Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Few Peeks Inside The Farmhouse!

Still a bit embarrassed by the mess and clutter, but I thought you'd like at least a bit of a look around inside. These pictures are from the end of May, and we've made a bit of  progress since then. Much of the house has been closed off over the last 12 years or so after a death in the family. Only one elderly man was living there, and he didn't use much of the space, so please excuse the dust, dirt, clutter, and general unkempt appearance. We are just starting some renovations at this point. You have to look at this place for the potential, and not what it appears to be right now. I know it looks daunting, but we've already renovated one old house, so I'm used to the challenge. *s*

These are in no particular order...

If you've been following my farm blog posts, you know all about the magnificent fireplace in this place. This woodbin is in the kitchen, and it served the antique cast iron cookstove that heated the room. That went with the owner, and my 40" double oven stainless steel combi fuel range will take its place. We moved the wood out, and might put shelves in this bin.

The man who lived here was a mason by trade and brickwork is his artform. This freestanding piece sheathed the original propane gas range, which had seen its better days. We hauled it out, and will refurbish this as a center island and some kind of cabinet area with shelves and a counter top.

The kitchen does lack adequate lighting, but it is well set up for cooking, with lots of cabinet and counter area, and no table in the midst of it to interrupt the work flow. The door you see open to the right is the entryway to the ell, and past that is the living room, bath and bedrooms in the main part of the cape. The kitchen has had the most renovation over the years. As dirty and scuffed as it is, I this slate floor!

On the end of the ell facing the barn is the dining room. This is the south end, the left faces toward the driveway. The owners went with barnboard trim and wainscoting, which I like, except for snags and slivers. Some of it is beat and crumbly, so down the road, I might change to something else, but will keep the small shelf rail and wide trim ideas. The beams above are original to the house, the crossties were removed to raise the ceiling height. Furniture was left behind and we are finding pieces that work for us. Some of it has already been moved.


A bit dark in this shot, but this is the other end of the dining room that faces north. That brick counter has a butcher block top like all the rest of the cabinets. The chimney is in the middle of it. I love the look of brick, so for me this is a plus.

Little details like this charming cubby of storage space really make me feel at  home here. You can tell someone loved this place. *s*

Looking toward the kitchen from the dining room. The ell is about 30' long and contains both rooms. I love the way they vaulted the ceilings but left the old chestnut cross beams exposed.

The dining room windows are deep set, great for plants. We will be replacing all these old windows as we go along. 

They let in a lot of light. This middle one faces due west and has a fantastic view of the sunset over the barn.

This will be my dream kitchen someday! The cabinets were made by a local man out of old shipping pallets, and the ones on the right open on both sides. Very convenient to the kitchen table, which is right along the wall, beneath a window on the right. The counter surface is heavily polyurethaned hardwood strips that have been bolted together and trimmed with thick edging. That was done by the owner and his son when their cabinet maker passed away suddenly. The big overhead beam is held and strengthened by iron pipe hangers set at an angle to one another. That grid that holds the end of the floating cabinet on the right top is made in a machine shop by the owner's son to look like a hay rack from a barn. You have to love those homey touches and the history of this place!

That's the potrack I begged to buy from the owner at first sight hanging from an original hand hewn chestnut beam. It was a flea market find for another friend of the family. It will see a lot of use in my kitchen! In the background you can see the owner-built chimney with the flue for the cookstove, we will have to close that up. The beam was cut to accomodate it but the owner made some clever iron bracing and added antique horsehoe 'hooks' to it. How can you not love this place?

Looking toward the trestle kitchen table, which appears to be maple and I also asked to keep. I sat there many times with Bev, watching the swallows, deer, and hummingbirds and drinking wine from small vineyards they visited on their vacations in the motor home. Yes, the window is broken and will be replaced, but it is shut for now. That bookcase divider has been moved to the dining room to hold my cookbooks and open up the space to allow better traffic flow. The desk behind it is owner built and will be left in the dining room in another spot so that I can move my bigger family dining table in there. That area between rooms will likely get a short railing of some kind as the kitchen floor is higher than the dining area by a good 6". Don't want anyone backing a chair off the edge! A railing will divide the space without making it feel closed in.

