15 of Jeff Devlin's Most Showstopping Custom Projects
On Stone House Revival, carpenter Jeff Devlin brings history back to Pennsylvania homes — and tells all-new stories through gorgeous custom work. Take a look at the treasures he turns over to his clients this season.
This 1802 farmhouse had an unwieldy covered porch that blemished its otherwise-handsome face. Jeff handcrafted an era-appropriate post-and-beam-style replacement with mortise-and-tenon joints that fit together without fasteners.
Space for Relaxation
Perched on a hill above Perkiomen Creek, Jeff’s Harleysville clients were in dire need of a comfortable outdoor area from which to appreciate the landscape. He regraded a portion of their front yard to create the perfect place to take in the countryside, complete with a pair of chairs, logs he found on the property and a custom two-person rocker constructed with wood he unearthed in the barn.
Classic Master Bath
A massive modern tub dominated this space and robbed it of the character it would have had when it was built in 1839. To infuse it with rustic charm, Jeff exposed the original stone wall and created a custom vanity by bolting old barn beams together. “It’s all about seeing something that inspires you to make you feel like you’re in an older space,” he said.
Stone Focal Point
This master bedroom lacked the fireplace its owners hoped Jeff would find behind a rear wall, but he was able to create the interest a hearth would have added to the space by exposing stone from floor to ceiling and flanking the original masonry with a pair of custom-built closets.
Built in 1713, this Thornton home needed a foyer that would welcome visitors and reflect its history. Jeff and his team replaced lackluster wallpaper with custom wainscoting to match the intricate doors, then stained, sanded and sealed the floor with a graphic diamond pattern (much to the delight of the lady of the house). The one-of-a-kind pedestal table, in turn, was once a tuneless piano gathering dust in the corner of another room. How’s that for upcycling?
Clutter isn’t usually a renovator’s friend, but Jeff was thrilled when his clients — “wood packrats,” as he called them — gave him permission to use the materials they’d been stockpiling. He used mortise and tenon joints and a bit of glue to create a dramatic coffee table with gorgeous live-edge slabs of black walnut.
In 1785, master bedrooms were built on the snug side, to put it mildly. Jeff packed a comparatively small space with maximum character by creating board-and-batten texture behind the bed and echoing its pale wood with bespoke floating tables.
This Glen Mills home’s front door was indistinguishable from the rest of the building, thanks to unremarkable materials and lack of ornamentation. Crisp white paint, gray trim and a copper awning now draw the eye to a custom Dutch door Jeff installed to make the most of spring breezes and give focus to the space.
Jeff created a vestibule between the front door and the dining room that gives guests room to remove coats and boots before settling down to dinner. Between the wall’s reclaimed wood, quirky interior window (from Jeff’s own garage collection) and the Schoolhouse Woodworking logo sharing space with a new pair of hooks, there’s no mistaking the hand behind this craftsmanship. “After building this, I was like, 'Dang it, I’ve gotta do this at my house,'” Jeff said.
The Ultimate Mantel
So, how does a funky-lumber-obsessed carpenter with a reputation for sourcing impossibly cool mantels outdo himself? By hand-hewing one from wood he finds on his clients' property, of course.
Jeff created this dramatic centerpiece from scratch by building a simple plywood box, wrapping it in planks of reclaimed Douglas fir and topping it with reclaimed pine. Those traditional rustic materials get heavy, as he realized when it came time to transport his project into the kitchen: “Building the island was actually easy compared to carrying the island,” he said.
Jeff has yet to meet a barn beam he couldn’t repurpose as a rustic mantel, and this hand-hewed specimen —which he finished off by installing with bits of its original wooden joinery — is a particularly handsome one.
Built in 1744, this Cheyney home is bursting with character. Added at a much later date, its ho-hum concrete step was in dire need of replacement. Jeff added a trio of new wooden steps — flanked with railing he salvaged from the lackluster porch he turned into a proper mud room — and gave the historic building the introduction it deserved.
Something Old, Something New
In converting a so-so porch to a truly functional mud room, Jeff took pains to make the new structure look like it had always been there. Historic touches like the shiplap he used on the walls and the thick reclaimed pine planks he used for a pair of custom benches do the trick.
Jeff’s clients yearned to gather for dinners in what had been their 18th Century home’s main living space, so he repurposed it by building a room-defining new table and turning a barn beam into a one-of-a-kind rustic lighting fixture.