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  • Writer's pictureRichelle

Falling in Love...With an Old House

How has it been so long since I sat down to blog? Time has a way of marching ahead of us, and I am left running after it trying to catch up! As we come to the close of this year I wanted to reflect of what brought us here in the first place. What was it that made us take the plunge into our abandoned house journey in the first place?

What made us fall in love with our old house? Was it the floor plan, the original trim work, the 6' windows flooding the house with natural light, the stately chimneys, the ability to live debt free or the historic small town charm of the neighborhood? It was truly a combination of these areas, and a desire to bring the house back to its former glory as well as put our own stamp on the property while respecting its history.

The floor plan was what caught our eye first. Having lived in over 30 houses in my life and being an unofficial house designer since I was a young girl, (coming home from a visit somewhere and redesigning someone's' floor plan). I believe I have a good feel for a comfortable flow in a house. Now, what the flow is that works for us, may not be what works for others. Every family has its own dynamic, and how we use the space we live in is all very individualistic. I am a homebody by nature, I would be happy to putter around and never leave home, except for daily walks around our small town of course! I love to cook, and sew, and I'm homeschooling, and Jeff has his office at home, and his shop out back - so we are using our home quite a bit.

You would call our floorplan a modified and extended foursquare- as it does not have the typical four over four room arrangement. The first floor consists of five rooms total, plus the bathroom addition off the back that was added in the 20's to the existing porch. Then upstairs are six rooms, plus the "sleeping porch" over the addition, and this floor includes the original bathroom. Every room has solid old growth pine floors, including the kitchen and bathrooms.

Despite the three unique chimneys, a slate roof, a full front wrap around porch. Colonial revival style columns, a front and back staircase, and 2 original fireplace mantles, this is truly not a grand or fancy house - in its day foursquare houses were loved for their simple, sturdy design - not overdone like the "true" Victorian houses were. The main rooms have a comfortable flow - with wide cased openings and double pocket doors between the foyer, living, and dining room that keeps the house very "open", especially for it's day. The original 3 bedrooms are all upstairs, and the main floor has an additional room attached to the bathroom that was most likely a study or family room, and we will use as a master bedroom. So, we would consider this a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house, with a couple of extra rooms like the trunk room, the front office room, and the back enclosed "sleeping porch".

The windows are amazing. They are each 6' tall, with wide trim, and mostly original wavy glass. Jeff's intention is to preserve the original windows and glass as much as possible, and will need to rebuild and fix them as we restore rooms. Did I mention there are 25 windows? and of course, each window needs to be worked on, many are coming apart due to neglect over the years. What, this house was neglected? In some ways, neglect is good, because it preserved the original features of the house. The wood floors were never sanded in a majority of the house. An amazing and happy find for Jeff, as many old homes have had so many floor sandings that the wood is thin and needs to be replaced. For a house that's over 100 years old, It is holding up well.

All of these amazing features are now ours to be stewards over. Renovating this old house, ties in with our beliefs that it is our job to preserve history - and retain the quality materials and craftmanship that cannot be duplicated today simply because these materials are not all available to us in the way they were 100 years ago. Anyone who has taken a trip to the home improvement store lately can attest to the high prices of materials and especially lumber, and the inferior quality in these products. By preserving this one old house - we are able to transform it for hopefully generations to come, and Jeff and I are able to share our story and knowledge with others who might want to begin their own renovation journey.

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Dec 31, 2021

Great post, Richelle! Love the passion you and Jeff share for restoration, and for solid design. Can't wait to see this home restored to its pristine glory days!

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