June 18, 1992
To take a tour of Diana and Larry Allen's home on
Yarbro Road is to get a glimpse of what they do for
love -- what they live to do instead of what they do to
Both of them, well, the whole family, really, which
includes Laura, Angel and Aaron, find pleasure and re-
laxation in making things with their hands.
The couple, who are in education -- Larry is associ-
ate superintendent of Kings Mountain Schools and
Diana has been teaching for 17 years -- majored in
subjects that take deft hands and an eye for design.
Larry's major was industrial arts and Diana's was home
economics. Diana also has a master's in Middle School
‘Diana's handiwork, like Larry's, is all over the
house. Indeed, even the house itself is one of their
products. For they both designed it, deciding on a plan
after four or five attempts, and Larry built the home
with help from family and hired carpenters for the
It took them five months and the house is 21 years
old. Since then, they have put down new flooring,
added a pool and deck.
"You do those things as you can," said Larry.
The home is hidden in the woods at the end of a
paved driveway. Larry said the quiet and peace is nice
to come home to at the end of a busy day.
To the left of the house and driveway is a good-
sized workshop where Larry and Diana practice the
hobbies that fill their comfortable house.
Throughout the home is evidence of Diana's past-
times: quilts, ceramics, needlepoint, cross-stitch.
By the back door hangs her latest handiwork -- one of
those flags that are so popular these days. Hers shows
a flower pot of spring flowers in bright purples and
Diana says she uses her crafts to teach in her fifth
grade classes. Even the boys get into cross-stitch and
the plastic canvas crafts. She can use the ideas in
teaching geometry, she said.
She finds the time during the summers and on fami-
ly trips, she said.
"I tell myself, ‘My goal for this trip is I'm going to
finish this thing," she said.
Mrs. Allen has even gotten into painting t-shirts and
was wearing an outfit she designed and painted during
Larry and Diana both are into ceramics and have a
kiln beside their work studio at the side of the house.
Larry started while teaching industrial arts with a pot-
ter's wheel doing free form pottery. Now they both do
mold casting and taught classes for a while, Diane in-
structing and Larry pouring. That was while she was
out of work with the children. They stopped when
Diana went back to work, but they still create pottery
and take it to sell at shows, such as the Woolly Worm
Festival in Ashe County in the fall. 2
"I don't know if we will ever move it toa ull time
bushes.” said Larry. "The fun for us is being able to
create pieces and seeing people enjoy it."
Modestly, Diana takes the sidelines beside her hus-
band when it comes to talent.
"Larry's really the master craftsman in this house,"
Some of his pursuits include leatherwork, jewelry
and drafting. He taught drafting in high school in the
late 60s, he said.
"That seemed to be a real natural for me," he said.
"It's always been a very positive part of my back-
It helped him build their home and it taught his stu-
dents the relationship between the school program and
the real world, he said.
He taught house design in his classes and had stu-
dents who went to work in design right out of school.
But his first love is designing and making furniture,
as well as refinishing pieces.
“My real j joy and Satisfaction comes in fumiture, "he.
Take the tour = Deginning § in the Prhilyre room.
Larry motions to a hutch on one wall.
"A friend cut the walnut for this," he said.
And in a corner is a corner cabinet he restored and
rebuilt, which Diana estimated to be about 100 years
old. It belonged to her grandmother.
He took it to an auto shop and sandblasted it so the
surface has a raised grain finish.
made with seven-day movement and four different
- chime sets. The wood i is maogany Ul that he ot in
Larry and Diana Allen stand beside the cradle Larry made for their grandson after seeing one like it in an
"That's a good convenient way to remove paint,"
Larry said. "Especially when you don't have access to
It was put together with wooden pegs.
Diana said he favorite piece is the grandfather clock
in the foyer. Larry designed it and made it from
"scratch," he said.
"It's an original -- not another one like it," he said,
saying he threw away the plans after he finished it.
They got the works at Spruce Pine. They're German-
he Larry usually gets his wood from trees he cuts
down. Then he takes the cut trees to a saw mill and has
them kill dried.
~ Another eye-catching piece is the front door, which
also came from Diana's grandmother's home.
"You can tell it's old by the wooden pegs it's put to-
gether with," she said.
Larry made the stained glass that's inset in the top
Larry Allen a handy couple
Story and Photos
half of the door, and Diana did the needlework across
On to one of the children's rooms.
In it rests a bed that Larry used a lathe to rope the
"This is not just wood-working," he said.
You have to be a mathematician, too, to plan the de-
grees of cutting in the posters.
Besides using a lathe, he likes to use his chisels,
which he made in college to do the intricate roping and
reeding on the beds.
In the comer on a desk is a stained glass lamp Larry
And across from that is a huge cedar chest he made
for one of the daughters.
In one of the bedrooms sits a wooden rocking chair
and a jelly cabinet.
And in Aaron's room, a queen size bed with reeding
on the posters sits in the center of the room. Larry built §
the cabinetry and study area across one end of the
For the master bedroom, a shaving stand is in one
corner. It's a Christmas gift, the first thing Larry ever
made for Diana.
Below the bed is a blanket chest and the bed itself is
a design Larry constructed in college. Opposite the bed
is a secretary with curved cabinets inside.
"You can tell quality because of the dovetail joints
* cut by hand," said Larry.
He also built the triple dresser to complete the suit.
They keep a cradle that has been used by Diana's
mother down through her own grandson.
"Larry salvaged it," said Diana.
Downstairs in the basement/recreation area, a large
cradle rests waiting for more grandchildren. Larry saw
one like it at an antique show and patterned his own.
The cradle rocks gently when you pull out the stop-
When his grandson got older, he made a crib out of
Does he ever make mistakes?
Of course, he said.
"I just cut it off and do another one," he said, smil-
Larry Tately has gotten into making specialty items
for sale. In the middle of the basement is an example
of one item -- a dinette of wood with bears painted on
the back of the chairs.
> "It's very popular with grandparents,” he said. He is
making one set for a lady with no children. She just
likes to collect bears.
When does Larry find time for all his hobbies?
"Between 9 and 10 p.m. and 1 and 2 a.m.," he jokes.
"Really, when other people are on the golf course,
that's when I'm in my workshop."
Diana did the needlepoint "Welcome."
= - — st r= mie ee ~ — - i. x m =
Diana opens the front door that belonged to her grandmother's house. Larry made the stained glass and
Diana Allen's favorite piece -- a grandfather clock Larry designed and made from "scratch."
A) maf ein.