Gandalf comes to our hometown | Free News

Couple plans more sculpture at home in hit HGTV series

During the filming of “Home Town,” the house purchased by Kathy and Isao Fukuda was nicknamed “The Hobbit House,” and now the name better suits its front yard visitor.

Ms Fukuda commissioned chainsaw sculptor Dayton Scoggins to transform a hollowed-out tree into a 10ft manifestation of Gandalf the Gray from JRR Tolkein’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ with a 12ft tall eagle beside him.

“The Lord of the Rings” was something the family bonded with, as Ms Fukuda read the stories to her seven children when they were young.

“With six boys and a girl, ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ were often watched and the books read,” Ms Fukuda said. “Although ‘The Lord of the Rings’ was fantastic, ‘The Hobbit’ appealed to me more.”

That’s why when the family moved to Laurel, they sought a home with a hobbit-like appeal.

“I loved the interior of the Hobbit house, with natural woods, a full pantry and a table big enough for everyone,” Ms. Fukuda said. “Just a sweet warm home. I fell in love with it.

And then Gandalf was born when a dead tree in their yard allowed for optimal tree carving.

So far, the sculpture has caught the attention of neighbors and curious tourists, Ms. Fukuda said.

“We had people coming into the yard to watch Gandalf and slowing down in their cars as they drove by,” she said. “I was surprised that we had a world famous sculptor near Laurel.”

Scoggins — who lives in Sandersville and whose woodcarving demonstrations are always a favorite attraction at the Loblolly festival — and Fukuda communicated for about a year before they started carving, she said. Over three to four days he completed the carving, adding details to Gandalf’s robe and beard while working around a neighbour’s fence, using several chainsaws.

“We had to go around the fence, and every time you have to get off the ground it slows you down,” Scoggins said. “Usually I have to drive three or four hours when I do a sculpture, but I could finish it in a few days because it was so close.”

The Fukudas appeared on the ninth episode of the hit show’s fifth season last October after traveling 2,600 miles from Warrenton, Oregon, to Laurel. The couple bought a house on 12th Street hoping to turn it into an Airbnb.

“We had never seen the show when we started watching homes online in Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina and Georgia – we never even thought of Mississippi,” she said. declared. “Then I saw an ad on the show and loved it.”

The Fukudas then began their house hunt for Laurel and asked to be on the show. When they were chosen, the couple bought their house without seeing them. Now, as they put the finishing touches on their Airbnb, the Fukudas felt the wood carving would add a special feature their guests could enjoy during their stay. The addition near the house offers a wide porch with rocking chairs purchased from Lott Furniture that overlook the backyard and two guest bedrooms.

Ms. Fukuda worked in sales and her husband at Costco. He always wanted to work in the hospitality industry and they made that dream a reality here at Laurel, she said.

“We have more strains up front and can add elf, dwarf, hobbit and more,” Ms. Fukuda said.

The family needed a place where guests could have their photo taken and make their Airbnb a special place for Laurel’s guests.

“A lot more will be done here to make our place welcoming,” Ms Fukuda said. “Four woodland creatures will be carved for us by Dayton.”

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