Art of Aging: Never too old to build

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So many products are produced by machines these days. But we found a local carpenter and artist who, at 84 years young, is still creating beauty with his hands. (WPVI)

So many products are produced by machines these days.

But we found a local carpenter and artist who, at 84 years young, is still creating beauty with his hands.

Richard Scarlett bought his home, which was built in 1749, 6 years ago.

It was dilapidated, but he saw possibilities. He had acquired carpentry skills as a boy on a summer job.

"I said, 'Boy this is fun,'" says Scarlett. "And I saw a guy hang a door, and I said, 'Oh my, I can do that.'"

Since then, Scarlett has built homes and carved furniture non-stop. He built the original homes in Browns Mills, New Jersey.

"One of my best friends lives in a house I built 50 some years ago in Country Lakes," he said.

In his workshop, Richard still does amazing things with cedar and oak, including a massive table completed in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

"It was so fun to have everybody around the table," said Scarlett's daughter-in-law, Jill. "It's a masterpiece."

The house is filled with beautiful creations: carvings, cabinets, picture frames and more. Scarlett sees beauty where others might see debris.

His daughter, Liz, stocks some of her dad's furniture in Scarlett Alley, a store she owns in Philadelphia.

"That's his signature piece, the grandmother clock," she told us. "I'm inspired by it. I love that he's so creative."

Richard, typically, plays down any talk about "artistry" or "masterpieces."

"Well, I never thought of myself as an artist," he laughs. "I'm just a regular guy."
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healthart of aginghealthsocietychristmasmacy'sphilly newsCenter City Philadelphia
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