Those top cabinets that float have bypass doors with copper colored plastic panels that look like punched metal. They open on both sides and are a bit narrow, and have a little sag to them. We are working on a support system to strengthen the bottom middle without adding a pillar support and using up counter space. I sure do love all the kitchen cabinets in this place!

One last look at the ell, from the doorway to the rest of the cape. That kitchen is the heart of this home. Always has been in any house I've ever lived in. I love to cook and entertain with food, and this will be a lovely place to do that. It has a great view of the garden too.

The living room is open floor plan in the center of the cape. Not a large room because it is dominated by the massive fireplace that is to the left and out of the picture.The chimney you see next to the couch hides the flue to the oil hot water heater. The ceilings are low here. I'm not crazy about the dark paneling but it will stay for now. Excuse the clutter, we are moving things around.

The bathroom is usable but will need updating. The toilet had to be replaced, that would be to the immediate left, and the tub beyond that is OK, as is the tub surround. I like the tub, it is beige pink porcelain on cast iron and low enough to be comfy getting in and out of. The sink can stay for now, but needs new faucets, these are worn and on high they splatter you and the floor. The ceramic tile floor looked OK, but proved to be loose and there are signs of mold and mortar breakdown beneath it. We'll get to that, it's been mopped and disinfected for now. No towel closet but we will improvise with that counter top and some creative storage solutions. There is plenty of cabinet below the sink for other stuff.

This is the room we figure was the master bedroom. Like many old houses, there is no closet space. The floor in here is the best of the bedrooms, but it and the old plaster and wallpaper walls need work, and the windows have to be replaced. We left the ratty curtains for now as the windows face the highway. We'll likely sheetrock the entire room and upgrade windows and electrical at the same time. Lots of labor but well worth the effort.

This is the middle bedroom, which has as one wall the back of the fireplace, and has a two panel folding door to the master bedroom. It has just the one window now, which was the original entrance doorway to the cape in the days before the highway was so busy. This room has the worst walls and ceilings of all three bedrooms, and the floor is not good either—safe enough to walk on but crowned and ripply, covered with icky old linoleum. Everything gets gutted here and the door goes. It just has the one window. I am told that if you run the fireplace at all in the winter, this room stays toasty warm from the brick mass, so I figure that will be a good bedroom for my mother.

Looking down the hallway from the edge of the living room area. The fireplace would be to my left and the three bedrooms are on that side, which faces the highway. That is the other door out, and it faces the driveway and garden. To the right is the cellar door, and what we call the utility room that contains the attic stairs is just beyond.

The third bedroom at the end of the hallway to the left. This one is larger than the middle room and has two windows, one facing the highway and one facing the front. It also shows lots of old water damage on the wallpaper from when the roof was bad years ago. This floor is about the worst feeling, it has a springy give to it as you come in the door. All this will be attended to as we go through the rooms one at a time this year. The heat here is oil fired forced hot air but at one time must have been oil fired circulating water, because there are still lengths of old baseboard radiators in several rooms. Several of the bedrooms have been used for nothing but storage since the owner's children grew up.

The funny corners you see in some of these rooms are posts from the post and beam construction of the place. Someone wallpapered over them. I hope we can get all the debris off so they can be left exposed!

We call this the 'utility' room because it is too small to make much of a bedroom, and contains the door leading to the attic stairs. It has a door that shuts and a window that looks out over the driveway to the left. Old water damage signs in here too, nothing recent at all. Yeesh—that is the most gawd-awful wallpaper I've ever seen in my life!

Looking back toward the living room, you can see the bathroom and laundry room next to it. That doorway to the immediate left leads to the cellar. The bedrooms are to the right, and so is that big old fireplace I love.

Yeah we're going to have our work cut out for us in this old house, but I wouldn't trade it for all the modern places in the world. This farm has a sense of history, and it has a loving, welcoming feel to it. I want to see this place restored—perhaps not to its original glory—but to the original intent. It was meant to be a home and a comfortable lifestyle for a family and it should become that once again. A lot of elbow grease and expense, but hey, what better things do we have to do with our time and money? Besides making a living and writing that is...

Next time on the farm, some pictures of wildlife, and my new garden going in! 

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