Monday, October 24, 2016

Brandon Treehouse project

A Brandon resident asked Three Oaks Construction to build a treehouse for his nephews, nieces, and grandkids. After plenty of discussion, this is what we came up with.

Left to right: Kurtis O'Connell (Three Oaks Construction), Steve Fitzgerald (treehouse owner), and Nicholas Audet (Three Oaks Construction)

The Construction:

In order to construct the 13' x 15' rectangle deck, we began by building a large triangle platform, supported by the three oak trees that the homeowner had selected. One of the homeowner's stated goals was to minimize the amount of fasteners directly into the tree. One of our goals was to ensure that the trees did not pull the treehouse apart. To accomplish this, we created a bracket to allow the trees to move back and forth on the platform frame.
The initial platform.

Notice the brackets on the frame.

We added knee braces for an extra measure of protection.
When we framed the hut, we used the least amount of lumber possible in order to keep the whole structure as light as we could.
In addition to all the other safety measures, we added choke chains to the supports. In the rare event that a support should fail, the chains will allow plenty of time for any body to get off.

We used spruce siding to help keep the structure light.

The Features:

We finished the interior of the main hut with 1 x 8 tongue and groove pine, coated with Minwax polyurethane. The homeowner wanted the grandkids to be able to do a little work on it, so we left the casings unfinished and the tongue and groove is only partly nailed.
1 x 8 tongue and groove pine interior, finished with polyurethane
The owner also provided an eighty foot Alien Flyer zipline with a safety harness. We attached it to the deck and an outlying tree.
The treehouse featured an 80 foot zipline approximately 20 feet off the ground.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Recent Projects - Bathroom and Tile projects

A bathroom job in Middlebury, VT.
Recently, our customers have asked us for a wide variety of tile projects. Here, I'd like to showcase a few of our recent projects.

1. Starksboro, VT

The glass and fixtures have yet to be added in this picture.

We used Mitte tiles from Lowe's (the customer chose all the products) and an epoxy grout.
The floor was extremely uneven, so we poured Leveline 15, a self-leveling substrate, on the floor to achieve as even of a surface as was possible. We used Schluter KERDI over the plywood backing in the shower and Laticrete's HydroBan for the custom built niche.

2. Middlebury, VT

We refinished the existing clawfoot tub and reinstalled it. Crane's Plumbing and Heating from Salisbury, VT did all the plumbing fixtures.
Desabrais Glass in Middlebury, VT installed the glass shower door. We used subway tiles for the shower wall with a brick lay pattern on the lower half and a diagonal brick lay pattern on the upper half to make it a little more interesting.
Eastern Electric did all the electrical fixtures.
Mike Goodspeed from Forestdale, VT made the custom vanities.
This project was actually two projects - we remodeled the upstairs and downstairs bathroom. We scheduled the project to ensure that customer always had functioning facilities.
Marble shower seat and porcelain tiles.
We utilized the minimal available space in the second floor bath as effectively as possible.

3. Brandon, VT

The customer wanted a custom glass block window with the heron print on it. The Electric Mirror has built in lighting.
The crown molding, chair rail, and accent strip are all marble.
Even the baseboard is marble.

4. Goshen, VT

We used subway tiles with a glass accent strip here.
Granite curb, Schluter KERDI drain.
Custom built round niche.
Granite corner shelf.

Thanks for checking out our latest projects here on our blog! If you'd like to see more of the work we can do, be sure to check out our gallery by clicking here. Maybe you're considering a tile project of your own and would like to check out more of our tile work. If so, click here to jump right to our tile gallery. Thanks for stopping by!

~Nick for the team at Three Oaks

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Recent Projects - Hypertherm

This reception desk was built for Hypertherm in Lebanon, NH as a project for Breadloaf construction. We used plastic laminate and stainless steel strips to achieve the modern effect shown here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Recent Projects - Brandon Bathroom

Recently, Three Oaks had the opportunity to renovate a small bathroom in Brandon, VT. The owner wanted to make the bathroom feel larger than the available space. This effect was achieved by using mirrors and custom glass block window. The Electric Mirror has light bars integrated into the mirror's surface as well as a defogger and mirrors inside the medicine cabinet. The toilet was wall mounted to conserve space in the room . Only the bowl protrudes from the large wall mirror which also holds the carefully nested flush controls. The mirror also serves to give the illusion of a room twice its size. Desabrais Glass fitted the privacy glass into the old door and Emtek hardware was used to give it a classy look. The bathtub, sporting a whirlpool and colored lights, was installed by Crane's Plumbing and Heating out of Sudbury, VT.

