Archive for the ‘Restoration’ Category

Do You Have Beautiful Historic Older Windows? Protect them and Save Energy With Interior Window Inserts!

window imageThese photos of old windows are simply a small collection of  historic charm and in most cases  energy challenges.   Window Efficiency Works  believes that you should “Enjoy your older windows!”  Enjoy this gallery then  start thinking about how you can save energy and add comfort to  homes and buildings.

IMG_2553 (1152 x 1728) image004. Cool-Window-4x3 handmade florida-theatre-2

  • Keep the cold air outside of that oldfarmhouse window you’ve enjoyed since you were a kid.
  • Imagine the savings of a large historic building!
  • Save air conditioning dollars and  keep the oppressive Charleston summer heat out!charleston-turquoise-window-box
  • So……that art studio on the top floor CAN be more efficient?
  • Don’t hesitate to keep that hand crafted window!  You can maintain a clear view through it as well as add comfort.
  • Maintain your historic windows- save energy, add comfort, and protect them from condensation as well!

Look for a new photo gallery of images taken around Asheville. It will be a pleasant walk indeed.

For more information about what an  interior window insert can do for you read our previous  post

Call The ARCH for free consultation and information:   828 253 5455



Interior Window Inserts Provide Great Benefits For Inefficient Windows!

April 6, 2013 1 comment

bookWhether you’re reading a book or dining with friends, sitting next to a drafty window is  simply uncomfortable as well as being costly.

There are many ways that we can make our homes and businesses more energy efficient as well as comfortable.

Acupuncture Clinic in Historic Montford Asheville. Window insert adds comfort in treatment rooms.
Acupuncture Clinic in Historic Montford Asheville. Window insert adds comfort in treatment rooms.

If you have inefficient windows one place to start is to install Window Efficiency Works interior window inserts. They are visually hardly noticeable, yet they will provide significant energy savings.

If you install these inserts you will immediately feel the added comfort during the coldest winter days, windy days, or during the hot summer days when you’re running an air conditioner.They also reduce outside noise by approximately 60%.


Get started!

Though your home improvement list may be a long one, it’ll pay off not only in comfort and energy savings but in dollars and cents! Whether you begin with a dining area or a covered porch, you will experience that cozy comfort which will feel like you’ve added square footage to your living space that might have otherwise been avoided!

Have you lived in or visited a home  that you chose one room to relax in over another simply because one of them is delivering an Arctic blast or the traffic noise outside is annoying? Interior window inserts will remedy these concerns.

Window inserts add to dining comfort at the Corner Kitchen

Window inserts add to dining comfort at the Corner Kitchen

Customers that have  had the inserts installed continue to share positive experiences with us.   Window Efficiency Works  offers a variety of interior window inserts that you can see are simple to handle and the benefits are many.

Window inserts are easy to place into frame as they are magnetic.

Window inserts are easy to place into frame as they are magnetic.

Available  through The ARCH, we can help you customize the inserts that work best for you.  Whether you want to preserve the original appearance of  the windows in a historic home or you simply want to keep the windows you have, these inserts are placed on the interior of your windows and they are discreet in design. IMG_2593 (1152 x 1728)

The window inserts attach to a magnetic frame (which stops the drafts) within your window frame, they are lightweight, the acrylic glazing provides 2.5 times the insulation of most glass,  and they perform beautifully.  Shown here are several Asheville area installations that demonstrate the process, design simplicity and noted feedback that we are getting.

 One homeowner’s response: The rooms are definitely holding heat better and feel way less drafty.  One surprise that I hadn’t expected is that the inserts have also decreased the noise from the street, which is really nice.  It will be a little tricky working with controlling the temperature in the rooms in the spring as we have extreme changes in high and low temperatures, but the ease of taking the inserts on and off should help with that.  I assume that we will want to keep them in through the Summer too because they will help keep the cool air in too.  I’m interested to see how it effects the utility bills in the long run.  I suspect it will have a dramatic effect.
The insert is installed on the left section and not on the right. Notice the condensation problems on the right side!

