I have sat down to write this blog post about 100 times and always get distracted with about 100 other things that come up and take my attention away. So tonight I am sitting down and starting the documentation of my historic farmhouse renovation.
A little information regarding our farm and the house that we are renovating. It is OLD. Like 1700s old. And we are only the 2nd family to actually live in the house. The house was formerly owned by the Mendenhall Family who was given the property in the early 1700 by William Penn himself. The property remained in the Mendenhall Family until about 9 years ago when unfortunately it was turned over to an investor who divided the remaining parcels of land and sold it off. We purchased the last 11.7 acre parcel in December 2017.
Here is the original deed and some historical information on the house
With that 11.7 parcel we also inherited the farmhouse, a tenant house, a butcher shed, a weigh station, a wagon barn, quite a few stables, a milk house and an enormous bank barn. All of which were in horrible shape. Like uninhabitable for even the animals to live in. Have you seen The Haunting of Hill House…for a while, I felt like I was moving in to Hill House…
We actually have done quite a lot to the house since we purchased it 1 year ago. I CAN NOT believe that it has been 1 year and we are just getting this project started! If anyone would have told me that it would have taken almost a year before we would finally have approval to start working on this historic house I would have probably never done this. Patience is not in my vocabulary and there have been many times that I thought I might lose my mind over the detail we had to go into to get this approved. But we are finally here and I am LOVING this project.
Kevin and I have flipped and renovated quite a few properties but this by far is the most extensive and by far will be the biggest transformation. There isn’t 1 inch of this house that won’t be touched throughout this renovation. Literally every single inch needs work. We started and completed the basement work about 6 months ago. The original basement was a dirt floor with an oil tank, knob and tube wiring…the list goes on and on. Basically whatever was in there had to go and since the floor, while the height at about 7ft wasn’t terrible for a house that old we wanted a more walkable usable basement even though we have no plans to finish it as of right now. So we dug down 22 inches and backfilled with rock and concrete and created a proper basement floor with a drain and french drain to help with any potential water issues. Here are some before pics.
We finally received approval in October to begin work on the house. The first item that had to be addressed was the roof chimneys and the exterior repointing. Being that most of the mortar joints were original to the house and most of the house was covered in vines there has been a ton of water intrusion and damage to the interior plaster. So the first and most important item on the list to address being that we are going into winter on the East Coast was securing the exterior. Here is a little tidbit of information on what goes in to repointing the stone and brick. They dig out the mortar around each and every stone. Then they power wash to clean the stone. After the stone is dry they take bags of mixed mortar and fill and press around every stone 3 times! Talk about some tedious work. Every stone is like a work of art!
We went to Italy in October, a trip I will be sure to blog about soon, and when we came back work was already started on the house. While we were away I received this picture from my dad.
They took the chimneys down below the roof line and rebuilt them. They also started the exterior repointing and power washing on the front, back and west side of the house. The East side of the house is being completely rebuilt so there wasn’t much repoint to do there, just more demolition work. I will blog about that project and the exposure of the stone and brick fireplaces in various rooms.
Below are some before and after pics of the house from a couple months ago to today. The transformation in only the exterior work has been dramatic.
Well, I hope you enjoy this little update on our project. Be sure to stay tuned because there is still a lot more to write about!