Exterior work encompasses everything that happens on the outside of a structure. That may be siding, decks, roofs, outdoor furniture, or small structures.


When looking at a house, the exterior envelope is perhaps the most immediately important part of the building after foundation and structural details. The exterior envelope includes the insulation, interior and exterior air and vapor barriers, WRB (weather resistant barrier), rain screen considerations, roofing, and all penetrations. Penetrations are everything from the obvious- doors and windows, to vents, electrical outlets, plumbing fixtures.


Another aspect of envelope performance is understanding how the residents use the building; much of the water and energy related problems that happen in buildings comes from the residents use of water: showers, laundry, cleaning products introduce an enormous amount of vapors of various types into a house, and all of that needs to make its way out of the house or be trapped in it.


Understanding how water, vapor, air, and heat intersect with a building is critical to the performance and life of a building.


Exterior furniture, structures, and woodwork has to be designed to exist in the elements. Different materials act in various ways when exposed to moisture, heat, and UV. Most man-made materials expand or contract in relation to heat. Stone and concrete move in relation to heat, but water can cause them to spall, crack, fracture. Wood moves in relation to moisture, although heat and solar radiation can affect how it moves.


Knowing how different materials moves and why is necessary to build anything that will last in the outside environment.



Zarling Deck

The Zarling deck started as a simple job replacing existing decking. Upon starting work, we realized that many of the joists that seemed in good condition were rotting. Continuing to dig more carefully and talking with the client, we found out that the house had been built with a failed siding product that had been replaced. The replacement contractor had not flashed the deck anywhere, and this led to extensive structural problems.

Eyebrows Dormers

Eyebrow dormers were built in Lavrans Mathiesen Woodworking’s shop with Josh Farrand of Eight Inch Nails Construction, Inc. as the general contractor, and assisted by Clint Howes of Revive Construction LLC.

Smith Frobes Garden

This project was on of a series of projects for these clients. The back/side yard did not drain and was wet and soggy most of the year.

Chicken Coop

Chicken Coop was built with Formed Objects, a Portland, Oregon metal worker who once lived in Seattle and still does work in and around Seattle. The coop was designed to complement the existing house.