The insert is installed on the left section and not on the right. Notice the condensation problems on the right side!

Call us today for free estimates and consultation. Visit us at our new location to see a showroom model and discuss your project. The ARCH has  recently moved to: The Riverside Business Park, Unit 10, Asheville, NC.  828 253 5455  Email: Hours:  T-F 9:30-5:30, Sat 10-3

A Smokin Idea for The Factory: Wood-Fired Oven Installation in a 97 Foot Chimney That Is!

97 Feet UP!

Interior 97′ Smokestack

This ought to be tall enough for a wood-fired oven chimney don’t you think? It’s not necessary of course, but….some ideas are BIG ideas and this one is BIG as well as TALL! Project Manager, Maxime Theberge of The Factory in High Point, NC  wanted a bold and innovative idea to come together for this restored old mill dating back to the early 20th century, formally the Adams-Millis Hosiery Mill.

The Factory

Now it is the home of a furniture showroom and is  soon to be a destination for the High Point Market. This oven installation will be part of an entertainment venue, that  not only has character but will be serving up some delicious fare to those attending  events.  Fire and wood-fired ovens are always a great draw and a crowd-pleaser and we’re thankful to have been a part of this project!  Jim Erskine with The ARCH, was contacted Spring of 2012 as he is known for his competent masonry skills and Forno Bravo oven installation work. Well, this isn’t a typical installation for wood-fired ovens, but Jim was definitely stoked, jazzed, excited, you name it!, and  between all the professionals looking at the engineering of this project it was given a green light!

Though I see a rather blue white moon light…oh wait, that’s not the moon at the top of that smoke stack, that’s daylight and that’s where climbers Michael Grosser and Leo Dupuis clipped their way up the interior rungs of the smoke stack  and then helped guide sections of the selected Forno Bravo Modena 120 commercial wood-fired oven down the stack! 

Four of the sections fit through the hole at the base, but the plan was to maintain a smaller opening and lower two of the six sections with the use of a crane,  guided by Michael Grosser at the TOP.  Several days prior  to “the drop”, Jim had to get through this massive wall. Not what you call a highlight but he made it through this thick wall and then built an oven floor after gravel was poured into the base, cement, re bar reinforcement, the works….

Building the floor

Jim accomplished the hole in the wall and oven floor days before the crane was scheduled to provide their expertise…. and expertise was the case. Hats off to crane operators!

Not a bump going down the stack, and with the assistance from Michael at the top (to start the guided lowering of the sections), they were received  by more brave souls at the base. (They waited until the piece was nearly at the bottom, stepped in and guided the final landing of the sections).

Going UP

With a lot of patience and teamwork the six section oven kit was in place. (There is also a side access hole about fifteen feet up the right side of the smoke stack.  Perhaps future climbing expeditions?)

Setting the Cap

Finally, a customized “smoke stack chimney cap” was lowered onto the top… another success!  This cap was beautifully constructed and a necessary component. This time Leo Dupuis braved the climb up the smoke stack  and guided the landing of the cap at the top.
The weather was drizzling most of the day but thankfully the wind wasn’t up. The next day more insulation and finish work was completed to the dome. Jim thanks all of those that helped with this project.

Jim Erskine and Tom Silver

Ready to start curing!

Next step…… to enjoy some phenomenal food and watch the smoke rise from 97 feet up!

For  more information give us a call at The ARCH 171 Weaverville Hwy Suite 103 Asheville NC 28804  828 253 5455
For more images visit Jim’s Wood Fired Ovens Facebook page album
For Forno Bravo oven and outdoor fireplace sales and installation information call Jim Erskine 828 768 4438 or email

Prevent Your Deck From Screaming: Help! I’m Thirsty!

