Visit the Custom Purple Martin House Workshop

See how we create custom Purple Martin house to look like your home or any building you desire. We post progress reports on your project here.

Current Project VIII

Sheerman cabin front

09-19-2017: This project is for a local customer. He wants to give a martin house as a gift of his family's cabin. I think the biggest challenge will be duplicating the weathering.

Sheerman cabin plans and elevations

We drew the full-size plans from a floor plan sketch and photos of all four sides. We then scale it down to the optimum size.

Reclaimed Cedar dry-fitting the sides

10-07-2017: Using reclaimed cedar deck boards, the solid cedar blanks are cut and glued-up. The sides are cut to length and gable ends are cut. The sides are dry-fit before the next step.

Routering the openings and siding. Routered openings and siding. Starting the windows.

11-26-2017: The next step is cutting the siding lines and routering out the window and door, and bird hole locations. Here the windows are begun.

Current Project VII

Tennesse Farmhouse

02-27-2017: This project is for a customer in Pennsylvania. She wants to give a martin house as a gift for her friends who are restoring a farmhouse in Tennessee.

Tennessee Farmhouse Plans and Elevations

We drew the full-size plans from a floor plan sketch and photos of all four sides. We then scale it down to the optimum size.

Reclaimed Cedar Glued-up Solid Cedar Wall Blanks.

03-04-2017: Using reclaimed cedar deck boards, the solid cedar blanks are cut and glued-up.

Siding and window openings are routered.

3-18-2017: The next step is cutting the siding lines and routering out the window and door locations.

Assembled body-frontAssembled body-back.

3-19-2017: The walls and floor are assembed. The bird boxes are layed-out and holes are cut. This house has 8 nest boxes.

Fron: doors and windows are complete.Back: doors and windows are complete

3-26-2017: The doors and windows are crafted and installed.

Front paintedback painted

4-3-2017: The body is painted and the masking is removed.

porch framingnestbox dividers

4-8-2017: Left: Building the porch framing. Right: the nestbox dividers.

Roof and fascia

4-9-2017: The roof and fascia are on. Getting close, just roof tin and touchup to go.

Completed Purple Martin House

4-14-2017: The final product.

Final 3/4 view front and right of Purple Martin houseFinal 3/4 view left and back of Purple Martin house.

Final: View from the front right corner, and from the back and left corner.

Current Project VI

Hogenson Home

07-01-2015: Our latest project is an interesting house with a complex roofline located not far from us in Missouri. The owners are moving and want to take a model to their new home, as a mememto of the home they loved here.

Hogenson Plans and Elevations

It was nice to have original plans to work with, and using photos we took, the scale drawings are complete. This house will end up about 30" x 19" with 12 holes for the nest boxes.

Reclaimed Cedar Solid Cedar Walls.

08-10-2015: Using reclaimed cedar deck boards, the solid cedar blanks are cut and glued-up.


Walls are assembled Garage and partial roof.10-28-2015: It is starting to look like a house. The first floor walls are up and the roof is started.


Purple Martin House final front view
Purple Martin House final front view

11-15-2015: The house is done and ready for delivery.

Project V

Elliott home

Elliott plan and elevations.11-14-2014: This is a brick-faced ranch-style home. It has a lot of different sized windows and the brick will be challenging to paint.

Scale drawings are drawn from provided photos. This house will end up about 44"x17" with 14 holes for the nest boxes. Very long and narrow.

This will also be a Christmas gift, but we have a little more leeway to get it done in time. Cutting the brick work and creating the dividers for all of the windows keeps us very busy.

Below is the finished product. The customer's family was very thrilled on Christmas morning.

Completed Purple Martin house

Other Projects

Triple grain silo Purple Martin house.

Pictured is a Purple Martin House designed to mimic triple grain silos, This one is sold, but another can be built and customized to suit.

Project IV

Sleight Cottage

11-28-2012: Our newest commission is for a nice cottage in Michigan.

The scale drawings from provided photos are complete. This house will end up about 27.5" wide with 8 holes for the nest boxes.

This will be a Christmas gift, so we are working hard to get this done in time. The solid cedar blanks are cut and the doors and windows are routered out. It will be challenging to create the unusual roof details.

Sleight cottage plans and elevations

12-8-2012: Work is progressing.

Assembled Purple Martin house walls-back Assembled Purple Martin house walls-front

The body is pieced together and the nest box holes are cut out.

roof platform chimney and gable end.

The roof platform is glued up. This close-up of a gable end and brick chimney show the detail work.

