Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Years

I found myself alone at the fire tonight.
It's the yearly New years bonfire.
It is warm for a December 31st night, a balmy 15 degrees above zero, (F).
A blanket of clouds kept the stars from sight but offered in exchange, some very light flakes floating down around me.
The wind picked up for a while which help my poorly fueled fire for a while.

I thought about an old, old tune by Bruce Cockburn called simply "Christmas Song"...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxQmZPD6

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Some screen doors

Seems like it is often hard to find good solid heavy wood screen doors that are just right for the project and so, when the need comes up for one, I usually just build it myself. Over the past year I built four screen doors. I'm sure that is a record number for me by a good margin. Mostly they are very simple, solid, cedar doors. One had a little more interesting elements and then one was for a different application entirely.

simple solid screen door made of western red cedar, huisman, screen house
Just a nice simple solid screen door made of Cedar...
Here are a couple pictures of the finished screen house where that door went:
 simple solid screen door made of western red cedar, doors by huisman
simple solid screen door made of western red cedar, interior gazebo picture, huisman concepts

_______________________
____________


simple solid cedar screen door, green, built by john huisman
A simple cedar door painted green...
For a nice screen porch on this log lake cabin:
solid cedar screen door, green, built by john huisman, screen porch, log railing
__________________________

_____________

hand carved cedar screen door, hand carved wolf howling,  built by john huisman, ely, mn
Another simple cedar door with some added interest... This built for another screen porch area that we did last spring.

hand carved cedar screen door, hand carved wolf howling,  built by john huisman, ely, mn
An outside shot of the same door, stained with a little darker color.

hand carved cedar screen door built by john huisman, ely, mn

cedar screen door, hand carved wolf howling,  built by john huisman, ely, mn

_____________________
_________


red, distressed, victorian, screen, pantry, door, huisman, lake cabin kitchen
This is a screen door I built for a little different application. It is a Victorian style, red, distressed door that I built for the pantry unit in the kitchen area in this cabin.

red, distressed, victorian, screen, pantry, door, huisman, ely, mn


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Old refurbished sauna building

A new gallery on my website:
This is an old sauna building that we re-sided with log siding to make it look like a real log building,. We also refurbished the deck and the interior. The project was completed in 2004 near Ely Minnesota. The exterior is Western Red Cedar logs and the interior is cedar paneling and benches.

http://huismanconcepts.com/custom-home-gallery/?aid1=10153321361625765 

huisman. ely, old sauna, real log siding,





______________________
__________________________________

Friday, November 20, 2015

of tracks, perspectives


I was stumbling around the railroad tracks in Minneapolis one evening this past summer...

...perhaps I should rephrase that...

I had the opportunity this past summer on a couple of occasions, to spend a little time around the railroad tracks in the U of M area watching some baseball games at Siebert Field.
Having a little time to kill before a game, trains and tracks being things that seem to call to me, I wandered over to the other side of the dirt road behind the ball field.
Climbing over a couple flat cars and moving closer to the center of the grouping of tracks offered what I thought to be an interesting perspective of the old Bunge Building.

It seemed like it would make a good subject for a larger scale pencil rendering:

Pencil drawing, graphite, minneapolis, skyline, bunge, tower, railroad tracks, art by john huisman
"Bunge Perspective", 14"x18" graphite on Bristol board by John Huisman.


________________________
________________


Winter came at the end of this week.
After another week in the 50s, rainy, after an unseasonable warm extended fall, the temperature dropped and the wind picked up and the snow, though just flurries, and feel of winter hit one seriously and painfully in the face. On Thursday afternoon, (11/19/15), I ventured down to the waters edge on a project site on Burntside Lake before I left for the day and snapped this shot. Three foot rollers and whitecaps and stinging snow and wind. The kind of thing that must be felt to be appreciated. A picture does not fully convey the feel of the moment.

ely, winter, burntside, waves, whitecaps

_____________________________
____________________









Saturday, October 10, 2015

Timber Hall

The other day I was driving through Embarrass and I decided to stop in at the Fair grounds. I have been meaning to stop here for some time and this day was such a great day for pictures.

This is a building I built many many years ago. It has to be over 25 years ago now. Back then we didn't have digital cameras and phone cameras, (or phones for that matter), that were with us all the time and sometimes pictures just never got taken...

It is a very large building at least in footprint. I think it is something like 65' wide and 120' long.

