Hobby turns into labor-of-love homestead


Scott Turner, KP News

Maureen and Dave Hennessy live in their Key Peninsula dream home, surrounded by many skis and much love. Photo Scott Turner, KP News

When Maureen and Dave Hennessy were married in March of 2009, one of the vows Dave made was a promise that he would learn to ski.

Maureen (formerly, Maureen Borba) had been skiing since she was a toddler and it was something she couldn’t imagine not doing.

In fact, she was such a ski buff that she had been collecting old skis for more than 10 years and by the time she and Dave married, her collection numbered in the hundreds of pairs.

“I got them at garage sales and thrift stores and from friends who just gave them to me,” Maureen said at their home near Key Center.

At first she stored the skis in her parents’ garage, and then in her sister’s garage and, when she and Dave built their home on a piece of land Maureen inherited from her parents adjacent to Camp Seymour, the piles of skis moved to the new place.

And over the years the pile grew and grew: cross country skis, downhill skis, water skis and even a couple of surfboards. “It was a little bit of everything,” Maureen recalled.

Of course, Dave kept his promise and now the couple hit the slopes together as often as possible.

But that ever-growing pile of skis needed to be used for something.

“All those skis –– you have to blame Maureen for that,” Dave said with a chuckle. “She started collecting them before we met.”

Dave, who grew up in Kentucky, comes from a family of do-it-yourselfers. “My dad built our house on our farm and he was always making something or doing electrical work or plumbing and we were always out there helping him,” he said.

His first project was building a dog run from the skis.

“When my dad passed away, we inherited his two dogs –– and so we knew when we built the house we’d have to have a dog run,” Maureen said. “When we first moved in, we had a painting party indoors and a dog run-building party outside.”

But when the dog run was finished, there were still hundreds of skis left.

“I looked at that pile of skis and just had to do something else with it,” Dave said. “So I just started building a fence to keep the animals in. On-and-off, it took about three years to complete.”

“We have a total of 826 skis in the dog run and the fence,” Maureen said. “There are all sizes and shapes and colors and brands, all different heights and all mixed together.” And all with the bindings left on.

The ski fence and the dog run will probably last longer than traditional materials, because skis are made to last in all kinds of weather, she added. “And besides, it’s a little bit funky and different.”

“Maureen likes the weirdness of it –– all the different colors,” Dave interjected, eyeing his bride. “It’s all random, there’s no rhyme or reason.”

The ski pile is now considerably smaller than it originally was, but there’s still plenty of material for other projects.

So now Dave is making ski furniture, which fits right in with the other eclectic things in the couple’s home such as the huge clock in the kitchen, the old theater seats and the oversized dining table.

The next project will be a surfboard table for the new deck.

“The first surfboard is hanging out at the entrance to the property,” Maureen said, “It’s the big sign that says ‘The Hennessys’.

“At our wedding, we had everybody sign their names on the board instead of having a guest register. I don’t think anybody has anything like what we have.”

She acknowledged that Dave has put a lot of work into the place, coming up with uses for all those skis.

“I married the man of my dreams. He can do all my projects –– all my dreams and wishes. Not many people can say they have a fence made of skis,” she said with a grin.