Thursday, February 7, 2013

Philadelphia Home Show Photo Booth

As you may have read, Denise Sabia of The Painted Home has asked us to build a few pieces to go into her Designer of the Year Dining Room booth at the Philadelphia Home Show.  We are so excited!  One of the items began as a photo booth but quickly evolved, as most of our pieces do, into its own work of art.  In a previous post, we showcased ways to re-purpose antique shutters.  For the photo booth, Jay used two antique shutters out of a grist mill in Maryland as the walls.  

These shutters were recovered from a grist mill in Westminster, Maryland.  It was a 26,500 square-foot, three-building grist mill.  It was used to process grain, flour, and feed which fed the local community for generations.  Though the mill officially closed in 1954, the buildings, at the time, contained objects dating back to its original construction.  The barn contained equipment which was used to cut heavy beams for construction and the house contained multiple stairways and secret passageways much like a maze.

The doors which were used as the back of the photo booth were reclaimed from the Amaral Barns in Newtown Connecticut.  In the 1850s, the Peck family purchased a plot of land in the rural town of Newtown, Connecticut and built a thriving dairy farm there.  In 1932, during the throes of the Great Depression, a local auto dealer, Daniel Amaral, purchased the property and used the barns to store the spillover auto parts from his business.  He continued to do so until he passed away in 1989, never having sold any of the parts.

In 2012, Jay purchased the contents of both buildings and after three rigorous weeks of cleaning, the doors were unearthed under years of debris.  Now back out in daylight, the amazing craftsmanship put into these handmade doors can be appreciated once again.  And the door bell?  After a few hours, Jay had the original door bell working as well!

To give it the feel of a porch, Jay used nearly 200 year old original threshing floor.  The threshing is in its original foot-worn condition with raw and rounded edges.  The thick antique floorboards against the early 1900's doors made the photo booth begin to feel like a front porch.  And every front porch needs a roof and some light!

Fortunately, for the light fixture, Jay already had something that would work.  In 2009, Jay dismantled a barn in Franconia, Pennsylvania.  Out back there was a chicken shack which had been converted into a makeshift maintenance shed.  It had collapsed probably 20 years prior to them being there and many animals had made it their home.  What was left of the roof was only about three feet off the ground.  Jay crawled through a hole about three feet wide and he tried to salvage as many tools as he could, one being the flashlight.  The flashlight is now the hanging porch lamp you see.  As for the roof, it is made from antique tin also removed from an early 1900's barn.

While sitting on the front porch may not now be as popular as it once was, this piece is a compilation of the trades of an era long where front porch sitting was a favorite pastime.  While we are not sure where this piece will end up, or for what purpose it will be used, it is our hope that you and yours will feel the serenity of those times each time you pass this Font Porch of America.

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