Artisan door maker, Gary Grund, has been perfecting his art and craftsmanship as a carpenter for over 35 years in the small ski town of Bend, Oregon. He began with a small Shopsmith in a shed in the backyard and has slowly perfected his craft from his humble beginnings making his children's beds to custom kitchen cabinets and what he now specializes in, entire front entry doors on some pretty impressive homes.
"I started working with wood back when I was young with my Dad in his garage. I think my Dad started building things because I am from a family of 6 and my parents didn't have enough money to buy furniture, so he would just build the things we needed," explained Gary when we sat down for a chat this last weekend. "I then took a shop class in high school and loved to be in there building things".
Gary and his wife Suzanne moved to Bend in 1979 where they built a large blue preschool and kindergarten called Bright Beginnings on 27th Street. Gary put up a small metal shed in the back and bought a Shopsmith and a handful of tools. Being the on-site handyman, he would also build everything from bookshelves, tables, and cabinets for the school and home. Parents saw his handy-work and side orders began coming in for kids beds, desks, and trunks for quilts.
As Bend's population grew and building boomed, Gary became Heritage Woodworks and honed in his craft in cabinet making and took on remodels and new construction homes strictly by word of mouth. As the business and demand grew, he hired an apprentice, but refused to hire more people for he believed in the custom craftsmanship of his own work and didn't want to see that change, even if he had to take on fewer jobs. "Bend is a small town and it's important to build a reputation with solid craftsmanship and a good relationship with the customer. I am able to go into someone's home and draw plans for what they dream their space to look like and then help make that happen. It's pretty rewarding to look back after the work is finished with the clients and see how happy they are."
After about 15 years of mainly cabinet making, Gary realized that the detail and storage space necessary for cabinets was straining his modest shop space and transitioned into specializing in front entryway doors, sidelights, transoms, and interior doors. Stacking doors took up a lot less space than cabinets, while freeing up more of his time for creativity in making each door a masterpiece and less time trying to make cabinets fit into set spaces. Bear Creek Doors was born.
As Gary's reputation has spread through the years amongst well known Bend builders, and friends telling friends about him, his doors has been in high demand. Homes all over Central Oregon and stretching as far south as the Bay Area and Southern California, have been transformed by Gary's elaborate entryways, wine cellar doors, gates, garage doors, and an array of other fine artisan crafts. When potential clients would come to see Gary about a door, they would drive out to his shop on the ranch, passing the orchard trees, ponds, waterfalls, stained glass, barn and be taken into a world Gary had planted or built himself. He sat them down as friends and took the time to explain how their door would be built. He sent pictures as the door came to life and welcomed them to pop in and see the progress. People came to have Bear Creek Doors build their door because it wasn't just picked out from a sea of doors, it was created and the client was part of the creation.
After over 35 years of building and designing, Gary is ready to retire. Although he hangs his Bear Creek Doors hat, his creativity will go on in the never ending projects he constructs on their ranch out Bear Creek Rd. And if you are a Bendite or just passing through Bend, you are sure to see his work in places such as Crux Brewery, if you see the wooden Deschutes Brewery "Woody" Barrel drive by, or on a number of fine friend's homes you may visit. If you open the door and look on the door between the hinges, where the door meets the jam, you just might see the Bear Creek Doors bear stamped into the wood.
Hello from Oslo, I'm here in the land of fjords, mountains and awesome nephews. I flew here 3 days ago from Finland to see my brother Antti, his wife Berit and my brand spanking new nephew Hjalmar.
The little guy has melted my heart and it's been a lot of fun hanging out with him.
We Skyped yesterday with Aunt Kristen and so now they've met almost face to face too, she'll have to wait some more time to meet this handsome guy in person. We've spent our days playing with Hjalmar, going for walks and in my case just being a tourist. I've been to Oslo 5 or 6 times but it doesn't get boring for me, it's a great city to just walk around and see the sights, or you can use the buses, ferries and trains to get around as well. The Oslo fjord itself is on its own a beautiful water way on which you can grab a ferry from the downtown and be in the "country side" in 20 minutes. Highly recommend for anyone planning a trip to Scandinavia, it can be a little bit pricey for those backpacker bums like my wife and I but you can make it work. Same as everywhere else, it's good to know a local!
After I arrived here I was informed that the next 4 days out of the 5 that I'll be here will be holidays.
The day I leave will be the biggest of the 4 in that it will be a huge party and downtown will be packed from morning on. We'll head to the airport early so I can catch a glimpse of the party and still make it in time to the airport through the crowds. Excited to see the Norwegian chaos!
My flight lands tomorrow in Portland, K.G. will pick me up and then we will head to Bend for the continuation of the crazy preparations for the bike trip. We already have the bikes, but will be building wheels, getting a few more bike parts, tool kit together, and food packed for the first long haul in Alaska. Will keep you in the loop, so check back soon! See you fools in Bend :)
Hello! Ville here, the prettier part of our two person team flew to Oregon from Bangkok and I flew to Finland. I try to make it back to my old stomping grounds at least once a year, I wish I could come more often but since plane tickets are not as cheap as the train tickets in India, I'll have to settle for once a year. When I come my main concern is to try to spend as much time as possible with my family and friends.
I arrived here 4 days before the infamous May Day ( Vappu in Finnish), had a lay over in Moscow and grabbed a bottle of Vodka of course to replenish myself and my thirsty friends on May Day. My parents picked me up from the airport and even though it was 10pm when we got to their house we still heated the sauna. When in Finland...
I got to spend May Day in Porvoo where we used to live for ten years when I was in my teens, many of my good friends were able to surprise me and join for the crazy festivities. May Day is a massive party/holiday that used to be a big European holiday centered around celebrating the working class, as was the case in Finland as well, but now it resembles more of Saint Patrick's Day with a heavy focus on the booze.
We partied hard with my friends but not too hard, I guess we're getting old. My friend Marko had arranged for a nice lesson about Gin and it's history and we even got to taste some! The next day we were all tired but did manage to get outside and enjoy the beautiful spring day. It's been abnormally nice and sunny here, not quite as hot as Bangkok but still hot for this time of year in Finland.
A couple of days after Vappu, I was able to make it to Helsinki and spend some time with my friends that live there or close by. I stayed with my good friend and a hotel tycoon, Klasu, in his 7 star hotel Casa Kangaspunta where he serves you a coffee when you're sitting on the toilet. Now that's what I call service! The rest of the time I've spent with my parents sightseeing, fishing, yard work and I got to hangout with my Uncle Timo and Aunt Inke for a day. We've gone in the sauna every night. Couldn't ask for more!
I leave on Friday the 13th to Oslo, hoping the airport is less crowded and the superstitious people choose a different day to fly. My brother Antti, and his wife Berit, live in Oslo and they just had a baby boy at the end of January. Uncle Ville is excited to meet this new guy!
After Oslo I fly on the 17th to Oregon and start helping K.G with the preparations for our bike trip that she has already started. For those of you not in the loop, we are about to cycle from Alaska to Argentina, the entire Americas over about the next 2 years! We've just booked the tickets to Alaska, flying on the 24th of June. It's really happening so you better stay tuned! Peace.
K.G. & Ville
In Cuenca, Ecuador. Next stop, Loja.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson
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