Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!

Fritz and I got the Christmas tree up and decorated over the past two days. He'd had an idea germinating for quite some time about how to use an unusual tree on the property.

Beautifully shaped, it had developed from the stump of a tree he'd cut ten or twelve years earlier.

Four thick new trunks and three thin ones had sprung from the sides of the old stump. Surprisingly they all somehow managed to coordinate into a very symmetrical shape. His plan was to cut the stump in half, take the two resulting half trees and put one outside and one inside a house that had a big wall of windows, decorate both halves, and give the illusion that the tree had grown through the wall. The problem was, he lived in a 1792 house, built when window walls weren't even a gleam in some architect's eye.

Then I built a house with a window wall and he thought this would be the year to do it before the tree got any taller. The peak of the great room is 14'-6" above the floor.

The ground level of the planter in front of the house is almost exactly the same level as the floor inside, so the tree halves would line up almost exactly as they had when it was growing.

We began by cutting the stump down the middle or as close to the middle as possible. As things worked out, the first half we cut down had a little more than half of the bulk of the tree and topped off a little higher than the remainder.

So, that "half" became the outdoor section of the tree and the remainder, above, was to be for inside the house.

Although it's pine rather than a hardwood, this tree was very heavy and awkward to move. It came up the hill on the roof of the Jeep and we maneuvered it into position to raise. At this point I realized we were going to have trouble getting it upright with only one of us able to hold it in place while the other secured it to the facade of the house. So I installed a pulley in the center of the window. Fritz pulled and kept tension on the line, while I walked the tree up. As soon as it was upright we tied the rope off , securing it temporarily.

Then I got up on our long ladder and secured the trunks with wire to deck screws set into the top of the big horizontal beam where nobody will ever see them.

The view from inside the house.

Once we'd gotten the exterior section installed, we went down to our local Surplus and salvage store where we'd seen ornament packages on sale cheap--shatterproof plastic balls in either red and gold or red and silver in a variety of sizes, 84 to a package. We got one of each and decorated the outside.

We passed the inside half through one of the room's side windows, secured it and did a little cosmetic tree surgery. Then we hung our ornaments, ornaments each of us has had for years, passed down through our families, as well as ornaments that have been given to us or that we've made ourselves.

We checked the effect inside and outside and it works wonderfully well. We're going to have lots of friends and family members with us over Christmas and New Years and are hoping they'll have as much fun with it as we are.

WOW! What a centerpiece!! A show-stopper and most lovely!! I'm impressed!

Enjoy your holidays guys!
What a fabulous idea, and terrific execution. Wow.
Will, why am I not surprised that the two of you would come up with this idea? It is brilliant and it looks simply stunning. I love the not so subtle nod to melding the inside with the outside, actually connecting to Mother Earth.
Hello Will,
From your new fan in the Loire Valley, at the risk of redundancy, WOW! makes me feel like a kid again! This is what you get when you cross lots of talent, the woods in NH and a dedicated couple who want to dazzle the spirits at this time of year!
The best to you all during these holidays! THANKYOU for sharing! It made my day!
Love and Peace
Sorry, Will, to do this, but I have to ask:

Anonymous... where are you in the Loire Valley? I'm here, too! Do we know each other?
Complementi! what an incredible idea and executed with your normal good taste and care.

Buon Natale!
simply breathtaking!!!

and funny how the tree didn't look that big in situ...
Thank you all for your enthusiasm--we were like a couple of kids making it all happen!

Elizabeth, yes it's very hard to judge things outdoors. If it had been closer to Fritz's old house, that would have been something to measure against.
This is perfect for you two- inspired, beautiful. Can't wait to see it.
What a lovely tree. I am continually amazed how well you two do things
brilliant--if ever again i find myself in possession of a window wall in december, i'm totally stealing this.
Beautiful, Brilliant, Original...
This will be our 2nd year with the tree outside, in front of our big window that looks at the back garden (I will post a photo soon)... but the idea of inside & outside could only come from the mind of WILL. Happy Holidaze from your fans in Portland!
Thanks, Stephen but the idea actually came from the mind of Fritz! I recognized genius when he proposed it and signed on immediately, becoming engineer of the erection--er, raising of the tree. But it was the wonderful man I was smart enough to marry who thought it all up.
Amazing! Your Christmas tree is just grandiose. It looks nice both inside and out of the house. Once I get a bigger house, I'll make sure it has a window wall for that particular purpose lol!
Wonderful! I didn't decorate for Xmas at all this year, but I plan to next year and to make it big, big, big.

But don't think I'm a Bah Humbug - I have the entire Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack going on repeat in my head. :D
OMG - that is brilliant!! It looks like something you'd see on one of those Christmas Specials on TV. Your home and trees are spectacular. Cheers! :-)
Wow, what an amazing accomplishment! Thanks for stopping by my blog (I've gotten pretty bad at both writing and reading blogs these days, but I'm trying to get back into the swing of it), and thanks for telling me to come by and see the tree. Beautiful!
What a creative idea! It looks amazing.
Ah, beautiful!
Wow. Just wow!
This is absolutely stunning - no surprise. Merry Christmas!
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