My partner in business at the time and I spent a summer driving every day to Embarrass and carving logs with chain saws and chisels and axes... The scribing and fitting of logs is a rather tedious process and hard work. In my prime, (as I said, this was a LONG time ago), I could get two 30' long logs picked out and set up and scribed and carved and fit in place in one day and maybe start on a third. One round of logs on this building took about a week to get done if two of us were working on it steady. So for a whole summer I drove down there every day and "pounded notches" as we used to say, sweating it out in the Embarrass sun and sand flies till the log work was done. The roof and finish work were done by others so after that summer it became just a place I drive by once in a while.

It was a great project and one I still appreciate every time I pass.

I finally took the time to stop on this beautiful autumn day to take a few pictures:

Embarrass timber hall, mn, ely large huisman log home

Embarrass timber hall, mn, huisman log home construction

huge log building timber hall embarrass mn

timber hall community building, huisman log homes ely

Embarrass timber hall, mn, huisman log home construction


__________________
____________

John Huisman, Autumn, 2015, floating maple leaf
_________________________________________



Friday, September 25, 2015

A Screen House

This summer we got sidetracked for a little while on this screen house that ended up being a pretty cool project. The log home was already there and the desire was to build either a screen porch addition or some sort of external shelter. Designing something that would be attached was difficult without risking giving up the character of the log home as it was so we opted for a stand alone structure. Well, not completely stand alone, it was connected with a deck.

Here is the house before we got started. You can see some of the footings to the left/center, 12" concrete piers:
Ely Minnesota Lake home made of Log

Here is a shot standing on the lakeside deck looking over at the screen house location. You can see a couple of the footing piers through the railing:
Log cedar lake home ely gazebo huisman Ely MN
And here is a shot from pretty much the same position on the of the new deck and the log supports and roof in place. We took off the old cedar decking and re-framed the deck extending it out to flow right into the screen house. The new decking is Ipe.  (More info on Ipe here).

Log cedar cedar railing posts lake home ely gazebo huisman Ely MN

Here it is with the beginnings of a "knee-wall" between the log posts:
startup Log cedar lake home ely gazebo huisman Ely MN
The logs are all Northern White Cedar.
Finishing off the "Knee-wall" and ready for screen:

Log cedar lake home ely gazebo huisman Ely MN nothern minnesota

Here it is completed:
cedar screenhouse gazebo  lake home ely

Log cedar screenhouse gazebo huisman concepts lake home ely
More completed shots can be found in the gallery here.


___________________________
_________________
 


Autumn in beginning but some of the raptors are still here.
I saw this guy this week and I left the house for work:
Bald eagle spruce 2015 ely

Bald eagle in flight off tip opf spruce ely mn





Monday, August 31, 2015

New gallery in the custom home section

I just posted a new album in the Custom Homes gallery of my website.
It is a small one room design on a lake near Ely Minnesota.
http://huismanconcepts.com/custom-home-gallery/?aid1=10153174450475765


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"A Peace of Shade"

Remembering a time not so long ago when things seemed just a bit simpler...

Pen, ink, drawing, john, huisman, ely, artist, human, form,shade, tree, father, son
"A Peace of Shade", pen and ink drawing by John Huisman




Sunday, August 2, 2015

Interesting projects and a large oak and glass door

Recently my wife and I had the privilege of being invited to dinner at an old friends house on Burntside Lake. This was a project I had a small hand in building many years ago.

It must be 15 years ago now, the homeowner, Virgil, initially contacted me about building the home but then decided to have a young contractor that he knew build it instead but they asked if I could be involved as a consultant of sorts for the logwork, actually teaching the contractor, Willie, how to scribe and fit logs and generally think through this project on this incredibly difficult sight.

Willy is a fast learner and a great guy. I don't think I was out there more than a few times during the construction. Turns out he didn't need me much. He just grabbed hold of everything and took off. Still, I like to think I had some small part in the construction of this incredible home and I enjoyed getting out there from time to time and seeing the log shell go up.

As amazing as the house itself is, it is the location that really gives this place it's jaw dropping quality.
It is a lake access site and up high on a huge rock outcropping that overlooks both the main part of Burntside Lake as well as the North Arm... a very special piece of property.

It wasn't just a normal log project, scribing and fitting logs... each log had to be floated across the lake and up this huge mountain of rock and then peeled and sanded and lifted into place then scribed and taken down, cut and put back into place. These were logs that were, many of them, 45 to 50 feet long and up to 24 inches diameter at the butt end. They are Norway Pine so, extremely heavy. Every step of the project was a feat of engineering with cables and winches and pulleys. When I got there they had already spent a year or two building a monster tram system on rails built on huge concrete footings. This was fine for normal materials and tools but the logs were dragged directly up the side of the rock, probably a 150' rise. For the upper logs they built a gin pole contraption that is really impossible to describe adequately here.

