Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, Vermont offers over 80 hands-on courses per year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft and offers a variety of courses concentrating in sustainable design. Now in its 35th year, Yestermorrow is one of the only design/build schools in the country, teaching both design and construction skills. Our hands-on 1-day to 3-week workshops, certificate programs and semester programs are taught by top architects, builders, and craftspeople from across the country. For people of all ages and experience levels, from novice to professional.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Season's Greetings from Yestermorrow

p.s. this amazing stone arch was created on the Yestermorrow campus by Thea Alvin's class the Art of Stone, which is coming up again in May 2011. Photo by Tonia Sing Chi.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happy Holidays from the Super Yester Crew

The Super Yestermorrow staff and interns gathered to celebrate the holidays and send off our departing interns Annie, Tonia, Lylee and Lindley. We'll miss you ladies!
(also missing from the group photo: Heidi, Lisa and Lisette)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sprucing up the campus!

The new studio floor- a beautiful burgundy. Check this out because it will probably be a very long time before the studio is this clean again!

New netting and rope railing in the treehouse helps to prevent people from falling out!

Tonia painted her room in the Chalet using a natural wheat paste paint inspired and informed by the Natural Paints and Finishes class.

Simple and sweet! New handrail for the strawbale cabin.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Holiday Wish List

What's Santa bringing you this year for the holidays? As you're thinking about your gift list this year, please keep Yestermorrow in mind. You know how sometimes it's the little things that can make a huge difference? We've put a few things on our Wish List that we think would really improve the student experience here at Yestermorrow, but which just aren't in the budget this year. To make it easy for you, we've created an online Wish List on where you can order items and have them shipped directly to Yestermorrow.

Here are a few of the things on our Wish List:
LCD Projector
120" Projector screen
Wireless pointer/controller for presenters
Refrigerator for kitchen
Solar lanterns for cabins
Webcam and microphone (to enable one of our computers for Skype)
Solar landscape spotlight to illuminate entry sign
Solar wall lights (for cabins)
Solar lights for camping area/trail
Solar motion detector light for parking lot
Postage scale for the office
Folding Chair Cart for the studio
Whisperwall fan for Chalet bathroom
Alarm clocks and reading lights for the dorm rooms

You can see a complete wish list of items also on the Donate page of our website:

Thanks Santa for thinking of us!
The Yestermorrow team

Art Auction a Huge Success!

The 6th Annual Art Auction held on December 4th was a great success, raising over $6,000 for Yestermorrow's Scholarship Fund and bringing together 150 of Yestermorrow's supporters for a fun evening of art appreciation, networking and money-raising. The winner of the Kayak Raffle was drawn - congratulations to Carol Baringer for buying the winning ticket! And many thanks go to Dave Sellers, our auctioneer, who entertained the crowd with many stories about the featured artists, the artists and donors who contributed items to the auction, and the staff, interns and volunteers of Yestermorrow who pulled off a great event. In case you missed the event you can check out a slideshow of images taken by our current intern Tonia Chi.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Semester Programs Update

Here at Yestermorrow we are ramping up to launch our new Semester Programs, offering both an undergraduate 16-week Sustainable Design/Build Semester Program in Fall 2011 as well as a 6-month graduate level program in Integrative Design/Build in the spring/summer of 2012. This major initiative is the result of many years of dreaming, planning and strategic thinking about the future direction of Yestermorrow and how to create more in-depth learning opportunities and broaden our reach.

While we’re still working out many of the details, and will not officially launch the program until January, I am excited to announce two exciting developments:

1) We have hired José Galarza as our new Director of Semester Programs. Many of you have gotten to know José over the past year and a half in his roles as our Community Outreach Coordinator and 2010 Natural Building Intensive Program Director. José will take on this new full time staff role starting in January and will be responsible for overseeing the development, content, and performance of the school’s semester programs, managing faculty members, and providing student support services.

2) We are currently soliciting applications for the two lead faculty positions for the Fall 2011 undergraduate Sustainable Design/Build Semester Program:

a. Lead Faculty (6 month full time position)

b. Lead Build Instructor (2 month full time position)

For more information on both of these positions, please visit our website for full job descriptions. Applications will be accepted through February 15th. Please help us spread the word about these exciting new opportunities, and consider throwing your hat in the ring if it sounds like it would be a good fit.

We are also in the midst of finalizing academic partnerships to grant college credit for these programs, so stay tuned for details on that in the next month or two. We are also looking for any personal contacts you may have at different colleges and universities that we can tap into as we start outreach and marketing for these programs in January. Please email me with contact information (name, college, position, address, email, phone) for anyone you think would be able to put up a poster at a college, help arrange a campus visit, or just put the word out to students.

