A Few Recent Projects

Indian Hill, Ohio
Turner Farm is a working farm in Indian Hill, Ohio, which has been in operation since the early 1800’s.  In 1994 Bonnie Mitsui returned to the farm, which was now her family's property, and began transforming the property into a truly unique farm and community.  The mission of Turner Farm is to “draw lessons from our rural heritage to help build a positive future, demonstrating that local, organic, low-impact food production grows healthy communities and healthy ecosystems.”

This project is particularly exciting because it is an opportunity to combine state of the art green building techniques with a historic structure.  We are restoring an old barn and rebuilding the shed addition to serve as a demonstration and teaching kitchen. 


Turner Farm

Hawthorn Hill

Owner: Historic Hamilton

Hamilton, Ohio

This 1804 log cabin in Hamilton, Ohio stands as a monument to the pioneers who settled the area.  This historic building was suffering from severe deterioration and has undergone major renovation, including replacing logs, patching and reinforcing the roof, replacing windows, finishing the chimneys in stone and applying siding on 2 sides. 

Hamilton's Monument Cabin

When the Monument Cabin was moved in the 1960s, it was built directly onto the ground with the masonry foundation stopping at ground level.  Over time, the moisture from the ground was causing severe deterioration in the sill logs.  To resolve this issue, the entire cabin was jacked up, the lower logs were replaced, and a stone foundation was built under the cabin.  

After the cabin was jacked up and the damaged logs were removed, new oak replacement logs were inserted.  These enormous timbers were carefully cut to size, steeple notched at the corners, and lifted into place.

After 200 years, the cabin was developing structural problems with the roof.  The weight from the roof was pressing outward on the sides of the building, forcing them apart.  We built this support structure out of LVL beams (laminated veneer lumber) to lift up the roof and redistribute the weight to press directly down onto the ends of the building and to take the outward pressure off of the sides.  These modern structural members are restricted to the attic, which is not a part of the historical exhibit.

Before - the cabin is sitting directly on the ground 

During - with a foundation, new logs, and chinking

LVL beam reinforcement in the attic
The backhoe is used to fit a log into place

Owner: Dayton History / Dayton Aviation National Historical Park
Dayton, Ohio

Hawthorn Hill was designed to be the success home for Orville and Wilbur Wright.  Following Orville's death in 1948, Hawthorn Hill was purchased by the National Cash Register Company who used it as a guest house for corporate VIP's. NCR preserved thebuilding for future generations, photographed each room to show how it looked at the time of Orville's death, and then did some remodeling to suit its new purpose.  Unfortunately, as often happens during remodeling,  at some point the walls were painted and drop cloths were not effectively used because the floor was going to be carpeted. 

After Hawthorn Hill was turned over to Dayton History, it was opened to the Public for tours and  Dayton History began working to restore the house to more closely resemble its appearance when the Wright family lived here.  We were asked to restore these beautiful oak floors by removing the paint, glue and other damage, without removing the original finish.

We hand scraped the paint off the floor and used Andy's special wood restoration solution to clean the floors and blend the existing finish with areas where the finish was damaged.  We then applied a wax finish.  In the photos to the left, you can see patches where the floor was taken up to add plumbing for additional restrooms.  We matched the floor color with a stain to blend with the original floor color. 

As always, we enjoyed the opportunity to play a part in the unique history of this building.

Wilbur's Room Before and After

Bishop Wright's Room Before and After

The first phase of the project is renovating the studio barn to be used as an educational space.  We replaced & reinforced several decayed timbers, reinforced the lofts and rebuilt stairs to meet modern building code.  The siding  & roofing were removed, and closed cell insulation was applied to the outside of the timber frame.  With "reverse board and batten" sandwiched between the original salvaged siding and new subsiding we achieved a rainscreen. The barn is back to its original appearance.  A new standing seam metal roof completed the exterior restoration.
The majority of the interior surfaces were preserved.

The "Studio Barn" spring 2016

This project is ongoing in 2016. 
In the photo to the left the annual Turner Farm May Pole Celebration takes place in front of the Studio Barn.  It is a traditional celebration of spring. 
We are excited to continue working with the creative, passionate and hard working community at Turner Farm. 

 For more information about this unique community, visit turnerfarm.org.

The "Studio Barn" when restoration began

The seven-sided greenhouse on the south end of the barn is being rebuilt with a locally sourced stone foundation and a more energy efficient window system.
The second phase is the original shed addition on the back of the barn which will house a modern commercial teaching kitchen, designed to educate people on how to understand proper nutrition and food preparation.  
A reconstructed rear addition was built to have a similar profile to the previous shed addition and to blend in with the historic structure while housing a modern prep kitchen, mechanical systems and ADA compliant restrooms.


The barn after the closed cell foam insulation was installed

The foundation for the greenhouse

Josh and Andy laying the stone foundation

The interior looking from the historic barn into the kitchen addition

Siding was applied to the two walls with the greatest weather exposure to protect the historic logs  minimize continued deterioration.  The remaining sides were left exposed to retain the unique charactor of the log structure.

The upper portion of the chimneys had been made in the "stick and daub" style.  This was not considered to be historically accurate, and was deteriorating, so we replaced the upper portions with locally source limestone.

The completed cabin will be dedicated in the summer or 2016