Posts from the ‘restoring a farmhouse’ Category

Restoring an Old Farmhouse – Autumn Agenda 2012

It is time to set up the agenda for the next restoration trip, but this time we have a mix of chores.  Some require no money to complete and other chores do require a heftier budget.  We are at a point were some things have to be done first before continuing with some parts of the restoration and many of them are expensive.  Since – amazingly – the roof is not leaking (the biggest price tag), we decided to do that later and attack other issues.  Since we have to stretch the funds (playing by the rules is cash only), this agenda will be mixed and varied, with no particular day order, unlike past agendas.  Hopefully, we’ll get there before winter.

Here is a list of some things that we will attempt on that week.  This time, we don’t have to cut the grass since we hired someone who is doing the job monthly.  We may have to trim some overgrown trees.  This frees up an entire day and a half, so we can work on something else.  We will work on these things:

  • Set up part of the electrical
  • Gut the bathroom
  • Open the backroom floor and reinforce some woods
  • Spray for bugs again (last time we found another black widow spider when Eddie picked up a cement block outside – he was lucky that his fingers were not underneath it)
  • Patch up a wall
  • Deliver some material there.
  • Anything else we can work on if time permits.

I think this will keep us busy, but I am not sure that we will be able to finish everything on the list.  Lets see how we do this time.  As always, I will break down the cost and write a post plus pictures.


UPDATE 11/8/2012 – Due to the recent hurricane and setbacks we had to cancel this renovation until next year.

Mission Accomplished!

Mission Accomplished!  The trailer with our stuff has been delivered and Eddie was able to do some work in the agenda.  He was able to tackle everything on the list with the help of his b-i-l Tony.  Here is what the three-day agenda looked like:

  • Deliver and secure the trailer
  • Cut the grass
  • Trim some trees
  • Clean the old shed and empty its garbage
  • Pour cement on side
  • Get rid of old wood stove and water tank
  • Get rid of any bug nests on the inside and sweep clean
  • Get lawn tractor ready and tuned up for next grass cutting

All of it was done and here are some pics.

The Eagle has landed.
Tony laboring with the old lawn tractor.
Cleanup time!

More cleaning!
And more …
Some cement was poured to fix a tricky area.
Sweeping the old shed.  This shed is very old and made out of logs and mortar.  Eddie built that small wagon by scratch with scrap material – he saved over $150.00.
Beautiful old construction
The old tin roof still looks good on the inside.
The old well has been uncovered – It was covered in wild vines and stuff.
They even had some time to fix and old style railing that was rotted and falling apart.  Needs to be repainted.  The steps have to be cemented to look like the old ones and painted.
This concludes this trip’s agenda.  Soon, we’ll get there.

Hope you enjoyed this posting. 

Hitching the Trailer – Hitching the Future

Well, we accomplished what we head out to do.  The trailer is all packed with all our “important” belongings and ready to go.  We packed all we needed, three piece living room set,some pictures, beds,mattresses,some linens, tables, hutch, dishes and pots,dining table, chairs, new stove,dressers… and a bit more.  We had to play puzzle for a while to make everything fit into 16 feet of space – but we did. Except for some personal papers with sensitive info on them, everything else is packed and ready to go. Soon Eddie will take it to the farmhouse. 

I have found that the cats hate an empty house, since they don’t have where to climb and jump.  Now, it is running mania all over the space.  They have even gotten annoyed at each other at some times – interesting reaction.  It is time for them to get their summer coats and with no furniture around, cat hair flies all over and I find myself vacumming the entire place twice a day or more. 

With everything packed and just four glasses, a couple spoons, four coffee cups, a frying pan, a cooking pot, and four plates left, plus clothing and grooming essentials, we have managed to survive.  This presents a profound message to me – how little we really need to live day by day, and how much we complicate our lives with stuff.  We actually can function with what we have and the rest is truly excess.  Excess that is just to “make pretty” and useful when having guests and entertaining others.  I will probably rethink the 16 foot trailer once we are ready to unpack and simplify some more.

A heavy “do it yourself” restoration is ahead of us – that will be interesting, since the farmhouse needs to be gutted out. It will take us a few months of hard work and long days to do it, since it is only the two of us doing most of the work.  We still have to take down the walls and ceiling, and start fixing some rotted wood.  We have left the place empty and taken all garbage out, including ripping apart kitchen cabinets.  The farmhouse is now empty of stuff, except for an old heating stove and a water heater.  Here are some pics of the work we have ahead of us, some were taken before we cleaned up and ripped some stuff apart.

Kitchen before we ripped cabinets out – a true nightmare!
Other side
Other side
This stuff is gone now, rooms are empty
More craziness!  This farmhouse was abandoned for almost three years!
Leading to upstairs
Part of living room – tiny bathroom is there too.
Here’s one side of it.
Here’s the other side
Back room of the kitchen, floor needs repair.
The wood is fine here but needs sanding and repainting.
Here too!
Upstair, more sanding and repainting on this floor, the wood is actually good.
It is obvious that the home went thru some awful redecoration trances over the years, and later,through major neglect.  The rooms on this 100 year old farmhouse are actually pretty roomy, except for the back room and the bathroom (a later addition); the entry or foyer, living room, kitchen and two upstair bedrooms are an exact 15×15, the back room is a 14×11 and the tiny bathroom is 8×4.  This gives you an idea of the work ahead of us, but it should be fun, interesting non the least!  Hope you enjoy this post, till’ next one!


