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2015 Projects


2015 Projects

We started and ended 2015 in Knoxville Tennessee, doing a loop through Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and then all the way across and up into Maine. Then a zag over to PA while generally heading down the eastern seaboard to the DC area.  We landed back in Knoxville in time for Thanksgiving.

There's a blog post that wraps up the whole year's projects here, in case you want the more succinct version than the list below.


Keren and Bobby S. / Knoxville TN

While we hogged Keren and Bobby's driveway for the first few months of the trip, we managed to do a backyard cleanup, some stonework and landscaping, made a woodbox out of scrap pallets, and built out the laundry room as a workroom and sewing room. Michael cut down a dead tree too, and did a couple custom portraits for non-local folks, as well as portrait drawings in downtown Knoxville and elsewhere. We also built an igloo with the neighbors, big enough for the boys to sleep in!

links to blog posts about most of them below (back when we were more thorough about documentation!)

Igloo Laundry Room : Backyard Makeover : Tree + Woodbox blog by Fynn : Woodbin : Portraits at Climbing Gym : Portraits in Market Square : Maine Son Portrait : Chalk Drawing


Ken and Tina C. / Crown Point, IN

Ken and Tina were the first to really hear of our intended trip, and at that point offered a shed-building project. We finally arrived two years later and built a pond and stream, reorganized the garage, did some landscaping, and leveled the shed site … getting the floor and walls up before we had to move on.


Mom and Dad Rule / Addison IL

While parked in my folks' driveway, we did a bunch of small projects for them … including lots of landscaping, organizing the shed and garage, fixing boards on the back porch, and re-painting it.


John and Olive K. / Addison IL

We built our first ever cupola on the Kaisers garage, incorporating an old bell and a weather vane, as well as the ability to ring the bell from their bedroom window. We also cut down a bunch of trees and did some landscaping. Learned a bit about roofing and joist cutting, and how bad the mosquitoes can get in a wet summer!

While in Addison we also did a few electrical and landscaping projects for some friends, and a few other odd jobs.


Gary and Peggy N. / Holland MI

Another first for us was building a fountain in Gary and Peggy's backyard, which was an enjoyable challenge. We learned some things the hard way (how soft the soil was vs. the weight of water and rocks) but ended up with a pretty fountain that came close to matching the sound they were looking for! Rocks are a favorite material of ours, and this job was a treat, as were our hosts.


Yale University / New Haven CT

Michael installed Sol Lewitt's Wall Drawing #1261 at The Yale University Art Gallery, while the boys and I took a break at a nearby campground. He's worked for the LeWitt foundation for over 10 years, and loves it, so we made an exception to our usual mode of working as a family, with no payment required. If you ever have a chance to see one of Sol's wall drawings in person, please do. They're stunning up close.

  • Flickr Album : here (includes some photos of the process)


Tim and Karen D. / Bangor, ME

We squeezed into the narrowest driveway yet, and had a great time doing a variety of things for Tim and Karen. We painted a couple of rooms, finished up a roofing project, did some landscaping, and fixed up their front porch. Nothing difficult, but all of it highly enjoyable. We both knew Tim and Karen when we were kids, sweetening the week immensely.


Graziella S. / Attleboro MA

We had the chance to transform the first floor of Graziella's new condo from unrelenting dark gray to a burst of colors. Never done quite such a thorough makeover before, just with paint! Fell in love with Graziella too, whom we had just met through our friend Erica.

  • Flickr Album : here ... and you have to see the before shots, the grey was like nothing we've ever seen in an interior!


John and Marcie S. / Berwick PA

Parked at a nearby campground, we spent most of the week building some black iron pipe shelving at John's place, including using some old wood pieces found at his grandfather's farm. Incredibly fun and finicky and so worth it in the end … probably our most favorite project ever!  It was quite the process to get things leveled and anchored properly, when the pipe is so roughly threaded ... and we had to get a lot of it custom cut and threaded by Home Depot employees who'd never used the store's pipe cutter before.  The cat shelf was a hit, and a preemptive attempt at keeping her off of the rest of the structure.

We did a couple small things at his sister Marcie's place too, like putting in closet shelves, but didn't get to her main living room shelving project this time around.


Gary and Jane K. / Shadyside MD

Michael put in a turning stairway railing with Gary, the boys and I worked on some raised garden beds, and we tried to make ourselves useful in such a hospitable place right on Chesapeake Bay. They had a full hookup in their back yard, which made it extra nice.


Keren and Bobby S. / Knoxville TN

We did a pile of fun projects in Knoxville this time, like sewing a silk peignoir, ceramic tiling the neighbor's basement, landscaping for another neighbor, and painting an in-law apartment for a third neighbor. Nice to have everything within walking distance! We also spent a good 6 weeks rehabbing a tiny Shasta camper for Michael's brother Nathan. It was a more extensive project than we'd anticipated, but a lot of fun and a great learning experience.