What's Inside: The Gould Compound

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The short of it:

Favorite item in home:  I’ve got my great, great, grandfather’s dresser that he built out of walnut.  He planed it from a piece of broken glass from rough sawn lumber. 

What I am reading:  What I read is, right now, I’m reading on the lost books of the Bible - the book of Jasher.  I’m finding out that the old Bibles had over 100 some odd books.  They took them out in the last hundred years because a smaller Bible sells better.

What I am listening to:  I’m a talk radio junkie - farm shows and conservative talk shows.  I get three hours of Hannity and then farm shows.  I also listen to the Ramsey, IL station. 

Best food in town:  This may sound funny but if I go to Louisville and I want to eat I always go to the Subway.  I’m a Subway fan.  I like to choose what’s on my sandwich plus it’s kind of healthy. 

Favorite thing about Louisville:  Well, I’m kind of glad I’m twelve miles from Louisville.  I’m a true country boy and the farther out you put me in it the happier I am.  Stick me in the middle of the woods somewhere and I’m as happy as I can be.     

Wild card question... What do you want people to know about you?  The high point of my life was the winter I spent in the Philippines, ’90 and ‘91.  Of course over there it wasn’t winter.  To be able to wake up and swim in the Pacific Ocean in January is a wonderful thing.  That’s actually the winter I married Josie.

From left: Precious the shop cat, David Gould and Rick Gould.

From left: Precious the shop cat, David Gould and Rick Gould.

I think it’s only fitting that we conclude the What’s Inside blog series with the Gould compound.  It’s so totally out there compared to every other home we’ve featured.  We hope you enjoy it.  We sure did.  

The long of it:

I call this a compound because it includes a workshop, a home, a small rental house, a wood mill shed and a wood shed.  Rick Gould and brother David operate their custom woodworking business, Gould's Custom Woodworking, in rural Louisville, IL out of this workshop.  Rick has long, flowing, crush-worthy, Viking-style reddish hair and he enjoys repurposing old houses, carving wood and building furniture.  His soft-spoken brother David designs furniture, paints landscapes and is busy creating a series of adult coloring books that I cannot wait to color. 

David lives in a home built in the ground – Hobbit-style.  Rick’s home is a combination of antique and handmade furniture pieces mixed with his wife’s Filipino style all snuggled in a ranch/farmhouse home.  

Hold onto your seats, we're going out with a bang!      

I was introduced to the Gould brothers at last year’s Boutique Boulevard in Effingham by the Glamour Farms Boutique ladies.  The Goulds had assisted in creating their “booth” which was a full-fledged house with walls and chandeliers inside the Keller Convention Center.  It was impressive.  Once we were introduced we chatted and chatted and eventually got some pieces of their handmade furniture in Fresh Digs.  A few such pieces they created out of an oval 1980s dining table.  And I’m talking totally unique coffee and breakfast tables with hairpin legs and not at all resembling their provenance.  If you follow us on Facebook you know what I’m talking about.  Very cool stuff.   All of which has sold.

Tytia and I relied upon GPS to get us to their very rural compound outside of Louisville, IL.  Like, we were driving on gravel roads not sure if we were headed in the right direction and maybe we were singing the theme song to Deliverance.  Just maybe. 

When we finally were told to turn into their drive we were greeted by a bucolic winding lane that lead us up a small hill to their almost Spanish-looking shop.  To the right of that is the Rick and Josephine Gould home and to the far right is the saw mill where Rick says he works his “night job”. 

This land has been in their family since 1872.  Rick is the fourth generation to live on it.

When the tour starts OUTSIDE of a structure you know it’s going to be an interesting day.  We were greeted at the shop by many cats (How many?  They’ve lost count.), a wood pile to fuel their stove, hailstorm pocked vinyl siding reclaimed from an old farmhouse Rick tore down, doors made out of reclaimed redwood from an old redwood oilfield separator and a little bling by way of a fabulous brass 1950s doorknob. 

