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08/21/2016

On the House | Boy's Lego job: Design, build model Parade home

The Columbus Dispatch

Sunday August 21, 2016
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Jonathan Quilter | Dispatch
Jacob Dickman, 14, of Worthington, holds a Lego model he made of the house behind him from looking only at a photo of the home which is part of Jerome Village and was built by Compass Homes.

Jacob Dickman spent much of his summer in his room with Legos.

That might sounds like a waste of three months until you understand that Jacob was paid for his efforts.

At 14, the Worthington High School freshman is the youngest designer to be featured in next month’s Parade of Homes.

Jacob’s creative contribution is a Lego model of a home being built by parade participant Compass Homes.

He started the summer as a kid messing with Legos. He will end it on Sept. 15 telling thousands of strangers about his creation during the event's “meet the designers” night.

“I’m a little nervous and excited, too,” he told me in the kitchen of his Worthington home.

Jacob has worked with Legos for as long as he can remember, but he certainly never entertained the idea of becoming a professional Lego builder. He hadn't even constructed many buildings. His tastes run to spaceships, although he did build the Hogwarts castle once from a kit.

Pamela Cinelli, Compass Homes' sales and marketing director, had the idea of presenting the lower level of the company’s parade home as a Lego room, and the company's publicist, Barb Burgie, suggested a Lego model of one of the builder’s homes. (They decided against Compass Homes' Parade model because its white exterior would have been a bit dull in Legos, Burgie said.)

But who would build it?

Burgie sought a solution by posting a query on Facebook's Worthington Moms Discussion Board searching for a “Lego expert.”

Jacob’s mother, Kerry Dickman, responded as a mother would: “If you are seriously considering a kid, message me with more details. He could use a summer project.”

Soon the deal was struck. Compass would buy the Legos and pay Jacob $150 to build the home.

Jacob started by spending a week designing the house using a program called Lego Digital Designer. The program calculated that he needed 2,227 Lego pieces for the home, at a cost of $600.

That led to the hardest part of the project: Tracking down all the pieces. Little by little, Jacob and his mother found the right pieces using Lego’s “missing bricks” service.

Throughout the summer, Jacob built what he could, then waited for the parts.

After about 10 shipments, the house was well along, but Jacob and his mother were worried. They couldn’t find the right pieces for the roof’s ridge. Finally, after unsuccessfully checking the Lego site every day, Dickman hit pay dirt on the secondhand Lego exchange BrickOwl.

Jacob finished the home on Aug. 11, well before the parade, which will be held Sept. 3-18 in the Verona subdivision on the site of the former Shamrock Golf Club near Powell.

Jacob is enrolled in Worthington’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program and hopes to study engineering. Toward that end, he sees the Lego project as useful.

And what about a sideline building Lego models?

“Yeah, maybe,” he said.

Jim Weiker writes on home and garden topics. Reach him at 614-461-5513 or by email.

jweiker@ dispatch.com

@JimWeiker

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