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.
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.
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.