If you need someone to fix your screen porch, and you're near Asheville, I may have the perfect person for you.
I went out to look at a job a few months ago and it turned out that the homeowners had a whole screened-in porch under their deck which was desperately in need of some TLC.
For starters, the wind had gotten to the screen panels and they were belling out. You can really see it on the right-hand side of this picture.
Even worse, the contractor who built the home had used untreated lumber for the screen frames, and they were starting to dry rot.
The outside also needed some attention. The homeowner wanted to fill in under the porch with Hardiplank ...
... and part of the porch support was bowing out and needed to be fixed.
To make this job even more complicated, the access to the screen was blocked by a gutter, so it would be a quite trick to remove it without marring the gutter. Whoever put this porch up just wasn't thinking about long-term maintenance.
My schedule was chock-full at the time, and I couldn't fit in such a large job. So after checking with the homeowners, I called Jesse Scott, one of the handymen in our network, and asked him if he could take it on. (Here's a picture of him with his lovely wife Treva and their daughter Nora.)
Jesse hails from Florida, so he spent a large part of his career working on screened-in porches. In fact, he might be the best screen-stretcher in Asheville.
(Is that a category in Mountain Express's "Best Of" issue? Somehow I doubt it. But if it were, I think Jesse would have the title.)
Anyway, he did a great job on this porch, and he even sent us pictures when he was done. Here's the porch from the same angle as my first photo. That screen is as tight as a drum!
At the base of the porch, he added a low knee-wall at the homeowner's request. This was to keep their dogs from dashing straight through the screen in pursuit of a squirrel.
He also re-built the screen system so that the gutters won't get in the way if the mesh ever needs to be replaced again.
And on the exterior, he filled in the bottom of the deck with long-lasting Hardiplank, repaired the bowed-out support, and repainted everything for a fresh look.
The end result is much more maintenance-friendly and looks really beautiful.
If your screen porch is looking a little tired and needs to be repaired, give us a call. We've got some seriously skilled screen stretchers standing by.
I don't have any "before" photos of this project, but I thought you might enjoy it all the same. I recently got a call from someone who needed a really simple closet upgrade.
He just wanted to divide their closet into two parts: one side with a single hanging rod, and the other side with a double rod. At the top he wanted a very short shelf for his wife's purses.
I made a divider and shelf in my workshop, and also cut the closet rods to length. He had me install the divider off to one side because they didn't have a lot of long clothes to hang up.
As usual, I used cabinet-grade plywood with solid wood edging, which gives it more durability than the usual particle-board systems you get from big hardware stores.
While I was there, he had me build a custom cat condo similar to the one I've already featured on here. It's enclosed in hardware cloth to keep Kitty inside while still giving him access to fresh air and sunshine.
I was too busy to take pictures, but soon afterward I got this by text:
The cat condo was kitty-approved!
My client and I got along so well that I'm coming back soon to install a semi-custom kitchen island. The color is still to be determined, but here's our initial drawing.
To keep costs down, we're using pre-made Shaker cabinets, and I'll be installing Shaker-style paneling on the back.
I'll also be modifying the cabinets to allow a recessed kick all the way around, which will make it more comfortable to use.
If you'd like to see more of our custom and semi-custom cabinet work, check out our sister site at Artisan Built-ins. Or just give us a call for a free estimate. We're always glad to chat!
A few years ago, I had a side gig as the temporary maintenance man at a downtown Asheville condo building, and the one problem that constantly came up was clogged or slow drains, especially in the shower.
You know what it feels like:
You're taking a quick shower and suddenly the water is up over your knees, and you wish you'd brought your hip waders.
Fortunately I found a cheap alternative to calling a plumber...
The Zip-It Hair Snare
Basically it's a cheap, disposable plastic version of the plumber's snake. It kind of reminds me of a zip tie, except that it has teeth.
You stick it down into your drain and pull it back out, and some of the hair that's clogging the drain will get stuck to the little teeth and come out with it.
If you're doing this in a bathtub, it will be easier if you unscrew the drain cover first.
Repeat this several times, and you're done. Look how much stuff comes out!
I recommend also getting a pair of gloves and a little bucket to catch the goop, because the hair clumps are kind of gross. But hey, it beats calling in the professionals. During my maintenance gig, I bought a dozen of these for the property manager and cut the number of service calls way down.
If you try this and it doesn't work for you, shoot us an email. We don't do plumbing, but my wife has a "little black book" with all of the best craftsmen we know.
In last week's post I showed off a couple of custom Shaker-style barn doors that I've been working on in my studio.
So naturally this week's blog post is all about those doors, and where they ended up.
It all started when Leslie Huntley of Roost Interior Design contacted me about putting a pair of sliding barn doors in her clients' home office in their downtown condo.
They had a perfectly good door there...
...but floor space in these condos is limited, and they wanted a new door that didn't swing open, so they could put more furniture on the wall.
We couldn't find any pre-made doors that would work well in the space, so I got to work in my shop.
By the way, check out that respirator! It's my new toy... top of the line and easy on the lungs.
Plus it looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.
Side note: I never realized how many sci-fi astronauts are wearing standard dust-filter respirators until I started researching dust filtration. It seems to be a Hollywood shortcut: buy a mask from Lowe's, spraypaint everything black, and slap on a few extra gadgets and hoses.
And once I noticed that, I started noticing all kinds of things, like plastic French drains being used as spaceship "pipes." Low-budget Netflix space operas just haven't been the same since then.
Anyway, back to the job...
I also make custom cabinets at our sister company, Artisan Built-ins, so Leslie commissioned us to build a set of white bookcases with a custom shelf to hold a printer. Here's the 3D model we created so she could preview the design.
And here they are in our workshop, alongside another project for the same condo... an electric chimneyless fireplace.
As you can see, our model was very accurate.
Back on the job site, the office walls were painted a striking cobalt blue...
...the better to set off the crisp white sliding barn doors and the bookshelves.
If you've got sharp eyes, you might notice that the printer shelf is a little lower than it was in the drawing. That's because I planned ahead and made it repositionable or removable so that if they don't need a printer there any more, they can take the shelf off and have a plain bookcase once again.
The whole project came together beautifully, and the formerly bland room is now a striking office that looks just as interesting as the view of downtown Asheville.
If you've got a tight floor plan that needs a custom solution to make it workable, give us a call. We can come up with a plan that optimizes your office and makes it fun to go to work.
It's peak season for handyman work, and I'm keeping busy...
...making a pair of custom sliding barn doors among other things.
More pics of that to follow!
Meanwhile we still have a bit of fun in the summer, and last weekend I got a chance to indulge another favorite pastime: music. Since this tune is about Asheville, I thought I'd share it here.
I wrote this one when I moved here... could it be 20 years ago already?
Which is how I've gotten to know so many of the best local handymen. Give us a call when you're ready to get your projects done.