Things are really coming together and while we continue to stay focused on maintaining the excellence of our current short courses and certificate programs, I also believe these new semester programs will really push Yestermorrow to the next level in terms of impact, providing an immersion in the design/build approach that’s available nowhere else in the world.

Happy December!
Kate Stephenson
Executive Director

p.s. We are extremely grateful to Jon Mingle, who as our Semester Program Coordinator over the past 8 months has helped “midwife” this initiative and who has done a stellar job juggling the many pieces to pull this together. He’ll be leaving us at the end of December to head back to India where he has worked over the years leading educational programs and helping to build communities in Ladakh.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Yestermorrow Art Auction December 4

Yestermorrow’s one night only 6th Annual Art Auction will take place Saturday, December 4 with doors opening to the public at 7pm and the live auction beginning at 8pm. Dave Sellers hailed as one of the world’s top 100 architects by Architectural Digest will serve as auctioneer. In addition to the live auction, the winner of the hand-built kayak raffle will be chosen. A silent auction will also be part of the festivities. All proceeds from the auction benefit Yestermorrow’s scholarship fund, which provides potential students who don’t have the financial capacity to attend the Yestermorrow’s diverse course offering with much-needed financial assistance. The 6th Annual Art Auction is free and the public is welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

Yestermorrow’s annual event showcases artists associated with the School who come from the Mad River Valley, Montpelier, Burlington, and Northfield as well as artisans who reside in Maryland, Washington, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and New York. They represent the enormous talent found in the Yestermorrow community of faculty, staff, interns, students, and Board members.

Some highlights of the auction are a painting by New York artist Larissa Bates, whose work was called “a beautifully described world” by The New York Times; a pencil drawing by the famed New Yorker cartoonist Ed Koren; and an encaustic painting by Danville, Vermont resident Bill Peabody. The head of the Industrial Design department at the Rhode Island School of Design and Yestermorrow Board member Mickey Ackerman is represented by two oil paintings. A small painting by Montpelier-based artist Frank Woods will also be auctioned. Woods recently had a show in the Governor’s Office in Montpelier and has been called a “painter’s painter” by the Vermont State curator. Photographs by New York based Megan Tompkins Kelly, Warren’s own Amalia Elena Veralli, and Laura Hill Bermingham will be for sale, as will collages, mosaics, and a hand blown glass bowl courtesy of Mad River Glass.

The December 4 event at Yestermorrow also includes an extensive silent auction. Hand-made furniture, items crafted from wood, jewelry, gift certificates to performing arts events as well as to several New England inns will all be available, as will consultations on energy efficiency, landscape design, and a catered whole foods meal for four.

“The art auction gives Yestermorrow the chance to open its doors and to welcome everyone to come inside and take a look. See for yourself the incredible creativity and talent that is fostered within the Yestermorrow community. Whether it’s to support our scholarship fund, find some holiday cheer, or to purchase unique holiday gifts, please visit the school on December 4th. There’s something for everyone.” explained Kate Stephenson, Yestermorrow’s Executive Director.

The evening will conclude the raffle for an elegant hand-built skin-on-frame kayak. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at or by calling (802) 496-5545 or visiting Yestermorrow. Tickets sell for $10 each or six for $50.

Yestermorrow’s fundraiser offers diverse collection of holiday gift items in a festive setting.

To learn more about any of the featured art pieces, click on the slideshow below.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Today at Yestermorrow we graduated 12 Certified Renovators through the Lead Safety for Renovation, Repair and Painting program offered by the EPA. Did you know that if you are a contractor or carpenter in the U.S. working on a house built before 1978 you need to test for lead paint and follow strict guidelines for the containment and disposal of lead dust when doing any renovations? Did you know you need to be a Lead-Safe Certified Firm?

We were lucky to be able to partner with Vermont Technical College's Center for Sustainable Practices to offer twelve of our faculty, staff and interns this certification, with funding from the VTGreen program which supports green jobs training in Vermont. This 8-hour certification is critical for any contractor who work in older homes, even if they are adding on additions or doing small interior renovation projects.

We learned how to properly test for lead paint, and the proper procedures to follow for containment of dust and debris and clean-up. It's complicated stuff, but important to know in order to prevent lead poisoning (and major fines from the EPA). For more information on how to find a certified renovator RRP course near you, check out the EPA website.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Farm Design images

Here are a few great images from the Farm Design course which just finished up last Friday. Their many field trips included trips to Essex Farm, Butterworks Farm, Green Mountain Girls Farm, and Vermont Compost. Each student worked on their own individual farm design project in the studio, culminating in presentations all day Friday.

