Family of Fixer Uppers
Chase Morrill does not like to waste anything, not one little thing. The Augusta native has been salvaging old bed frames, vacuums, canoes and just about anything else he removes during reconstruction of the numerous Maine cabins he, his family and his construction crew are frequently asked to renovate throughout the year.
Morrill has been in the construction field for more than 15 years. His ability to update and modernize any cabin no matter how dilapidated it is, while still maintaining its rustic Maine charm, caught the eye of the DIY network last year. It wasn’t long before Dorsey Productions was following Morrill, his sister Ashley, his brother-in-law Ryan, and their friends Lance, Dixie, and Jetti, deep into the Maine woods to film the reality show, “Maine Cabin Masters.” The show is currently in its second season of production.
“It’s kind of exciting for us,” said Morrill. “They show up for the beginning, middle, and end of each camp renovation and they have endless footage so it’s interesting to see what they use, how they put it together and [yet] don’t make us look too foolish, which was definitely a concern of ours.”
Morrill and his team have renovated camps in Belgrade, Wayne, Bar Harbor, Dedham and all over the state. No two camps are alike, and neither are the renovations or the budgets. However one thing that always remains the same is that Morrill is adamant his crew recycles as much as they can.
“I’m probably the one most likely to save as much as we possibly can and reuse what we have. That’s been ingrained into Ashley and me from our family,” explained Morrill. “These are Maine people that need these camps redone to better suit their needs. If we can save money and reuse some of the stuff and not send things to a landfill, we do it. They (the crew) are always giving me crap about it but they’ll come around.”
Working with family can be a both a blessing and a curse.
“Chase and I fight sometimes, a lot of times. But we always end up forgetting about it an hour or two later,” Ashley Morrill-Eldridge said during the taping of the show.
“There’s a definite creative difference between us. I’m more the construction designer and she’s more the interior and finish designer,” said Morrill. “Just because we’re brother and sister, we fight, but we always seem to get the job done.”
During season one of “Maine Cabin Masters,” the crew just happened to have a connection, in one way or another, with every camp owner they worked with. They were either friends, friends of friends, or a relative. But Morrill admits the cabin his crew fixed up for former state legislator Rob Eaton in Hancock County was their most memorable work to date.
“The home owners, Rob and Candy Eaton, were wonderful people and extremely grateful. We truly went in and saved their camp in Sullivan,” explained Morrill. “TV didn’t do justice how rotten those logs were at the camp. We went in, fixed it up, made it usable again and got rid of a lot of their worries. And we got to take copper from the state house and incorporate that. It was amazing how it all came together.”
This season Morrill and his team will tackle 13 cabins in the Damariscotta, Wiscasset, and Farmington areas. They’ve also received numerous requests to lend their talents and skills to neglected camps outside of Maine.
“People have old family camps that just always, always need work. We got over 100 submissions this year from people from California, Michigan, and Colorado that say, ‘We’ve got a camp out here we’d love for you to fix up,’” explained Morrill.
However, staying close to home, true to their roots and their rustic ways has kept Morrill and his crew well grounded and gainfully employed as their popularity has soared throughout the show.
“We’re all happy and proud of what the film crew did and what we did [last season]. I think it showed Maine in a good light,” said Morrill. “It showed a lot of areas that might not be as well known to people out of the state and it’s great people around here can relate to it.”
Maine Cabin Masters can be seen on the DIY channel. For showtimes and listings, log onto www.diynetwork.com.