WELL, WELL, WELL, if it isn't January. Err, November. Okay, Snowvembuary, as told to me by an entertaining client.
Yes, this year presented the earliest, coldest winter weather around here in recent memory. As Paul Anderson likes to put it, "water both freezes and thaws at 32 degrees." And for us, as masons, this number matters. While we are perfectly willing and able to work well down into some pretty low digits, mortar mostly is not. Which doesn't stop us from doing our thing, it just changes the game a little.
DAM's masons and laborers are some tough dudes - seriously - and they slug straight through the winter, but we've still got to baby the mortar, grout, concrete, etc...anything with water in it. Depending upon the job we may use hot water, apply blankets for heat, or just tarps, or complete canopies, or all of the above plus small heaters, or like in this case below, on this absolutely fantastic lake (Michigan) home we're working on with Barenz Builders, we've got pretty serious cover and an even more serious fresh air heater running.
So for all you builders out there, let it be known: DAM will absolutely plow through the winter for you. If it's 0 degrees out...okay, even heaters and tenting might not quite get us there until it gets back up to 8 or 10 or 12, anyway. But short of that, we're all in. You're just going to be on the hook (sorry) for the extra cost incurred for us to heat, but hey, at least we can keep swinging, instead of waiting around until April!
Stay warm, everyone, Happy Snowvembuary, and enjoy your Thanksgiving and upcoming holiday season planning! ~by Karl Zarling
Because of this, we've learned over the years that the best way to wind up with a great mason is to develop our laborers from within, to build from the inside. People already experienced with us, being trained and working into it, slowly, carefully. Like a golf swing, learning good habits early to avoid having to unlearn bad ones later.
Above are a few photos of Paul Anderson working with a couple of our fellas, doing some training, nudging them toward a possible shift in roles for them. These are capable, hardworking guys, our laborers. We respect them, and they matter; they're integral to every job in supporting our masons. And as our work continues to increase, it's again time for us to build from the inside, to develop talent with guys we already know and trust.
If things go right, as they have in the past, one or more of them will rise to the challenge and really show us that they're ready and able to move into a new role for us. Which in turn will create an opportunity for a new laborer. So for any of you out there considering a career as a mason, we're here to tell you that we'll help you with that, but it will be from the ground up. Starting with a strong foundation.
You know, kinda like doing masonry. ~by Karl Zarling
Look familiar? This is a new construction home, built by the venerable Moore Designs. We'd previously featured it on the header of our site, and have only finally gotten around to grabbing some final pictures and saying a little more about it.
Here at DAM we take real pride in our work, and this home shows it. Fantastic attention to detail, inside and out, with soaring peaks and accents, and character galore (yes, I just said galore).
DAM has enjoyed a long relationship with Dave and Lisa Moore, and their super capable crew. They're at the top of a short list of uncompromising, world class builders here in southeast Wisconsin, and this job is absolutely in keeping with their sky high standards and commitment to excellence. Truly great jobs should be left to the experts, and we really value our partnership with Moore and look forward to digging into every new venture.
This fairytale design was achieved with the help of talented architectural designer John Van Rooy, and incorporates northern European influence with modern ameneties. DAM worked closely with all parties in fine tuning stone selections, cuts, patterns, and blend, on interior and exterior elements. This is the kind of place that lets our masons' skills really shine...it's like giving that great driver and crew a super challenging track, and then letting it happen.
Paul Anderson, recently asked how we achieved the 'look' of the exterior veneer, commented, "We let the stone tell us." Yeah, humble, but ultimately true; you've just gotta listen. It can be a balancing act, maintaining control and quality, while letting the project breathe and flex its muscle, and this is one of those times where some of the best players - including homeowners with great taste and vision - got together on a dream and knocked it out of the park.~by Karl Zarling
Don't you just love a lake home?
These photos are a little rough as construction is entering the home stretch, and we'll post some more hopefully when the job is complete, but it's such a pretty house that I wanted to share. This is a great example of what a custom builder can do, in tandem with quality partners.
