PHOTOGRAPHY: NICHOLAS VENEZIA
About the Spring Street Farm renovation, Freddy says, “This place had great bones! Exposed beams, original 10+ inch wide-plank floorboards, and a lot of original stone work. Despite being 200 years old, there are plenty of windows that provide ample light. The large stone fireplace is well- situated between the living area and the kitchen. The restoration project involved a complete gut of the structure – basically taking the house down to the sticks, and although we added small extensions on each side of the house in order to get the square footage up to a still-cozy 1,800 square feet, the basic shape and post-and- beam structure remains unchanged and true to its period and original form. I use a backyard barn that once housed farm horses and livestock as a workshop. In addition to working on custom pieces, I’m in the process of renovating the barn and opening it up to the courtyard in the backyard. ”
When he was seven, Freddy, the only boy in a family of five kids growing up in a rural part of Ecuador, started working with his Dad on the family’s future home – which they built by hand, working every day after school and after work to construct a 4,000 square foot, 6-bedroom, Spanish-style, three-story house. “I remember my Dad painted a line and told me where I needed to start digging in order to place the foundation. We didn’t use any large machines to build the house. I’d enlist my cousins to help out so that we could finish the day’s work and still have some time to play soccer. We moved in when I was 12 and it was the first time we had running water. …My Dad is a huge inspiration to me. He really taught me a lot of my most important life lessons…and he gave me the basic design, building and woodworking skills that I use every day. He would dream things up…put his mind to them…and make it happen!,” Freddy shares. “No pun intended, but that’s the foundation of my own work ethic, and the love for what I get to do for a living.”
“We have the capability to do any and all of the woodwork on any residential build, no matter how big or technical the project may be. But my real particular specialty and expertise is in doing custom woodworking projects using reclaimed and upcycled wooden materials. Nature is an inspiration, and I believe in sustainable building as a method of being conscious of the environment,” Freddy reflects. “…I’ll get a warped old piece of wood that’s completely bowed and imperfect, and I’m intrigued by its history. I’m enthralled with the creative process of taking something that’s unique and storied and breathing new life into its next iteration.”
While the entire home serves as a showpiece of Freddy’s woodworking ingenuity and skill, his woodwork in the kitchen is extraordinary! All of the cabinetry, including the facings for the appliances, is done in reclaimed exotic Brazilian wood custom crafted for the space. And featured woodworking throughout the house includes an antique sliding barn door between the family room and the addition, the full wooden bar in the kitchen that’s made from original siding from the house, and the thick and sturdy wooden table that sits in the middle of the kitchen, made out of White Oak from a 1878 barn in Ridgefield. Upstairs, the primary bedroom suite is well lit and has an office nook where Freddy used reclaimed wood to create a more sophisticated top for a standing desk. And the master bath, with a large soaking tub with a direct view of the backyard, filled with plants, and done in calming earth tones, is just dreamy.
Freddy explains. “I moved to America after I graduated from high school, went to BOCES to learn about electrical work and get a few technical certifications, had a bunch of jobs working for a few contractors in all facets of the building trades, and eventually joined a team of builders doing high-end residential projects in and around Westchester and Fairfield. I tried to learn from everyone. …After about a decade building houses, I started to concentrate on woodworking – and I took a position as an apprentice with a fine cabinet maker. I learned the art of crafting kitchen cabinets, barn doors, and other custom projects. Although I like building in general, the time focused as an apprentice doing nothing but producing day after day really pegged my love of woodwork. In 2018, I started my own woodworking business, called Artwood Design & Construction.”