Provo couple uses pieces of outdoors to build ‘fairy houses’

Mar 19, 2018, 6:28 AM | Updated: Mar 20, 2018, 12:37 am

PROVO — If you ask Mike and Debbie Schramer, stories are the best way of understanding ourselves.

“Sometimes you want things around you that make you feel like they’re lending you their story a little bit,” Mike said. “I’m just real comfortable with fantasy, and being a different person, or being in a different time period.”

The couple’s shop is called “Fairy House Vintage Antiques & Art,” but calling it an “antique shop” isn’t entirely accurate — they have more than their share of artistic talent, and they specialize in refurbishing old artifacts and adding their own unique spin.

“This one table here was a 1929 Mother Goose book that was in bad shape,” Mike said, gesturing to a small desk with colorful illustrations on its surface. “But we saved enough pictures off of it to make a nice table.”

“We can find something that’s broken, and we can refurbish it, bringing life back into things,” said Debbie.

They were married in 1975 and readily admit to being self-described “reformed hippies.”

“We went through that,” said Debbie.

“Yeah, we were coming out of it,” Mike said with a laugh. “We didn’t find what we wanted in that. We got out of that.”

One thing that’s remained constant has been their shared love of art and antiques — and stepping out of their store’s main room makes the “art” part of their lives even more evident. Instead of an antique shop, it seems more like a prop house for a fantasy film.

Mike and Debbie call them “fairy houses.” They rescue natural materials from the outdoors to imagine what the home of a fairy might look like.

“Instead of paint and paper, we started using nature itself,” Mike said.

“There’s so much artistic beauty in nature,” said Debbie. “In a flower, or a leaf, or a branch. We like to bring that out so that people will be inspired to go out and walk in the woods or do gardening.”

With roofs made of moss, stairs made of driftwood or tiny chairs constructed out of seashells, every part of these miniature homes is natural. The art may seem a bit unconventional, but Mike says that’s the whole point.

“To help people see,” he said. “And they always see how beautiful it is when they take a walk, and they always feel refreshed when they come back, but we were giving them a way to see it more intricately, and you can read a fairy tale book, but when you see something like this, you feel like it’s really here.”

“Everyone grew up with fairy tales,” Debbie said. “They like to imagine themselves in the houses. That’s kind of a fun thing to do, to take your mind off of the world and all the things that go on, to try to just imagine yourself in a really happy, beautiful world.”

Fairy houses are a bit of a trend right now, but Mike and Debbie may have been the first to fabricate these fantasies.

“As far as I know, I mean we didn’t know anybody that was making things like this at that time, in 1987,” Debbie said.

And so, these pixie pioneers are helping to spread their fascination with fables — they’ve published two books, entitled “Fairy House” and “Fairy Village,” and have a third on the way.

“Through writing the first book, we found that yeah, we do have some things that people wanted to hear,” Mike said.

They hope to encourage others to follow in their fairy’s footsteps and help them construct their own magical mansions. Their shop is available for photo shoots, and they’re also planning on teaching classes on how to build tiny homes like theirs.

“We’ve had a lot of customers that said, ‘I used to do this as a kid,'” Mike said. “It’s not that foreign to them. People know how to dream.”

So while Mike and Debbie may have left the hippie lifestyle back in the ’70s, a part of it still lives on in a small room in an antique shop in Provo.

“We’ve at least held on to the love, yeah,” Mike said. “And trying to create a beautiful world.”

Mike and Debbie Schramer’s shop is located at 36 E 400 N in Provo.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

FILE: Entrance sign at Yellowstone National Park. (NPS/Jacob W. Frank)...
Alex Cabrero

Yellowstone north loop reopens for visitors, removes limited capacity system

Yellowstone National Park reopens its northern loop after floods hit the park in early June.
18 hours ago
The aftermath of a car fatal crash, three cars involved....
Michael Houck

One man dead after a three car crash on SR 9

One man is dead after a three-car crash on State Route 9 Friday afternoon. 
18 hours ago
Fire crews and police at the car crash into the Famous Footwear. (Credit: SLC PD)...
Michael Houck

Police: SUV crashes into Sugar House shoe store

Salt Lake City police are on the scene of an SUV crashing into a store in Sugar House Park Saturday afternoon.
18 hours ago
FILE: Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (Photo: Jacob Wiegand, Deseret News)...
Michael Houck

Utah AG sues major pharmaceutical retailers over opioid crisis

Utah's Attorney General's office filed a lawsuit against Walgreens, Kroger, and Rite-Aid for "actively exacerbating" the opioid crisis. 
18 hours ago
A semi-truck hauling over 200 beehives tipped on Interstate 80 on Monday. (KSL TV)...
Brittany Tait

Wasatch Beekeepers Association rescues millions of bees after I-80 crash

Roughly 24 million honey bees spilled out of a tipped semi-truck on Interstate 80, earlier this week.  
18 hours ago
A look from Chopper 5 shows just how dry feuls are along the Wasatch Front. (KSL TV)...
Mike Anderson, KSL TV

Chopper 5 shows why firefighters are on high alert for 4th of July weekend

With plenty of dry brush fireworks, and possible thunderstorms, much of the Wasatch Front is primed with the potential for wildfires.
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Provo couple uses pieces of outdoors to build ‘fairy houses’