|Project by reedwood||posted 02-01-2014 06:56 PM||1421 views||0 times favorited||14 comments|
I’m sure if we all look back, there is someone you can name that made a difference in your life.
For me, that would have to be Mike and Suzy Hoch.
I was maybe 24 yrs. old when I first met them. I had just moved to Lake Forest Illinois and was trying
to promote my first short lived business name, The House Doctors, with a flyer that I drew myself.
It was a bit cartoonish, like something the lawn boy would pass out to the neighbors
But, .... it worked. I got several jobs from it and had to hire more people.
One day, while having lunch in town, I spotted a Real Estate office next door and thought,
Why not drop off some flyers there for the new home owners looking for a handy man? … what a great idea!
I walked in the front door which was propped wide open. It was a beautiful warm summer day and I can remember the sun coming through the door and shining on Mrs. Hoch’s desk like a beacon of light from the Almighty.
And there she was, hand extended, smiling at me with an air of genuine kindness.
When I look back, I think to myself….surely she must have thought I was just a dumb kid without a clue.
I wasn’t the typical Lake Forest type, well groomed and dressed in polo shirts and khakis, highly educated and surrounded by wealth.
I was a ski bum who’d just arrived from California on a skate board and had long curly hair and an earring.
(left side – not gay)
But for some reason, she liked me enough to hire me to do some work on their house.
30 years later, I’ve built sunrooms and additions and decks, remodeled their kitchens, basements,
bathrooms and built entertainment centers, mantles and furniture for them.
The second floor bathroom and bedroom addition with TV cabinet – back in the 90s.
The Hoch’s moved four times but stayed in the same town.
Each time, they asked me to come in and help remodel their new home.
I wish I had half the pictures of all the projects we did together. Here are a few more.
Basement remodeling and cabinetry
Here is the last kitchen we remodeled
new cabinets, granite C tops, appliances, under mount sink and faucet, tile back splash and hood
I also built this simple little maple bookcase for her cook books.
We took the fridge and old kitchen cabinets and re arranged them in the remodeled basement.
Here is the last Master Bath remodel
New tile, plumbing fixtures, counter tops, heated floors, heat lamp
We worked for several of their friends as well. The references spread out from them like the roots of an old oak tree and made me who I am today. I am truly grateful to have them as friends and clients.
I stopped by one day for a visit and he asked me what I was up to lately. I told him all about my latest hobby – collecting and refurbishing antiques tools and hand planes.
He took me down to the work bench area in the basement and pulled out his grandfather’s hand planes.
A Stanley # 5 type 15
a Stanley # 4 1/2 with a SW blade
and a sweet little Stanley SW # 18
I asked him if he would like me to refurbish them. At first, he said he didn’t use them so it wasn’t necessary.
I shared what I had learned about them and he was surprised when I told him what I thought they were worth.
We talked some more about the planes and then, he told me all about his German grandfather, Adolf Stauber.
He was a piano builder for the Starr Piano Company back in the early 1900s. The company also had the first recording studio and made pianos for several famous blues and jazz musicians like Louie Armstrong.
It was a great story that needed a great ending.
So, I brought the planes home to refurbish and went online and found the history of the company and their logos.
Note: Back then, you could buy a house for less than 950.00!
Now, I am in the process of building a nice walnut storage box for the 4 1/2 and the #18.
I haven’t done it yet – not sure which method – but I want to put the company logo on the lid
and his grandfather’s name on a small plate on the base inside.
I plan to draw up a one page letter on nice paper with the original Starr Company letterhead and a short paragraph about the tools and his grandfather. The planes sit on a base that can be removed. That’s where the letter in an envelope would be stored.
It will be a small way for me to show my appreciation for all they’ve done for me
.... and the planes will be saved from a dusty tool box drawer to be admired once again.
-- Mark - I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.