A blog dedicated towards architectural refinement of buildings and environments in which we live, work, and play. Chiefly this is brought about by the author with finish carpentry at heart, and many other disciplines radiating or spinning off from it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Small Accents to Plaster Repair - Pueblo, Colorado

In assisting a couple whom where renovating an old Victorian "Four-Square" I added a couple small gambrel accents above the stairway and ended up spraying oil enamel on all of the upstairs trim and kitchen cabinetry. It was previously owned by an elderly gentleman who had lived there alone at least forty years. He was not a very handy man around his house. Not much was done in the way of repairs or remodeling. This was a bit of a relief to the new owners, at least in the notion of clarity versus confusion, as some of these old homes get remodeled (or re-muddled) every ten or twenty years.

Just as soon as repairs were done on the ceiling and painted, light fixtures were installed. It created an ambiance one would rarely see in a job site.

The attic was reclaimed as living space. Stairs installed by another carpenter to it.

A Photo of the author at work. I was assigned to finishing the drywall on this attic after the drywall installer and crew "resigned". The angles, unusually going all the way to the floor line did present a challenge with a lot of bridged fiberglass mesh at the joints and setting compound down to a high baseboard. The veteran drywaller mentioned that this one drove his best helper off, and that he would lose money on it. I took over on an hourly basis and did alright. Sure it was unusual, but it worked out anyway.

The owners did quite a beautiful job in the main floor washroom behind the kitchen in Venetian plaster. The floor was done in stone tiles.

Trex Stair Replacement - Hunter House

At one client's house I replaced a rotted stairway with treated lumber and Trex composite. She said that she would have no problem going up the stairs, but going down it seemed like there was less step, and would be apt to fall if she didn't slow down. The previous carpenter had underslung the tow kick by two full inches! Redesigned, I extended her stair out another two feet or so, so that she could have 9-1/2 inches of tread even with a toe kick of a full inch.



As yet I have no pictures of this project with the final rail and stiles applied. There was another deck on the other side of the house, the front. (It used to be a stable and hay barn for horses.)

As with some of these remodels I advised the couple that the concrete landing needed to extended to meet code. Some contractors would stipulate this be part of the work before starting. I let it go on assurance that they knew about this, and that they would do it themselves "some day", and took over the responsibility.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Auto-CAD Drawings

During the couple of years since my brother put an Auto-CAD program designed for Civil Engineering technology onto my PC I have taught myself how to draw with it. I have already used it to present customers with exact profiles of mill works found in older Victorian style homes, such as this cornice below that went on top of a double-hung window.

The hardest part about this type of molding is trying to dimension all the various radii without crossing over the outline, taking away the clarity of it. I had not seen this type of molding in any modern houses. It has a classical cyma recta offset by a cove and minescule reveal. What I appreciated the most when working with it at this client's house was the rabbeted seat that allowed a near perfect fit over 3/4" casing and the wall, given the walls are done well.

I drew this Doric order base working from a library book. It took repeated tries at deciphering old colonial handwriting, syntax and grammar, detailing how Greek Revivalism was applied from observed formulas at the time. This photo is of the drawing with construction lines frozen for clarity.

I sold the plaster recreation and restoration of a large ornate cornice that was missing over a pilaster in the courtroom of the Historic Federal Building, in Pueblo, Colorado in 2006. This I did from a previous illustration drawn from exact measurements of a wooden substrate that a previous carpenter had installed. The owner was prepared to apply some prefabricated appliques with no real knowledge that this substrate was off dimensionally by as much as 1/2".

The drawing below was generated to present to the client for spacing of panel moldings assembled in tall rectangular frames, After a bit of consultation it was decided that the recurring motif of triples in the windows would be the way to go, also reinforcing the vertical lines of the space. Whilst painting the split oval arch upon scaffolds I took the opportunity to take a survey of the bands and ogee dimensions and added them onto the layout for aesthetic appeal and documentary interest.

layoutThe panel mold frames as installed. (For more information on this project visit my other blog:

http://www.pouredintoamould.blogspot.com )

Above is an idea for a shower stall floor that I came up with under the influence of ancient Roman floor mosaics. I imagine that aside from molding and casting these to manage repeatable accuracy one easy way of cutting them could be done with a trammel jig fastened to a water-cooled diamond saw.

The above is a layout drawing for the exterior stair I remodelled, photographs of which are documented on another entry.

Above, a top view plan for framing of porch decking at my own home. This does not show where the new walls will be (since part of the house is inside the normal setback from the property line).

Above, a top view plan estimating trenching for my new electrical service entrance and driveway re-location to the east side of the house. Since my septic tank is aligned in an odd way I also triangulated its exact location too. Never know when one may have the equipment to dig, so I thought it would be handy to have the drawing ready regardless.

My Resume

Andrew N. Kottenstette
8222 Green Lane
Rye, Colorado 81069
(719) 242-6274

Trim Carpenter, Mold-maker, and Painter, self-employed and in conjunction with a family-owned construction corporation whose reputation requires a high degree of quality control and consistent inspection aimed more toward fine restoration of architectural details.

