Dennis designed this 14×24' multipurpose building to exhibit New England charm.

When Dennis DiDonato decided to build a workshop, he looked to a site visible from his house and occupied by an old two-stall horse barn. He dismantled the barn, salvaging the lumber, then designed and built a traditional stick-framed structure on the same footprint for his shop and for entertaining friends and family. The double doors, cupola, gables, and other architectural details create the endearing character Dennis desired.

Dennis used 2×6 framing for the walls and 2×12s for the rafters. During the construction, he insulated the walls with rigid spray-on foam. He says he can heat the space comfortably with a 220-volt electric heater—pretty impressive for a Connecticut winter.

Insulated cedar double doors swing open to serve as the main entrance to the shop. From the original barn interior and horse stalls, Dennis reclaimed the wood that lines the walls and creates the trim.
Dennis purchased secondhand cabinet boxes and then created the drawers and doors from reclaimed pine.
At each corner beside the double entry doors, Dennis created a small 3×3' closet for storing hand tools, accessories, and supplies.
Double doors
At the rear of the shop, a pair of doors hide a lumber-storage area. Benchtop and portable tools maximize space and make it easy to clear floor space for dart tournaments and wine-tasting parties.
Large windows furnish plenty of natural light; LED lamps provide auxiliary and task lighting. Dennis picked up the old desk for free. It serves as additional worksurface for projects when needed.

Inside, the multipurpose space features an inviting, open floorplan. Dennis used reclaimed materials for most of the interior construction, including the cabinets. Large windows and a vaulted ceiling emphasize the spacious atmosphere.

Dennis included lots of storage in his shop. In addition to the floor cabinets and cubbies, he incorporated wall cabinets, two small closets at the front of the shop, and a lumber-storage room at the rear. Those store most of his woodworking tools and supplies. Antique tools and decorative items hang on open wall space.

Dennis DiDonato recently retired as owner of a CNC manufacturing company. He's a lifelong, self-taught woodworker who enjoys making a wide variety of projects for his friends, family, and his home.

You'll notice that Dennis doesn't own any stationary power tools. He's perfectly happy with portable and benchtop tools that easily tuck out of the way. Those include a bandsaw, router table, mitersaw, and job-site tablesaw. With these basic tools, Dennis has built bookcases, tables, fireplace mantels, bookshelves, and toy boxes. "I also repurpose and rebuild furniture," he says. He's also designed and constructed four dedicated home theaters.