Happy new year! If you guessed that we were talking about Bryarton Farm in our title…You are right! Our little farmhouse just turned 123 years old and we are working hard to bring her back to her former glory.
When we bought the farm we were given the Title Abstract that includes the history of the land’s ownership going back to when it was set aside for settlers by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. From what we can tell the first person to farm the land were husband and wife, Clisha and Ella Ellis in 1878. We hope to take the abstract to the local historical society soon to find out more. The farmhouse has a hand carved cornerstone with a date of 1893. We believe that the Whites, who owned the house in 1878 and whose initials are carved on our barn built in 1900, were the ones who built the house.
Our goals for the year 2016 are to focus on: 1. Getting a kitchen, 2. Repairing & restoring the exterior, and 3. Improving the layout to better fit our family. We have been trying to do things ourselves, but some projects are just too big or are out of our skill set. So we hope to enlisted a few wonderful (and licensed) people from our church, to get our farmhouse back to beautiful.
In an earlier post we touched on the state of the farmhouse and all the neglect it has suffered. We want to learn from the mistakes of past owners and try to deal with problems when we find them while keeping the look of the farm as historically accurate as possible. With our renovation, our goal is to preserve the Folk Victorian details that are left and add them back where they have been lost. As modern day Americans, we also want the house to have a layout and functionality to fit our lifestyle. These need to be added in a classic way that won’t take away from the history of the home.
We try to make all of the major renovations on the farmhouse look as though they could have been part of the house as it originally was. If I want to add something that is more trendy I keep it in the fabrics, paint colors, and other places where it can be changed without another renovation when it goes out of style. For instance, right now I have a very “trendy” hand-painted Moroccan design on the walls of my Master Bedroom and Master Bath. Since I didn’t use expensive wallpaper, I can easily paint over it when it goes out of style.
I get a little frustrated when I hear people talking about renovating their home on a tight budget, when their definition is so far from ours. Being a stay at home mom and wife of a warehouse worker, it feels like no one is really is on our planet. As artists, we have learned make our home look “pretty” with more effort than dollars. Remaking thrift shop and side-of-the-road pieces, hand painting our artwork, and learning carpentry have all helped to give a high end look to our low budget home. Our single biggest obstacle to our farmhouse renovation is our finances. This past year has been a hard lesson in patience, resourcefulness, and perseverance. We are having a lot of fun, but sometimes I get tried of the plaster dust and long for a finished space for our family.