Since 1998, the Eric Contey Stonework company has been constructing hardscapes all over the Portland area and beyond. Our portfolio features dry-set stone projects utilizing many different models such as Inca-style polygonal masonry with tight joinery, stately big-block ashlar Old World, British fieldstone boundary walls, Japanese-inspired boulder arrangements and gardens paths and a “Northwest” look all our own for both walls and patios. Working from architectʼs plans or our own design, along with the clientʼs visualization, we endeavor to produce an original, holistic fusion with the landscape.
Essentially, our job consists of terra-forming while creating a structure of natural stone that serves several functions at once- to change/hold elevation or access, achieve proper drainage and safety, and finally, for the work to frame and enhance its environs.
Aside from the usual “Big Three” of wall, patio, stairway, ECS also creates custom benches, planters, unique dolmen, “splashblocks” for downspouts/chain drains, and offers letter or image carving. A recent wall project grew to include a 1100 sq. ft. permeable driveway, and the result was a complete transformation from the SE Portland old “cracked concrete tracks with mud” incline to an attractive, multi-purpose no-runoff surface. The benefits and satisfaction for all concerned, client, neighborhood, and river have produced serious considerations to expand this type of installation (even if itʼs not true stone…).
Primarily because Portland is a garden paradise, for the potential project there is a wide variety of stone available for consideration. We are very familiar with most of the options, and the truth is that all rocks are not created equal- so that decisions on suitable materials for the stonework envisioned are extremely important and are fully explored with clients and designers. This dialogue includes color, workability, shapes rendered from harvesting, local product vs import, durability, and cost. Veteran input is of value, as the line can be quite fine – for example, the quarry yielding the best local basalt is just a few air miles from two other sources which are, for the most part, an inferior product, yet fully promoted and sold. Our reputation for innovation is derived from this extensive experience of select stone and its capacities.
Among the concepts of the very old, demanding craft that stimulate and inspire our work is that of permanence. Stone provides the framework, the skeleton, of the tableau that is the home and grounds. The flora comes and goes with the seasons, the house gets repainted or a new roof, but always there is the stone, old as the hills. The product of each days work will be extant for generations. Each new visual, spatial and architectural challenge must and will be met to advantage – a subtle change in the snaking cap line, the bold thrust of cantilever, the fine touch of the most delicate of carving chisels – as craftsmen, we give you art+function+longevity.
Did we mention deep mutual satisfaction yet?