The Toto wall mount toilet extends out of the mirror. Flush controls are neatly mounted above it.

The two white strips in the Electric Mirror medicine cabinet are lights.

Thanks for reading!
-Nick for Three Oaks Construction

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Vermont State Homes Interview

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Our company was started in 1995 by my father and me. My father was a carpenter for as long as I could remember and I had worked for him since my teen years. I never really considered that I would do anything else for an occupation. I love starting with an idea and making it a reality or a problem and figuring out a solution for it. We mostly did kitchen and bathroom remodels, so that's how I learned the trade. I did a little commercial construction for about 5 years for a local large builder where I had opportunity to work more with blueprints and architects. As we progressed, the projects grew larger and more complex until we were doing total house remodels. By this time, my Dad went on to other interests. We added some good people to help us, and got to know and work with some good subcontractors along the way. I never set out to build a big business, and it's still quite small. Some of my boys are coming into the business now and that's been a real joy.

What qualities should fine home designers possess?

Well, I'm not a fine home designer, I'm a carpenter who designs some if need be. I guess organization and foresight would be very important qualities, along with creativity. When we do have design challenges to handle, I almost always get my wife's input. She spends a lot more time at home and she is very good with laying out space, much better than I am. I focus on the details. I know what I want it to look like. On the project we just finished, the designer had a great ability to see possibilities that I would have missed.

As a fine home builder, how do you make sure you're understanding of what your client wants?

I tell my clients that if they have something particular that they're after, look through magazines and find some things that are close that they like. Usually we can adapt them for our uses or to fit the space we have, or build a composite of all the things they show me. If a piece of equipment has to fit in somewhere, pick it out and get the spec sheet on it. I draw larger projects out (like additions or new construction). Sometimes the owners already have drawings. Many times as I get to know them better, I can anticipate what they're after.

What is the process of designing one of your homes?

Often when I first meet with a client, they don't know what they want. One client comes to mind. We built an addition for her sister and she referred her to us. She said the she wanted us to make the side of her raised ranch home into the front. Her directions to her house ended with "...turn into the driveway with the ugly house at the end." When I went out to look at it, I almost told her that there was nothing I could do with it. But, that night stared at the pictures I had taken of her house, wracking my brain what to do. My wife and I started throwing around some quick sketches to see what would happen and "bang", there was the answer. Now excited,I presented it to them, and they loved it and we built something very close to it in the end. Because I do almost completely additions and alterations, the first consideration is "what complements this house?". We've probably all seen an addition to a house that is beautiful in itself, but because it clashes with the original house, the whole job looks bad.

What is your philosophy behind creating fine, yet practical homes for your clients?

I do whatever needs to be done. I try to be practical. Every builder would like to always do the artsy interesting work, and so would I. But I know that at my house there are interesting jobs and there boring jobs, but they all need to be done. So I have determined that I would take the fine projects and the ordinary ones too. Sometimes a job is strictly utilitarian, but some small detail can be added that isn't expensive that can make it special for the owners.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

You can get on our website at, or you can call us at (802)247-4920.
Read the article at

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A quaint little porch

      The picture above is a house that we built a new front entry porch for, before we started the work.
 The pictures below show the completed porch.

 When we dug the post footings, we had to number the bricks in the walkway so they could be reinstalled at the end.

   The flooring is red meranti with a painted steel grate in the floor to clean your boots on.

 These close up shots show the distinctive twist detail in the balusters.
 The metal work was completed by Nop's Metal Works in East Middlebury.
          The copper details will take on a beautiful patina as the years go by.
                             Close up of the scrolled rafter tails
   This combination storm door started out life as a solid plank door.
 The owner wanted light and ventilation, but didn't want to lose the beauty of the original pine door.
 So we disassembled the door   and used the parts to make this new one.
     Close up of the pine beadboard ceiling. We finished it in oil to make the grain "pop".