Monday, November 18, 2013

Hillbrook Collections Bespoke Garden Houses Delivered to Your Home

Social Media is truly a crossroads for interesting new encounters. No, I am not on, much to my friends derision, but while scrolling through Instagram I came across this image which immediately piqued my curiosity.

Is this what I think it is? As I scroll down I discover that yes, it actually is an outhouse that seems to be going out for delivery. We work with custom orders all the time, but this is a truly unique project and being the sleuth that I am I needed to know more. 

So, I clicked over to Alison's website, Hillbrook Collections, and was dazzled by her stunning array of garden houses, potting sheds, pool houses, gazebos, playhouses and trelliage. I fired off an e-mail to her and within about an hour we were chatting like old friends on the phone. I mean really old friends. We know people in common, our children have attended the same school, and we like the same artists, designers, galleries etc.. However, I am truly enamored with her beautiful garden houses, so I was treated to a wonderful story. 

Alison was raised on a wonderful old original Penn land grant property with a lovely outbuilding for storing firewood. Lamenting the unattractiveness of contemporary storage and potting sheds on many properties Alison's Mother, Nellie Ahl, studied numerous follies, pavilions and garden houses in Great Britain, Europe and America compiling ideas for their design and decoration then.... fire literally struck. Their barn burned down and the local Amish builders came to replace it, and she says: "Exactly like in the movie Witness." I am imagining a handsome Alexander Godunov in the mix! 

Back to reality! The friendships with the Amish craftsmen created the solution of how to provide quality architectural garden buildings to a wide audience. 

Alison, has recently revived her Mother's artisanal business and is busy creating more unique and beautiful garden houses. The Amish craftsman build these perfectly scaled and pitched buildings on their farms from the custom options worked out between Alison and her client. They are constructed within about a month and delivered on site for the final installation on the client's property. Here is where the magic began:

Amish culture epitomizes the practice of slow-living and informs the quality and detail  of each creation at Hillbrook CollectionsThe hardware, finials and lanterns are all hand forged in Lancaster County. Clients can specify whether houses need to be fitted for electricity and heat. Sometimes a working team of Belgian horses will come by for a visit! Some of my happiest memories of childhood are in my playhouse. With five brothers, my childhood apotheosis was when my Mother shocked me on a day that was neither Christmas nor my Birthday and said: "I have something for you." Incredulous, I looked up at my very tall and yes, intimidating Mother, and asked: "What?" When she smiled and tucked an old fashioned key into my little hand and told me I could have the playhouse for myself, I died and went to heaven. I had my own personal space! I could kick people out, invite them in, serve tea, clean feverishly, and conduct leisurely conversations. There is power in a playhouse. 

My "bit of earth" had an old fashioned pipe constructed swing set within a twenty foot privet hedge.  It was a Mighty Fortress. I believe garden houses, gazebos, pool houses and follies are little destination shelters from the storm of family life--a touch of punctuation and needed privacy. 

Even when you are 16 going on 17, but really. only.... in proper dinner attire! However, on a utilitarian note, non-basement/garage aesthetic space is good for the soul. Hillbrook Collections has multiple internal fittings for tools and projects. 

Below, a stylish Alison poses in front of the beautifully landscaped hexagonal garden Shed that she has been telling me about all fall. The height of the finial adds a stately exclamation point and the subtle dentile molding at the base of the roofline defines the subtle bespoke finish, like a beautifully hand stitched button hole.  

And here is the completed masterpiece compelling visitors to peek in as the destination for a tidy axis plan garden.  Be sure to visit Hillbrook Collections website, as in addition to the portfolio, Alison has compiled a wonderful image library of inspirations from all over the world. 

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  1. Love everything about this story! Your curiosity, connecting, and complete joy in discovering Hillbrook Collections. Thanks so much for sharing their story with us. She looks like such a neat gal!
    Xo Lisa

  2. Hi Liz,
    These are just wonderful and the story behind the Hillbrook Collections makes it even more so.
    The Arts by Karena

  3. Love the hut. Especially, the black and white effect makes the hut more glamorous.

  4. Lovely!!! I'm so happy I found your blog! You certainly have a new follower now. I'd love for you to drop by my blog sometime to see what we do!
    Tania from FARRAGOZ

  5. Acabei de conhecer o seu blog,achei maravilhoso.Visite-me:
    Siga-me e pegue o meu selinho!!!


    Beijos Marie.

  6. Olá amiga,vim retribuir sua carinhosa visita ao meu cantinho.
    Fiquei feliz por seguir-me!!!
    Obrigada,volte sempre e pegue o meu selinho de agradecimento!

    Beijos Marie.

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