It’s official. We’re homeowners once again. And it’s not just any home, it’s my family’s homestead. Never did I dream I would be able to own the home that has been my family for generations. (I’ll be the sixth generation to live there.) It’s the home where my mom grew up and the home I spent countless hours in with my grandma and grandpa in the summer. I am so excited to take you along on this journey with me. And oh, what a journey it already has been.
To give you a little history, the home was built sometime around the mid-1800’s. We know that the original 88 acres was given as a dowry to my great-great-great grandfather for marrying my great-great-great grandmother. And while we’re not going to be buying the entire 88 acres (just 5.5 acres to be exact) the fact that the home will continue to be enjoyed by my family and another generation is so incredibly special to me.
Unfortunately, the home is showing it’s age. But the good news is, it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. I grew up in another home built in the early 1900’s so I’m not naive to the amount of work it will take to bring it back to it’s former glory – or the fact that every old home needs love continually. But it’s what I’ve dreamed of doing . So often I see old farmhouses neglected to the point where they reach the point of no return. I’ve seen perfectly beautiful old farmhouses torn down because something “new” was desired in their place. And to be honest, it hurts my heart every single time I see it.
They don’t build them like they used to is a phrase that has already come to mind many times as we’ve worked with our contractor to create the plan for our new-old home. The house is built like a fortress and the woodwork is beautiful. The original siding (underneath the blue siding you see in the pictures) is 2 inches thick and is solid oak. And while I love this house because of the memories it holds for me there, I also love it because it’s an old home that we’ll be able to breath new life in again.
Exciting, right?! We’re probably a little crazy. We’re putting three times more money into the home than what we bought it for. But at the same time, we could not purchase a home of that size with the details and woodwork for what our final cost will be. It’s all priceless to me anyways. Thank goodness for a supportive husband. 🙂
Check out our backyard view! Each week I plan to share with you the progress as we update the home. We’re putting in as much sweat equity as we can – but we’re leaving the big projects to the professionals.
One of the first things we worked on was removing all the wallpaper. I somewhat laugh as I look at the above picture. I thought it was so incredible awesome to see all the layers. I thought of my ancestors living here as they picked out the details for each room.
This is the wallpaper on the wall of what will be my office. It was my Uncle’s room. Oh, how much I love this print, especially since I have two boys. And my goal was to save some of it.
That is, until we realized it had 5 layers underneath it – and a layer of paint. My office currently looks like it came out of a horror film – and it smells like one too. But as luck would have it, we found an entire roll of the cowboy wallpaper unused. My grandma really didn’t throw anything away. So I have a “new” roll to create something with.
The wallpaper was a nightmare to remove but we found that if you kept it wet with DIF and used a professional steamer, you could slowly – and I mean slowly – remove the layers in somewhat large chunks. It is a labor of love. A wallpaper steamer like this one will not work well for a job like this. We tried it. Instead we rented a steamer for $40 a day and it has worked much better. It’s really fun steaming up the room in 100 degree heat in the summer, too. 🙂
There’s a couple of things I learned this week. I will never paint over wallpaper if I ever want to remove it. Nightmare. I will never put wallpaper on my walls, because I might have to remove it. Really, no wallpaper will ever be put on the walls of this house since we’re removing all of it. It just wouldn’t be sane.
Yes, it would have been easier to drywall over the wallpaper. But I want to keep everything as original as possible. We plan to keep all the plaster in the home. And it looks like we’ll be able to do that except for one small hallway that is looking a little rough. Over 150 years, and the plaster is looking pretty good.
Thanks for letting me share. I’m literally off to remove more wallpaper. 🙂