Designed and built by Tom LeComte of Laurel Hill Studio, this unique #freebooklibrary is an exciting tree project at Pickity Place, an iconic New England destination featuring an award-winning herbal restaurant and gardens in Mason, New Hampshire.
Pickity Place® is a mecca for gardeners, foodies and anyone looking for inspiration and relaxation. The enchanting cottage and giant White Ash tree was chosen by Elizabeth Orton Jones, a.k.a 'Twig', as the model for her illustrations in Little Red Riding Hood (Little Golden Books, 1948). After the tree had dropped a large branch, which crashed into the dining room in December 2020, owners Keith and Kim Grimes reluctantly decided it was time for the 176 year old tree to be removed, but the tree's trunk would be saved and preserved as a Free Book Library. The overall design and elements were up to the imagination of Laurel Hill Studio with a few simple yet elegant requests from Kim Grimes; a dark roof with an off-white trim, and a cider mill stain on the tree and cabinet.
The Pickity Place free book library houses an original copy of Little Red Riding Hood and features an engraved, arched cabinet with double doors and shelves inserted into the original tree. The tree was hollowed out; decaying wood and grubs were removed, which aided in the drying and preservation of the tree. Carved across the top of the cabinet are the words 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme' with representations of each herb engraved along both sides of the cabinet. Across the bottom of the cabinet are a few bunches of lavender, basil, and three roses to symbolize love and the three words, 'I love you.' Incorporated into the central structure of the double doors are two semi-transparent butterfly wings. The doors also have carved Black Eyed-Susan flowers and an engraved tribute to Twig Jones through the use of her wallpaper border design from the Little Red Riding Hood illustrations.
On top of the hexagonal, slate-stained cedar shingle roof sits a small cupola topped with a stained glass Monarch butterfly. The tree trunk also has some floral carvings, concentric hearts, and a family of Barred owls who are known for their call that sounds akin to "Who cooks for you?" At the rear of the tree is the Wolf Hollow where a large branch once grew. The outline of Wolf Hollow is in the shape of a wolf's head and frames a stained glass panel scene depicting the Pickity Place cottage, the original White Ash Tree in all of its glory, a Lupine, the 'wolf flower', daisies to represent the innocence of Little Red Riding Hood, and an orange Iris for courage and bravery. The trunk and cabinet are trimmed with more than two hundred carved basil leaves, the favorite herb of Head Chef Keith Grimes. The natural granite slab bench and stepping stones were placed by Laurel Hill Studio, while the beautiful granite wall around the base of the tree, granite steps and brick patios were done by Dan Knissell of Sage & Stone.
The famous White Ash tree at Pickity Place means a lot to the patrons and local townspeople of Mason. Laurel Hill Studio is honored and pleased to transform the famous tree into a custom work of art that will bring smiles and inspiration to its visitors for years to come. Many thanks to Keith and Kim Grimes for supporting the arts and making this unique tree library possible!
News and Articles on the #FreeBookLibrary project!
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript (May 25, 2022) - https://www.ledgertranscript.com/Pickity-Place-opens-new-Little-Free-Library-made-from-iconic-tree-46305670
NH Magazine (April 12, 2022) - https://www.nhmagazine.com/visit-grandmas-cottage-for-lunch-gardening-and-reading/