After the log shell was done, I really had no part in the finishing of the project but I can only imagine what it must have took for them to get the large windows and doors as well as everything else, across the lake and up to the site.

It was, as one might imagine, a multi year project and a few years later Virgil, the homeowner, heard I was making some doors so asked me to build one for him. So my next trip out to the site was with this huge oak and glass door, standing in a boat with four guys hanging on to it and then getting it on this tram and up to the site...

Everything about the entire project screamed insanity but it was impossible not to be drawn in by that very quality combined with the incredible enthusiasm and energy and unique affability of the homeowner, the man with the vision, Virgil.

I had not been there in many years but have kept in touch with Virgil and Willie over the years. Willie Anderson is a contractor in Golden Valley now with his company: http://www.crownmn.com/
But occasionally he still does things up here in Ely and I run into him here and there.

Always the big thinker, more of Virgil's larger than life projects can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Knc0IT4PdFo and at his website here:  http://www.virgiltreeart.com/

The house has recently been listed for sale.
The listing for the home and more pictures can be seen here:
http://www.lisajanisch.com/homes/36/54406/2721-BURNTSIDE-LAKE-NE-ELY-MN-55731/4559602#.VahXzM0AZXo.email

The virtual tour can be seen here:
https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=PU2mgwaqLKM

Virgil picked us up at the landing in his boat that beautiful Sunday evening a few weeks ago and we spent a remarkably pleasant evening with he and his wife and two young men employed there for the summer at this amazing house in this incredible location.

Here is a picture of the home as we approached coming up on the tram from the lake:
Log, home, ely, mn, north, red, pine, norway, Huisman,amazing, property, construction
...and I finally got to take some pictures of this door that I built now so many years later...
Log, home, ely, mn, north, red, pine, norway, Huisman,amazing, property, construction, custom, oak, beveled, glass, door, huge, wide

Log, home, ely, mn, north, red, pine, norway, Huisman,amazing, property, construction, custom, oak, beveled, glass, door, huge, wide

Log, home, ely, mn, north, red, pine, norway, Huisman, construction, custom, oak, beveled, glass, door, huge, wide

 custom, oak, beveled, glass, door, huge, wide, log, home, ely, mn, huisman

 custom, oak, beveled, glass, door, huge, wide, log, home, ely, mn, huisman

Saturday, June 20, 2015

SImple arched pine plank red door...

Here are a few pictures of a simple plank door I build and installed recently.
The exterior is red:
 

And the interior is natural pine:




...sometimes things just don't need to be complicated...



Saturday, May 30, 2015

Lots of Pine

Some pictures of the recently completed island cabin. We got stopped by the weather last fall with just a few details to finish up.
Here is a sort of room divider cabinet that I built in the shop this spring while the snow and ice were still there. Once the ice was out we brought it across in the boat and finished installing the wood-stove and kitchen counter tops and base trim, etc.
pine, northern, mn, paneling, custom, cabinets, cabinet, huisman, ely, lake, home, cabin

pine, paneling, custom, cabinets, cabinet, huisman, ely, lake, home, cabin
The cabin is basically one large room, except for the bathroom, with kitchen, living and bedroom all in one space. There are more pictures of it in progress here.
Wood, stove, pine, paneling, custom, cabinet, lake, home, huisman, ely, minnesota

Wood, stove, pine, paneling, custom, cabinet, lake, home, huisman, ely, minnesota


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Metal roof

I have been working on a project with Ellen Cashman of Bear Bones Studios which she featured in her recent newsletter:




She also has a new website up and running here:
barebonesely.com
you can also find her on facebook here.
and pinterest here.


Some pictures of the metal roof going on that cabin this past couple weeks:

Steel, roof, custom, cabin, home, log, ely, mn, huisman, mottled, copper

Steel, roof, custom, cabin, home, log, ely, mn, huisman, mottled, copper



Spring is coming in Ely. We have had some warm weather and the majority of the snow has melted but there is still a lot piled around and in the woods.  This week I took a walk out to an island on Burntside Lake to take some measurements for a cabinet I have to get built. It was a windy but sunny day and the ice was perfect for walking. It was only a mile each way so I was back in a little over an hour.


Looking straight out toward my destination:


 At the island site looking back the way I came:



 I probably could easily have driven my truck out here the ice was in great shape, but it was a nice day for a walk... I just don't seem to get out as much as I should. Sometimes I think I don't fully appreciate where I live...