Veselin Vasilev–DarVesko was born in 1976 and over the past 20 years he has become a real master of the applied arts and authentic carpentry. He finished his education in Furniture Design at the Tryavna School of Applied Arts in 1995 where he gained a professional diploma in carpentry and carving. Afterwards, he completed his education, graduating from Veliko Tarnovo University in 2003 with a master’s degree in Sculpture. He has devoted his life and work to the Balkan mountains – in particular, the district where the small, picturesque city of Elena lies with its typical medieval architecture consisting of historic houses built from wood, stone and traditional plank roofs. Veselin lives in Elena with his wife and daughter, however, they spend every summer in the village of Mijkovtzi, a small, beautiful village in the mountains where he works and creates his wooden masterpieces of authentic Bulgarian architecture. DarVesko, as he named himself, is a true custodian of historic traditions in carpentry and his ecological thinking enriches his work with real spirit and authentic mastery.
“The restoration or renovation of authentic timber boarded houses extends their lives and adapts them to modern life. Our special approach to renovation retains the specific character of the house and thus carries the tradition into the future…” says DarVesko.
Since 1997, Veselin Vasile–DarVesko has worked with wood, building and restoring houses using the truly ancient techniques of framed roof construction, building and restoration, learned from the old-school masterscraftsmen. Historic timber framed roof types, as authentic as they were 200-300 years ago, together with typical Balkan architecture, slowly and imperceptibly appear in the villages surrounding Elena, by dint of Veselin’s hands and skills. Natural materials and traditional practices in restoration and building are the only sources he uses and the true spirit of the mountains can be felt in every timber board of the houses that he builds.
The Kandaferi House – the Masterpiece Built Twice Over
The first authentic house built by DarVesko was finished in the summer of 2000. The “Kandaferi” house, a large 3-storey building was made entirely of wood and it quickly became a symbol of the village of Mijkovtzi with its typical mountain architecture. Several years later, there was a terrible misfortune for the master, when his masterpiece “Kandaferi” was completely burnt down in an accidental fire. Despite the fact that it was a real tragedy for all concerned, Veselin and his team summoned up all their spirit, knowledge and skills and rebuilt the house once again – this time more beautiful and stunning than before. The houses in Svetolavtzi, The White House and many more were about to follow… All of them custodians of Bulgarian spirit and the old masters’ traditions.
Veselin’s expertise does not end with these astonishingly authentic houses – furniture, outdoor wooden playgrounds, authentic wooden ceilings, external stairs, doors and many other wooden pieces of art and decorative elements also come out of the Darvesko Workshop. Working with a variety of architectural constructions and client requirements, DarVesko has an unique approach to every project and he meticulously plans all the restoration and construction works with detailed construction drawings.
The young master works with wood and has an understanding of wood shown by his dedication. Enriching the traditional with a hint of the contemporary, quality and spirit are the most important aspects of his mastery.
DarVesko is certain that in general house restoration or the restoration of an authentic timber framed house should extend its life and modify it for a more modern lifestyle. If this master has a special approach to renovation, it is to retain the specific character of the house and thus carry tradition and heritage into the future.
DarVesko uses only traditional carpentry techniques which have been used in the district for centuries. He manages the entire process of the different types of restoration of these historic houses and roofs. He personally picks the hardwood from the sawmills nearby. Afterwards, he treats the wood just as the old-school masters did it hundreds of years ago and then he constructs staircases, roofs or a porch for the building. Often he has to use old pictures of the building in order to reconstruct it in the same style.
The types of wooden roof constructions DarVesko restores and builds are:
- Mono pitch (slope);
- Pitched roofs (slopes);
- Two-level (saddled) roofs;
- Two-level tapered;
- Hipped roofs;
- Pyramid roofs;
- Hip and valley roofs;
- Shed roofs.
DarVesko finished his first house restoration in 2003. Some of the projects he took on are completed by working with the owners of the houses or with other master carpenters who work in the Balkan mountains… and for each restoration or construction he gathers together a team of skilled carpenters and builders who help him achieve these amazing restorations.
DarVesko most significant works:
- The Svetoslavtzi House nr.1 in Seslavtzi village near Elena – complete renovation
- The Svetoslavtzi House nr.2 in Seslavtzi village, near Elena, complete renovation
- The White House in Mijkovtzi village near Elena – construction, exterior and interior renovation
- The Kandaferi House in Mijkovtzi village, near Elena – construction, exterior and interior renovation
Works in Timber
DarVesko loves wood and his work goes beyond the restoration and conservation of old houses, roofs, and constructing new buildings using traditional carpentry techniques. His field of expertise is even wider and includes furniture, outdoor wooden playgrounds, authentic wooden ceilings, external and internal stairs, front doors, and many other wooden pieces of art and even wooden bridges on eco paths high in the mountains.