Fretwork : The Sequel

There is more incredible, amazing fretwork in the house to share! This is the sequel – and if you missed the first post, you can find it HERE. And – there’s more to come – this will be a trilogy!

When Rob Bennett from Wabashiki Woodworks and I started chatting about the project for our first floor Parlor and Entry Hall, he sent me some amazing sketches, and this is the one I fell in love with the most. And I kept coming back to it. I love the asymmetry, especially for a Queen Anne Victorian that just EXUDES asymmetry. So I REALLY wanted to use this sketch as the main focus for the two windows – one in the Parlor and one in the Entrance Hall. Since these are windows, and not doorways, we could really play with the scale.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – Rob is a National Treasure. It is so amazing to have someone who gives such artistry and craftsmanship to what he does. And the fact that he’s less than two hours away is incredible. I love that he sends pictures and shows his process and asks questions along the way.

Here he’s laid out some frame work for the pattern.

And I love seeing how he maps everything out!

He also works FAST. Oh my goodness. After just a few back and forths, he had this whole panel done. And…. it wasn’t quite right. I wasn’t in love with the proportions – I wanted the asymmetry to be more pronounced – the part on the left wasn’t long enough for me. And Rob was happy to keep changing and tweaking.

So he started a new side piece, and made it 48″ long, which seemed like it would balance out the top section much better.

It’s mind-boggling how cool this is.

The paper shapes were used to help decide the short side. And it REALLY helped me to visualize everything. Here were the options!

I went with option 2! Here’s the finished piece. Man, I love the scale of this version!

Rob had a brilliant idea of adding some hand-carved appliques to the center panels – and I think these tie into our fireplace really well!

GASP. Can you believe this?

We went off to Terre Haute to pick them up!!! And it was during marching season, so it took us AGES AND AGES to hang them.

When we did, we had to be creative to get them into the not-perfectly-square openings. Rob sends his work with shims (AMAZING) and Doug took those shims, made them into wedges by sanding them, and now they fit REALLY well. The blue tape shows you the wedge shape.

The parlor window wasn’t too bad! Which surprised me, because this corner has ALL THE water damage from when the house was raining indoors.

When this room is done and I do a wall treatment and drapes to highlight this, it’s going to be even more spectacular.

Our friend Edgar came over to help us hang them!

The Entrance Hall window!

The colonnade looking towards the new fretwork. EEEEEK!

Rob is amazing. Just amazing. Once again, this looks like it’s always been here.

And here we are all dressed up for Christmas!

This is the best Christmas gift we could ever give our house. Rob – you are amazing and the old house community is so lucky to have you!



  1. When we have people in our country destroying, removing and changing our history we than have people like you. People like you creating, replacing and teaching us about our history. I thank you.

  2. Absolutely stunning! I’ve always wondered how those were made, I appreciate the walk-through of the process. Keep up the good work!

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