Thinking about a remodel? Tired of your circa-1985 kitchen? Want to jazz up your walls or have the house all your friends are talking about? We’ve consulted the experts, tracked down the craftspeople, crunched the numbers, and shared our own DIY stories. Ready, set, renovate.
Jonathan Fessler: owner, Fessler Masonry
Jonathan Fessler has appreciated the beauty of stone his entire life. Even before his first masonry job (i.e., chimney cleaning) as a teenager in Pennsylvania, he was drawn to the trade. “Ever since I was a kid,” Fessler says, “running around in the woods, seeing these beautiful stone walls and barns, I was very inspired.”
Years later, after putting time in at local landscaping firm Robert Howard Associates, Fessler launched his own Denver-based masonry company in 2003. His work ranges from elaborate custom fireplaces and flatwork patios to outdoor barbecue grills and sculptural landscape elements. While he does plenty of repair jobs on household features like crumbling stone steps and pathways, and ample block and brick work, Fessler most enjoys the artistic side of stonemasonry, and tries to stick with a hammer and chisel for tools. “You get more of a defined look when it’s chiseled,” he says, “like there was more time put into it.”
Most of his materials come from Colorado stone yards in mountainous locations like Telluride, Lyons, and Masonville outside of Fort Collins. Once Fessler gets the client’s approval on the type and look of the stone, he orders it and sends it to a fabricating company to create the right shape and size stone for the job. “The intricate part of the trade is piecing things together, having the right stones and dimensions for the job, having forethought,” Fessler says. “To be really good at stonework, you have to be a creative person. I’m in constant pursuit of mastery. There are so many things to learn.”
Typical client: Homeowners in their mid-30s to retirement age with houses in the foothills, such as Golden Gate Canyon and Indian Hills.
Price range: Varies depending on materials, tools needed, and labor time.
More info: fesslermasonry.com