It is just about every Harry Potter lovers dream to travel to the magical world. We all waited anxiously to get our Hogwarts letter in the mail, but sadly, it never came. For those of us who are the biggest Potterheads, we try to incorporate the wizarding world into our lives any way we can. We rewatch the movies, reread the books, share them with our loved ones, and find ways to celebrate Harry Potter all year long. Two Maryland parents recently went above and beyond to share their HP love with their daughter.
Katherine Pastas Nevitt and her husband, Matthew Scott Nevit are huge Harry Potter fans and they have passed down their appreciation of the series with their daughter, Vivienne. To celebrate her sixth birthday, Matthew and Katherine went all out and magically transformed their backyard into a piece of the wizarding world. They brought Diagon Alley to life in their yard and the results are absolutely breathtaking.
On Facebook, Katherine posted, “What do you do when your kids are big Harry Potter fans? You build them Diagon Alley, of course. Ollivanders, Flourish & Blotts, Madam Malkin’s and Mr. Mullpepper’s Apothecary – real shops that have working doors and windows. And yes, you can really, truly “buy” wizarding supplies from inside!”
It took the couple four weeks between July and August to accomplish this impressive feat. The floors and walls of the alley are made up of pallets, while the outside is painted to look like stone. They used repurposed china cabinets to recreate the windows. What is so impressive is that they were able to pull this off for almost entirely free by using recycled material they found through Craigslist ads, Second Chance Baltimore, and Habitat for Humanity. All in all, it cost them under $200 to accomplish bringing to life a movie-quality set piece for their daughter.
In their Diagon Alley, they were able to build a Flourish & Blotts, the bookstore that Harry, Hermione, Ron, and all of their classmates shopped at to purchase their Hogwarts textbooks. They built Ollivanders, the wand shop that many Hogwarts students purchased their first wand at. There is a Madam Malkins, the dress shop where Hogwarts robes are sold. And the couple also built an Apothecary that the students could purchase their potions supplies from.
After their daughter’s magical birthday, Katherine posted that the couple wanted to share their little bit of the Harry Potter world with others. They offered it for parties and photo shoots. The photographer who took the photos at Vivienne’s birthday party made a connection in the wake of Hurricane Florence.
While speaking with Apartment Therapy, Bridget from Bridget Slack Photography, explained how with the help of Laura Covington, they were all able to put on a charity photo shoot. Laura lost her home during Hurricane Florence, as her entire neighborhood in the River Bend area of New Bern was underwater. Even though she lost her own home, Laura sprung into action to collect donations for those who were affected by the storm.
“I asked Katherine at Diagon Alley Gambrills if I could use her venue to do a charity photoshoot. Katherine graciously donated the venue. In less than a week we put together the event. We had fantastic high school actor volunteers. The actors played merchants and portion makers in the stores. People paid $100 for the photos and brought donations and gift cards. I donated my time, editing and digital photo galleries to the families. Laura then drove all these supplies directly to the community. She spent the last week visiting families and passing out supplies. Laura is not done with her help for hurricane victims. She will continue to assist as all the families gut their homes and rebuild their lives. What I think is so magical is how the community came together.”
It just goes to show how strong the Harry Potter community is and what a beautiful way everyone can come together.