Good Morning World

Block Number: 163

Ginger Todd
McDowell Quilt Trail


The newest block on the McDowell Quilt Trail, #163, is hosted by Robert Albury and Carol Short. Although their permanent home is in Florida, the couple is converting a two-car garage into a unique version of the new trend in housing options of minimal square footage. Carol came up with the idea of a quilt block after seeing brochures and information in the McDowell Arts Council Association shop.

Robert is retired as a Respiratory Therapist as well as having a Medical Business License. He owned health care businesses in the orthopedic, prosthetics, and durable medical equipment supply fields. Carol is a retired school teacher, having taught grades 9 through 12 in the subjects of Marketing and On the Job Training.

The couple is excited about the intriguing task they are undertaking to convert the garage into a small house design. Their idea is partly based on micro-homes, also known as “tiny” or “wee” houses. They are for those who want to downsize to a small but fully livable area easy to maintain, while leaving a low impact and minimal footprint on our environment. In Carol and Robert’s case it will be used as a “get-away” vacation home.

Robert began riding motorcycles at age 10 in motor cross contests and for the past 30 years he has cruised motorcycles throughout our area becoming friends with several of the local residents. In 2006 he purchased 150 acres “off the beaten track” bordering on the Pisgah National Forest and acquired his Contractor’s License. He proceeded to develop the property known as “Dobson’s Knob”, but that came to a sudden halt with the sharp plummet in the economy. Now however, it has provided a perfect area for their restoration and remodeling project!

Although there is still much work to be done they hope to have the approximately 900 square foot cottage completed within a year. The inside has transformed from a plain garage into a cozy cabin-like feel, antiques and collectables scattered throughout and the interior wood paneled walls are adorned with various art work and framed license certificates.

Robert and Carol are kept company in their wooded retreat by their four dogs, all friendly adoptees from various agencies or bad situations: “Django”, a Pit Bull,” Giaccono” and ”Giovanni”, Chihuahuas and “Josie”, a Chug (mix between a Pug and a Chihuahua).

The entrance is to the main den area which has a specially designed wood burning stove to eliminate smoke. There is a bathroom, small kitchen area and a bedroom with ample enclosed closet space, as well as a workshop area and a loft overhead for storage. Both of the garage doors are the “roll-up” design and one of them will soon be exchanged for a full glass sectional pane garage door. This will provide plenty of light as well as the unique option of rolling up the glass and lowering a drop screen in the summer to let in fresh air and keep out insects. They will also have a covered open air patio-porch area adjacent to the home.

“Good Morning World” is one of the first of its size on the Quilt Trail and unique in that it is 20 inches wide and 8 feet long to nicely fit the middle area between the two garage doors, different from the usual square or rectangular blocks. Carol says “the building itself was an inspiration” to brighten up the home with something different. The design is a towering Sunflower with shades of blue sky and clouds with a half-Sun rising in the upper right hand corner. She has plans to plant a row of Sunflowers next spring to compliment the block as they further landscape the yard.

Carol remarked the design decision was “instantaneous” when she first saw it in the book The Cabin. The Sunflower is recognized worldwide for its beauty, producer of nutritious seeds and valued oil and loved by bees and butterflies for pollinating. American history dates the common Sunflower back to 3000 B.C. and archaeologists have found evidence that Sunflowers were grown by natives living in the Ozark Mountain area before they found their way overseas.

Appropriately named, Sunflowers are known for their “heliotropism”, or the ability of the flower head to track the Sun’s movement during the day only during the bud stage. Once the flower is fully open they usually face east and begin to droop downward. The quilt block “Good Morning World” provides the perfect adornment to the couples retreat as the Sunflower is the first to face the rising sun and say good morning to the surrounding environment and follow its path throughout the day.

The block was installed by volunteers Mike Lucas and Jack Raker at 502 Dobson Knob Loop (off of Old Linville Road). Chairwoman Jill Lucas presented the Certificate of Authenticity to Carol and Robert.

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