Throwback Thursday: Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria

Where: “Mad” King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany

When: May 2002

How Did We Get There: We flew into Frankfurt, rented an Audi, drove on the Romantic Road to Rothenburg ob der Tauber and then took the Autobahn south to Bavaria.

About the Photo Op: We walked out to the Marienbrucke, which is the suspension bridge over the Pollat Gorge, and a dashing German was standing there wearing a traditional Tyrolean Fedora and Trachten wool jacket. Of course I looked at him thinking, “I want him in the photo with me.” He guessed what I was thinking and said in perfect English, “Would you like a photo?” DANKE!



How to Install Stringers

John nailed in the three hangars that he bought at Home Depot. He then nailed the stringers to the hangers to secure them in place. In this photo he is checking level on the top step; it was right on.

In 1954, when the home was built, the framers used 2x4s throughout the house except bathrooms and closets. To John’s right there are 2x4s for the hallway/main staircase and to the left, the hall bathroom is framed with 2x3s. They did this to be more cost effective.

John placed the pick plank on the sub floor. The other end of the pick is on an 8ft ladder in the living room. Without the pick, it would be difficult to do this job. Using a ladder would be dangerous because of the flight of stairs below him.

John hammered the stringer hangers in with #10 hot dip galvanized Simpson nails (they’ll never rust).

Tools Used: From left to right – Box of #10 galvanized nails, DeWalt 20V Hammer drill, speed square, corded Sawzall (corded has enough power to cut through anything), 2′ & 4′ levels, Estwing framing Hammer and FatMax measuring tape. Only use FatMax because of it’s rigidity.








Intriguing Brick Gate House on Main Line of Philadelphia-Circa 1902

I drive by this head-turning, well-preserved brick gate house regularly and I have always wondered about the history of this Dutch-inspired building.

It’s obvious the main estate is long gone. A modern church is set back from the road not far from the gate house, which is located just a few feet off the road.

The gate house was one of several buildings on a 100-acre estate in Wayne, PA.  Roberts and Minnie LeBoutillier built a brick mansion called Panhurst in 1902. It featured a 17th century Dutch-style design with cement decorations including carved faces and ornate spires at the tops of gables.

Like many of the estates during the turn of the 20th century, it was also a working farm. The dairy cows supplied bottled milk to Wayne residents and the greenhouses were exclusively used for the production of grapes.

Along with the gate house, there was a guest house constructed in the same manner and shelters for farm animals. The estate also had elaborate blooming Japanese gardens, a pond, an amphitheater and a small Japanese-style pagoda.

The LeBoutillier’s son, Henry, and his wife, Dorothy, took over estate ownership in the early 1930s. They sold their home-grown vegetables at a produce stand down the road and delivered vegetables to nearby businesses via truck and bicycle.

So what happened to the estate? Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the mansion in the 1960s. The farm property was sold in 1975. Fortunately, the gate house survived.


Happy Valentine’s Day!


Red Roses: Love . Romance

Pink Roses: Love . Gratitude . Appreciation

Buy one dozen red roses and one dozen pink roses, gather in a hand-tied bouquet, wrap stems with floral tape, and cut stems. Super easy!