The south side of the farmhouse started in pretty bad shape. Above is the picture of how it looks in its finished state: February of 2017. Below is the picture from our second visit to the property before making the purchase in March of 2011. You can see Scott and Charity sitting on this porch eating lunch. What are they discussing? The fact that Charity (newly engaged) had just decided that she would like to have her wedding here, 9 months hence. (Yikes!)
This house had never had any modern plumbing. So, this meant, of course, it had no bathroom. Something I immediately saw was that the rotting back porch downstairs and the (somewhat) screened sleeping porch upstairs offered space to put in bathrooms on both floors. The house’s foundation needed fixing (more on this in the post on north side renovations), it needed to be leveled, every window needed replacing, the wiring throughout completely updated and, of course, there was no insulation in the walls or floors or attic of this dear old house.
I designed the floor plan for the renovation myself, and then we hired a skilled contractor to execute my plans.
The upstairs sleeping porch (pictured in the diagram on the left) had a sloped ceiling and a sloped floor). We had to raise the roof to give headroom for usable space there. I planned to use half the from the sleeping porch to extend what became our master bedroom, and the other half to create a roomy family bathroom upstairs.
While I could have tried to put in a (tiny) private master bathroom and hall bath combo, I would not have had room for laundry machines (there or anywhere else that I could find) and would have lost valuable wall space in the bedroom. For Scott and me, sharing a bathroom with family members wasn’t a big deal, so this is the compromise we chose. It enabled us to have a huge copper soaking tub in the bathroom, with lots of room for bathing multiple grandchildren after a day of play and work on the farm. Scott loves the soaking tub that soothes aching muscles after working on outdoor farm projects or warms him up on winter days after tending the animals outside.
Downstairs, the removal of the rotting porch on the south side gave me less space to work with because of the pantry, which I wanted to keep. I divided that space pretty evenly between a three-piece bathroom and a mudroom. This door would become the main entry of the house.
With all the changes we were making, I still wanted to make it look as much like an old farmhouse as I could. I determined to re-purpose as many of the interior doors as we could, use boards on the walls instead of wallboard, and make my decor as retro as possible. (See my decorating posts on the bathroom and mudroom to judge for yourself if I succeeded!)
Demolition made our poor little farmhouse look pretty sad for a couple of weeks. The tarp is there because rain was predicted and the pantry roof was exposed. At the end of the day, I don’t think this tarp did much, but it was a good try. In renovating this space, we ended up closing the doors to the pantry (left-most) and kitchen (left). We did create a pass-through window where the kitchen door had been, because we needed the light and air that the door had provided.
Framing for the south side was completed in one day! The framing for the mudroom is nearly done when I arrived for the week on a Monday morning:
After lunch, the second story was framed and sheathed in plywood. First thing we did was to lift my copper soaking tub (read more about that here) into the future bathroom so that the carpenters could frame around it. Then, the walls went up quickly.
After sheathing the front face upstairs, the men then had to prepare to re-frame (thus raising) the roof by peeling off all that old, rusty metal. It was hot and it was tricky. One of the men got a serious gash in his finger from the sharp metal roofing.
The next step was to frame the new roof.
And then (on a subsequent day) the gap in the west side was filled in.
It was a bit of a puzzle to me to know how the new roof lines were going to work, but my contractor did a great job of revising the valley so that the new roof could join the old. Below are pictures of them framing it up:
Something to know about metal roofs is that they don’t use tar paper under them. A good standing seam roof will last for half a century if properly done. If you use tar paper under them, the metal will rot because moisture beads up on the tar paper as the house “breathes.”
My contractor had an out-of-town buddy who was supposed to come and do the new standing seam roof. However, his truck broke down, and it was a full month before we could line up a replacement roofer. Meanwhile, tarps did some good, but mostly, rain seeped in around the tar paper and plywood.
While we waited to find a roofer, work went on. The new addition got windows (we used Pella brand) and eventually, doors (we slept for about three weeks in that house without any doors or window screens). The men also sheathed it in pine clapboarding.
At the right is a shot of the door finally installed! For me, staying at night often alone, it was a wonderful relief to be able to lock up my remote farmhouse and feel safe!
Left, the new roof is finally going on! The roofer had to travel an hour each night to work on our roof. He was a wonderful Christian man, and really helped us out in our hour of need. We were very grateful to God and to him!
Next came paint. You can read all about how I chose the color and got just the exact paint I wanted. Meanwhile, before we could paint the older part of the south side, we had to scrape. And scrape. And scrape. Friends showed up on a work weekend to help: here they are below pictured… scraping!
As I said above, my daughter had decided to have her October 1 wedding at Storybook Farm, so we had to get a move on once September rolled round and get the painting done. Below are a few snapshots of us working away at it.
Our foe was rain. We were grateful to have had very little rain while our roof was undone, but now we really had to run between the raindrops to paint. We did it all ourselves… with much help from friends. Charity held her bachelorette party at the farm, and though we were rained out, the tanning and painting was a blast while it lasted!
At first we had only ladders to do the painting, but then a local stonemason befriended us and lent us his scaffolding, and after that, things went much faster.
Still, we were putting the finishing touches on the south side two days before the wedding took place!
In 2013, we put on a porch on the south side, which you see in the picture at the top, but here it is again so you don’t have to scroll up. In the winter, we use this porch to stack a two-week supply of firewood to the left of the door. In the summer, we hang clothesline for towels after swimming in the pond and showering at the jinx.
You can also see in this picture to the left our fancy new walkway that our nephew, Walter, helped me to build in 2016. We have dubbed it the Walt Way in his honor!
In the summer of 2017, we plan to landscape the house, putting country gardens around the house. (We didn’t do it before now, because our sheep used to mow this lawn, but now we have a tractor, and the sheep were sold in the fall of 2016.