Summer at the Farmhouse

We’ve had a busy summer so far! After closing on our house, we’ve been working on renovations almost every day for the past five weeks! We’re making great progress, and we love going out there every day. It’s just such a peaceful place. Although our days are long, I haven’t felt this happy, relaxed, and at home in a really long time.

I’ve always considered myself a city girl (coming from Chicago and all), but there is one time of my life I don’t think about often enough. When I was a child, I used to spend weekends on my grandparents’ farm. Now, this particular set of grandparents weren’t very nice to little me. I was adopted into the family and they treated me differently from the other grandchildren because of this. Perhaps this is why I don’t dwell much on my time spent with them. But visiting our farmhouse every day and seeing the long forgotten sights has jogged my memory a bit. Without cable and video games, I instead spent hours in clover fields, went for long walks on deserted gravel roads, pet the cows and horses (and got zapped by the occasional electric fence), caught frogs at the pond, and explored the hidden treasures in the barns.

Although it’s not as large, I’m happy to have my own little slice of this kind of life. No evil grandmothers included!
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Faded and Forgotten

I did something bad, guys.

I trespassed on someone else’s property…

It was only for few a minutes, I promise! This old farmhouse near my apartment has been calling to me since I noticed it last winter. It took three years for me to even see the house because it’s hidden from view on the sides by trees and shrubs. The owner farms the fields and mows the lawn, but the house looks like it’s been untouched for years. This beautiful home has been so neglected, and it makes me so sad to see. And it’s not great for the owner to have let it get in this condition. Now he has land saturated in peeled lead paint (most likely).
fh01 As I mentioned before, I have a soft spot for farmhouses. Especially ones with centered gables. And even more when there’s a bit of ornamentation like this one! This house was built the same year as mine, and it can provide some clues to the original look of my house such as our porch that has been recently replaced with one that’s ugly and plain.
House in 1994 The above photo was taken 20 years ago. Since then, most of the lovely woodwork has been deteriorating.
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I wanted to see inside the house SO BAD.

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Beautiful original glass can be seen in the gable window.

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Original shutters, too!

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The property has a number of outbuildings such as sheds and a summer kitchen, but this structure is the most breathtaking:

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Hello Farmhouse!

I’ve been trying to keep quiet about this until everything was official. And it became very official last week… We closed on a house!

I was inspired by my class on community development to search for homes downtown, but it quickly became apparent that everything in that area was out of our price range. J wasn’t too thrilled about having a tiny yard and neighbors five feet away anyway, so we broadened our search again.

I have always been very fond of old farmhouses, so I held out hope that we could find one (the ones with a center gable are my ultimate weakness!). Despite our rural area, they are hard to find. The farmhouses that did go on the market were small ones around 1,000 square feet—not enough space for our needs.

The Inn at Lost River is an example of my favorite type of house:

I checked several real estate websites multiple times a day. With so many people shopping for houses right now, I was determined to find potential homes as soon as possible! Not much gets listed on Saturday though, so I didn’t bother looking on one particular Saturday. On that day, my fiance was visiting his friend in a nearby town (really just a suburb of our city at this point, though it does still have some small town charm). He took a wrong turn and drove past a lovely two story farmhouse—with a center gable!!—and an acre of land overlooking the countryside. Of course, I’m sure it was the big pole barn that caught his attention.

The next day was Mother’s Day, and I begged my realtor to show us the house. I didn’t expect it to be a popular find, but we were the sixth scheduled showing on its first full day on the market! And on a holiday no less!

We saw tons of potential in the house and since the property was really well priced, we decided to put in a full price offer that night. I also included a letter about how much we wanted an old house and what an honor it would be to be its caretakers and preserve its character and history for the future.

Our realtor contacted us on Monday with the news. We were outbid by someone else’s offer…

But my letter really touched the seller, and he chose to accept our lower priced instead! Seriously! I’m pretty sure I burst into tears when our realtor told me that.

Over the next few weeks, we dealt with the inspection, negotiations about repairs, and our mortgage application. I was still completely nervous the entire time that something crazy would happen and we somehow wouldn’t get the house. Basically, I was paranoid. I wouldn’t be able to relax until I had the keys in my hand.

We finally closed last week! We officially own this 114-year-old farmhouse! Structurally, it’s in great shape, but it does need some work. We are very excited about the possibilities!
house03This exterior photo is pretty indicative of what we need to do to the interior as well. It’s in good shape, but it needs some cosmetic changes to restore it back to its original look. For the outside, we’ll need to remove the vinyl siding, add shutters, replace the porch with one that’s more period appropriate, and replace the doors (they are cheapy interior doors at the moment; definitely not original).

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This is the view from our backyard.

house02I believe this was the original barn to the property. It’s on a strip of land next door that belongs to the farmer who owns the fields behind our house. It may not belong to us, but I’m glad it’s there because I love old barns. There is a metal pole barn on our property which may be more function but it’s a lot less charming! :)



Monthly Update – May 2014

03marchListening to the city’s preservation officer on a historic cemetery tour
Watching Boys over Flowers (Korean version)
Reading tons of studies for my paper
Hoping to get a house soon
Trying to not get stressed out about class or house hunting
Cooking somen
Writing a paper on the economic benefits of historic preservation
Loving honey mustard (seriously, I’m all about it right now)
Buying a home inspection
Wanting a 100+ year old house
Needing to be more organized
Making an offer on another house!
Eating at Chinese and Japanese restaurants
Drinking wine from local wineries
Wearing cardigans even though it’s hot hot summer already
Traveling to lots of local towns
Goal for next month finish my summer class