Residential Exterior

Olek custom fabricates woodwork for thoughtfully designed and built houses. We execute the most inspired architectural designs, as they should be built. Current architectural millwork standards are woefully inadequate, and don’t contribute to the longevity and comfort that a homeowner expects. Over “engineering” of windows, doors, siding, roofs, paneling and interiors results in short useful lives, and constant maintenance. We vigilantly remind our clients, architects, general contractors, and homeowners that better designs, craft and joinery techniques, and materials are available that will enhance the enjoyment and durability of your home. Current standards of BOCA or CABO, are largely derived from, various millwork, door and window standard setting agencies dominate construction industry today. These standards, such as AWI (Architectural Woodworking Institute), NWWDA (National Wood Window and Door Association), and others are primarily concerned with the welfare of their members, that set the rules to enhance profitability, and the avoidance of outright scandal. They don’t insure you are getting value for your money, rather the opposite.

The use of “green” in reference to almost anything built today for residential homes, is meaningless when one considers that:

• Windows are designed to last at most 15 years, and start deteriorating after only a few years. The seals of a double insulated glass are leaking within a few years

• Windows are made of finger jointed wood, starts coming unglued in a few years. The rest of the joinery is just as bad, all doweled and nailed.

• Doors are veneered with 1/8″ solid wood, and are a particle board and glue core. 15 years maximum in an elevation with significant sunlight exposure, and you could start seeing splits, lifting veneer, and deteriorating finish within 4 years. Doors are doweled instead of mortise and tenon joined.

• Wood used for exterior veneers or solid wood is only slightly resistant to rot, and starts rotting in the first or second season of use. Pine is not rot resistant as it used to be, it grows too quickly today. The “mahogany” provided by subcontractors or General Contractors is usually African Mahogany, because it costs 1/3 of what South American Mahogany costs, but is not rot resistant. Few architects and virtually no homeowners can tell the difference- not for a year anyway.

• Minor leaks ruin interior woodwork of MDF almost immediately, and start to swell, rot and mildew, creating another environmental hazard.

Our woodwork standards foster a throw away culture, where everything is expected to last 10 years. The technology has been developed centuries ago, for our woodwork to last for hundreds of years. Following traditional joinery and craft rules still results in woodwork that is durable and trouble free. Ask yourself if you want “modern engineered” woodwork, or a better product?

We are happy to share our expertise and building or renovate your home according to the old craft standards. If you are out of the NY, NJ, CT or Pennsylvania area, we can consult with your architect to apply sound standards and to develop specifications that will give you a truly green, long-lived home.

Federal Style House – Morristown, NJ

Constructed as General Contractor a 10,000 sq.ft. Federal Style Dutch gambrel cedar shake roof Center Hall design residence with extensive custom millwork. All T.D.L. single glazed windows with storms have antique clear glass and are made of solid white oak. The Dolly Varden profile pine siding was all specially treated for rot resistance. Solid granite fieldstone walls were hand-laid, 680’L x 24″ thick x 5’4″H (max) with rough hewn and hand chiseled face stone, in straight, curved, and corner shapes. Bluestone walk ways were laid. Constructed nine masonry fireplaces. Extensive exterior trim, with solid antique cedar Tuscan columns and pilasters.

Excavation for 12′ deep poured reinforced concrete Foundation.

We cut trees for flooring, sheathing, siding, and moldings for this house.

A logger rides across a stream as “Brownie,” a 4-year-old gelding Percheron, hauls a log down the hill and across the brook to the temporary sawmill.

Mobile sawmill was set up to mill the trees into flooring, clapboard siding, sheathing, and moldings.

Solid hemlock sheathing laid diagonally. No use of plywood or particle board on exterior


Solid white oak roof sheathing is naturally rot resistant

Hand split cedar Shake roof

Solid granite fieldstone walls all hand chiseled for smooth faces.

Granite was all locally sourced, primarily from demolished antique properties.

Garage door fabrication of Honduran Mahogany

T.D.L. Windows for house, single glazed, with storm windows providing 5″ insulating cavity.

Windows used period wavy glass for most panes, and modern glass for some.

Nine masonry fireplaces with four masonry chimneys, built the old fashioned way.

Fanlight windows are all true divided light, with mortise and tenon joinery

Extensive architectural woodworking detailing

All wood custom architectural woodwork, T.D.L. weight-balance D.H.D.S. windows, custom siding. The terraced front walls and rear yard took advantage of a zoning ordinance to allow greater building height, with 10’6″ first floor ceiling height, 9′ + second floor, and 11’6″ third floor.

Residential Exterior Gallery