Saturday, November 5, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Cute ideal!  Using Ceramic tiles for house number placard.

I suppose I should offer up a little more information about my house. As you know my house was built in 1881. The architecture is pretty much none existent at this time due to a remodel remuddle in the 1960's by the former long term owner.  Here's a bit of history on the house...

The prior owners lived in this house for 51 years. When we purchased our home in 2000 we were the first "outsiders" to live in this home for 85 years. Prior to that the home was strictly generational. When the house was originally constructed the home was 1 of 3 tenant farmers residence, all which belonged to the gentleman farmer (whose very large Queen Anne Victorian, which sits atop a hill overlooking my property). The original owner actually owned over 2000 acres.  Can you imagine?

The three tenant farm homes were very modest in construction--clapboard siding and wood shingled roofs. The original layout consisted of pseudo great room and a loft. The great room was divided  by fireplace into a modest kitchen (of sorts) and a sitting parlor.  The loft was accessed by a ladder.

There was a a common cookhouse used by the tenant families in the summertime. A summer cookhouse was used for multiple reasons. 1) It could serve great number of people at once 2) Due to the elevated temperatures in the summer and 3) The biggest concern was fire since the houses are of timber construction. I am told there was an outhouse but I am still not sure where on the property it was located.

Indoor plumbing and electric was installed some time 1910-1920. I still have tube and knob wiring for 3 rooms of my house (which scares the bejeezus outta me!) but we haven't been able to (afford) rewire the house yet. We are hoping next year! Our housed passed inspection when we purchased it. The electrician said the wiring is still tightly wrapped and doesn't show any signs of oxidation--which is good. It apparently was a quality job.
Street side view

Over the years the rooms were divided and rooms added on. The former lean-to porch is now the kitchen. A partial second story was added in the 1950's, which resulted in a bathroom and bedroom addition. A carport and garage were constructed in the 1970's.  The well was slabbed over and a block shed was installed over the slab in the 1940's-1950's. The patio which is located between the back of the house and front of the garage sits  over what was once the cistern.

We have a dungeon cellar and stone foundation.  This was HAND dug by the prior owner in the 1950's and all of the dirt and debris was carried up in buckets via a ladder  because no stairs were installed.  He then poured his own concrete slabs by mixing in a wheelbarrow and transferred via buckets to the cellar.  Such amazing stories!

The largest of the rooms is no more than 12x12 and the smallest  is the spare room closet (aka my craft room) which measures a diminutive 3 x 6 feet. When our daughter was living at home that bedroom was the master which means that was the master closet AND the only true closet in the entire house! We had to shimmy in sideways because it was a "walk-in". Good times, not!

The final dimensions are Living Room (12x12), Dining Room (8x10), kitchen (12X10), 1st floor 1/2 bath (4X6), laundry room (5x6),  up 10 stairs for the 2nd floor which consists of  the Master bedroom (12x12), dressing room  (6x14),  full bathroom (6x7) and the L shaped spare bedroom room (10x13, 8x6). If you count all of my hallways and unusual nooks, I have a grand total of ~ 985 square feet of living space!  Rather small by today's standards.

Former side porch is now the main entrance.
Our house has standing seam metal roof -with the exception of the "addition" and that has normal shingles. Most metal roofs (if maintained) will last upwards of 100 years! Based on inspection we were informed ours is now pushing 90-95 yrs.  An interesting fact--visible in the attic is the ORIGINAL wood shingles under the metal roof. Pretty cool, huh?

My house actually has 4 doors. This picture was once used as a side porch but  is now our main entrance.  We have a 2nd door from our kitchen to the carport, the 3rd is located smack dab in the middle of my living room facing street-side-(we don't use it and have plans to convert it a window) and the 4th and final door is located at the bottom of my stairs from the carport. That is weird because it appears to float several feet from the ground. Unfortunately if you want to get any furniture to the second story that is the only way to move stuff upstairs.

And speaking of stairs, while mine aren't so creaky since they are relatively new (installed in the 1950's) since the addition was put on. They are incredibly steep and narrow! More than 1 person has in this house has rode the stairs on their bum. OUCH!

View of the garage and house from back field.
The original clapboard has long been covered with aluminum siding. You can hear it contract and expand as the weather changes (it makes a popping noise). We don't have any plans yet to remove it, however we have located several contractors who will paint it.

As for the property, we have about 0.65 acre. The lot is narrow (~65 ft.) but long (365 ft).  Can you say football field?  It is great for running my dogs though! We have a creek that runs the back edge of our property which is great until the torrential rains happen. It changes from a sleepy trickle to a roaring river. It is especially scary when it floods, although (knock on wood) my house hasn't flooded in over a hundred years.

Well that is pretty much all I can tell you on the history of the house. With one exception. When were house hunting I saw the pictures of this house (and they looked horrible), so I refused to come look at it. The realtor showed us 12 other houses which had great pictures--but were horrible in reality. Finally in desperation we agreed to come view this house.

Immediately upon pulling in the driveway, I was struck by the resemblance to my Nanny and Pawpaw's house. Yup it was sooooo totally a grandma and grandpa house. We walked in and it felt warm and inviting (just like someone had hugged you). Never mind the dated ugly stuff--it just felt right. The hubbs and I grinned at each other. This was the ONE! It was home.

That is the great thing about older homes. They have a soul. So many people have passed though those doors. Loved and lived their lives. You can not but feel that energy! So despite all of the quirks and inconveniences of this old house- and that it is a bit dated and worn- we are very happy with our home.

"Home, the spot of earth supremely blest, A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest"  Robert Montgomery

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