Carpentry and Mould-making
Installer of commercial displays, cabinetry and countertops in commercial and residential buildings; windows, doors, door hardware, and suspended ceiling tiles.
Installer and repairman of interior and exterior residential trim, including multi-layered crown moldings, fluted casings, stain-grade baseboards, stringers, bullnose stair treads, and gingerbread corbels. Replaced exterior stairways, railings and pickets in composite materials, decking, columns. Levelled sagging awnings. Management of jobs and apprentices on remote locations. Represented a family company responsibly in interpersonal client consultations, initiating and closing sales. All-round re-modeling labors including code compliant, or delicate demolitions, management of valuable salvage items and proper waste disposal. Fabrication of ornate decorative plaster cornice work through traditional mold-making and casting processes.
Journalism and photography of the above processes, publishing knowledge and developed skills regarding architectural restoration in historical buildings.
Viewing of same is available at any of my design or construction-oriented web logs: www.pouredintoamould.blogspot.com www.ryecraftsman.blogspot.com www.virtualsculptureakottenstette.blogspot.com )

Painting, Drywall, and Plaster Repair
Master Journeyman of residential, commercial & industrial painting, including planning, transportation and coordination of labor and materials on remote job-sites; operation of self-propelled extension lifts; hydraulic paint-spraying equipment; knowledge of many modern and antiquated coatings, plastering and sculptural materials and their applications complied over twenty years; Scaffold construction; Formulation and control of wood restorative materials used in building conservation using epoxy-based and hazardous materials, safety compliance in using fall-arresting equipment in urban environments.

Other Skills
Two and a half years fiberglass and rubber mold making in the Cast Stone Industry.
Self-taught Auto-CAD, 2 years.
Self-taught Google Sketchup 3-D design, 4 years.
Examples of which are also featured on my web logs.

South High School Diploma, Pueblo Colorado, 1979
University of Southern Colorado, Pueblo, Colorado 1979
Pre-engineering Major
University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado, 1981 -1983 Fine Art Major, Sculpture Emphasis, 3.05 cumulative GPA

Relevant Experience:
Self-Employment ~ Rye Craftsman
January 2005 - Present
Specialized and traditional construction contractor, new construction, remodeling, industrial and residential painting and carpentry, plaster repairs, design, layout, manufacture and installation of cast ornate plaster cornice work.

Previous Employment:
January 2006
Mold-maker, Milestone Ltd. of Amarillo, Texas
To see if I could commute once a week from Colorado to Texas, and to evaluate the prospect of re-location for a job returning to the cast stone manufacturing industry. Valuable employment, though brief.

September 2001 - January 2005
Painter, Burrer Painting ~ Pueblo, Colorado
Commercial and Residential painting service.
Master Journeyman of residential, commercial & industrial painting, including planning, transportation and coordination of labor and materials on remote job-sites; operation of self-propelled extension lifts; hydraulic paint-spraying equipment; knowledge of many different coatings and their applications complied over twenty years; Scaffold construction; Formulation and control of hazardous materials in hospital environments; Additional drywall finishing skills with custom wall surface texture repertoire; Minor carpentry repairs in framing, architectural trim work, wood restorative building conservation using epoxy-based materials.

May 2000 - September 2001
Painter, R & S Painting, Pueblo, Colorado
Commercial and Residential painters, some duties taking me on remote locations.

November 1999 - March 2000
Installer, Gunter Woodcrafting, Pueblo, Colorado
Commercial cabinetry installation and displays, some duties taking me on remote locations with some overnight stays. Valued employment, however brief.

April 1997 - October 1999
Mould-maker Haddonstone Ltd. USA, Pueblo, Colorado
Fiberglass & Rubber mold making studio. Duplicated and repaired fiberglass and rubber molds through hand- lamination and cavity pouring method. Full pattern-maker's shop machinery knowledge and use. Responsible for training employees and/or supervisiors at same position.

May 1995 - Present
Kottenstette Painting, Pueblo, Colorado
Residential painting, home improvement, plaster repairs. This is a life-long association I have kept on a vestige level with my father.

References Available Upon Request

Sunday, January 6, 2008


I am having a period of under-employment, and so my attention turns to my own house and the blog of progress (or lack thereof) in it. It's a little scary, but I find part time work in other things. My family wonders, somewhat, how I can manage. Well, I'm single, have no dependants and have already done the regular grind for years in jobs that did not go anywhere, with dependants....or a sort of dependants in step-kids. I suppose I should file for unemployment, but it's such a distraction and doesn't do anything for my optimism.The weblog address is:


With freedom comes responsibility, and I'm striking with the momentum I have here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Job From a Year Ago

When I was with the family company we had an exterior paint job which called for some renovative attention to tall wooden columns. We also got to try our hand at re-pointing some of the stone foundation and brick.

The house is a large "Four Square" that had been remodelled with the consultation of a local architect, but previous work before the present owners had moved in included the salvage of and incorporation of some tall wooden columns that graced the entryway of the old Red Cross Building where it stood on 8th Street in Pueblo, Colorado. They suported a pediment like a portico in an unusual two-storey accomodation.

Abatron wood consolidant and epoxy filler was used. This spring I was called back to put pidgeon spikes up because they were nesting under the eaves on the drainspouts. They were ruining our paint job! They seemed to be expanding out from a tall church about a block south. This seemed to be the second best hospitable place. (Pigeons are color-blind, so I'm not sure it had anything to do with new color scheme.) That's when I finally got to take pictures of the finish. Only minor touch up was needed. A little expansion and contraction was exhibited.
(After consulting with the owner about where the column top and bottom traditionally broke as a unit I painted the scotia and torus the green color. He prefered it as above. I would have painted those the limestone color.)

I found only one quibble with the architect about a blind return on the northeast side of the garage. Even with a drain and downspout that is only a couple feet away from the corner there must be a problem with snow getting caught inside the nook made there, which freezes and thaws until it overflows down the brick, causing water damage to the paint. It can't be much better on the brick and mortar. This will be a re-curring problem until it is remedied.

Here it is in detail.

My father ran into some damage up top when concidering the chimneys. After a little consultation with the client we then re-pointed them.

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About Me

Sculptor, Residing in Southern Colorado, USA. age 58. Interested in mould-making, public or outdoor sculpture presentation, and space or environments in which to present them


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