Synopses & Reviews
A visionary carpenter shares indelible stories on building a life worth living, revealing powerful lessons about work, creativity, and design through his experience constructing some of New York's most iconic spaces.
For forty years, Mark Ellison has worked in the most beautiful homes you've never seen, specializing in rarefied, lavish, and challenging projects for the most demanding of clients. He built a staircase that the architect Santiago Calatrava called a masterpiece. He constructed the sculpted core of Sky House, which Interior Design named "Apartment of the Decade." His projects have included the homes of David Bowie, Robin Williams, and others whose names he cannot reveal. He is regarded by many as the best carpenter in New York.
Building: A Carpenter's Notes on Life & the Art of Good Work tells the story of an unconventional education and how fulfillment can be found in doing something well for decades. Ellison takes us on a tour of the lofts, penthouses, and townhomes of New York's elite, before they're camera-ready. In a singular voice, he offers a window into learning to live meaningfully along the way. From staircases that would be deadly if built as designed and algae-eating snails boiled to escargot in a penthouse pond, to the deceptive complexity of minimalist design, Building exposes the tangled wiring, scrapped blueprints, and outlandish demands that characterize life in the high-stakes world of luxury construction.
Blending Ellison's musings on work and creativity with immersive storytelling and original sketches, photos, and illustrations, Building is a meditation on crafting a life worth living, and a delightful philosophical inquiry beyond the facades that we all live behind.