These great photos were taken by one of our current Design/Build Interns, Tonia Sing Chi:

Monday, October 25, 2010

DIY Alternative Hot Water System

Our first-ever DIY Alternative Hot Water System class was a success, building a "Jean Pain Mound" in nearby Fayston out of woodchips which will passively heat domestic hot water for a family for the next 18-24 months.

The French farmer/inventor Jean Pain became famous for his innovative ideas about the interrelationship between agriculture and energy production. One of his concepts, the Pain Mound, focused on the use of woody biomass as an effective compost material while collecting heat from the composting process.

This prototype mound will produce 110-degree water at a constant rate of ½-gallon per minute, by flowing well water through the coil built into the mound of composting wood-chips and mulch. This temperature-gain and flow-rate represents enough btu-value to heat a typical 1000-square foot home with a radiant floor heating system.

Participants built the mound (with assistance from a small excavator) by spreading 8 inch-thick layers of mulch over water-line coils and thoroughly soaking each layer with water. Students also learned about the history of Jean Pain via excerpts from his writings and a documentary film.

For more information about this system, please visit which includes links to the documentary film and other resources.

Here's the class on top of the completed mound.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rumford Masonry Fireplace Design/Build Video

This video montage follows the one-week Rumford Masonry Fireplace Design/Build course at Yestermorrow in October 2010. The class worked together to build a Rumford style fireplace for a homeowner in Waitsfield, Vermont during this five-day class focused on teaching homeowners with no prior masonry experience how to create their own fireplace.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yestermorrow Shortlisted to Receive First BrightBuilt Retrofit

Exciting news-- we’ve advanced to the final round of the BrightBuilt Retrofit selection process, which will award a New England non-profit organization with a deep-energy retrofit valued at more than $100,000. The final four organizations now advance to the next phase, where the public has an opportunity to vote online for their favorite project. Yestermorrow is thrilled to be on the ballot and encourages supporters to cast their vote at before the November 2nd deadline.

“This project is extremely important in demonstrating how we can turn older homes into efficient, healthy and beautiful buildings that save money for homeowners and reduce their energy needs into the future. Yestermorrow’s retrofit of our intern housing will include hands-on courses to teach a new generation of architects and builders the skills they need to tackle our existing building stock” said Kate Stephenson, Executive Director.

If selected for the BrightBuilt Retrofit, Yestermorrow will receive the following:

* $10,000 cash award toward the project cost
* $90,000 interest free-loan toward the project cost
* Discounted design services
* Access to an award-winning team of experts
* A reduced carbon footprint and lower energy bills
* More comfortable, livable, beautiful space

Bringing to light the affordability and accessibility of deep energy retrofits, the goal of the BrightBuilt Retrofit award is to complete an energy-conserving building renovation for a deserving New England non-profit organization.

How You Can Help

This next round opens it up to you, the public, inviting you to show your support by casting an online vote. While your vote makes a big difference, it can be done in as little as three clicks:

1. Click through to

2. Click next to Yestermorrow, selecting it

3. Click on the “Vote” button

With just with a few simple clicks, you help support our efforts to receive the BrightBuilt Retrofit Award, a deep-energy retrofit estimated to be valued at more than $100,000! (Voting runs October 13th through November 2nd).

Learn more about Yestermorrow's proposal to retrofit its intern housing (the "Chalet") on our website at:

Cast your vote at and share this link with others before the polls close on November 2nd. The organization with the most votes wins the BrightBuilt People’s Choice Award, valued at $1,000. So, please show your support and vote TODAY!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Goodbye and Hello!

We had a great gathering last week to send off our departing interns Mary Kate, Julie and Alex as well as welcome our new interns Jacob and Megan.
Here's a shot of the whole crew...

From left to right: Lylee, Julie, Tonia, Megan, Annie, Mary Kate, Alex and Jacob

THANKS EVERYONE for all the hard work you do!

Passive House Workshop Comes to Vermont

The Yestermorrow Design/Build School is excited to announce a new workshop – Introduction to Passive House - coming up November 13-14th at the school’s campus in Waitsfield, Vermont. Led by Marc Rosenbaum of Energysmiths, a certified Passive House Consultant and award-winning sustainable design consultant, this workshop will provide an overview of the Passive House building standard.

Passive House is a German approach to building design and construction that has resulted in some of the lowest energy use buildings in the world. Buildings need to meet strict criteria of energy usage, including total primary energy, and must be tested to be extremely airtight. In climates similar to Germany, all the heating energy is delivered by the fresh air ventilation system. In this course we'll look at the principles behind the Passive House, present the Passive House Planning Package analysis tool, and look at some examples of construction details and finished buildings. The course will be given at a relaxed pace that allows plenty of time for discussion - this is not a substitute for the nine day Passive House Consultant training.

