Hawthorn Gables Chehalis Estate1802 S Scheuber Rd
Chehalis, WA 98531
Hawthorn Gables Chehalis Estate
The Story of Hawthorn Gables
While bicycling along tree-line Scheuber Rd, Dr. Carl and Dee Birchard found this picturesque site overlooking beautiful Chehalis Valley. Although fifteen-foot-high blackberry bushes obscured the topography of the land, the Birchards knew they had found the right place to build their home. They purchased the 9.32 acres and with the help of their two sons, Kevin and Keith, cleared the land and planned the building site.
An avid interest in history and tradition mixed with enjoyable travels to rural England where the land, climate and vegetation resembles the Chehalis Valley; inspired the Birchards to build an English Country home. County homes in historic England were place of retreat and comfort. Furnishings were eclectic coming from the vast British Empire which included the Orient, Africa, Caribbean, India and the Americas. Likewise, the Birchard home is a scrapbook chronicling their medical mission work in Panama, Central America, the Caribbean and Africa as well as their travels to South America, Europe, the British Isles, all fifty states and Canada. It is a home where Kudu horns, African tribal ware, pre-Columbian pottery, Panamanian Molas, inlaid East Indian carved furnishings and American antiques blend together with perfect harmony.
The Birchards designed the spacious 5,668 square foot floor plan to provide comfort and accommodate their many interest, activities and hobbies. The Birchards spend most of their time on the first-floor main living area. The orientation of windows makes it possible to bring nature inside from nearly every direction. Function is a key word in the kitchen designed by Dee to provide a series of centers for cooking, baking, canning, freezing and large-scale entertaining. Intricately hand painted ceramic tiles by Margit Bissett Coy depict the delicate alpine flowers the Birchards admired on mountain treks. As well as meeting laundry needs, the scullery (laundry room) accommodates ironing, sewing, flower arranging and storage with its many built-ins. The many-windowed morning room with its charming octagonal covered porch, its scenic view of the Chehalis Valley and Majestic Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens, provides for pleasurable dining. A built-in butler’s pantry facilitates serving guests.
The great room towers with its seven-foot-high mantle on strong octagonal posts and oak-paneled medieval ceilings supported by massive structural beams. The antique brass medallions are representations of emblems from the Crusades. The boldly hand carved fireplace inscription “God Is My Refuge” affirms the reverence the Birchard Family gives to their Creator. Egyptian linen draperies with woolen hand embroidered crewel grace the two-story windows. A brass, 18th century English chandelier provides mood lighting and baroque music from a surround sound system unobtrusively installed throughout the home and outdoor gardens easily transports one to another century.
In the Tudor furnished dining room, guests enjoy the Birchard ambiance as well as views of the Great Room, fireplace, outdoor courtyard and fountain. Wall coverings from the Philippines and Nottingham lace from England make this formal dining room one of grace and beauty.
The oak paneled library with its view of Mt. St. Helens, beckons from the cushioned window seat or recliner. The recessed celling treatment is a unique touch of Frank Mason, the builder. Central to the main entry is the beveled and etched Canterbury chandelier. The antique oak Newell post was restored by Winston F. Coy, a designer friend of the Birchards, who’s knowledge of period design was invaluable to the family.
The Master suite features lightly washed structural beams. Custom designed beveled and etched glass windows surround the spacious jetted tub. The adjoining plant conservatory with its wall of glass to catch a moonbeam, so typically English, is untypically equipped with hidden TV to catch the early news while on the exercise cycle. A French door conveniently leads to a stroll in the romantically lit gardens complete with a small gothic greenhouse.
The three-bedroom two bath second floor accommodates their grown children and guests. A curved balcony graces the hallway and overlooks the Great Room. The sitting alcove and reading room has a second balcony overlooking the two-story entry. Tucked away among the eaves are attic storage areas, a quaint little playroom and a cedar closet built by Dr. Birchard.
The downstairs ground floor reveals a spacious room with a large brick fireplace flanked by glassed display cases. French doors open to the lower lawns. A game-hobby room has another set of French doors that open to a covered porch. There is a convenient kitchenette and a specially equipped bath making the lower living area convertible to a parent care apartment if needed. A walk-in storage closet houses camping, hiking, and skiing gear. Other ample storage organizes materials for mission work and church projects.
Structurally, the Birchard home is quality-built with a steep roof and thirteen gables. Canadian glazed brick and revolutionary acrylic stucco make this a low-maintenance home. Thermal windows with truly divided lights, two airtight catalytic fireplaces, a heat pump and rheostat dimmers conserve energy and meet the requirements of a Good Sense Home. The interior walls and ceilings are finished in hard shell plaster with antique texturing to give it an aged appearance. All beams are structural and stained moldings are solid oak. Local craftsmen completed all the work and local materials were used where possible. Robert J. Hubenthal, a personal friend and fellow Scouter, was the architect.
The grounds and gardens of the home depict retreat-like setting with many opportunities to sit and enjoy nature. A Carriage House, old in concept, new in application, houses an RV, workshop and tractor-implement storage. The English theme gardens and landscaping were designed by Gary Davis. Dr. Birchard and his sons built additional rock walls, rockery and vegetable garden boxes. The rock pavement in the carriage way and courtyard were hand chiseled and quarried by the Birchards from an abandoned rock quarry near Mt. St. Helens. The inner serpentine courtyard wall was designed and built by Dr. Birchard and faced by the brick masons. Beveled glass verdigre lanterns adorning the exterior are reproductions of 18th century gas lights that surround the Parliament Building in London. They glow with soft candlelight and bid the weary traveler welcome.
Together, the Birchards designed and built this home as a retreat for family and friends and a place of ministry. About their home the Birchards say, “A house is built of brick, mortar, wood and metal. A home is built on relationships – to God, to family, to the community and the world. Our home is not a possession to maintain but a gift to share. Enjoy it with us. God is our Refuge!”
Dr Carl and Dee Birchard
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