A Love Story

Pete and Lisa
Our homes are such personal expressions of ourselves, and each home has a story, packed with the dramas of our lives. Three years ago, Pete Leese and Lisa Harrington visited my home office. Pete had suffered a debilitating auto-immune illness, and was unable to walk. Pete and Lisa explained that he would one day regain the use of his legs, but that it was a long recovery process. This did not deter them from moving ahead with their home building and wedding plans.
This is the Pete’s and Lisa’s story, told in Lisa’s own words:
“Greetings from State College!  These pictures are way too long in coming to you and as I look over the hundred plus pictures of various aspects of brick installation I realize that we live life as a work in progress so finding “finished” pictures was nearly impossible.  When Pete and I visited you in 2014 at your home he was still in a wheelchair.  He is now walking with crutches (and during brave moments without them).  He and I installed the front room floor and both bathroom floors on our own. “
 “I laid tile and he helped me grout. We hired masons to do the fireplace as working on scaffolding 18 feet off the ground is not my kind of job. We learned a great deal as we worked including how to use an angle grinder to cut the tiles…beautifully!”
Installing thin brick tile
“We found time to get married and our two special tiles – 2014 and a double wedding ring – are worked into different floor sections.”
“We added a mosaic tile from the Moravian Tileworks in Doylestown, PA where Pete is from.”
Brick tile fireplace with shamrocks
“We then had what we found to be a “happy accident” because we had significantly over ordered tile.  We did all the measuring so I’m not surprised.  We planned to finish the basement and the chimney extends to the foundation in the center of the house.”Thin brick clad fireplace
“We had enough tile for 3 sides of the fireplace and the hearth for the wood stove. “
Wood stove with brick tile veneer
“The fourth side we covered in an awful imitation brick that a friend had in his shop from a very old job.  This side was painted and received a decorative painting by my talented daughter and fitting for our country setting.”
“And believe it or not that’s the short version of our story. We continue to work on the house and start new projects before finishing old ones. If you ever travel this direction please give us a call. We would love to see you and show our tile off in person. (I love that most people don’t believe it’s tile and not full brick! And even more that we did much of the work ourselves.)
Thank you for all of your help and patience!
Lisa Harrington and Pete Liese
P.S. Yours is the only banana bread recipe I use anymore! Thank you!”
Here is my recipe card for banana bread that I shared with Lisa. It is super easy. Just mix the wet ingredients, add the dry ingredients, and pour in a greased loaf pan. It might take more than an hour to bake at the low temperature — it should not be wiggly on top, but not real hard, either. It is very moist, with all those extra-ripe bananas in it. Turn out on a rack, and cool. It is the best!
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