Rebel with a Cause Part II: Jason Russell, aka, Dr. Decks, dishes on his new DIY Network Show, The Deck Doctor and Bending Deck Boards
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: So the last time we talked your new show, The Deck Doctor, on DIY Network just aired, where the audience was treated to some cool automation eye candy and artistic craftsmanship. Let’s talk about your background and how you got started in the biz.
Jason: I learned the deck business from my dad, as did my brother. Now I’m teaching it to my own son. After high school I started working with a management company repairing decayed and damaged decks. I’ve been working under my own Dr. Decks business for twenty-five years.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: You’re often referred to as an artist, specifically as a deck board bending artist. What was the incident or inspiration that changed you from a deck builder to an artist?
Jason: Deck board bending. Plain and simple. The ability to manipulate PVC deck boards into curved pieces and surfaces brought my decks from a box to works of art. I started experimenting with heat bending and heat sources a couple of decades ago. A friend in the business was messing around with heat-bending and I started working with him. It’s been a long learning experience and I’ve literally destroyed over $100,000 dollars’ worth of product over the years. In the beginning I was borrowing equipment from different companies and people, until one year my wife bought me own silicone heating blanket. Then it was on like Donkey Kong! Now, I use nothing but Heatcon’s silicone heating blankets to get my creative shapes and designs.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: What products do you like using for your decks?
Jason: PVC. PVC is my product of choice because I can modify and manipulate it into shapes that you can’t with traditional wood deck boards.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: Inteplast Building Products were the deck boards you used on your DIY Network show, The Deck Doctor. Was that by accident?
Jason: I like working with Inteplast’s products. I’ve been using their boards ever since I first saw them being used in projects in the Puget Sound area. I like their exotic colors and their natural-looking wood-grain textures.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: You make amazing curves and shapes for your homeowners’ decks, at the chagrin of some of the product manufacturers. Have you always been a rebel?
Jason: Absolutely! I’ve always done things against the grain. That’s the same approach I take with my decks. I’m trying to build something that’s amazing and not what everybody else is doing. I’ve voided many a manufacturer’s warranty in my career. But I know my decks are sound, quality living environments.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: In addition to curves and automation, do you have any other signature elements in your deck that if someone saw one of your decks they would immediately recognize it as a Dr. Decks?
Jason: Definitely. By our finish work. We cover all the ends of our boards; everything is clean and finished. I’m a minimalist at heart. I’m heavily influenced by Asian architecture. Yeah, we may have cool automated parts and unique design elements, but in the end I want my work to be a tranquil, calm extension of my customer’s living space.
A big congratulations to Jason and his team on their show, The Deck Doctor, which premiered on DIY Network channel on Tuesday, May 17th, if you missed it you will have another chance to watch the shows on Sunday, June 5th at 9:00 a.m. Check DIY Network for the specific schedule for your area. Want to see more of Jason’s amazing creations? Visit his fan site at www.therebelcarpenter.com and www.drdecks.com for more information on how Jason and his team can help you create your own one-of-a-kind outdoor living environment.
Thank you Jason for taking time out of your crazy busy schedule to talk with us.
Thanks for reading!
Rebel with a Cause Part I: Jason Russell, a.k.a, Dr. Decks from Tacoma, Washington dishes on his new DIY Network Show, The Deck Doctor and Bending Deck Boards
A deck artist since 1991, and a rebel all his life, Jason Russell stretches the limitations and allowances of deck boards to create amazing outdoor living environments in the Puget Sound area that go far beyond the boring square deck. Now, things are about to get really real. Jason and his talented crew are taking to the airwaves in DIY Network’s The Deck Doctor. Here, Jason splits some verbs with Design Next Door about his new show, deck automation, and bending the heck out of Inteplast Building Products decking material.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: How did your new show, The Deck Doctor, on DIY Network come about?
JASON: I came up with the concept about three years ago. I’ve spent so much time perfecting my craft, and building these really amazing things, and I thought, they should be seen by more people than the just the great homeowners I build them for. So, I approached a couple of production companies and one of them put me in touch with an agent, and that’s how it got started.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: What‘s the premise of the show?
JASON: It’s me and my great team building decks that far exceed the imaginations of the homeowners. Each episode is thirty minutes long and shows us doing what we do best - creating custom, out of the square box, with lots of curved boards and automation and robotics. We make things bend and move, essentially.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: You’re known as a deck board bending artist. In one of the first episodes we see you create a beautiful curved border for homeowners Brian and Sherrill. How do you do it?
JASON: I use PVC decking materials, which is very conducive to heat. I use Heatcon’s silicone heating blankets on the boards to create curves and arches. I especially like using Inteplast Building Products deck boards. I like their warm tropical colors and wood-grain options.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: Tell us about deck automation in these first episodes. In addition to heat bending deck boards, it’s another one of your signature things, right?
JASON: It is. There aren’t too many people doing it. In these first two episodes of The Deck Doctor you’ll see me and my team automate a deck chair, a hidden barbeque grill, a retractable diving platform, a disappearing picnic table and benches, a table-top fire feature, and tiki-torches.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: What were your inspirations when you were designing the outdoor living spaces for the homeowners on the show?