Tuition is $300 (plus 15% off for Vermont residents) and the course runs 9:00am to 5:00pm both Saturday and Sunday.

Space is limited to 20 participants. To register for this workshop, call Yestermorrow at 802-496-5545 or register online.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Meet Lisa, Megan and Jacob!

We're excited to welcome three new staff to Yestermorrow this month.

Lisa Barnes joins us as a Kitchen Assistant. Lisa is a certified natural chef, trained in therapeutic cooking through Bauman College. She brings a passion for healthy cooking into the kitchen along with a repertoire of home grown recipes and knowledge of the nutrition behind them. She truly believes that a healthy body is a happy one.

Jacob Mushlin is one of our new Design/Build Interns. Jacob grew up in Hartland, VT where much of his childhood was spent building dams in streams and making awesome things out of cardboard. He studied architecture, design and studio art at various schools and has spent most of his professional life working for educational institutions and in carpentry. He brings with him a banjo, a road bike, and a clandestine interest in knitting.

Megan McNally is also one of our new Design/Build Interns. In 2008, Megan embarked on a self directed crash course in home repair by buying a fixer-upper in the annual tax foreclosure auction in her hometown of Buffalo, NY. Upon graduating with her undergrad degree in Environmental Policy this past May, Megan has pursued additional education in alternative methods of construction by working on various jobsites across the country. As well as taking classes and doing general intern stuff like shoveling snow, Megan hopes to learn guitar, read lots and lots and lots of books, and be master of snow football during her time at Yestermorrow.

Meet the rest of our staff and intern crew on our website at:

Monday, October 04, 2010

BuildingGreen Suite™ special deal

We are excited once again to offer a special opportunity to friends of Yestermorrow -- discounted annual subscriptions to the BuildingGreen Suite™ for only $50! The normal retail price for this subscription is $199.00 and this offer is available only through a special bulk buy program if together we have more than 25 subscriptions. This program is not limited specifically to Yestermorrow so if you have friends or colleagues that you think would be interested as well, please spread the word!

BuildingGreen Suite™ ( of online tools gives you the best information on green design in a subscription-based Web site format. This online resource features comprehensive, practical information on a wide range of topics related to sustainable building--from energy efficiency and recycled-content materials to land-use planning and indoor air quality.

BuildingGreen Suite™ online membership keeps you abreast of developments and trends in the green building field. BuildingGreen Suite™ will help you become a leader in the field by providing you access to the following:

  • 2,000+ GreenSpec® product listings—updated weekly
  • The latest news in green building
  • In-depth sustainable design strategies
  • 275+ case studies of high-performance buildings
  • Hundreds of practice-oriented articles
  • Continuing education hours & learning events.
  • 70% off a print subscription to Environmental Building News

BuildingGreen Suite subscribers can also access the EBN print resources at a substantial discount.


Once we have your money in hand ($50 per person) we will get a list of activation codes which we will distribute to everyone who is taking advantage of this great Yestermorrow/EBN offer and you'll be able to choose your own user name and password. If you have a current Building Green subscription, and want to use this offer to renew/extend your subscription, that's fine too.

If you're interested please email me so I can get your name on the list, and send a check made out to Yestermorrow to Monica's attention, or call with a credit card number. This is a limited time offer- after November 1st we will likely not be putting together another bulk subscription this year.

If you need me to send you an official invoice for your office record-keeping purposes, just let me know.

Please get in touch if you have any questions,

Monica DiGiovanni
Student Services Coordinator

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Win a Hand-Crafted Kayak!

Partake in the 2010 Winter Raffle. For just $10 a ticket or 6 tickets for $50, you can win a hand-crafted kayak built by Yestermorrow students and teacher Hilary Russell and support Yestermorrow.

This lightweight boat is strong, handles beautifully, and is elegant in its craftsmanship.

You can see photographs, get specifications, and buy raffle tickets online at or come by the Yestermorrow lobby to see it in person.

You can purchase your tickets online through our secure donation site. You must specify “kayak raffle” in the memo line and include your contact information so we can get in touch with you, if you are the lucky winner.

All proceeds benefit Yestermorrow’s Scholarship Fund.

Save the date & join us for the raffle drawing during Yestermorrow’s 6th Annual Art Auction, Saturday, December 4. A live auction, silent auction, and all around great party is planned. Check out for more details. We’ve already got art work and handcrafted items from Yestermorrow instructor Ken Burton, board member Mickey Ackerman, interns, former students, and staff lined up.

Purchase tickets to win the kayak and join us on December 4th.