Inside, walking through the finishing room, the stripping room and the workshop was more of the same – reclaimed and repurposed architectural items in use at every turn with many types and styles of wood in one form or another.  From the reclaimed wood Rick salvaged from an old barn that's now used to line the walls, to custom furniture pieces they’re working on, to old play props David made for local plays.  It's a smorgasbord of wood.  

Kind of like these guys.  They are a smorgasbord of life stories.  Every single time I have a conversation with them I learn something new.  "Oh I used to be a lay preacher... Yeah, David has a degree in Interior Design and he studied in Denmark for a while... When I first went to the Philippines I had to sign a waiver saying that if anything went wrong I couldn't get help from the US government so I said, 'Where do I sign?'"  And on and on.  They need to have their own radio show where they just talk about themselves.  

Back to the shop.  You would be hard pressed to find anything new in that shop.  Except for the lemongrass, that is Rick’s Filipino wife, Josephine’s. 

Let’s talk about that, which segues nicely into their home.  Their love story is as unique and serendipitous as is the workshop.  Thirty years ago, Rick discovered his wife Josephine in the most unusual way.  A friend of his had a book of pictures and addresses of girls from the Philippines.  He wrote to four of them, two wrote back and one of them said she had already gotten married but she had a friend who might be interested.  He wrote to her, visited her and two weeks into the visit married her.  By the way, while he was there a major typhoon hit so he spent the rest of his visit rebuilding schools and buildings.  You know, normal honeymoon stuff.  

The ranch-style home of Rick and Josephine Gould was built in 1969 by his granddad, dad and uncle.  The front deck is a meeting of Filipino-style concrete-work, scrollwork from an old farmhouse he'd torn down and old “highline” poles.  He made the molds for the concrete posts, which he learned about when he was in the Philippines.

Long story short, the inside of the house is more of the same inventory list as the shop – pieces from the Twelve Dollar House, windows from an old church, trim from the Hailstorm House and many, many handmade pieces of furniture made from wood such as Chinese elm, Georgia pecan, walnut, catalpa, elm, sycamore and many more.

The home has two kitchens, one for show that houses the antique once coal-burning but now wood-burning stove that heats the house and the functional kitchen that was actually the kitchen from an old 1940s farmhouse.  This is where he does most of his canning.

Check out the pictures below to see what I'm talking about.  I've also included some pics of the woodmill shed.  There is just so much to show and tell.  You'll see how we had to share with you the behind the scenes pics from a guy who built a real-life covered bridge for fun in high school, sees the usefulness in siding that was tattered by baseball sized hail in an epic 1989 hailstorm and bought a sawmill when he was in junior high.  Enjoy and thanks for following along.   

The lane leading to the Gould compound.  I bet it's lovely in the spring when the grass turns green.  Cats hanging out on the wood pile outside of the woodshop.

The lane leading to the Gould compound.  I bet it's lovely in the spring when the grass turns green.  Cats hanging out on the wood pile outside of the woodshop.

The reclaimed woodshop where the Gould magic happens.  I love everything about this, especially all of the doors.  This structure was fantastically Frankensteined together with bits and pieces procured from various other structures over the years.  In total Rick estimates that he has torn down and reused six or seven structures - old barns, farmhouses, etc.  There are no strict rules of design in this place.  They do what they want which includes putting a 1950s brass knob on a door crafted from reclaimed oil separator materials (see very last pic - it slays me).

The reclaimed woodshop where the Gould magic happens.  I love everything about this, especially all of the doors.  This structure was fantastically Frankensteined together with bits and pieces procured from various other structures over the years.  In total Rick estimates that he has torn down and reused six or seven structures - old barns, farmhouses, etc.  There are no strict rules of design in this place.  They do what they want which includes putting a 1950s brass knob on a door crafted from reclaimed oil separator materials (see very last pic - it slays me).

Just inside the beautiful door is this storage area.  How about the trim on those windows?  Not your typical outbuilding fare. 

