Subscribe Today
Give a Gift
Customer Service

Phoenix Home and Garden
Subscribe Today!
For the HomeFor the GardenFood & EntertainingResourcesArticle Archive
For The Home

Building the Dream

Author: Roberta Landman
Issue: January, 2007, Page 20
Handsome dove-tailed joinery marries vertical posts to decorative corbels at the Phoenix Home & Garden Idea House. 
Gregory Mortimer sounds like a man with an Old Master painting as he points with pride to posts and beams wed together with old-time mortise-and-tenon joinery.

Principal of GK Mortimer Custom Homes Inc., he and his talented crew are building the Phoenix Home & Garden Idea House at Talking Rock, where plenty of well-wrought beams and many more examples of historic craftsmanship are taking shape.

Phoenix Home & Garden is constructing a homestead-like guest cottage, a prairie-style barn with an upper-level bunkhouse, and a modern-day Arts & Crafts-inspired main house at the magazine’s Prescott high-country site. The completion of this ranch compound, which Mortimer calls a “one-of-a-kind work of art,” is expected in spring 2007.

He is as caught up in a mythical tale of how the compound came to be as all of us here at the magazine, and he couches his preview of exciting details in fun “once-upon-a-time” fashion.

In our myth, the homesteaders’ ranch dwelling—today the guest cottage—would have been built in the late 1890s, the barn/bunkhouse a bit later, and the main house in 1920.

“As the story of the Idea House unfolds, the guest cottage reads as the first chapter,” says Mortimer. “Here, one will find hand-hewn logs with some of their bark still attached, native stone at the fireplace, and a corrugated metal roof aged to look as if it has been in place well over 100 years.”

The barn was built to store the essentials of a working ranch on its lower level and to house ranch workers up top. Its lower level was converted to a garage over time, Mortimer notes, but the “loft area, or bunkhouse, remains nearly unchanged, with its distressed timber rafters and random plank floors.

“Our story closes at the main house, with a blend of the old and new,” he continues. In a story that really is just beginning, the home boasts old-looking-but-new dry-stacked stone fireplaces, handmade open-beam trusses, and that amazing dove-tailed joinery at post-and-beam connections.

All of these accomplishments Mortimer attributes to the worthiness of lead craftsman Tim Boehland and his crew.

As for himself, he says: “My involvement with the Idea House has been an experience that has reignited my passion for building.”
Subscribe Today!