Author Archives : Steve.Mortillaro

Doors and Windows

I have installed hundreds of doors and windows in my career as a carpenter.  I’ve installed more doors than windows and probably more interior doors than exterior, but it’s close.  A properly installed door is a joy to behold.  It should be both functional and attractive.  There should be an even gap between the door and frame around […]


Even though I am primarily a carpenter, I feel that those skills translate directly into tile work.  The first step in any construction job should be the right assessment and layout of the project.  In tile, this is especially important, as recovery from an oversight is usually much more ghastly and costly than a carpentry […]

The rough stuff

Not everyone has seemingly unlimited funds to throw at their multi million dollar vacation house out on the cape.  Even though I have worked on some pretty stellar and expensive projects, by far most of the projects I have worked on are for ordinary folks with real-world budgets.  I have built many more decks out of […]


Building custom cabinets is one of my favorite carpentry related endeavors.  I have been building and installing custom cabinets for customers for over a decade.  In the beginning, the cabinets that I built were simple, cost effective and usually site-built.  I was limited insofar as my shop was essentially my van and the tools within.  I […]


Ipe ( is one of those natural wonders that few know.  It is a tropical hardwood that is unmatched for its durability, weather resistance and insect resistance.  I had both the pleasure and displeasure of working with this species of wood on numerous occasions during my experiences on Cape Cod.  It’s a wonderful looking wood, warm and dark brown […]

Working in Cape Cod

For about 4 years I lived and worked in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  I absolutely loved it there and had the opportunity to work along side some true masters, and wonderful folks.  I was employed with Johnny Banks Construction- lovingly referred to as the JBC crew by its adherents.  We were mainly contracted by C.H. Newton Builders […]

Solid Oak Wall to Wall Shelves

I undertook this project in Ocean Springs, MS last year.  This was a fun, if time consuming project.  Thankfully, the customer, a bibliophile, knew exactly what he wanted.  He provided me with some examples from magazine cut outs and internet pictures of what he wanted.  He didn’t want pressed particle board shelves with plastic laminate cladding […]