Mike Olson

Mike, Master Carpenter

I am a sixth generation Chicagoan, born and raised on the northwest side of the city in an old house that was undergoing renovation—and in a family whose business was residential construction. From a young age, I was immersed in the culture of building. When I wasn’t creating with Lego blocks or Lincoln Logs, I was learning to clean nails from boards, use basic hand tools, and organize work trucks. I tagged along with my dad to supply houses, lumber yards and job sites.

After high school, I officially joined the family business where I learned, from the ground up, every aspect of residential construction. Over the years, I took on increasing responsibility, eventually leading the company, while also still serving as its head carpenter and primary General Contractor. I pride myself as a highly-skilled finish carpenter, with a special focus on renovation of old structures, historic properties, period-appropriate architectural details—as well as woodworking and furniture design and fabrication. The art and science of carpentry is my passion.

Legacy of Carpentry

After 23 years of service in my family’s business, I decided it was time for a change. I served as the Carpentry Supervisor for Chicago Botanic Garden before finding the role of Master Carpenter at SSDB, where I get to do what I love most: work with tools in my hands each day, bringing visions into reality for homeowners, alongside a great team.

In my spare time, I can be found pouring over my library of construction manuals and old millwork catalogues, listening to music, working in my basement woodshop, planning a next wilderness adventure or road trip, and restoring my own old house in Chicago with my wife, Natalie, and dog Willie.

“Unless a man is master of his soul, all other kinds of mastery amount to little.”

Theodore Roosevelt

“The understanding eye sees the maker’s fingerprints. They are evident in every detail … Leave Fingerprints.”

James Krenov