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cherry treehouse

Two years ago I started a business designing and building treehouses for clients in my hometown of Stowe, Vermont. I call it Canopy Construction. Working with clients on design, estimating the cost of a project, and managing the project was a big learning experience for me. I knew how to construct the treehouse but learning how to do it alone was also a challenge. I designed for multiple clients before landing my first job and only job so far. I named it the Cherry Treehouse because of the tree species.


The treehouse is engineered so that the moment caused by the live load of the house counters the moment caused by the live and dead loads of the deck. This allowed me to use cables rather than knee braces to support the treehouse. I wanted to use cables, because they are structurally honest to the viewer. They are clearly in tension, where wood members could be in tension or compression. The other reason I liked cables, is because the absence of support directly below the treehouse amplifies the mystical feeling of the treehouse.


Hand sketching


After my initial meeting with some clients, I made this sketch to graphically communicate the style, and design that we had talked about. I did not include fine details with this sketch, because they were not sure yet what they wanted for materials. Instead, I sent them pictures of various options for roofing, railings, siding and other components.

In my Architectural Design class, my classmates and I each made a design for the Piermont Town Hall in Piermont, New Hampshire. My design concept was to make a town hall that emphasized community involvement, and the town’s history and values. Round barns are a large part of the town’s history, so my design represents a round barn. This is a rough sketch of my initial vision.


This is one of many sketches I made at the Yestermorrow Design Build School. In this sketch, I was refining the shape of the walls to help the treehouse fit organically into its environment. Vertical walls felt too intrusive. I also worked with the idea of a spiral staircase to let the occupants experience the treehouse’s surroundings from different elevations and directions upon entering the treehouse.


Once I had the shape and proportions of the treehouse, I started designing the layout of the floor structure to accommodate the trees and shape of the treehouse.


This is one of my presentation boards for my Piermont Town Hall design.

Hand drafting


Another project I worked on was the upstairs renovation of  the “Jones Residence,” which was a theoretical house. My design was focused on compartmentalizing the bathroom area to maximize efficiency when multiple people are getting ready for the day. 


​​This stair detail, and the following crib wall detail are examples of my technical hand drafting abilities.


The following two drawings are part of my rendition of the Burlington VT City Place project.

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I designed and drafted various solutions where we had two conflicting roof slopes and head room to maintain on this upper-level renovation.


This is a record drawing set I produced. We went and measured the house, then I drafted it, which is easier said than done.

2032-Tominack-Crelling-RD2.0 plans-RD2.1.jpg
2032-Tominack-Crelling-RD4.0 Building Sections-Layout1.jpg
2032-Tominack-Crelling-RD3.0 elevations-RD2.1.jpg

This is another, less detailed, record drawing set that I produced. 

2068-Mallen-RD2.0 plans-RD2.1.jpg
2068-Mallen-RD4.0 Building Sections-RD4.1.jpg
2068-Mallen-RD3.0 elevations-RD3.1.jpg

I drafted my supervisor's schematic designs for this addition.

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2022-02-02_Michals Hodge_RS CD Set (dragged).jpg

I drafted my supervisor's field notes for this ADA compliant campsite access trail.


I drew record drawings of this hunting camp based on original blueprints and helped design the timber frame 

addition off of the living room with my former supervisor, Doug Viehmann.

Pizzagalli Camp-24X36 FLOORPLAN.jpg
Pizzagalli Camp-24X36 SECTIONSs.jpg
Pizzagalli Camp-24X36 DETAILS.jpg

transferred the original architectural drawings of this lake house into AutoCAD.


We took measurements of this early 19th century house and I drew record drawings of it.


I did not design this stair section detail. It was a class exercise to develop CAD skills.

This is the same stair detail is shown in my hand drafting section.

Stair Detail.jpg

I did not design this roof section detail. It was a class exercise to develop CAD skills.

Exercise - Brick Curtain Detail Roof-Mon

This is the front framing elevation of the treehouse that I designed and built. These plans do not have a title block and all the drawings are in the same file because they were never meant to be printed. I brought my laptop and CAD  file with me throughout construction to build according to the dimensions in the CAD file.

Cherry front framing-Layout1-6.jpg
Cherry front framing-Layout2-4.jpg

I did the materials research and selection for this wall detail. It is also an example of my CAD drafting skills.


model making

This is the model I made of the treehouse that I designed at the Yestermorrow Design Build School. Due to time constraint, I elected to put a temporary ladder in place of the spiral staircase.



These drawings of a public information center are an example of my ability to use Revit. This building already exists, and we were just reproducing all the plans as an exercise. 

These drawings are a result of learning Revit from a book called Design Integration Using Autodesk Revit 2019. 



Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my Architectural Design class transitioned to virtual delivery, and I had to adapt by using different methods to deliver final presentations of architectural projects. I found that the format of a Prezi presentation best illustrated my design process. The two links to the right will lead you to examples of my Prezi Architectural Presentations.

Before embarking on my City Place design project, I did and analysis of the city of Burlington to build a more informed understanding of the city. This Prezi outlines my analysis.

This Prezi is my final presentation of the City Place design project. I formatted it to be analogous to my design concept and process.



This is a fortune teller I drew with vine charcoal.


This is an egg I drew with pencil.


As part of my rendition of the Burlington City Place Project, I decided to make a parti sculpture rather than a diagram on paper because the sculpture and its various surroundings best conveys the design concept. The converging form of multiple materials represents the convergence of multiple cultures and people across the city of Burlington. The converging point in the middle is a crucial piece so I played with different cordage to see which was the most pleasing, and which best represented Burlington and the state of Vermont. I experimented with the setting too, to make it represent Vermont. 

The multiple pictures are included to show my design process and how it was not linear. The version in the middle is the final product.


In the style of Calatrava

I studied Santiago Calatrava and created a sculpture to represents his style. I made it out of wood, and cables made from strands of dental floss.


For me, music is a strong reflection of self. As part of my Architectural Design class, I broke up the music I listen to into categories based on what characteristic of myself the music represents. I then made paper sculptures that visually represent my characteristics based on those playlists. The rules were that I could only use six-inch by six-inch squares of paper, and I couldn’t add or cut away any paper to make the sculpture. I could cut, rip, crumple, burn, soak or do other things to the paper as long as it was all still connected.


In high school I won the best design award for fine metals.

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