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More stories about Backfill

  • Next - A Snap-On Addition?

    Jigsaw-puzzle house

  • No Lot Too Small

    Plenty of business cards say “no job too small.” Builder Dan Upton and architect Jeff Shelton could reasonably have “no lot too small” printed on theirs. Not that either of them specializes in small projects — but they did complete a house on a 20-foot-by-20-foot lot in Santa Barbara, Calif.

  • Welcome to Your Future

    In October 2007, JLC illustrator Tim Healey envisioned a future in which pickup trucks would be replaced by freight-hauling bicycles. Who knew then that a few intrepid builders had already made the switch?

  • Model Home for Sale

    Every year since 2001, home builder Cape Associates of North Eastham, Mass., has built a playhouse replica of a local historic building. Past models have included the town library, the Coast Guard station, and the famous Outermost House, which was swept off the beach during a winter storm in 1978.

  • Still Grinding After 200 Years

    Andy Shrake fixes windmills. Not the newfangled kilowatt-generating type, but the all-wood grain-grinding beauties built some 200 years ago. With 14 still standing on Nantucket, Cape Cod, and Rhode Island, repairing them is a full-time job.

  • Solar Cargo Trailer

    Paul Bias, a green builder in Arcata, Calif., frequently works on sites where it’s difficult to get temporary power. Rather than use a generator — which is loud and dirty and easy to steal — he powers his tools with energy from the sun.

  • JLC Extra: Solar Cargo Trailer

    This schematic shows how to wire the trailer-mounted photovoltaic power system described in July’s Backfill article.

  • Haven for Homeless Homes

    When a northeast storm cut a new opening through a barrier beach in the Cape Cod community of Chatham, Mass., in April 2007, owners of seasonal cottages on the narrow strip of sand were dismayed but not surprised: North Beach, as it's locally known, is in a continuous — and sometimes dramatic —...

  • Turning Monster Posts on a Shop-Built Lathe

    When a local remodeler approached me about reproducing five porch posts for a 140-year-old house in Boulder, Colo., my interest was piqued. Despite the fact that I didn't have a lathe — much less one that could turn 10-foot posts — I took the contract, figuring I could build my own to do the job.

  • Tight Fit in Toronto

    To judge by its dimensions — 45 feet by 6 feet 6 inches — the structure at 128 Day Avenue in Toronto has more in common with a bowling alley than with a residence. And in fact, the site it occupies was originally meant to be an alley.