- Associated Press - Thursday, March 26, 2015

LACEY’S SPRING, Ala. (AP) - Nestled at the foot of Brindlee Mountain, surrounded by trees, is a recently restored 1830s log cabin.

Inside the cabin, bathed in natural light, Leslie Wood creates her fantasy-inspired, mixed media art.

“It has a feel about it I never would’ve imagined,” Wood said. “It’s a wonderful place to make art. I’m inspired more to be down there. I spend every free day I have out there.”

Wood is an aerospace engineer and subcontractor for NASA. She also is an artist. Wood and her husband bought their home beside the cabin in 2002. Last July, they began restoring the cabin, which now is Wood’s art studio. They finished the renovations last week.

“It was a little costly to take that job on, and we never could justify putting money into it for just a guest house,” Wood said. “I had outgrown the space I was working out of in the house. I thought it would be nice, and I would be there all the time and could teach classes.”

Wood said she and her husband purchased their home and the cabin from Lisa Johnston, who moved the log cabin from New Hope to Lacey’s Spring in 1993. The structure was found on a farm and had been in a family for six generations. It was known as the “Weaning House.”

When Johnston moved the cabin, it had to be taken apart and reassembled, including its 50-ton limestone rock fireplace and chimney. Wood said the cabin had been put back together along with a new roof, porch, windows and addition to the back, but was never fully renovated.

Before being renovated, the cabin was 540 square feet. It is now 1,354 square feet. The couple added a kitchen, small bathroom and art storage area. The project cost about $80,000. Wood said they hired Collinsville Log Mill to refinish the cabin.

“It wasn’t chinked, the material between the logs,” Wood said. “They added the addition and pulled the logs together. Over the years, (the logs) had sagged and gotten out of position. They were particular about keeping the integrity of the old cabin. (They) tried to put the new logs to match the logs that were there and designed the roof line so it would look like it was part of the old cabin.”

Kim Mitchell, executive director of the Carnegie Visual Arts Center, said one reason she thinks Wood loves the cabin so much is because of the inspiration it provides.

“I think other people would enjoy it also and get a lot out of it,” Mitchell said. “Sometimes you have to get quiet in order to be creative.”

Mitchell said Wood is talented, and her artwork, which has been featured at the Carnegie, is unique. Of Wood’s various series of fantasy creatures, Mitchell said, her favorite was the fairy series.

“She came to our summer camp with our kids last summer and taught the kids to draw monsters,” Mitchell said. “I drew a monster, too, and I’m proud of it. She’s a great teacher. She was able to explain to the kids how to go about creating their own monster and to personalize it.”

Mitchell said she has followed Wood’s adventure of restoring the cabin. Mitchell is an advocate for re-purposing buildings.

“To take a building and give it new life, that’s much better than building a new structure,” Mitchell said. “That’s what we did with the Carnegie. It was a library, and now it’s a visual arts space.”

Wood taught a class in the studio in January.

“I was worried (the students) wouldn’t want to drive all the way out to Lacey’s Spring, but they loved it,” Wood said. “It’s cozy and has a neat feeling. Before it was more like storage, and now it’s been brought back to life.”

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Information from: The Decatur Daily, https://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/index.shtml


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