Benefits of a Tin Roof

We have been restoring the farmhouse little by little – step-by-step – all on a cash budget. While the progress is slower this way, it is our new way of doing things – slow but steady. Our next project is to replace the old tin roof with the same type of roof. The actual roof is 100 years old. In the beginning, we were not sure of what type of roof to use, but being that tin is one of the most durable materials used in old farmhouses, is lightweight, and can withstand the elements very well, we decided to use the same type of roof. Tin is also one of the cheapest materials, and is not corroded by rain or salt, and tin roofs are still on the market today. It is an economical solution to roofing, but also will go well with the architecture of the house, enhancing that yesteryear charm and appeal. Right now, we are in the process of obtaining local estimates before making the trip there.
There are many benefits to a tin roof besides its charming appeal:

• durability,

• economy,

• the musical sound of the falling rain on it,

• minimal maintenance,

• lightweight,

• metal resists mold, mildew, and damaging insects such as termites,

• insurance premium reduced in some states,

• energy efficiency,

• availability in many colors,

• tough and fire resistant,

• and longevity

I am sure that we will be very happy with the results, once it is installed. The only issue we are debating right now is if we want any color on it or the rustic appeal of metal tin, which is just historically charming.

When the Cows Come Home

We all have heard the popular phrase “till the cows come home,” referring to a long and indefinite period of time.  “I will party till the cows come home” is a good example of it.  However, what happens when the cows come home?  And if they do, are we prepared to receive them?  I have asked myself that question many times, and the answer is always the same – I’ll never know until I see them.

Preparing for life changes can be exciting, exhilarating, scary, and many other things; however, we won’t know until the cows come home.  We continue with our plans of leaving Jersey and moving to the country.  Although we are preparing for it, and are excited … we won’t know until the cows come home.  For now, all we can do is wait for them, and prepare for their arrival.  In a way, it is good that things happen a bit slow, it gives you time to appreciate the road, the roses, the thorns, and yes, it gives you time to wait for those cows.

Picture taken on our way to the farmhouse.  I guess some cows where having second thoughts and heading back.

Restoring an Old Farmhouse on a Budget 2

We are back to Jersey and proud to say that we accomplished most of the items in our list.  We work hard for two days putting more than 12 hour workdays, and headed back on Monday.  It was truly a work of love and we are exhausted.  We set out to create a garden, caulking, nailing the siding, put some solar lights, paint a shed, cut grass, fix the lawn tractor (that had a rag stuck on the blades and a missing wheel), do some cement work, cut some trees around the shed, clean some garbage and old metal cabinets,and fix the porch posts.  
From that list the only items we could not tackle due to lack of more time was the cement work and the porch posts.  The rest, Eddie and I completed in 16 hours of work. 

As promised on previous posts, here are the pictures for this trip agenda. 

We packed the truck to the max.

The truck was full with no more space to spare

The first thing in my agenda was to put a wreath on the fixed door.  Below is a picture of what this door used to look like when we first bought the house.
The porch before
Much better now, an improvement but still in the process.
The garden – well, there was no garden, only overgrown weeds – used to look like this after we cleared a path to the entrance on July.
We have been fixing a bit on our last trip and on this trip we finally created a bit of a garden.  We will continue to improve it over time.  Here is what it looks like now.
We added a stone bench and a birdbath.
Another bench area was created
A few garden bricks. solar lights, and garden sculptures.  The plants that we planted on July are still thriving.
Here are more pics of the improvements.  Please refer to older posts for what it used to look like.
We added some garden rocks with a positive message
We even added a flag (I only had a 4th of July flag – it will have to do for now)
All the material for the garden was recycled from our garden in Jersey.  In addition, we painted the old shed, and these are before and after pictures.
We cleared all the overgrown bushes around it, painted it and put a couple of accessories on the front.  This area is our homage to the Jersey Shore.
We took a part of what was left from the kitchen counters and used it as a ramp for the new shed.
It works well.  It is covered on metal and formica, so it will last a while.
We also put two security solar lights, which we tested and work great.
One light in the front
Another light on the side towards the back
After we were done we checked our efforts so far and were able to converse a bit with some neighbors who came to see the progress.  So far the house transformation has gone from this
We still have a long way to go, but little by little we will accomplish our goal.  One more thing, we had set a budget of $550 for this trip for all costs including gas and food.  We are happy to say that we came under budget, at $497.00 and change.

Our search for the simple life has taken us on a journey that we thought we could not make, now we know that we can – yes, we can.

Restoring an Old Farmhouse on a Budget

We are planning our next trip to Virginia in a couple of weeks.  This time we will work on the outside of the house to complete some minor things that need to be addressed.  This is perfect for just two to three days and does not require much money in the budget.  We have set aside a budget of $550.00 which includes materials, food and gas and pet sitting fees. The items in the agenda include:

  • painting the old shed
  • cement the sides of the farmhouse and paint it.
  • caulking around certain areas of the siding
  • nail some parts of the siding
  • fix the porch posts
  • Set up a garden
  • install motion light (solar)

We think we can tackle most items on the list, if not all.  We have decided to leave the old shed’s roof the way it is, since we like the patina and it is in good condition. We are installing a motion solar light that will save us energy and money.  We are recycling some garden planters and stuff from our current home in Jersey and will transport those there.  We are reusing some solar patio lights too.  We will take some of our patio furniture there as well since we have extras.  The idea is to recycle and reuse what we can.  I will post pictures of this project and disclose the budget as well.