Friday, August 12, 2011

Inside the Farmhouse

It's almost impossible to describe this place.  I didn't set out to find a historic home so it continues to surprise me, like a gift begging to be opened by someone who's never experienced Christmas.  How can I explain the secret storage place behind the coat closet, or the narrow winding staircases, or the memorial marker by the boarded-up well? How can I describe the 6" long iron key that we actually use to lock the front door? Or the beehive bread oven next to the original fireplace that kept a family warm and fed 216 years ago at the very beginning of this country?  I can show you pictures of how my furniture fits (or doesn't fit) and what a country breakfast looks like in our sweet kitchen, but I can't easily show you the richness of the wood beams marked by the cuts of an axe.  I can tell you what historic paint color I'm going to use for the family room, but I can't begin to describe what the original plaster ceiling with the huge crack feels like when you sit underneath it.

I was so moved by this house and the enormity of our responsibility should we own it, that I felt I had to tell the owners the condition of my heart before they even considered our offer.  In my letter, I wrote,

We can’t imagine fully what it will mean to own a piece of history, to fall asleep under the covering of a roof that sheltered so many others, and to lovingly play the role of caretaker to something that is not completely ours.   It is no small thing to become one of the names on the list in your kitchen  -- a list of families who have accepted the important role of steward of this property.   We also can’t imagine the responsibility you must feel in the transfer of that role to another.  We wanted to let you know that we felt something when we entered your home that we have not felt in any other.   It was a feeling of respect:  respect for you in how you have cared for it, respect for the families before you that protected it, and respect for the country that bore it. 
So with all of that said, as I walk you through the house, please remember I am merely a custodian of this amazing estate.  My goal is to protect it, to preserve it, and to modestly improve it so it can shelter many families long after we are gone.  (And if I can make it cozy and beautiful for my family in the process, all the better.)  I promise better pictures soon after I figure out how to light this place!

To the right of chaise lounge is a butler's pantry that leads to kitchen.

Family / piano room

This is previous owner's decor.  Wanted to show the fireplace.

Guest bedroom
Foyer hallway and stairs with 2-story, hand-painted mural.

There are built-ins everywhere!

I absolutely love this kitchen.

That's it for now.  There's an office, a workshop, mudroom, two bathrooms, three stairways, and a really scary basement I'll have to show you another time!

Next up -- Shalom, Dorcy, and Daffodil

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

We Found a House!

You know when I take a break from blogging something crazy must be going on.  So here it is in a nutshell:  we've moved.  Again!  We made a commitment to upstate New York and to this community through an actual house purchase.  I guess we're not on vacation after all.  I know now that the rental house was a precious bandaid from heaven as we all took some time to "heal" into our new surroundings.  And to continue the metaphor, God ripped that bandaid right off in June and gave us a place of our own. We were ready.

Remember my love for contemporary architecture and clean edges and openness?  Remember my desire for a full, finished basement for the kids?  Remember my need for enough bedrooms for guests?   And space for a studio?  You'll never believe what we just bought.  A 1795 historical Federal Colonial farmhouse with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, no A/C, a basement we pretend isn't there, smaller proportioned rooms that barely hold our furniture, and a musket over the fireplace.  It is awesome. Who knew?  God knew.

Here are few pics of the property.  I'll show you the inside tomorrow, but you'll have to ignore the decorating because we just moved in and I simply had to stick my belongings wherever they would fit.  Even in its current state, though, it is absolutely perfect for me.  Because it is perfectly imperfect.  Like me.  Now this is a house with a soul.  Who knew I could love a house like this?  God knew.  He just had to rip off the bandaid.

The house is VERY stretched out as rooms were added, barns were converted, and front doors became back doors.  We're still not sure how to get in.  This is the front. Or is it the side?  Actually it's both right now.
This is the original main entrance that is not currently being used.  

This is the back.  Sort of.  That dirt pile is our new septic tank which we had to install the day after we closed.  The original one collapsed during the home inspection.  No kidding.   
Here's a diagram to show what's what.  Click to make it larger.

The house is nestled near the base of the Heldeberg mountains.

It's hard to show the whole yard!  It goes on forever.  Six beautiful acres of rolling lawn, forest, and creek.
There are beautiful stone walls throughout the property.
View from Syd's bedroom window.


That gives you an idea of the property.  Tomorrow we'll go indoors.