Attention to detail shows with numerous accents and points of interest both inside and out. On this particular fireplace stack, we worked hard with Joe and the homeowner to aesthetically achieve the look and configuration they wanted, while maintaining structural integrity. After some scratching of heads we've arrived right where it needed to be. Very much looking forward to seeing this face completed, and what a beautiful room it will highlight.
Take a moment to have a look at the Orendorf Custom Homes site for some of the other fine work they've produced. ~by Karl Zarling
Here are a few pics of another terrific home built by the venerable Barenz Builders.
The exterior stone, provided by our friends at Halquist Stone, is a custom blend of full stone...no thin veneer here. It's a gorgeous combination of irregular shapes while still maintaining a tidy and somewhat uniform look, and the color palette gets more interesting the deeper you look at it. Nothing cookie cutter here, and very much in keeping with the overall home design and impression.
And If I do say so, this is a particularly beautiful fireplace face; the combination of the 'dry stack' look, along with the stone selection really makes it pop, in this soaring and impressive great room. Just a great balance between contemporary and rustic...great choices made and really first rate all the way around. ~by Karl Zarling
One of our many projects currently underway, here's another home we're working on with our good friends at Woodhaven Homes.
This sprawling Brookfield residence will differentiate itself partly by the brick that was chosen. This selection is first rate, full of very subtle variation in color and shade, and with lots of pleasant dings and character.
Additionally, our masons are crafting some really pretty - and again, very subtle - corbelling and brick accents throughout the veneer. Old-school, elegant keystones and soldier courses above windows, brick sills, a nice circular vent with detailed surround, and a healthy brick chimney all add to the charm and feel of this design and execution. Our resident 'brick ninja' (a fitting title, given by recent hire David Stockland) Pat Janzer has shown great leadership and input on this job, and all involved should be proud of the results.
Have a look at a few pictures of this nice residential project and feel free to check out the Woodhaven site and see what they're about...and also a quick shout out to some other friends at Lycon, from whom we buy among other things a whole lot of mortar and concrete. You'll often see one of their towers out there in the thick of things on our job sites! ~by Karl Zarling
Yep, it was time to check out those cords, which does not actually involve gold chains or Bee Gees. Not as a rule anyway.
Cord check means us going through every electric saw, and drill, and mixer, whatever...taking inventory, checking continuity, fixing what's iffy, tossing the lost causes.
Cause a big shock when you're up 20 or 30 feet ain't great. You know...Staying Alive. ~ by Karl Zarling
No, we're not specifically seeking out tiny masons to work on fireboxes...this is just a rather large fireplace on a current job.
It's almost a Rumford - maybe we'll call it a hybrid - in that it will have some very desirable reflective heat qualities due to the back wall design, and also some of the flue elements of Rumford to ensure good draw.
Annnd...beautiful herringbone firebrick design. This one is sure to be a super looking fireplace when complete, and just one more great feature of this fantastic home. ~ by Karl Zarling
After decades of stellar work and priceless camaraderie, we're sad to announce Paul Wagner's retirement from Dale Anderson Masonry.
Each of us here has felt Paul's strong presence in the company for so very many years. Early on, Paul was our first and only ‘stone’ guy. He's an artist, in the truest sense of the word. His work has been showcased on all of the very best homes we’ve ever contributed to, and his influence and mentoring to other masons to follow has been and will continue to be felt for years to come. In many ways, Paul Wagner is what DAM has evolved into over the years.
He’s also consistently been one of our hardest working guys, with unrelenting dedication and focus, unselfishness, and commitment to getting things done. And not just getting it done, getting it done as well as it could be. Always a stickler for quality, and he didn’t just settle for ‘good enough’. Paul was and is a ‘company man’, in all the best ways, though he’d probably not want to hear it!
Personally, we all have lots of great memories of Paul, too many to count. As much as DAM will miss seeing Paul Wagner on the job as a fantastic employee, we’ll miss him around here even more as our friend.
On behalf of everyone, “Thank you, Paul Wagner, for being you, and for everything you’ve done for every single person in our family company.” I know I speak for all of us when I wish only the very best for Paul, and Jacky, and the entire Wagner family. Enjoy a few pictures of Paul...mason, husband, father and grandfather. ~ by Karl Zarling
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