Just inside the beautiful door is this storage area.  How about the trim on those windows?  Not your typical outbuilding fare. 

This floor is 8” thick conduit tile their grandpa purchased for $0.02/piece.

This floor is 8” thick conduit tile their grandpa purchased for $0.02/piece.

Precious, the shop cat.  And clearly the cream of the cat crop as she's the only one of many who gets the pleasure of being inside.  She got a bit of a girl crush on Tytia while we were there.

Precious, the shop cat.  And clearly the cream of the cat crop as she's the only one of many who gets the pleasure of being inside.  She got a bit of a girl crush on Tytia while we were there.

Oh, just a few of the custom pieces they're working on.  Check out that door on the right.  So gorgeous.

Oh, just a few of the custom pieces they're working on.  Check out that door on the right.  So gorgeous.

Layers of old wallpaper on wood they were stripping for a customer.  Rick says it's since been stripped and the wood underneath is even more beautiful.   

Layers of old wallpaper on wood they were stripping for a customer.  Rick says it's since been stripped and the wood underneath is even more beautiful.   

Inside the workshop.  Some more MacGuyver-like ingenuity can be seen hanging from the ceiling in front of the double windows.  Rick was working late one night and needed more light, so he grabbed an old lamp and affixed it to the ceiling.  Presto, problem solved.    

Inside the workshop.  Some more MacGuyver-like ingenuity can be seen hanging from the ceiling in front of the double windows.  Rick was working late one night and needed more light, so he grabbed an old lamp and affixed it to the ceiling.  Presto, problem solved.    

This is a Wurlitzer piano gotten from a local church.  Rick had begun taking it apart for scrap.  HIs then eleven year old son had other ideas.  He put it back together and taught himself how to play.  See what I mean about stories.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  

This is a Wurlitzer piano gotten from a local church.  Rick had begun taking it apart for scrap.  HIs then eleven year old son had other ideas.  He put it back together and taught himself how to play.  See what I mean about stories.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  

Josephine's lemongrass.  She wasn't around for us to get a picture of, so this will have to serve as her proxy.  

Josephine's lemongrass.  She wasn't around for us to get a picture of, so this will have to serve as her proxy.  

The Rick and Josephine Gould home.

The Rick and Josephine Gould home.

The front deck.  Rick made the molds for the concrete posts himself after he got back from the Philippines so long ago and the trim was from a farmhouse he'd torn down.  A farmhouse he says now he wished he'd had enough money to keep because it was more his style.    

The front deck.  Rick made the molds for the concrete posts himself after he got back from the Philippines so long ago and the trim was from a farmhouse he'd torn down.  A farmhouse he says now he wished he'd had enough money to keep because it was more his style.    

The show kitchen at the front of the house.  This once coal but now wood stove does a fine job of heating the entire house and this Grandfather clock was impressively his Sophomore class project.  

The show kitchen at the front of the house.  This once coal but now wood stove does a fine job of heating the entire house and this Grandfather clock was impressively his Sophomore class project.  

East meets West in their living room.  Rick said that Josephine won this large, ornate vase from an Asian market in Vincennes, IN where she buys food.  Rick made their Hobbit-like entertainment center out of Chinese elm.  The cabinet next to the vase was previously an elm tree in their front yard. 

East meets West in their living room.  Rick said that Josephine won this large, ornate vase from an Asian market in Vincennes, IN where she buys food.  Rick made their Hobbit-like entertainment center out of Chinese elm.  The cabinet next to the vase was previously an elm tree in their front yard. 

When it's your senior year of high school and you use a '59 Cadillac as inspiration for a china cabinet, this is what happens.  See the "fins" at the top?  Rick said he had a "pretty good" woodworking teacher in high school.  There were five boys in the class who all excelled at woodworking.  His teacher, Mr. Don Erwin, now lives in Georgia and is still in contact with Rick. 

