Our Wall of Windows Project: Upcycled

Most of you know we bought property in Tennessee that included an old farmhouse and a large industrial building that was formerly a church. We will gut the farmhouse and completely renovate it (but not until next year or so). That means temporarily, all of Mr. Basketmaker’s workshop is housed in the farmhouse and the church building we turned into our living quarters and my studio.

But we needed some walls! It was one large open space. And since this will eventually become Eric’s workshop, we wanted to design the living space with his future basketry headquarters in mind. He always envisioned having all his equipment, tools, etc. in one half and a “dust-free” project area and teaching studio in the other half, separated by a wall of glass.

With our starving-artists’ budget, we headed down to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and purchased a whole bunch of old wood windows for $2 each. Eric built one side of the wall about a month ago. And this weekend, I am so glad that my father-in-law is here to help Eric build the other half because of this:


Yes, that’s Mr. Basketmaker up on a ladder that is mounted on a work table! I wasn’t happy with this but I needed to trust him when he said it’s all clamped down to the table. And I wasn’t as much help to him — he needed someone stronger who could haul things up to him while he builds the frame.

Where there are no windows we decided (well mainly me) to add corrugated steel. I love this material. I don’t know why. When I built a small loft/living quarters in the back of an 11,000 sq. foot building, that housed an antiques store, I bought up in Maine, all my bathroom walls were corrugated steel. I loved it. So when the opportunity arose to use it again, I was thrilled.

Wait…. I think I’m seeing a pattern here. I seem to enjoy building living quarters where there was none before! And apparently so does Eric. When I first met him, he was living in a very old school house up in northern New Hampshire. I didn’t make this connection about this similarity until right now. Sweet!


So we (mainly Eric) built this wall with old windows and corrugated steel. We love it. Especially since we don’t like ordinary — we enjoy creating our own unique individual space. And it helps to be married to a woodworker. He framed out each window and built sills for all. Below is a sneak peak to the corner of our kitchen. Will post the other half of the wall and our very cool custom center door as soon as Mr. Basketmaker and his step-Dad are finished!



Mr. Basket maker Speaks: Calling All License Plates

We are self-employed AND starving artists so we are frugal (dictated by our budget). Our only remodeling word is “re-purpose.”

Repurposed is another word for cheap, meaning anything that you would throw away that can suddenly become a useful thing is s good thing. Take our license plates for example. My wife doesn’t throw anything away including every license plate she has ever had. Anyway, last night I re-purposed those plates.

Lynne was busy working and I told her that I had what I thought was a good idea, but I didn’t tell her what it was. She said: “OK, that sounds good.” So, I started screwing license plates as a backsplash to our shower head wall. After the “What are you doing response,” and further investigation, I think she liked my vision. Now we need more plates. You see, it looks good but many more plates are needed.

So, I’m calling all license plates! The first person that sends a License plate from a state that we do not have, I will send them an autographed picture of me and Chance (yes, the dog).  If you need our address, send the wife a message!


Don’t Buy What You Can Make Yourself.

A true motto of a starving artist’s life, “Don’t Buy What You Can Make Yourself.” We love this phrase. And try to live by it when we can, like this week when it came to getting some house numbers. Yes, those simple little numbers that identify where your house sits, numerically, on a certain road.

And our new structure had no such numbers. And we were not keen on spending our hard-earned money on some plastic, metal or cheap wood varieties. Why would we do that when there’s an exceptional woodworker and craftsman living on the premises?

So I created some paper templates of the “numbers” and Mr. Basketmaker carved them out of some pressed wood that was laying around the farm house when we bought it.


But of course, and as usual, he had to make them perfect! He first glued my paper templates to the discarded pieces of wood we found. And if you’re wondering why two “1”s were not grouped together on one piece of wood, it’s because there were small splits in the wood at places, hidden on the backs, and Eric is a perfectionist all the way.


Then he cut them out on his bandsaw, which I thought that’s all he had to do and then paint them. But he continued by bringing each of the numbers to his sander and meticulously sanding the edges and smoothing the curves. Next, he removed the paper and glue and got them ready for painting.

Several coats of black paint later and voila! Custom house numbers that really make this previously-used-church building entrance look more like our home. (And painting the white doors lime green and brass door handles and light fixtures black helped as well!)