We just could not do this project without my family. While it feels like a dream for all of us that we get to keep this house in the family, I know that it would not be possible without the countless hours my family is putting in to help us get there. I know we could not do it without them. Renovation is not for the faint of heart.
As I was scrubbing more wallpaper glue off the walls this weekend with my sister who drove down with her family to help, I thought about the HGTV shows I’ve watched with couples who want a “move in ready” home. I totally get it. To be able to move into a home right away means I’m not spending time away from my kids. It means less stress and less mess. But as I’ve watched my family work together towards this goal of bringing our family homestead back to life, I realize that this home is priceless to us. It will house many Thanksgiving meals and memories. This is only a season and the treasure in keeping the home for the next generation is worth every single bit of craziness right now.
Even without the sentimentality, bringing a house like this that was built so long ago, is needed. Too many houses are being cast away because they don’t fit today’s “open concept” but they are such treasures. The craftsmanship and the details that went into an old home are amazing. Every single thing we’ve had to take out (like the porch flooring in the kitchen) was built to last a lifetime. It really is amazing.
Okay, off my soapbox. I’m feeling all sentimental this morning. Do you want to see the progress?
One of the bigger projects this past week was removing the back patio area. It was not put in right decades ago and water was literally pouring into the back kitchen area. We are going to have the walls rebuilt this coming week since they are now rotten but wanted to have the patio out before that happened so we could see what was really going on.
The back area now looks like this. We kept the sidewalk to the driveway but the rest of the cement had to go. We plan to put the sidewalk back in to the back door and add more of a patio area for our outdoor table. The foundation is going to get beefed up so that the water problem will never happen again. I do find the irony in the fact that the worst part of the house is the newest. 🙂 We thought the kitchen addition was put on in the 40’s but now we’re thinking it was an original porch by the way the flooring was and the fact that there is no crawl space. At some point they sealed it in with siding and added windows.
You can see in the last picture a bit of our scrap pile in the back. We’ve been trying to make sure it stays separate and out of the dumpster so we can take it for recycling. We’ll get a bit of money out of it. Right now it’s our tacky pile in the back yard. 🙂
The tar paper came off this week and so we found some original surprises. The front living room had an additional window. That means four large windows in one room which is exactly what our master bedroom has right above it. We also found where there was a door to the porch that is now the bathroom. So that means the living room had two outside doors, four windows, a large entry way and a door to the hallway. No wonder they didn’t need air conditioning back then!
We also found where the outside porch/kitchen area had larger windows at one time. You can see above the small window that there was a larger window once there. The porch you see is also not original but we’re going to keep it as is with a new floor.
That has been one of the big decisions I’ve had to make this week. I needed to decide whether to go with wood for the porch flooring or go with more of a deck board. They have a thin deck board now that is tongue and groove so it will look like the old porch. We’ve decided to go with that so we never have to paint it. I’m currently waiting for a few samples so I can figure out what color. Most likely it will be a deep gray like most country porches are today.
This is a picture of my ancestors on the same porch. I’ve been using it for inspiration. I plan to put a porch swing on the side like they have in the picture. The bottom of the porch is block and I plan to put in more of a porch skirting that fits the time. I wonder what they were talking about when this picture was taken? 🙂
There was lots of work inside the house this week too. The plaster was taken off in the stairway for two reasons. One, it was buckled a bit since they had electric wire in the middle of it. It would have been hard to cover that up. Also, the new electrical had to run within the wall and it was impossible to feed it through not knowing what was behind it. Following code while updating an old house is really, really fun! 🙂
It’s a great picture of what lath looks like for those that don’t know. We don’t have ship lap in the North like they do in the South. These little boards hold up the plaster that makes our wall. We’ll be putting drywall over it, or they may remove the lath and then drywall. We’re going to leave that up to the professionals.
The attic is getting a floor later this week. After the new electrical is all in, we’ll put down the plywood. But before that, my husband is vacuuming everything out. This is where our perfectionist family attitude comes in. All must be clean before anything new can go in. As much work as it is, and as hot as it was this week, I’m glad I won’t be thinking about what is below the floor.
And finally, I’m trying to pick paint colors. I’m going to go with a light color for the entire house. My brain cannot function enough right now to pick colors for every single room. Therefore, I’m going with a light white that’s warm that will look good in every room. I’ll then add the pops of color with curtains and other decor. Right now, I’m leaning towards the ivory palace from Behr. It’s a great warm white with a bit of gray to it that looks good with the woodwork. It’s always important to test colors. I tried a few of the “most popular” white when I googled “farmhouse white walls” and they were so stark, I would have felt I was living in a hospital. It’s a whole new world when your trim is dark and not white.
Overall, the most exciting part of the week was getting to see the entire house with the original siding. I picked white for our new outside siding and so I’m really loving how I can picture that now. You can see the curves of the house so much more.
This week’s goals:
new wall in the kitchen addition
repair the foundation in the kitchen addition
The house should look very different next week!