Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bristol Fourth of July Parade Float

   We "volunteered" to build a float for the Bristol Fourth of July parade this year.  The parade is the oldest Fourth of July celebration in the country, so it is a big deal for our town and good for our businesses.  The float was sponsored by the Bristol Merchants Association and the theme was
"Thank You for Shopping Local".

     Susan O'Donnell from Sue Casa, Lynn Shaw from Harbor Bath & Body, Kathleen Sequin from Bristol House Bed & Breakfast, my wife Peggy and I worked on a design and proceeded to beg, borrow or steal (kidding) all the bits and pieces to build the float.  We were on a tight budget so we wanted to come up with a gimmick to set us apart from the rest.

   We decided to make the float look like a dock down by Bristol Harbor with some "shoppers" relaxing in some adirondack chairs after a hard day of shopping.  We added some large shopping bags and a sunset scene painted by Bristol's Gallery Eleven artist Denise Zomba.  The "gimmick" was to make the waves on each side of the dock move.


   We didn't want to run a generator on the float to power some motors to make the wave action, so we came up with contraption using junk bicycle parts.  Here is a link to some video of the float in action.

The bike wheel in the back of the trailer rides on the street and drives the two sides. 

   A small committee judges the floats before the parade and we won "Most Patriotic"!  Not bad for our first try.  We all had a great time doing it and we are already thinking about ideas for next year.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Renovating the house and shoppe

I wanted to share the remodeling process of our house and shoppe with some before and after pics.

Here is the house the way we bought it. Not in bad shape for 210 yrs old


Here is the house now, with it's new colors and no shutters.  We replaced all the windows with
new, single pane, true-divided lite units.

The rear of the house before...

The new enclosed porch and deck above

Upstairs living room during construction, we removed the ceiling to expose the beams and open it up to the third floor area...

New living area with new staircase, lighthouse newel post and much needed storage under staircase

Apartment bath before...

New bath with beadboard ceiling, separate tub and shower

Bath in shoppe space (inside the center chimney)

New bath without a tub

The shoppe space on the first floor was a total gut job due to the new fire codes.  The back room got wide pine flooring from the attic to match the two front rooms.  As much of the original trim was saved and reinstalled.


Next time I'll update the progress on the 1936 pickup truck... 

Monday, April 16, 2012


Welcome to the new Knotty Blog!  Sorry it's not what you think...  I'll share stories about running our retail shoppe in Bristol, RI, our latest furniture and construction projects, as well as the rebuilding of our shop truck - a 1936 Chevrolet pickup!

We (Will and Peggy Hicks) discovered Bristol 7 years ago when we bought an old sailboat moored in the harbor. We decided to keep the boat here and have since fell in love with the town. After a few years of spending weekends on the boat with our dogs Sydney & Tyler, we decided to buy a house and move here.

We found an old sea captain's house, built in 1799, that needed work. That began a three-year remodel that transformed the old house into The Knotty Dog on the first floor and a loft-style apartment on the second and third floors. The rear deck offers a harbor view and spectacular sunsets!

I have enjoyed woodworking for more than 25 years.  I am an engineer by training and have spent the last 20 years building houses and designing house plans. I started making furniture 25 years ago out of necessity - couldn't afford new furniture!  My wife, Peggy makes all natural soaps and does all the buying for the store.  She was a corporate executive who always wanted a small business of her own.  I think we both agree that this is alot more work!