The skillful hands of a North Bay woodcarver has transformed the stump of a crabapple tree into a home for mythical creatures.
Using his small chain saw and imagination, Christopher Gauthier, a carpenter and woodcarver by trade, spent 30 hours creating a detailed 'gnome home,' which could easily be referred to as a 'gnome condominium' or 'multi-complex gnome home'.
It started when the father of a friend, asked Gauthier to help cut down the tree in his front yard. What was left was a five foot tall stump.
"The next day I was asked if I could make it into a gnome home and I said 'I don't know what that is but I can look it up and I could probably build it.' So my mind wandered and created this," said Gauthier proudly.
He researched gnomes on the internet and let his imagination do the rest. Gauthier carved as he went along, without any drawings to fall back on.
"I already had the idea to do the cedar shingles for the roof and have the little tree stumps for chimneys for wood stoves, because I would assume gnomes need to keep warm in the winter," he laughs.
"I roughed out the windows with a chain saw. The rope ladder was my mother's idea. We knew we didn't want the yellow rope because it would look more natural if it was the brown colour. So we just weaved it together and nailed it on," said Gauthier. "There's a bay window on the wizard gnome tower. I carved the steps and little mushrooms with a chain saw. I put a clear coat of Varathane on everything."
Solar lights keep it illuminated at night. There are plans to eventually string tiny lights around the upper parts of the home.
A woodcarver since the age of 13, and with years of experience at Gauthier Carpentry, he says this project is a first.
"The neighbours seem to like it. They seem to be happy to see the beautiful stump turned into a piece of art. There is still some greenery left behind to look like little trees in the gnome yard."
The finished product has inspired Gauthier, to build more gnome homes, next time from wood not rooted in the ground. He already has ideas for this new venture, which over the next few weeks, will have him wandering around property owned by friends living in the country. There he hopes to find dead hardwood to make smaller, custom built versions of gnome homes.
Gauthier says he can envision neighbourhoods filled with gnome houses, quoting one of the owners of the home as saying "gnomes need homes too."
"That would be awesome," he chuckles.