Little did George Drexler know that when he made a beautiful dollhouse for his granddaughter 20 years ago, he would be embarking on a second career after his retirement – that of an Architectural Authenticator.
In the garage of his Redmond home, George builds houses. They are miniature replicas, built to one-twelfth scale, of architecturally interesting or unique homes around the country. His current project is the Shaffer House of Bronxville, NY built in 1926 by architect Lewis Bowman. It is built to Washington State’s current building code standards and is an authentic (though tiny) reproduction of this stately home.
"The roof consists of about 6500 tiny slate tiles, each one installed by hand. The windows are real glass and leaded on both sides. Over 6000 bricks make up the five stunning round chimneys. The landscaping will include a working fountain."
On the inside, the rooms are also replicated. Wood floors, detailed paneling and curved beams are copied from the original home. Sparkling crystal chandeliers hang from the ceilings, fully illuminated, as the house is completely wired.
However, this house will be the last one of this magnitude George builds. It has taken over two and a half years and created many challenges. He has searched all over the world (via the Internet) to find a piece of trim or other architectural detail that fits the home. He puzzled over how to create the round chimneys, finally finding a piece of plastic pipe exactly the right dimensions, but then had to cut each brick on an angle to create the smooth rounded surface.
Over the years, George has completed 15 to 20 homes. One of his favorites was a row house in San Francisco with plaster and gilt interiors, all painstakingly replicated. He also replicated one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes – the Usonian.
While this hobby takes a good portion of George’s time, he also finds time to give back to the community. George is the interim director of the Redmond Senior Center Chorus. This dedicated group of 25, travel around the area singing in retirement homes to the delight of the residents. Look for more on this group in the winter edition of efocusonline.com.
“I created houses in the real world, working as a volume home builder, but never actually worked with my hands,” stated George. “This hobby has allowed me to continue building. It is exciting to build the nest. All my life I was in that endeavor, with this work I accomplish that same feeling.”
Something old, something new
Every year, somewhere between five and 20% of Americans, become ill with seasonal flu. In addition to seasonal flu, health experts expect that H1N1 influenza (swine flu) will circulate widely this fall and winter.
Since H1N1 influenza appeared this spring, health officials have been closely monitoring the disease and planning for the expected second wave of H1N1 influenza this fall. The severity of H1N1 illness is expected to be similar to the seasonal flu, and health experts believe large numbers of people may become infected and seek medical care.
Pregnant women, children and individuals with some underlying health conditions appear to be at higher risk for severe illness.
Drug manufacturers are producing an H1N1 vaccine that would protect against H1N1 influenza. While federal officials think there will be enough H1N1 vaccine for everyone who wants it, they recommend people at highest risk and in the following groups are prioritized when vaccine becomes available:
- Pregnant women
- Children and young adults 6 months to 24
years of age
- Persons 25-64 years old who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from flu (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma)
- Household members and caregivers of children younger than 6 months in age
- Healthcare workers and emergency medical service providers
While H1N1 flu and regular seasonal flu can be very serious, individuals, families, and organizations can take steps to prevent illness and prepare for this upcoming flu season. People in high-risk groups should make every effort to get the H1N1 vaccine. The H1N1 influenza vaccine does not protect against seasonal flu; Public Health recommends that seniors and others at risk for seasonal flu also get the seasonal flu vaccine.
Organizations and businesses should review protocols for asking sick staff to stay at home, and develop ways to support staff that are ill, caring for ill family members, or recovering from the flu. Families with school-aged children should start talking to other families and neighbors about alternative child care plans if children are sick with flu or if schools or day cares are closed.
Give2thetroops is a non-profit organization established to send care packages to American troops deployed in combat zones. Some troops don't receive any mail or packages except for the ones they receive from Give2thetroops. It is so important to their morale for them to know they are not forgotten when sent overseas.
Visit the Give2thetroops website to learn what types of items can be donated and what troops have requested. Donation sites in Redmond are Fire Station 11, 8450 161st Avenue NE and Redmond Police Station, 8701 160th Avenue NE. These locations accept donations Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm. Money can also be donated on the website to assist with postage costs.
For more information: Deane Kimerer, WA State Volunteer, Deane@give2thetroops.org