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For The Home

A Nod to History

Author: Roberta Landman
Issue: January, 2007, Page 20
Reclaimed wood planks and unpeeled pine beams form the guest house ceiling.
As if constructing a trio of fine buildings at Prescott's Talking Rock residential community isn’t excitement enough, we’ve invented a family and a history to go along with them: Our story surrounds great-grandparents who settled on a high-country parcel in the late 1890s, erected a snug homestead, then, later on, a barn with loft bunkhouse for hired hands, and by 1920, a main house with all the comforts and style of the Arts & Crafts era.

Authenticity in building materials, as far as possible, is important to the old-time character of the setting, says builder Gregory Mortimer of GK Mortimer Custom Homes Inc. In the metal-roofed guest house of today—the old homestead of yesteryear—“We’ve left the bark and skin on the ceiling’s pine beams, and there are also planks on the ceiling that are probably over 100 years old,” he says. “They were reclaimed from a mine in Wyoming.”

Some interior walls in this dwelling are being clad with half-logs. Our “great-grandparents” would have put chinking made from horsehair and mortar between the logs, Mortimer says. “But it needed to be changed out.” Today’s long-lasting version of chinking looks like “the real deal,” but it’s urethane-based.

A rustic ambience will hold sway in the barn’s upstairs sleeping loft. Walls are to be sided with barn wood, the ceiling will be planked, and reclaimed rugged pine floor boards will be laid with wide gaps between them, just like long ago.

The main house, which would have been built 30 years or so after the homestead, is our interpretation of Arts & Crafts design; it’s representative of a time when fine craftsmanship was at a high point. Inside is a spacious open floor plan with main rooms separated by handcrafted dove-tailed joinery at posts and beams. Dry-stacked stone fireplaces, handmade open-beam roof trusses, and other niceties lend a homey, welcoming feel.

The Idea House makes its public debut next year.
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