DESIGN & BUILD SPACES, EXPERIENCES & THINGS THAT CREATE CONNECTIONS WITH NATURE, OTHERS & OURSELVES
THE TRUCKEE PROJECT
This massive 7-figure project in Truckee, California began in April of 2106 when Jon invited a few members of the Throughstone Group (a Collaboration of Craftsmen he formed in 2016) to fly there and walk through the site to see what ideas they could collectively form for the client from a "blank slate". A theme was then proposed; a rough plan was approved; and phase one site preparation began that same Fall.
It's a one-of-a-kind collaboration involving his stonesmith team and every member of the Throughstone Group from Colorado, California, Washington and Italy. Phase two began in May of 2017 and finished six months later in November.
The final phase will be complete in the early summer of 2018. Jon's stonesmith travel team relocated to Truckee for six months and installed approximately 300 tons of basalt and granite stone. The SB Forge + Iron crew designed and built numerous bronze-plated and bronze-sculpted features. The Seattle Solstice team co-designed and built Jon's sculptures up in Seattle, transported them to the site and flew down to install them. Jay of Stellar Jay Designs built all of the wood works in Durango, Colorado and trucked them up himself to put them all in place. Craig and Mary from NW Outdoor Lighting will complete the lighting system in 2018.
THE COLORADO MOONGATE PROJECT
To-date this was the most complex dry stone project that the Heritage Earth & Stone team has designed and built. Jon designed it using what he describes as "circular" and "geometric" aspects. His intention was to build a stunning feature revolving around fire that connected everyone in one beautiful space close to the wild part of the property.
Seventeen people were involved in this collaboration including two other members of the Throughstone Group. Jay from Stellar Jay Designs built and installed several Doug Fir features including the benches, threshold and turned wooden tubes. Craig from NW Outdoor Lighting designed and installed a lighting system that created a magical nighttime setting.
The total man-hours exceeded 2,200 and approximately 1,200 stones were individually cut, shaped and tooled from raw rock. From the approximate 56 tons of raw rock about 30 tons were transformed into stone that was used for the feature. The project took place over a 5-1/2 month period and right through the middle of a Colorado winter.
THE KIVA PROJECT
This conceptual "Anasazi" or "Puebloan" Kiva was designed by artist-sculptor David Mallin (Mancos, Colorado). This structure is a a vernacular feature found in the Southwest USA. David's daughter died early in her life from cancer and this was his family's memorial to her. They funded it, the city donated the land, he helped us build the wall and then, he alone, built the "stone floor" as part of his transformation, letting-go process.
The following "Project Description" is provided by David Mallin: "Sandstone and marble sound chamber for use as a communication portal. Located at the Lion's Den Park, overlooking the Animas River Valley, in Durango, Colorado. Dry stack wall construction by master masons, Jon Aguilar and others. Kiva design, totem carvings, floor design and construction by sculptor, David Mallin. The kiva is a gift to the city of Durango from the Natanya Joy Fund and the Mallin family. It is a memorial tribute to Natanya Joy Mallin Jameson who died on Valentine's Day, 2014, at age 27. Many compassionate and generous donors in Durango and beyond contributed to the fund to help Natty Joy get alternative medical care for a rare aggressive cancer. She died before she could use much of the fund. Those funds purchased the stone and the master masons' labor and expertise. Many of Natty Joy's 'peeps' helped all the way through the project. Completed October 2016."
FIRE & STONE
FIRE TABLE BY NIGHT
This dry-stone fire table consists of a 3'x6' Basalt stone top (supplied by HDG Building Materials) with an Adz edge-finish and roughened-thermal surface, Bluestone bases and an HPC fire pan with adjustable BTU range.
GATHER AROUND THE FIRE
This dry-stone project was designed by me but with plenty of input from the homeowners including the idea of LED lights. We cut and shaped all of this Canadian Basalt stone on-site. The fire feature is an HPC fire pan -adjustable gas unit with a range of 0 to 165,000 BTU's.
Firepit in the making...
Overhead of firepit and surrounding feature aspects.
Me & my nephew... end of a day.
IN THE BEGINNING...
Little did I know how incredibly difficult cutting and shaping Quartzite stone would be as I had never used it before!
IN THE MIDDLE...
You can see the "guts" of a double-stone dry-stone wall: Length of stone turned "into the wall", but no less than 1/3 and no more than 2/3 of the wall width, and plenty of "hearting" packed into the gaps.
The nice thing about Quartzite is you get 2 color ranges... light-buff colors when dry and lots of dark tones when it's wet.
INSIDE THE FIREPIT
FIREPIT & BENCH-WALL COMBINATION
This dry-stone feature is built from Quartzite stone (supplied by Rock Mountain) that we hand-cut, shaped and finished on site. Since this is a standard wood-burning fire pit I built in 3 vents to aid in the air flow.
IN THE BEGINNING...
The gas line was the center of this geometric design and I pulled my string line off it for most of the buildup.
STILL SETTING THE SETTS
A little tutorial... "Setts" are generally rectangular in shape and are known also as "Belgian Blocks". "Cobblestones" are round! So, I call these Setts, just square ones.
SETTS ARE SET
Purchased these "Salt and Pepper" Granite "setts" from Rock Mountain in Redmond, Washington.
This was the most mentally and physically dry-stone feature I've built to date, but also very rewarding.
