A Firehouse Turned Home
Robert Harrison Restores an Old Smyrna Firehouse.
by Stacy Moser
The long-forgotten Smyrna Engine Company #3 Firehouse, built in the early 1930s, lay abandoned for decades after it burned almost to the ground in 1963. Then, in 2012, the property was purchased by construction company owner Robert Harrison, who has since restored it not only to its former glory, but also as a unique residence and event space.
Robert, a former professional musician, has a special affinity for the firehouse, as his hobby is welding artistic “pyrotechnic” sculptures that incorporate actual flames. He lovingly restored this firehouse to be his home, with quirky, creative architectural design elements around every corner. He says he’s a fan of transforming found objects by using them in nontraditional ways.
His kitchen features fire extinguishers made into pendant lights, reclaimed wood floors, beams and paneling and—his most prized possession—a porcelain sink from his grandparents’ house, where it was used to clean vegetables in the garden when he was a boy. A converted metal water-storage tank serves as a shower in the spacious bathroom.
He moved into the house in 2015 and was immediately approached by neighbors and friends, asking him to allow some of the rooms to be used as an event venue. “The home has played host to weddings, Indie Arts Alliance art shows, concerts and even neighborhood chili cook-offs,” Robert explains proudly.
• Pyrotechnic artist whose sculptures have appeared at many regional festivals, including Burning Man in Nevada.
• Owner of Flamewerx, where welding and metalworking are his passion, and Laird McKee Properties, Inc., a full-service residential construction company.
• www.flamewerx.com, www.lairdmckee.com