Ashford, WA -- Lee Christopherson always had one aspiration--to build a log cabin in the woods. And after renting a room above a coffee shop in the Middle East for a few days in the late-1990s, he knew that he needed a Tulikivi woodstove at the center of his dream home.
“I didn’t even know what kind of stove it was back then,” he joked. “It was a striking, enormous stone fireplace right in the middle of the restaurant’s main floor, and it could do almost anything. The Tulikivi heated the whole restaurant and provided a great place to cook food and brew coffee and tea. It was the driving force behind the whole establishment. I knew that, if I ever had the chance to build a home, that fireplace would be a major part of it.
Yet, when Lee was injured in operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, he thought he’d have to put his dream of building a home on hold indefinitely. After returning stateside, his injury forced him to stop working nearly 20 years before he planned on retiring. Worse, several doctors told him that, because of the severity of his injury, he had to give up on some of his outdoor passions.
Thankfully, Lee got a second opinion. “I finally saw a doctor who told me outright to ‘move forward with my life’ and encouraged me to get back to doing what I loved. I was grateful to actually get some positive feedback, and I immediately started hiking, kayaking and climbing again.
As an artist, Lee also made friends in the Mount Rainier area while selling his artwork at the Ashford Creek Gallery, and they convinced him to revisit his dream of creating his own home. After his friends learned of his passion, Lee says, they took him to a plot of land in the woods close to the entrance of the park and told him, matter-of-factly, “You’re going to buy this land and build your home here.
“I’d already designed the house in my mind twenty years ago,” he commented. “And the woodstove I came across in that Middle Eastern coffee shop was still fresh in my memory when I started designing the cabin.
After calling the coffee shop he’d visited nearly a decade earlier, he finally found out who manufactured the fireplace: Tulikivi in Finland. He bought the Tulikivi unit a month later and began constructing his home around it.
Now that construction is finished, Lee is both overjoyed and relieved. “For so long, I never thought this house would get built,” he laughed. “It’s kind of a small miracle.
Tulikivi, headquartered in Juuka, Finland, is the world’s largest manufacturer of heat- retaining fireplaces, exporting over half of its output to Europe and North America.
The company’s complete range of fireplaces, consisting of more than 60 models, is considered among the cleanest wood-burning fireplaces in the world. Tulikivi has six production plants and it employs over 500 people. For more information about Tulikivi, please visit www.tulikivi.com.
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