In the beginning...

The tin-sided shop building was soooo ugly (“bulldoze it!”); the designers would cringe every time they passed it. Yet it was a perfect work space for embracing their passion of restoring classic speedboats and cars.

A real plus was the 3000 sq.ft. metal roof; ideal for a rain collection system; every inch of

rainfall would equal 1800 gallons of rain collected. In the end the pros outweighed the cons, and the building was saved. A new skin of reclaimed timber was created, and pivoting, 20’ tall steel framed windows were installed to allow light and air into the work space.

The reclaimed wood was sourced by Duluth Timber from the Hanel Lumber Co. mill in Hood River Oregon, built in 1915 and demolished around 2000. The rough-sawn boards used for the siding were primarily from the floor joists and roof rafters of the original mill building.

A rainwater catchment system with state of the art filtration was custom designed and built to serve the needs of the barn, landscaping and the house (ISLAND RETREAT, Sept. 06 Newsletter). The existing well produces 20 gals/min., however the water is extremely hard, especially in summer when the water table drops. New houses in the locale are pumping water from the underground aquifer, meaning it’s high time to look for viable alternatives: RAIN COLLECTION. The 21,000-gallon steel tank began collecting rain on Nov. 1 2006, and was full and in use by Jan. 7 2007! Not only is it delicious to drink, but the landscaping will thrive on the rain water, corrosion to fixtures and household appliances will be minimized, and dishes will be sparkling clean; no longer spotted by minerals from the well water!

The redesign of the former tin shop with the 80 year old reclaimed wood, oxidized steel brackets, and over-scale industrial windows, is viewed enviously by those looking for the “ultimate workshop”, and also by those looking for a “really cool building” to live in. And someday, when all the projects are done, it will become a “Transportation Museum”!


Designers: James Ferris and Caroline Di Diego