August 9, 2010

Labor of love

House being built rock by rock

By Betty Adams
Staff Writer

LITCHFIELD -- Larry Parlin promised his wife a stone home when they married some three decades ago.

click image to enlarge

Doris and Larry Parlin are building a home from stones adjoining their log cabin in Litchfield.

"WIth raising a family, it never materialized," he said. The couple has four grown children and four grandchildren.

Finally the Parlins sold their farm to a son, and this year Parlin began building a cool summer retreat on 27 acres in Litchfield.

"I'm making good on my promise," Parlin said, who has erected thick rock walls for a stone addition to their log cabin along Loch Sloy Lane. Both that name and the house are a nod to his Scottish ancestry.

The stone walls are now about five feet high, and plans call for them to reach 8.5 feet. The addition will have glass windows, doors, and a fireplace. The roof will be wood or metal, and plans call for an outside pizza oven as well.

"It's kind of a retirement dream type of thing," Parlin said. "I'll probably use it as a studio. I'm into music and hobbies. I'm a lifetime stamp collector."

The labor of love sometimes requires both Parlin and his wife Doris.

"I get to help collect the rocks and move the rocks a lot, but I don't really do much of the cement work myself," Doris Parlin said.

Larry Parlin, 58, has been constructing the building by hand all summer.

"I'm hoping to button the building down by late fall, "he said. "It takes a complete season to build any stone dwelling no matter what size it is. The rock walls are two feet thick and it takes a lot of stone to make them."

The material is Maine granite and mortar, and some of the rocks are as heavy as 80 pounds. A retired hospital corpsman, Parlin enjoys working with a trowel.

"I had a renowned mason friend show me a few tricks of the trade," Parlin said.

The Parlins named the road in honor of Larry Parlin's Scottish background. "'Loch Sloy!' is the battle cry for the MacFarlane (sometimes MacFarland) clan, meaning 'This I'll defend,'" Larry Parlin said.

He's Irish as well, he added.

They met after Doris graduated from Northland College in Ashland, Wis.

"I went over to ask him about a job in his antique shop which he ran out of his barn, and he just kept talking," she said. They married in 1978.

Last Friday, both Parlins had a day off from their regular jobs and were hard at work raising the walls. "So far it looks good," Doris Parlin said.

They built the log cabin themselves as well, beginning in 2004. Doris played a greater role in that project.

"I was mostly the log peeler and had to lift them in place for Larry until it got over my head," Doris Parlin said. "Then he had to get somebody taller."

The cabin has gas lights and a gas stove.

The addition stands near a maple sugar shack, another of Parlin's projects.

Next year, a post and beam structure is in the works.

The couple is closely tied to the town.

Doris Parlin is the town clerk, and Larry Parlin, who works at Litchfield Building Supply, is a former Litchfield selectman and a former part-time director of parks and recreation for the town. "He always said he wanted to work at a hardware store when he retired," Doris Parlin said. "Third time around he did.

Betty Adams -- 621-5631

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)