Family bonds building together

December 13, 2000

Family bonds building together


photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Taylor familyKEEDYSVILLE - Last Christmas, one wreath and a potted blue spruce sapling were the Taylor family's sole holiday decorations.

That's because Frank and Joan Taylor and their children, Kelly, 17, Daniel, 14, and Adam, 11, were in the midst of building their dream house, a cedar log home on nine wooded acres in Keedysville.

This year, a nearly 11-foot tree and many holiday trimmings grace the family's new home.

The Taylors realized their dream through family teamwork. That makes this first Christmas in their log abode all the more special, they said.

"You see all those rocks?" Kelly Taylor asked, pointing to the fieldstone fireplace that stretches from the pine floor to the 18-foot ceiling in the living room. "We collected those from the property."


Kelly and her younger siblings sacrificed much of their social lives for a year starting in June 1999 to help their parents construct the 2,000-square-foot house.

"We did the grunt work," said Daniel Taylor, whose first driving experience was hauling rocks collected for the fireplace in the family's pickup truck.

The kids toted cement blocks and "buttered them with mortar" for their father to build the basement walls. They laid shingles on the roof, sorted logs into piles, laid sub-flooring and cleaned up after construction.

Daniel would do anything that was asked of him, his mother said. But Daniel said his favorite part of the effort was break time.

The Taylors worked evenings and weekends and ate a lot of crock-pot meals during construction, Joan Taylor said.

"It was a really tough year, but knowing my parents had wanted to do it for so long kept me going," Kelly said. "Once we got it done, it didn't take me long to be glad we did it."

Frank Taylor, who teaches carpentry at the Frederick County Career and Technology Center, supervised and led the construction effort, a time-consuming task he called his "second and third job" for a year.

His brother-in-law, Kurt Brown, and friends donated time to help with such jobs as building the fireplace, pouring concrete, hanging drywall and setting stones with mortar.

Joan Taylor, who works as a nurse at Meadow Dialysis in Hagerstown, dove into the project.

"She would tackle anything," her husband said.

Joan Taylor said she often thought of her father, who died in a roofing accident at age 54, when she was working on the house.

"It just made me feel good that I could kind of do the things he used to do," she said.

She studied for and passed a county plumbing test so the family would be permitted to do its own plumbing work.

The project was filled with lessons and rewards for the entire family, they said.

For Adam Taylor, there were three high points: "Breaks, lunch and dinner," he said.

The youngest Taylor said he's relieved that most of the hard work is done and that he and his family will spend Christmas in their new home.

"It's going to be fun," he said.

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