Below are some of the building projects I and my wife, Rita,  have done.  They range from building a new house to making a patio.

Windblown Studio

In 1997, the farmhouse we owned in Western PA burned to the ground. We had always planned to retire there.

In 2004, we decided to move Rita’s pottery studio from New Hampshire to the property in Western PA. We decided to build another house with a pottery studio in it.

After doing some prep work, in September 2005 we broke ground and completed it in October 2006. 

I created a 9-minute video to document the building’s progress:

Since we moved in, we have continued to build on the property. Below are some of the various building projects and appears to be an ongoing activity.


In September 2009, we built a three-car garage.  In August of 2010,  we had the garage doors installed and by September we had installed siding and painted it.   In May of 2012, we ran a gas line to the garage. and in September we installed a boiler and heated the garage using the radiant heat tubes we installed when we built it.

Kiln Building

At the same time, we build the garage, in 2009, we built an outbuilding that would become our kiln building for a gas kiln.  It was open on two sides. 

Hot Tub Patio

Having a small hot tub in July of 2012, we build a patio to put it on.

Gas Kiln

In August of 2012 we built the gas kiln that we later decided to enclose it, so in 2014, we enclosed the two open sides.  One side we installed to large barn board doors, so we could open them for Raku firings.

Second bedroom

In late 2013, Rita’s mother came to say a while to recover from hip surgery.  Since it looked like she may stay for some time, we decided to build a second bedroom in a corner of the studio.  We started in January of 2014 finished it enough to move in by February.

Drawing Room

In 2015, Rita was frustrated with not having private studio space, so we partitioned the kiln building in half and build a heated room in it for Rita to use as the ‘Drawing Room’, her private studio.

Studio resizing

In March of 2020, COVID caused us to shut down teaching pottery classes. We decided to resize the studio. We built a wall in to mirror the one on the other side of the main entrance and moved the studio into the newly created room. We used the main core for living space and put in a library area, music area, and media viewing area.

Deer Garden Fence

In April 2020, during the isolation due to the COVID-19 virus, we decided it may be a good idea to maximize our garden production. For years we have had problems with deer and groundhogs eating part of our produce. We decided to invest in a better fence than what we had. It took just a little over two days to build it. We hired an excavator with an auger to dig the post holes and an Amish neighbor to help with the labor.

Solar Panels & EV

In September 2020, we installed 32 – 375 watt solar panels. This will produces a total of just over 14,000 KW per year. This is enough to supply the needs of the house, including Rita’s electric kiln firings and to charge a electric car.

In October we purchased an Chevy Bolt -EV, a total electrical car. Since then, most all our driving has been covered by electricity created by the solar panels.