Custom woodworking and art
Old houses. Old ways. Old secrets. Old voices. Old memories.
Our projects are varied at Artisan Builders as they have always been. Among the new projects we are building we have started work on the restoration of an old house. For the last 10 years we have not done many restorations but 15-20 years ago its one of the things Artisan Builders and more specifically my father was known for. At one time we took care of a complex of 19th century building for the Center of American History in which the University of Texas theatre program would perform Shakespeare in a re-purposed barn during the Summer evenings. We have worked some pretty rough old houses. When I say rough I’m not talking about the” charming Victorian home down the street that needs a little tlc ” I’m talking rough: the kind of homes that may not have been lived in for the last 40 years by humans. The kind with poison ivy vines as thick as your wrist growing in and out between the siding boards and honey bee hives that take up the inside of the wall of an entire gable end. The sort of house that has several inches of rat shit between the joist in the attic…yea that’s right not an exaggeration it ended up being several contractor bags worth of the “shit” I counted because I was young enough to care about such things. In the end though we restored it and in many ways made it better than it was when it was built while respecting what it had been. It makes me wonder if some of the million dollar homes we have built that were designed with the modern aesthetics that many architects seem to have will be restored 100 years from now. I think maybe not and that bothers me though it won’t be because they weren’t built for the long haul. We have learned so much about building from these old homes and many great books have been written on the subject but those books speak mostly of the romantic side of old homes they usually leave out the snakes,rat shit,vulture nest,tetanus,old rock wool insulation,lead paint and etc. I say all this with a deep love of old houses I grew up in one and my first house as a homeowner was built-in 1865. There is something undefinable about old homes that can really only be felt. So it begins. Again.