Last week we drove to VA to do some work on the old farmhouse.  We try to recycle materials that are still in good usable shape before buying new.  As I mentioned before, the rules are DIY (when possible), cash-only tight budget, recycle materials (when possible), use local help/businesses (when we cannot DIY).  As promised, here is the budget/costs of the work we did.

The total cost for this agenda was $2,125.35 and this was under budget.  It included:

  • Food – $104.47 (This is thanks to my sister and brother-in-law who fed us at night, and let us stay with them during that week).  Guys you rock!
  • Gas – $408.65 – This includes the round trip from Jersey to Virginia, as well as the everyday drive from my sister’s home to the farmhouse which takes about an hour.
  • Materials – $902.23 – This included door, storm door, wood, paint, hardware, special tools to do the job that we did not have at hand, and other miscellaneous needed.
  • Services – $710.00 – This included the complete bug treatment and the termite treatment.  The bug treatment was inside and out, and the termite treatment included the drilling and the trench building around the house.

So far, we have kept ourselves on budget, however, I think that the plumbing situation and possible dry well (according to some neighbors’ stories), will affect our budget; however, no need to worry about that just yet.  The roof estimate is also $1,000 over what we estimated but this is due to extra work that they have to do.  According to some people we talk to, we are getting a good deal.  We are doing this restoration in steps, planning our budget for each stage, and dealing with issues as related to a particular stage, which makes it less overwhelming.  The goal is to restore the home to its old beauty, as close as possible to what it looked like when it was built, over 100 years ago, which only means that fancy and modern materials do not belong in the project, which keeps our budget low.  In addition, reusing, repurposing, and recycling applies.  We are not changing the layout or opening any walls/spaces; it will be done as it was done when the house was built.  The look we are going for is farmhouse early American, a bit rough and old-fashioned.  The goal is to capture the feeling of stepping back in time about 100 years.  One thing I have to say is that it works for us but not for a lot of people; some people may not like it at all, and may think that we are either,

  • insane/crazy
  • hungry/poor
  • tacky or cheap
  • in bad taste
  • city slickers
  • foreseeing a divorce
  • hippies
  • suffer from obsessive behavior

While other people will

  • love it
  • be inspired to do the same or follow their bliss
  • admire us and give us credit for the undertaking of such project
  • benefit from learning how to do things without the need of credit cards and on a low-budget
  • appreciate the simple life
  • understand our taste
  • wish us well

It is not an easy job.  My first (and I hope only) meltdown came unexpected.  Little did I know that after a beautiful country ride, passing by the many creeks that have the most unusual (and cute) names – Pan fry creek, Potter’s creek, Piggs creek – ahead, my first unexpected meltdown was waiting for me, as I sat down, for about an hour, crying inside the air-conditioned truck, mindless of that fact (waste), and feeling entitled to some comforts, while looking at the blister on the palm of my hand and feeling sorry for myself, while my husband looked amused at my out-of-the-sudden-tamtrum, which was caused by the same overgrown grass/bushes that we have to cut on every trip, and the black widow lurking on one of the tractors.  After I had a snack and enjoyed the comforts of the truck, I was ready to tackle the job.

Here are a few pictures of the job we did on this trip and the area.

The beautiful and inspiring roads.

The lovely morning sky.

A foggy morning.

Waking up before the moon goes to sleep.

The farmland of many dreams.

The happy signs we pass by.

One of two rainbows I saw that day.

An adorable visitor – calico mom to be.

Chemtrail formation – I saw many on that day.

Historic Chatham

Downtown and some historic buildings.

The tractor batteries had to be charged, as they died.  The machines had to be blown with a leaf blower to make sure there were no spiders hiding.

The grass is cut, after the meltdown.

Black Widow Eggs?  We found tons of those around.

The bug people arrived to the rescue.  I loved this friendly company and how they helped us right away.  They rock!

We removed the damaged wood in the kitchen floor.

Replaced with new wood but were unable to nail because the plumbing underneath burst, and we will need access to it.

Busted Pipes.

Rotten back door and weak floor/wall.

Condition of rotten floor, subfloor, frame.

Weak wall

Removed door and frame leaving a non-standard opening.

Removed piece of subfloor and floor to fix the weak areas underneath while lifting the room.

New door and screen door installed once everything was fixed.  This blue is the original color of the house as we found out when we saw the first layer of paint on the porch ceiling.  I had picked this color way before we discovered it; I guess the house spoke to me.  We were unable to fix the steps which need to be cemented and painted.  The railing we kept, painted it, and maybe in the future it will be replaced with a fiberglass railing which does not rot, hopefully recycled or made with recycled materials.  We still need to install a door plate, maybe next trip.  We built the awning trying to mimic what it would look during that time, using tin and wood.  Here are more pictures of the back door and awning.  It is not crooked, I assure you, the pictures came out like that.  We used a level all the time.

So the back door went from this to this.

Once we fix the steps, paint them and paint the aluminum siding it will look better, but for now, it is an improvement.

Hope you enjoy this project.