping out the corrugated material for thick, milky visqueen.



2 replies on “Frati Portico”

  1. Hi Scott – I am a big fan of your site. Do you think your friend Richard would share more info about how he built his FratiPortico? I can’t quite figure out the scale from the photo, how tall and how wide? Are there any tricks to flexing the PVC pipe? How did he anchor them into the deck? And, any advice about which steel framing to use for the top beam/stabilizer? I have some extra corrugated steel laying around, and thought Richard’s idea would make a really cool “kids hideout” in the woods.
    Thanks Scott.

  2. Hi Karl-
    Good to hear from you- thanks for your comment and inquiry. I’d encourage you to experiment with the concept. I’m trying to encourage a kind of DIY ‘open source’ forum, and like the idea of having people elaborate upon ideas I present through the site. I’ll be happy to post a feature on whatever system you improvise based upon Richard’s general idea. There’s always room for improvement, and it often takes several iterations to reach maturity.
    Kepp in touch, Scott

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