When it's your senior year of high school and you use a '59 Cadillac as inspiration for a china cabinet, this is what happens.  See the "fins" at the top?  Rick said he had a "pretty good" woodworking teacher in high school.  There were five boys in the class who all excelled at woodworking.  His teacher, Mr. Don Erwin, now lives in Georgia and is still in contact with Rick. 

Shazam!  Rick built their marital canopy bed out of mostly black walnut and sycamore.  Note the extensive hand carving - his specialty.  The art glass was salvaged from the Twelve Dollar House.  He even built in six drawers underneath for storage.

Shazam!  Rick built their marital canopy bed out of mostly black walnut and sycamore.  Note the extensive hand carving - his specialty.  The art glass was salvaged from the Twelve Dollar House.  He even built in six drawers underneath for storage.

Brother David makes props for local plays.  This 8'x8' backdrop was his biggest ever and it was painted on two sheets that were sewn together and then stretched over a frame.  This resides in Rick and Josephine's bedroom.

Brother David makes props for local plays.  This 8'x8' backdrop was his biggest ever and it was painted on two sheets that were sewn together and then stretched over a frame.  This resides in Rick and Josephine's bedroom.

This Eastlake dresser from the Victorian era lives in Josephine's domain.  If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Rick and if you're into period furniture, then be sure to ask him about his vintage and antique pieces.  He's well versed in different architectural and design styles from all eras.  

This Eastlake dresser from the Victorian era lives in Josephine's domain.  If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Rick and if you're into period furniture, then be sure to ask him about his vintage and antique pieces.  He's well versed in different architectural and design styles from all eras.  

Out of everything that Rick has made or found this dresser is his favorite thing.  His great, great grandfather made it out of walnut and he planed it with a piece of glass.  

Out of everything that Rick has made or found this dresser is his favorite thing.  His great, great grandfather made it out of walnut and he planed it with a piece of glass.  

This is what remains from the homeschooling of their son.  

This is what remains from the homeschooling of their son.  

The 1940s kitchen was built into the back of the house.  This is where, among other things, the canning happens.  He made the cabinets.  Rick grows a large garden and does a lot of canning.  The little enamel table came from a church.  It had been painted white so Rick stripped and refinished it.  

The 1940s kitchen was built into the back of the house.  This is where, among other things, the canning happens.  He made the cabinets.  Rick grows a large garden and does a lot of canning.  The little enamel table came from a church.  It had been painted white so Rick stripped and refinished it.  

Where the milling happens and to the right is his wood shed.

Where the milling happens and to the right is his wood shed.

Here's his Wood-Mizer sawmill he bought (with a little help from his dad) back in junior high.  For all you woodworking fans it's portable and the turning is done by hand.  

Here's his Wood-Mizer sawmill he bought (with a little help from his dad) back in junior high.  For all you woodworking fans it's portable and the turning is done by hand.  

Just a sampling of his wood stash.

That's it, folks.  There were so many more stories and pictures I could have included.  Maybe sometime we'll have Rick and David in to mingle and tell stories and talk about their furniture and lives.  

This being the last official issue, we want to thank you all for following along.  This most likely isn't a period ending.  More like a comma.  Maybe even a semicolon.  Because let's face it, I've got to see David's house (built underground, the stones he used on the one outward facing wall they got out of their creek and it's all redwood and cement inside).  And I've got a couple of other places to show you.  See you soon.  

About the Photographer:  Tytia Habing is an award-winning and highly regarded fine art, family and commercial photographer based in the Effingham, Illinois area.  You can see her work at tytiahabingphotography.com.   And click the photo below to see her print special.

Tytia is having a print sale for a very limited time.  Click the image to get your very own.  

Tytia is having a print sale for a very limited time.  Click the image to get your very own.  

About the Writer:  Joanna Davies is co-owner of Fresh Digs in Effingham, IL.  Fresh Digs sources locally, globally and uniquely made home goods and gifts and displays them in a shopping experience some have said is good for the soul.  We also like to get people together. Join us.