Entryway

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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Featured Installation: “Pig House” — a guest house renovation

Concept of Lea projectJake and Gretchen Lea bought their lovely farm in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in 1972, and raised their twins there. The twins grew up, and the Leas decided that they needed a more private place to stay when they visited their childhood home with their families. 

Gretchen is a designer, and saw our tiles at the Historic Home Show, in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. She and Jake were planning a guest house on their property, and knew right away that our tiles would be ideal for the floors. Gretchen is full of imagination, and could see the possibilities in the touches of whimsy we could provide for her floors. In her work, she likes to include little “surprises” in the rooms she designs…which makes her a kindred spirit to Julie, owner/designer at Inglenook Tile.  

Jake enjoys piloting his small plane, so one day he and Gretchen flew to a small Lancaster County airport to see the tiles again. Julie picked them up at the airport, and brought them to the warehouse, so that they could see the full selection of styles and colors, and customize their order.  

In 2007, Jake and Gretchen decided to level the old pig sty on the property, where they raised pigs when the children were young. On the site, they built a new “pig sty” guest house, designed to complement the other buildings on the property. It has two bedrooms, a powder room, a full bath with a washer/dryer, a kitchen/dining room, a living room, and upstairs hallway. When Gretchen was planning the floors, she wanteFloor details lead a few tiles of pigs, to reflect the history of the old pig house that once stood on the site. We created a brick tile with an inset pig sculpture, to be placed randomly in the floor (see detail picture). 

Now when the twins visit, they stay in their own guesthouse. There are other guests that also enjoy the “pig house”; for example, a director from California recently took up residence there for a month and a half, while he worked with a local non-profit theater. Visitors can fish in the pond, swim in the pool, and walk the 2 fields of wildflowers on the Lea’s eighty acres of Berks County farmland. They have allowed their property to be used as a site for Geocaching (www.geocaching.com), and sometimes they enjoy seeing families digging for the “treasure” in their woods. Gretchen’s creativity is not yet satisfied with the “pig house” — she has plans to create additional living space in the tower silo.  

Lea kitchen

When asked how she feels about the tiles, now that they are installed, Gretchen says, “They fit in beautifully, and gave us a rustic look at a reasonable price.” She added that, as a designer, she appreciates working with companies that take pride in their work. 

Lea stairway 

If you are interested in working with Gretchen, she can be reached at glea316@ceinetworks.com, or at 610-367-6773. Her website is www.gleainteriordesign.com .

Feature project: Harvest Moon Farm

This past weekend, Emily and Julie went to visit Harvest Moon Farm, the home of some of our customers. The beautiful horse farm is tucked back in the woods outside Coatesville, PA, and we were lucky enough to have fabulous weather to photograph indoors and out.

Harvest Moon Farm’s home, barn, and windmill:

Harvest moon homeHarvest moon backyardHarvest moon barnHarvest moon windmill

A few of their friendly horses.

Harvest moon horses-distanceHarvest moon horse-closeup

Brick Tile Installation

The Harvest Moon farm installation used Wright’s Ferry 4×8″ brick tiles in Marietta color mix, across their entryway, into a powder room, and throughout their kitchen.

Below, Julie, Inglenook Tile co-owner, and Walt, the homeowner, in the kitchen. Walt told us: “We love it, love it, love it! People who visit just can’t believe how much it has changed our home.”

We start looking in the front door at the brick tiles, their herringbone installation pattern stretching out into the kitchen area at the far end.

Looking in the front door

Here, a close up of the floor and a pair of riding boots.

Brick tiles and riding boots

A side view of the entryway, the front door, and a lovely wardrobe.

wardrobe and brick tile entryway

Part way down the hallway, our thin brick tiles make a foray into the powder room, where a horse rug complements the thin brick flooring. Also, looking back into the hallway from the powder room.

Powder room with brick tilesPowder room sink

The powder room door, made of reclaimed wood from the 1700’s, has a notch in it to allow the home’s Jack Russell terriers free access. The door molding and wainscoting are both from fences at Harvest moon farm, reclaimed for the house when they were replaced outdoors.

Dog door and brick tiles

Next, we walk into the kitchen, where Julie admires the thin brick tiles.

Julie looks at thin brick floor

Several views of the kitchen toward the island and its Inglenook brick floor:

Harvest moon kitchen thin brick floorHarvest moon kitchen thin brick floor

The kitchen table, overlooking the backyard, barn, and pastures and a closeup of our thin brick.

Harvest moon kitchen table

Inglenook brick tile kitchen floor

Finally, the transition from the kitchen’s brick tile flooring to the dining room’s wood floor.

Transition from thin brick to wood flooring

Thank you so much to Walt and Tandy for inviting us to visit your home. We’re so glad that you are pleased with your Inglenook Tiles!