FIRE, LIGHT & STONE
Night shot from the homeowners' 2nd story bedroom.
BEFORE... THE FIREPIT WILL BE 5' WIDE
ONE OF MY SONS... HE GETS ME!
STONE FIREPIT BOWL
About 10 years ago some friends showed me a book about Dan Snow, a dry stone artist-mason from the Northeast. A few years ago I saw a photo of a beautiful stone firepit bowl he built. I tried in vain to find a client who wanted me to build one for him/her. Finally, after waiting, I decided to build this one here at our home that we rent in Durango.
PATIOS, WALKWAYS, LANDINGS & RISERS
Granite Riser, Granite Patio Stone & Variegated Bluestone
We cut, tooled and butt-fitted these pieces on a dry-laid patio.
These are cut from big boulders pulled from the Cascade mountains near Seattle.
VARIEGATED BLUE STONE
A dry-laid patio using full-color, variegated Blue Stone in a Yorkstone pattern.
SLATE STONE PATIO
This is 3rd story view of an urban small space renovation we did in Seattle. Hot tub, Ipe hardwood landing, stairs and lower patio set on Buzon pedestals, dry-set 2x2' slate stone patio and stone fire table. Most materials supplied by HDG Building Materials.
Handcut Utah Sandstone Risers & Wall Stone
TRUE BLUE STONE RISERS
Used Cell Tek (a cellular confinement system) to build up the first patio and perimeter risers.
PATIO & RISERS DRY
PATIO & RISERS WET
CUTTING THE BLUE STONE LANDING
AFTER THE CUTTING & SETTING
Base work complete... thanks to the Cell Tek system.
Dry laid Variegated Blue Stone with True Blue Risers. Upper patio was mortar set.
Before - Making my 3' x 4' layout before cutting
RETAINING WALLS, BENCHES & STONE FENCES
Panoramic of My 100% Dry Stone Limestone Bench Wall
7-1/2 tons of limestone from Wisconsin was used for this dry stone bench wall. The dimensions are a total of 24 linear feet x 24" high x 16" wide wall x 18" wide capstones. This is a dry stone wall meaning no mortar was used.
Every Stone Was Touched a Lot (Dressed, Shaped & Tooled)
My Sons Helping to "Heart" the Top Wall Course
ABOUT THE MIDDLE...
The bench capstones are in place and the back wall is going up.
This is the beautiful colors of the this Quartzite when it's wet.
A WALL BATTER
You can see the 1:12 batter I built on the back of the wall. This means for every 12" of height the wall angles inward 1".
QUARTZITE STONE BENCH-WALL
WATER & STONE
This is 150' plus stone rill is the "top-dressing" for a rain catchment and drainage system underneath. Built for a homeowner in Virginia. It directs all the water from the roof around the property and spills it into a natural swale that leads to a pond.
IN THE BEGINNING...
IN THE MIDDLE...
One non-perforated pipe carries all the rainwater from the roof's surface. The perforated pipe absorbs any excess ground water.
STONE RILL UP CLOSE
I think about 4 tons of field stone was collected for this project.
This is where all the water led to and it was filled with gravel and topped out with the stone rill.
"THE TAIL PIPES"
This project was designed-built-contracted with my buddy's company - Quarry Aquatics - from Maryland. He came up with the idea for these 3 stainless steel "tail pipes".
Feature was finished with a beautiful sandstone from somewhere in Western Maryland.
INDOOR WORKS, ART & UNUSUAL
DRY STONE BRIDGE
CUTTING SQUARE SETTS
THE BRIDGE'S PAVING
We hand-cut hundreds of sandstone setts (not structurally sound, but for the event's purpose only).
DRY STONE BRIDGE
A large group of us built this bridge along with the guidance of 2 master masons at the Stonefest 2008 event.
We installed this 11' basalt column and a blacksmith forged the horizontal and vertical steel arms all for the purpose of re-growing a Wysteria back up and around the column and out on the arms to create 12' of display area for the plant in 3 directions.
Rustic Grape Arbor
I designed and built this with pine harvested by a guy who owns a sawmill in Mancos, Colorado.
Rustic Grape Harbor
Here's the opposite view of the arbor. The inner dimensions were 9' tall, 10' wide with 14' long cross poles. It's outer circumference is approximately 52'.
IN THE MIDDLE...
FORMS IN PLACE
ARCH & COLUMNS
This is a dry-stone arch and columns. The big vertical stone acts also as the "springer" and you can see the dark "springer" on the right column. I built this with 4 other Seattle-area masons for a home show.
I designed and built out this studio in downtown Tucson. This will be a “green wall” with air plants. It’s made from thermo-treated Ashwood from Indiana.
I got this untreated, natural 10 oz. canvas from my friend and canvas designer/sewer Josh in Colorado. Hung these ceiling “panels” to hide some of the rafters and soften up the area.
I designed this suspended "conceptual tipi” and Josh from Wrought Canvas in Colorado sewed it for me.
SKETCHES & IDEAS
COFFEE, CLIF BAR & PLAN... READY TO ROLL!
SKETCH FOR FIRE FEATURE
FINAL SKETCH FOR FIRE FEATURE
Sketch for a Basalt Stone Column & Iron Project
I've installed an 11' basalt column and we are currently working with a blacksmith to forge three arches that will connect to concrete footings. The client will train a Wisteria to grow up and around this feature.
Next to final sketch for a classic limestone wall to be built late December 2014.