New Treehouse Developments

The treehouse will be hidden in a remote redwood grove, beyond a Gravenstein orchard Structurally, the new treehouse I’ve been commissioned to design will be a radical departure from the various tree-sited structures I’ve made over the years, but the spirit of arboreal living will remain in tact. Sited at the edge of a dense, […]

Shuffling the Tree

I can relate to the work style of a 1930’s American cabinet shop (public domain) After over a year of design development with the architect and client, selecting logs of deodar cedar and having them custom milled and cured to outfit the interior of a new guest house down the coast, I’m regaining perspective on […]

Touching the Wood

My projects always begin with sorting the pile, touching the wood Like cooking, working with wood engages all of the senses in symphony. Touch plays a major role in the early stages of a project, especially at the scale of fitting out the interior of a new building, like the Guest House that now requires […]

The Value of Apprenticeship

the house I built with George Smith, Germantown, NY, 1988-89 I’m a strong believer in apprenticeship as a paradigm for learning anything. Much of what I have put into practice in woodcraft and architecture I owe to my friend and mentor, George Smith of Tivoli, New York, with whom I worked side by side building […]

Russ Dotter Designs Houses with Gusto

recently framed Guest House in Marin County, designed by Russ Dotter My friend Russ Dotter designs houses that both anchor and enliven a site, as though the house and its surroundings grew up together through generations of mindful co-habitation. He has a gift for combining contemporary construction methods and a California modus vivendi with the […]

Geodescic Greenhouse and RV Topiary

Wherever I travel I try to document roadside, vernacular architecture. Often times a journey to another region refocuses my attention when I come home to the Pacific Coast of Northern California. I was struck by these two structures over the past week, which pretty much typify the working class, domestic landscape of West Sonoma County. […]

Entropy Schmentropy

I doubt the rancher who owns this tiny roadside outbuilding shares my enthusiasm for the patterns of blistered paint on its corrugated walls. He’d probably agree that it needs repainting and was a poorly executed job to begin with, or that the galvanized steel was best left exposed to the elements without any paint at […]