One of Jeff and my first dates was eating at the Pizza Mill in Ketchikan Alaska. I don’t remember what we ate or drank, it was probably pizza, but I do remember Jeff taking along a couple of books to show me while we ate.  We sat there for hours looking over all these beautiful pictures of hand crafted pieces of furniture, works of art. I had never seen anything like it! This was his passion, something he loved to create and dream about someday working on full time. There was much more to this quiet guy than I had imagined. He is still surprising me in his ability to dream up and build something I have never seen anywhere before.

We still have those books from long ago that can inspire creativity, along with many boxes filled with books that we call our friends and make it very hard to part with.

On our first Christmas, Jeff surprised me with this most unusually beautiful lamp that he had been secretly working on in our friend, Harold’s garage. These books had inspired him to create this gooseneck lamp out of plywood figuring out how to build it all on his own. No YouTube back then! He was twenty-one at that time. We moved away from Ketchikan thirty three years ago and this winter Harold and Jan came to visit us, Jan had not been in our home since we had moved, but before she got in the front door the first thing she asked about was that lamp.

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This last spring, Jeff designed a stair using this same plywood as the lamp. It took a lot of creative figuring, that needed to replace a spiral stair.  Amaleah and Jeremy built and installed it then posted the process on Instagram. We have placed pictures of this stair in the Hygge section of stairways on the website.

After Amaleah and Aven got back from their European trip right after Amaleah graduated from high school and Aven turning twenty-one, she was greatly inspired by all of the architecture and style. Thinking that becoming a teacher would be her calling. When she got home, that started to change. She decided that she really loved interior design.  While attending college, she worked for her dad building stairs and learning a lot about finish work. After she finished college, she kept working for her dad and still does to this day.  In one of her most loved classes was a furniture class, daughter like father.  She designed a chair and built it, and guess what she made it out of? Yes, the same type of finish plywood, it is very unique and she uses it in her own home now.

I love watching our kids become adults and using their own unique styles of creativity, they have picked up a lot of skills working for their dad, but creativity isn’t really something you can teach someone, it seems to come from within and grow as you use it and learn from your success and your failures.

What a gift it is to be able to share their ideas while working together as a team. You see teamwork grow right before your eyes, what a privilege.

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-Karol Whitmore