Birdhouse Crafter

No mortgages needed for these houses

May 20, 2010 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Architects and builders of upscale homes sometimes reward their clients with a framed watercolor portrait of their home. Rockford resident Sharon Bennett has a better idea. People love their homes and Bennett has carved a niche for herself by duplicating homes of friends and patrons as a birdhouse replica. You read it right, “birdhouse,” not dollhouse. For the past few years Bennett, a retired Rockford elementary school teacher and principal, has been crafting these beautiful one-of-a-kind creations. How she came by her woodworking skills is a story of love. Bennett’s husband, Roy, had a wood shop attached to the rear of their home that was the envy of all who knew them. “Roy had five of every wood-crafting tool imaginable,” said Sharon. “He was an extremely talented woodworker who could create, among other things, custom crafted wooden golf clubs.” One day Roy told Sharon it was time for her to learn the use of these tools, and one at a time she herself became very skillful with their use. Sharon said that one night a few years ago Roy told her, “I’m feeling real tired and I’m heading to bed early.” Roy passed away that night. It was as though he possessed an inner sense to the end of his time on Earth when he passed on his woodworking skills. And what a gift he gave her. The birdhouses she creates are not just any run-of-the-mill birdhouse. They are literally works of art that duplicate in exacting detail the four sides of the exteriors of the homes of those lucky enough to be a recipient. Through the use photographs of all four elevations—and visits to the home if necessary—nothing is missed. From roofing materials and the roof’s pitch, to siding materials of wood, masonry, stucco or vinyl, the exterior is reproduced exactly. Paint colors are perfectly matched. Porches and decks, including their spindle railings constructed of toothpicks, are replicated. Not to be forgotten are patios complete with outdoor furniture. To top it all off, the home is circled by every landscaping feature that surrounds its immediate perimeter. These birdhouses have become Sharon’s passion. Each one takes approximately 200 hours to create. “I fall in love with each one and am […]