This Woodworker Builds Birdhouses Inspired by Desert Modernism and “The Golden Girls”

published May 25, 2020
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Credit: Photo by Steve Hadeka

Although woodworker Steve Hadeka loves his 1965 ranch-style Vermont home, affectionately nicknamed “Pleasant Ranch,” he occasionally lives out his other dream home aspirations through birdhouse-making

Hand made in his one-man wood shop in Winooski, Hadeka’s miniature abodes are inspired by the desert modernist homes you’d find in Palm Springs and the mid-century ranches you’d see in Miami. 

“I have this romanticized vision for our house to become one of those cool retro pads,” Hadeka says. On family vacations to Miami, Hadeka takes photos of houses that catch his eye—ones he’ll later recreate for birds to nest in. 

“It’s a funny mix in Coconut Grove: You have the Grandma-retro thing, but also the modern glass newfangled thing, so I’m influenced by both of those styles,” he says.

Credit: Photo by Steve Hadeka

Hadeka is a professional drummer, but started making woodworking crafts as a hobby in 2012. By 2014, he was regularly making and selling his wooden art, home decor, barware, kitchenware, and furniture on his Etsy shop, also named Pleasant Ranch.

His birdhomes only make up a fraction of his total sales on Etsy, as the demand for them is seasonal, but Hadeka always has one in the works. “It’s usually a two or three day process but most of that time is waiting for paint to dry,” he says. 

It was only recently that Hadeka began incorporating more paint colors in his bird homes and plans to experiment with shapes and curves next. “I have this idea for [a birdhome with] flowing curves. I’d probably use a bandsaw for that,” he says. 

Below, Hadeka shares his inspiration and vision behind some of his best birdhouses:

Credit: Photo by Steve Hadeka

The Pinecrest Birdhouse

“This birdhouse is inspired by a few homes I ‘researched’ on my walks around various Miami neighborhoods last winter.”

Credit: Photo by Steve Hadeka

The Palm Canyon Birdhouse in Creamsicle

“I wanted to play up the specific ‘Palm Springs’ modernism with this one. The orange/white scheme seems hot out there right now.”


The Nylund Birdhouse

“I was simply imagining the home I would build for Betty White’s character from our favorite TV show, ‘The Golden Girls.’”