Everything Looks so much better with a maintained, nicely finished deck

It’s funny how  every time you have a new product or personal interest, you start noticing that very product seemingly everywhere. You know the feeling; if you’re shopping for cars, you’ll start seeing the same model everywhere and certainly the blue ones. Whether you’re shopping for a new roof, in the market for a bike, or you’re looking at what color to re-finish something, you selectively notice just these objects, colors, and styles everywhere you look.

Deck Cleaning Services available at The ARCH

Well, it has been this way with decks and other outdoor wood surfaces for The ARCH.  It’s seems that we want to breathe new life into old, cracking, (deteriorating in many cases)  wood surfaces. They seem to be everywhere!

What a difference just cleaning it makes. Next comes the finish

So much wood out there is  thirsty for both attention and a new finish! Give the wood a drink I say!

Before cleaning! Dirty and slippery with mildew

One of my daughters  was visiting Asheville this weekend looking at houses to rent and several places we looked at seem to keep up the interiors, but many of the exteriors and decks needed a great deal of attention.

Investing in maintenance and finishes is important. The deck and all that surrounds the house definitely influences the person looking for a new place.

Finish helps protect feet as well as the wood

In need of Vermont Natural Poly Whey exterior finish

If the wood is maintained the renter or seller may actually make the sale, children may not need shoes every time they walk across a sorry-looking deck, years could be added to the life of a house  exterior, and, if someone would only notice,the garden bench might actually make it another decade.

Autumn Red Exterior Finish

Vermont Natural Coatings not only provides protection, durability, and beauty, but it’s healthy, non-toxic and so easy to apply.

Healthy finish required for Health Food bins

I read that a health food store coated vegetable boxes with a Vermont Natural Coatings finish and they’re loving the product because it is non-toxic as well as durable. Shown here are a few projects showing some happy decks and happier homeowners.

Hopefully, I’ll start noticing the details of islands and the varying shades of blue in the ocean!

For more information about Vermont Natural Coatings exterior, flooring and furniture finishes click here.

New Exterior color

New color just in! Exterior Finish Barn Red

All Vermont Natural Coatings products are available at The ARCH.  We also offer deck cleaning service.Free estimates in the Asheville area.

Natural Hydraulic Lime – Creates Old-World finish That is a Perfect Finish Selection for Wood-Fired Ovens, Foundations, and Other Masonry Projects

June 21, 2011 1 comment

Many buildings over 100, even thousands years old built with Natural Lime, sand and pigment exemplify sustainability

The ARCH, known in part for it’s natural finish options, has recently gained more experience with a Natural Hydraulic Lime finish product that we offer.  Jim Erskine’s masonry experience spans thirty plus years, and as with most masons, his experience over the years has been primarily with Portland Cement products.  Since  2004 Jim began working with American Clay’s natural interior earth plasters and has since become a strong advocate for all natural finish products.  We’ve learned  Natural Hydraulic Lime is retaking its place on  historic masonry structures, and it is of increasing interest for  a wide range of masonry applications.  Recently we’ve enjoyed two applications on Forno Bravo wood-fired ovens as well as a residential wall foundation.  We’re thrilled with the more natural look, as it takes on the nuances of color from the sunlight of the day and we know it will improve with age and develop a character unlike a traditional cement stucco.

Limeworks products

Not pretending to be an expert on the properties of all the St Astier’s product options I can point you to a Chicago Tribune/ Washington Post interview with Andy deGruchy, president of Limeworks.US  since 2001 and masonry conservation specialist for over 25 years.

DGM Color Kit for Ecologic Lime Mortar prepared with NHL and sand

You’ll learn the difference between hydrated lime and natural hydraulic lime among other interesting historical aspects and views within the construction industry as they relate to lime products. Jim and I first met Andy here in Asheville, as he was demonstrating the application of Natural Hydraulic Lime (NHL) products over the Hemp Technologies Hempcrete wall sections, of which we have a wall portion displayed in our showroom. NHL breathes with wall systems as they should, not trapping the moisture into cracks and crevices that are a result of concrete construction over time, weakening the structure. Natural Hydraulic Lime is found on some of the oldest historic structures on this earth.  Featured here are a few photos from three recent projects . The first being a wood-fired oven of Rich and Kelly Lytle of North Asheville.

