Brick by Brick
By Laureen Skrivan, President
When I first saw a rendering of the Carriage House, I was amazed by the beauty and magnitude of the building. I imagined the bakery wafting sweet bread smells into the street, the rooftop garden full of guests, and the apartments lit up with signs of life. But then, I looked at the individual bricks painted on the rendering. I started to look at the windows, the doors, the railings, the lanterns, and my heart began to race. How am I going to get all of these details done? How are we going to be able to start with an empty space of land and turn it into something beautiful?
A few months ago, the masons arrived with several pallets of heavy brick. The task before them looked enormous as they had to cover a 20,000 sq. ft building. Yet, as I watched them, I noticed something: they didn’t fret over the big project at hand. They didn’t complain that there are too many bricks and too much space to cover. Instead, they just got to work. One crew mixed the mortar, while another prepared the bricks, and another laid them on the side of the building. One by one, each brick was laid, and over time, the walls were transformed.
It is easy to get overwhelmed with life. Sometimes we take on more responsibilities than we believe we can handle. Sometimes difficulties in life hit us hard and we don’t know how to manage. One lesson I have learned from watching the masons is to take life brick by brick. I take comfort in remembering that I only need to take things one brick at a time. Slowly, those bricks will build a wall, and when we stop to look back on all we have done, we will not be able to believe how far we have come.
Wren & Willow Featured Project
Staying true to the mid-century charm of this home while also honoring the homeowner’s passion for beautiful, functional architecture inspired its transformation in a truly unique way. In addition to doubling the living space by converting the garage to a comfortable family room, period-appropriate hardware was selected to complement the brass inlays, concrete tile, and mid-century finishes. Original wood panelling was then matched throughout the kitchen for a cohesive whole-house design.
Click here to watch a short before and after video of this beautiful project.
A Wren & Willow Kitchen Recipe
Chicken Under a Brick
Bricks are more than just building materials! This unique recipe makes a tender and juicy, yet crispy chicken. Serve with your favorite veggies and sides.
INGREDIENTS 1 (3 1/2 lb) Whole Chicken, wings removed Salt and Pepper to taste 1 pinch Herbes de Provence 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil 2 heavy clay Bricks, wrapped tightly in aluminum foil DIRECTIONS Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F Use kitchen shears to cut down both sides of the backbone. Remove backbone and discard. Cut through breastbone from the inside until chicken folds out like a book and lays flat. Season chicken all over with salt and black pepper, and sprinkle Herbes de Provence on the inside.
Let chicken sit for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature; pat dry with paper towels. Brush skin-side of chicken with oil and season again with salt and black pepper.
Heat an oven-proof cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot, about 5 minutes. Place chicken, skin-side down, in hot skillet and place bricks evenly on top to weigh down chicken.
Roast chicken in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove bricks, turn chicken over, and continue roasting until juices run clear and meat is no longer pink at the bone, 5 to 15 minutes more. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 165 degrees F
Preheat the oven's broiler and broil the chicken until skin is crispy and golden, 1 to 3 minutes.
Brick by Brick Giveaway
This adorable 8" x 22" sign will make a sweet statement in your home.
Images by Kyle Cruzat, Nick Ostlund, Aleks Akinshev, Stephanie Bower, & purdue.com
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