The roof is assembled. Back detail with windows

Every project presents it own challenges. The roof on this cottage is unusual. The windows are in, constructing the detailed doors will be the next step.

Finished Purple Martin house, front view. Finished Purple Martin House back view.

12-27-12: Finished in the nick of time. Drove in a snowstorm to get it shipped. Then FEDEX failed to deliver it in time and irreparably damaged it in the process. Suffice it to say, we will not use FEDEX again.

Completed second Purple Martin house, front. Completed second Purple Martin house, back.

4-7-13: We had to recreate the entire project. We don't make much money creating these houses, but we really ate it on this project. At least it arrived intact. I think the customer is pleased. Hopefully, we will get a photo from them when it is installed.

Project III

Cottleville building

1-23-12: Our current commission is for a little crafts store in Cottlevile, Missouri.

As with the others, after creating scale drawings from provided photos and measurements, the next step is to determine the best scale and locate the positions of the holes. The solid cedar blanks are cut and the doors, windows, and Martin holes are routered out, as well as routering the profiles for the siding.

Side are routered and windows are added.Workin on the door.

4-18-12: Double-hung windows and multi-lite french doors are pieced by hand to fit into routered holes.

Cottleville complete--front view Cottleville complete--back view

8-30-12: After many delays due to work and pressing farm projects, it's finally done. We missed martin season this year but look forward to seeing it installed for next season.

Project II

7-11/11: This customer has requested a reproduction of her childhood home, which is no longer standing. We have drawn scale plans based on her old photos and sketches.

FarmhousePlans for Farmhouse

In the next step, we determine the best scale and locate the positions of the holes. Then, cut the blanks. After penciling in the layout for the windows and doors, we router out the doors, windows, and Martin holes. Plus routering the profiles for the siding.

Solid cedar blanks
Blanks with pencil layout.
Windows are assembled
Divided lite windows are pieced by hand and fit into routered holes.
nest boxes
Nest box dividers.

Side view of unpainted house.One of the biggest challenges is framing the roof so that it can be removed by the customer for cleaning and inspection of the nest boxes. This house has an enclosed porch with exposed rafters and a hip roof that is attached to the main gable roof.

Here, the house is pieced together; the half-moon martin holes are cut out; the windows are installed and trimmed; the roof has been framed and the front porch is attached. The next step will be the paint room.

Completed Purple Martin farmhouse.Completed Purple Martin house, front view.

4-18/-12: Two views of the finished project.

Project I

Julian home

10-11-11: This project is a large colonial style home in Minnisota. Step One: drawing up the scale plans and getting approval.

elevationsplans

Like the previous project, the best scale and location of the holes is determined, and the blanks are cut and layed out for the windows and doors. Routering is completed for the doors, windows, siding profie, and Martin holes. This project is particularly tricky to best utilize the inside space without compromising the look of the house.

Below is the front and back view of the house pieced together. The nest box dividers are in, and the roof systems are started.

front view of assembled houseback view of assembled house

On this house, the roof and second floor dividers are removable on the main house, in order to access the first floor nest boxes. The garage and back room also have nest boxes and have separate roofs.

nest boxes, first floornest boxes, second floor Assembled windows

The windows are carefully crafted to fit the cut-outs and removed to be painted separately since they will be a different color than the body of the house.

At this stage, there is still a lot to be done. The shutters on the front of this house still need to be made. The roofs need to be finished and trimmed.

The next step is to paint. When all coats of the different colors are finished, the roof material is affixed, the windows other components are installed and trimmed. A few finishing touches and it will be ready for the Purple Martins.

Front of completed Purple Martin house.
1-12-12: The front, back and side views of the completed project.
Back of completed Purple Martin house.

Back of completed Purple Martin house.

Installation Tips

Below is the method we have been using for installing our Martin Houses in the yard.

Purple Martin House BracketsPost Bases Options

Post Base Installation InstructionsFor a typical House, use a 4x4 pressure-treated post, between 12 and 20 feet high. Make sure it is as straight as possible. We can provide brackets that attached to the House and the top of the post (See photo at top-left).

The bottom of the post is bolted to a metal brace that must be set in a concrete base, a minimum of 3 feet into the ground. The brace can be made from a heavy gauge c-channel on one side of the post, or for more strength, we recommend that the post be bolted between two pieces of heavy plate. Ours are 3"x 3/8"x 4', set 2' into the concrete base. This configuration allows you to pivot the house down for cleaning or removal during the winter season.

There are commercial telescoping poles available. We haven't tested them with our houses. You should make sure they are rated to support the weight of your house before investing in one.

rev. 11-29-2017