Monday, February 20, 2017

Humble Beginnings

In late 2011, we “stumbled” across a piece of property that was for sale.   We weren’t even looking to buy, let alone buy an abandoned property.  After an offer and less than two months, we closed and, then, the real work began… fixer-upper did not even begin to describe the house.

This was a small 130+ year old farmhouse on acreage and everyone, including the realtor, told us to just bull-doze it down and start over.  Blasphemy!  This house had history…including a Civil War connection…why would we destroy that and build something new?   It had originally been a one-story four-square – four rooms and a hall – basically, a shotgun house.  There were later additions – a kitchen, a back porch and a bathroom.  Through the years, prior residents had made minor changes, adjustments and renovations, but had not changed the footprint (other than adding the kitchen). 

So, renovation started.  With demo, we filled 3 huge dumpsters, which was an astonishing amount, considering the small size of the house (1200 s/f).  After removing five layer of wallboards (drywall, beadboard, paneling, wallpaper and plaster), we were down to the “true” hand-hewn 2x4s, ceiling rafters and floor joists.   Finding the boards, with the tool marks that were made over a hundred years ago, was amazing.  Taking down the ceilings, we were ecstatic to find that the 8’ drop ceilings were covering 10.5’ beadboard ceilings underneath.

One of the surprises we found when taking down the interior walls were 2 two-sided fireplaces – one on each side of the house/hallway.  After research, we found that it was going to cost a minimum of $10K per opening (4 total, for a minimum of $40K) to bring them back to a safe, functioning condition again.  We could not afford that luxury, but we did keep the fireplaces.  They are the perfect focal points for the living/dining rooms and bedroom with their handmade bricks.  We have since added cast-iron stoves in the fireplace openings in the living room and bedroom.

It was a long haul since we were doing all of the renovations ourselves, just the two of us.  The only things we contracted out was spray-foaming the entire house and roof-line, adding a HVAC system with complete ductwork (the house had never had any heat/air) and having a tin roof added.   After 2-1/2 years of working diligently, we were finally to the point of moving in.

It has been a wild ride, for sure...but, worth EVERY single minute, EVERY single expense, EVERY single drop of blood, sweat and tears… Celtic Acres Farm became a reality only because of our hard work and dedication to saving a piece of history.

The House BEFORE Renovations 2011

To A Life Of Simplicity
Happy Homesteading!
~ Susan & Rick
Celtic Acres Farm

If you have a question or comment, you can leave it below, and I will do my best to respond.  Please keep your comments civil and clean.  I reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments. 

About the Author:
Susan along with her husband, Rick, are the owners of Celtic Acres Farm, an organic, self-sufficient, off-grid farm where they raise chickens, ducks, goats and a pig, rescue dogs and cats, grow their own heirloom, non-gmo produce, create handmade crafts and home décor items, and strive to live a self-sustaining lifestyle while attempting to carve out that little piece of paradise where they can live free, breathe free and commune with nature.
Celtic Acres Farms is committed to healthy animals, a greener planet, recycling-reusing-repurposing, while maintaining our rural heritage and sharing it with others. We believe that we must all lead the way to a more sustainable future while never forgetting the things of the past. 

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