Handyman Thoennes in Glen Ellyn IL

Stained-glass, design, build and ship.

The Farr family of San Antonio, Texas, wanted me to design and build stained-glass panels for their winding staircase. Color in the landscape in a desert environment is beautiful, stunning and remarkable so I wanted the design to reflect that fleeting color. The original design was “flopped” since the Farrs wanted the upper windows to partially block the colorless live oaks that showed when ascending the stairway. 1 shows my original Illustrator design file. 2 is the Adobe Photoshop rendering I provided to the Farrs to show them what the glass would look like installed. Pictures 3, 4 and 5 show the design file, printed out and some of my alterations and notes for the build. Picture 6 is my studio with the first, farr left (misspelling on purpose) glass panel. 7 and 8 show me packing the glass in my custom wooden crates for UPS shipment to San Antonio. And finally, 9 shows the finished panels in place at night, and 10 is the view from the home’s entry. Desert Prairie Flower design, built and crated by Thoennes Studios, Gregory Thoennes principal/craftsman, in my home and studio, Glen Ellyn, IL, 2011.


Mission Coat Tree for good friend and client.

Mission Coat Tree for good friend and client.

This is the basic coat tree, that I am using as a basis for a longer version (4-hooks) and 42″ long for a long-time client and longer-time friend. I’ll post the final soon. I’ll also get around to photographing the stained glass windows I did a decade ago for the Buckton family in Glen Ellyn. Interestingly they were all made in Pella frame inserts so they just snap into the windows, and snap out for easy cleaning. Love glass? Don’t miss this post.

…part II (after)

Here’s the stone after I’d cleaned it up. It was only a few hours with my stone-tipped rotary tool, some finesse, and some careful caulking. The homeowner was so thrilled when he got home from work that he came to my house and shook my hand with a big smile on his face and said, “Nice job! Nice Job. It looks amazing. I don’t know how you did it.” He made my day.


More than Painting, Part II

When doing the prep work on this prairie-style 1950’s ranch in Glen Ellyn, I see careless caulking and paint spatters and gaps. Since this was Elmhurst stone — which is all quarried out now — and it was a reflection of the quality of the house, I asked the homeowners if they’d like me to “fix” the stone. They didn’t think it could be done. This is what the stone looked like before.


More than painting

More than painting

Damaged, rotting and poorly repaired sub-fascia and soffit boards needed more than just painting. I removed the damaged boards, milled cedar tongue and groove replacement boards in my wood shop that matched the original 1950’s construction, and rebuilt the soffit. Two other soffits were repaired on the same project. This project turned out to be more than just painting the house, and I do like to do the job right.

Real Estate rebuild


A circa 1950’s residence, lost in time for the last 64 years, was in need of some low-budget renovation and upgrading. Removing very old asbestos-laden pink, linoleum tile and replacing it with modern ceramic tile was first on the list.

Project: Basement Build Out

Photos show custom shelving and the near-finished build out of a basement in St. Joseph, Michigan. The budget-based shelves were designed built from scratch to house fabric sample books. The hidden storage behind is not shown. Electrical fixture locations were adjusted for consistency, 12-foot drywall sheets were installed to keep taping at a minimum, and a custom sewing counter was included.

Pilot Fuel

Pilot Fuel

Texas airport diner serves up pilot fuel

Chesapeake Double Kayak Build

Chesapeake Double Kayak Build

This 21 foot double sea kayak was built from scratch, with Okume plywood, fiberglass, varnish and LOTS and LOTS of sandpaper. My wife, Susan, stands in the shallow water of Lake Michigan cooling down after a nice trek across one of the smaller bays at the far northern end of Door County Wisconsin. The kayak had a full sail rig and was a blast to sail.

Jon Farr Portrait alternate

Jon Farr Portrait alternate

Both portraits chosen by Mr. Farr and his wife, Linda Farr of Nutrition Associates of San Antonio were shot and retouched by Thoennes Studios in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

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