Lytle Residence of Asheville with Natural Hydraulic Lime plaster

This is a Forno Bravo Casa2G90 oven kit, it has high heat refractory cement applied to the joints, high heat retention insulation, lathe, mortar mix, two coats of Ecologic Lime (which is a pre-blended Natural Hydraulic lime including the sand and pigment).  The oven foundation work, oven assembly, oven finishes are all completed by Jim and Tom Silver. The attractive natural stonework is by local stone craftsman David Reed.  The second oven, is our  “slow but sure  progress” on our own oven (still awaiting tile for the arch, counter surfaces and lower stonework).

Oven in progress. Natural Hydraulic Lime- still drying

We chose to add American Clay pigment – two  color packs of Palomino Valley pigments to one bag of NHL 3.5 as a final coat to the process.

Burlap is used to retain the moisture while the St Astier pure and Natural Hydraulic Lime dries.

Lastly, the foundation photos are for a home in the area. Covering a block wall,

Block wall before application

a coat of NHL 3.5 was applied, then the Ecologic pre-blended Natural hydraulic lime.

The appearance is much more natural and appealing than cement stucco. As with the other projects it will continue to harden over the months to come.

Natural Hydraulic Lime finish

For more information on these products as well as natural lime paints, give us a call at The ARCH at 828 253 5455.

You can also look over for more information. A discount is provided to buyers if you use The ARCH code.   Give us a call and we’ll gladly provide you with information as well as our code for a product discount.

Application over block foundation wall with NHL 3.5 and Ecologic DGM100

Sheltered Mica Village Open-Air Lobby is Sweet on American Clay

February 11, 2011 1 comment

Lobby Entrance to Mica Village Lofts

A few years ago a customer purchased clay for an outdoor lobby entry area  for the  interesting  Mica Village Lofts project in Asheville.  I’ve dropped by the Mica Village several times  and am pleased to report that the finish continues to perform beautifully.  I love what was accomplished with the entire building and the colors of the old factory standing tall against the village condos is an artistic canvas in itself.

Restoration at It's Best

This outdoor lobby area is roofed and protected so it doesn’t experience direct water, but as you can see only about ten feet away there can be a torrential downpour of rain or blowing snow and the moisture that circulates throughout the area simply breathes in and out of the finish as moisture is simply a good companion to the time honored clay.  The restored iron window frames have no panes and invite the breezes into the space.

Prior to the renovation,  the building was in near ruins as the French Broad River flood rampaged through the entire lower area. Condo spaces are now in use at a second level above the flood plain. Parking and the lobby area are at the ground level. The building includes salvaged architectural elements of the original Mica Factory and is an environmental success story.   Over 60% of the building materials used in this project were reclaimed from the original Mica Plant.

From time to time I hear from someone that works with other finish materials that express- yes- you can spray with a fire hose.  Well, though you can’t spray clay plaster with a fire hose it can be compressed to be a very hard finish. I love the clay because it lives and breathes with the environment,  the pigment is integral throughout the product, and can be easily repaired  with extra clay from the project. For commercial and high traffic locations, there are additional options including the use of natural binders and clay with additional aggregate. In a setting where there WILL be frequent child’s sticky fingers running along the wall we sealed two restaurant walls approaching a restroom area at our friend’s Artisan Catering Restaurant. We didn’t hesitate to apply clay above my tiled shower walls in two different bathrooms where on a daily basis moisture is it’s friend.

Here’s a  moisture demonstration from American Clay  if you’d like to see how moisture behaves  in a 1×1 foot box that is painted, versus one that has clay.

For more information about  American Clay visit our showroom. We offer workshops as well.