1846 Homestead Renovation

My husband served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years. We moved around a lot and by the time we celebrated 32 years of marriage, we had lived in 28 houses in two foreign countries and seven states. It was time to talk about a forever house. Call us crazy...everyone else already has, but our 1846 Texas homestead renovation was the route we decided to go in order to create our dream home. When we decided to turn a dilapidated dog-trot home into our dream home, most folks thought we were out of our minds. They were right. It was falling down. The last cousin who lived there was a hoarder and a recluse who hadn't taken care of the house in several decades. Sheetrock was falling from the ceilings and everything that the rats hadn't chewed up was rotten. However, the house was the oldest structure in Hill County, Texas and had been in my family since 1852. It was worth it, we said. We are saving history, we said. And then the rattlesnakes appeared along with the rats. Add in all the rotten wood and countless other issues that come with a 170+ year-old house and you get an idea of what our lives are like. From climbing on the roof to crawling under the house, we have done things we never dreamed we would have to do. Call us crazy...everyone else already has, but our 1846 Texas homestead renovation is a labor of love that is already paying off!

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation,  In the Garden,  Let's Eat,  The Art of Beautiful Living

    1st World Problems at the Homestead

      Ha!  It makes me laugh when my “worlds” collide.  Back in Virginia, I kinda got on a subsistence life-style kick.  I learned how to make wine, can vegetables from our garden.  We even had goats so I could milk them and make cheese.  It was fun and it was a lot of work.  I loved the forced routine.  When it was time to milk the goats…it was TIME.  When the vegetables needed picking, we were out gathering.  I loved the routine and the order it brought to my life.  I had things that absolutely had to be done and it was fun to pretend that there weren’t grocery stores. …

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    A Coat Rack for the Mudroom

    Nowhere to Hide Anything People come into a farmhouse with muddy shoes or with jackets…it is unavoidable.  We purposely built a mudroom so that all that mess could be dumped by the door.  Heck, the washer and dryer are only a few steps past this room in case things are really bad.  Up until this week, the mudroom has been a full on storage closet.  We stored all of the old doors (to include the red screen doors from the old house) here, while they patiently await their turn to be useful again.  We dumped tools, shoes, ladders…you name it here.  There is even a 10’X10′ tent stored in here.…

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    A Home for Nana’s Rolling Pin Collection

    My Grandmother, Carrie Jean Ferguson My Nana was a collector.  She collected family history, friends, flower seeds, and rolling pins.  The rolling pin thing stemmed from her love of family and family history.  The pins that she collected belonged to family members.  I think that nobody wanted rolling pins when they were breaking up a home after someone died.  I mean, they are just rolling pins after all.  I never asked her why she asked for rolling pins, but knowing Nana, I am willing to bet that it was because of their lack of value and importance. The rolling pins she collected seem very valuable to me because they are…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    Black Walnut Kitchen Shelves

    What do weather, history, and being a pack rat have in common?  Evidently, my kitchen.  It didn’t really start out that way.  I mean, when the tornado hit, my first thought wasn’t “kitchen shelves!”.  However, when you get lemons, you do better when you start at least thinking about making lemonade.  This week, we made lemonade from seven year old lemons.  Let me explain.  The lemons are really 2″ thick black walnut planks that we made into kitchen shelves after hauling the wood around for seven years.  Sometimes lemonade takes a while… The Kitchen Design We designed the kitchen to have open shelving on either side of the range.  Ronny…

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    A Mantle for the Fireplace

    Good Things Come to Those Who Wait (or Procrastinate) The fireplace in the addition was completed in January of 2019.  We thought that the fireplaces (we have three total) would be finished in late summer/early fall, but that didn’t happen.  The stone mason who we had spoken with had some health issues and some family issues as well (he worked with his brothers).  When it was all said and done, we had to call another stone mason and that pushed back the fireplace in the addition to a January project.  At that point, we were busy finishing up all sort of little tasks and then moving in.  The mantle was…

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    A Little Dinner Party with Strangers

    A Plan Was Concocted I am a member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Ft. Graham Chapter.  I am a proud member, not because I’m proud to have the membership, but because is a lovely way to honor the countless people who came before us.  If you are interested in membership, please contact me and I will help you in any way that I can.  It is a sweet group of ladies who log in community service hours, fund scholarships for local students, and generally try to keep history alive.  Yesterday was our Christmas Tea and we had a guest speaker, Denise Bennett.  Denise assumes the identity…

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    Bigger is Better, Right?

    All About Scale Long before we took on this house renovation/building project, Jerry and I looked at spaces and discussed what we loved and didn’t love about them.  Consistently, scale was something that always made an impression on us.  This could be due to the years we spent in tiny military housing or perhaps it stemmed from visits to castles and cathedrals in Europe.  We were drawn to the open spaces, soaring ceilings, the grandness of what happens when something is, well…grand.  Jerry and I aren’t grand people as anyone who knows us will confirm.  We don’t live in a cathedral or castle, but we do live in Texas and…

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    Wallpaper Nails: Remove Them or Paint Over Them? A Disagreement Was Brewing…

      Jerry and I had to make a lot of decisions before (and especially during) the renovation process.  There were a lot of compromises.  There were some fits.  Proudly, I can say there were no tears…at least no tears of frustration.  Believe it or not, it was the removal of the wallpaper tacks that had Jerry and I in disagreement for the first time in this project and that was AFTER we had to learn how to level the house with hydraulic jacks! Mr. Burch, Tear Down That Wall (Paper)! Of course, the sheet rock came down first and then the layers of wallpaper.  Both were easy enough to remove…

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    Starting on the Addition

    Oh! The Planning!!! The addition was an important part of our renovation project.  The Homestead was too small, too old, too precious to us to totally change the layout and make a more functional home out of it.  We wanted to use it gently, but also efficiently.  It seemed un-Scottish (read wasteful) to spend the money for the renovation and not use it at all.  That is also why I wanted it connected to the main house.  If it wasn’t, I was afraid we would turn off the AC/heat and not go in there for months on end. And so when we started planning the addition, we needed to figure…

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    A Bathroom for the Barn Addition

    Keep It Old…Make It Old I wanted to make sure that the old house still looked and felt old once the renovations were completed and that is why I doggedly stuck to my mantra of “keep it original”.  It didn’t matter if we had to scoop it up with a spoon and Spackle it into place, if the original could be patched and kept (within reason, of course) that is what we did.  And I think we did a great job.  I have caught some flack from an old house dude who said that all he could see was replacement windows and siding. Well…yeah. The original windows were already gone…