JASON: I listen to what their needs are. I also try to get an idea from their interior living spaces as well. For instance one of our homeowners, Sherrill works from home, but she loves sitting outside when the weather is nice. I made sure to include hidden outlets in the picnic table so she can keep her laptop powered. I try keep things functional, but I also like to push the boundaries every chance I get.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: We’ll talk more about those boundaries in our next post!
The Deck Doctor premiered on the DIY Network channel on Tuesday, May 17th. Check into http://www.diynetwork.com/ for the schedule. Want to see more of Jason’s amazing creations visit his fan site at http://www.therebelcarpenter.com/ and http://www.drdecks.com/ for more information on how Jason and his team can help you create your own one-of-a-kind outdoor living environment. You can also follow Jason through his social media accounts; Instagram (drdecks), Facebook, and Twitter (@drdecks). He has been posting pictures of the beautiful decks he worked on during his show, take a look and follow him for more inspirational deck imagery!
Don’t forget to read next week when we’ll have part two of our conversation with Jason.
Thanks for reading!
Are you the kind of person who would NEVER think about pairing a tastefully polka-dotted blouse with slim chevron patterned pants? Then I guess you would also never think to mix and match moulding colors to dramatically play up the different architectural elements of your house. Maybe you should reconsider, because anybody can master the art of mixing and matching. To liven up a really neutral (that can be a polite way of saying b-o-r-i-n-g) room, consider mixing different colors and styles of moulding to highlight all the details that take the rooms in your house beyond the traditional matching base and crown colors.
Let’s say you have a deep hunter green wall color in a room with light oak wood floors. Use Inteplast’s Majestic Oak baseboard, but consider a brilliant white crown and window moulding that will dramatically draw the eyes to the walls, while the oak baseboard makes a seamless floor to wall transition.
If you have a painted ceiling, paint your crown moulding the same color as the ceiling, but leave the baseboard trim the same color as the walls. I would use a neutral ceiling and crown moulding color myself, buy hey, go big and bold if you want.
For a beautiful, dramatic bedroom use dark window and door moulding like Inteplast’s Espresso or Auburn moulding combined with white wainscoting on the walls and white beadboard on the ceilings. Stunning!
How about dark hardwood floors, maple chair rail and window trim, neutral walls, and light wood ceiling planks? It’s actually an amazing combination, as you can see in this image. Sometimes a white kitchen can be cold, but the three different shades of wood in the room warm it up nicely.
This living room used several moulding and trim color combinations to create visual interest beyond belief. They used Inteplast Building Products crown moulding in Mahogany and wall moulding in Crystal White to create this faux-wainscoting effect. Combined with the neutral gray wall colors and the dark hardwood floors, there is a lot going on, but in a good way.
This idea of mixing and matching moulding doesn’t just apply to the interior. On the exterior, consider painting decorative scrollwork, columns, or trim along the roof lines and window and door surrounds a bold but complimentary color to siding or brickwork; something that really pops but makes a tasteful statement. You can buy Inteplast Building Products moulding and trim products at Lowe’s, Home Depot, or even Houzz.com.
Happy mixing and matching! Talk to you soon.
Hi, Martin here. I remember when I just a little lad and every year for Mother’s Day I would make my mom a handmade gift. You know the ones I’m talking about: a macaroni necklace, a Popsicle stick birdhouse, and a bouquet of flowers made out of tissues. Of course now that I’m a grown up (I know some may disagree with that statement) with a job, you’d think I’d buy my mom something nice like real jewelry or real flowers. Well, some things never change. I still make my mother a hand crafted gift for Mother’s Day every year. But my DIY and carpentry skills have definitely improved since the birdhouse construction project of my youth, which means my gifts have gotten a little better. Just ask my mom.
This year I’m making my mom a PVC flower box with Coca-Cola® glass bottle vases made out of Inteplast Building Products PVC trimboard product. You don’t have to be an expert DIYer to tackle this product, and if you get started now, you can actually have it completed and wrapped with a bow by Sunday.
What I appreciate about Inteplast’s Trim products is that it’s the perfect sustainable wood-alternative product for something like this, which means you can fill the vases with fresh flowers for Mother’s Day celebrations ten years from now. You can find Inteplast’s PVC trimboard and other products at Home Depot and other building materials dealers. Here’s what you need to get started:
The first thing you do is bevel cut (that’s 45 degrees) the 1x4 PVC trim into two 12” pieces and two 8-1/4” pieces.
Next, drill three holes for the opening of the bottles into one of the 12” pieces. Mark the center line of the 1 x 4 x 12” pieces, which is 1-3/4”. After that, mark every 3” from the edge.
Now, use the hole saw to cut three holes where you marked on the 12” trim piece.
Once you do that, you’re ready to put it all together. Start by taking one of the 12” and one 8-1/4” trim piece and use the corner clamps to join the pieces together. I always use a little PVC cement bond for added measure.
Next, fasten two stainless steel screws at each joint into the 8-1/4” pieces at ¾” away from the sides of the trim.
Guess what, that’s it! Just add the bottles and of course, don’t forget the flowers. Your mom will have a gift that will last forever. Although, my mom swears she still has the macaroni necklace I made her when I was six. Happy Mother’s Day to you and yours. Catch you next time.