So much excitement comes with every upgrade to my craftsman bungalow farmhouse. After the new windows were installed it seemed perfectly fitting that new doors should be next.
The Front Door
This isn't the original front door to the house. I recall my grandmother saying this door came from a classroom at the university (UNCP) back in the 1950's. I found some doors in the tobacco barn when I started cleaning it up. They had rotted or had termite damage and couldn't be salvaged. One of them was probably the original front door but I can't be certain.
The old classroom door had seen better days. Like everything else around the house the door needed to be replaced. It wasn't necessarily a hazard but it was drafty, held the mildew odor, didn't have a dead bolt lock and was not square on the frame which meant it never closed properly. But on the positive side, the thick beveled glass was in good condition.
I asked my friend Tim, who is a carpenter by trade if he'd hang my new door. Sometimes, it's not easy getting somebody to work on old houses, so I was very thankful and appreciative.
Taking out the door and removing the old trim was long over due. The musky, mildew scent the door held was finally gone.
...and the old trim would soon be replaced.
The New Front Door
I wanted to add doors that would be true to the style of my craftsman bungalow. After a friend told me to visit the Cottages at Southport, I knew this door style with dentil moulding would be the show stopper for my old house. The three pane window would compliment the house windows and make it a true craftsman home.
I had the door in my garage long enough that I was able to paint it a chocolate brown. I'll never forget painting it because it was during Hurricane Matthew in October, 2016.
The old rotten trim was replaced with composite wood that will never rot or warp and new house numbers were added.
The exterior light was relocated from under the porch and made into two lights on both sides of the door.
Columns had never been added to the short brick pillars of this house. When the porch began to sag in the 1980's, 4 X 4 posts were placed on the pillars for support. My carpenter friend, Tim, built these beautiful pillars using no-rot wood and also covered the side pillars that are original to the house, with the same material.
The Side Door
After all these years and tons of photos I really haven't taken a close up of the side entry way. The entry door was a solid wood door with nine glass panels. The door frame was rotten and damaged in several places and the door itself would not close properly.
I was so happy that my friend, Tim came back during Thanksgiving, 2017 to install my new door.
I purchased the same door as the one on the front of the house and I couldn't believe how amazing it looked after Tim was finished.
I painted the door chocolate brown to mimic the front door and I couldn't have been happier with the results. I now have a second entry way door that opens and closes like a brand new house door, has a deadbolt and isn't drafty, musky or damaged.
The back door was also in desperate need of an overhaul. It didn't shut very well, didn't have a deadbolt and was extremely drafty.
Again, my friend, Tim the carpenter did an outstanding job installing the rear door of my home. I realize working on an old house is like opening a can of worms and you never know what you'll find once inside. That was the case with all three of my doors. Thankfully, the damage wasn't too extensive to scare away my help. I am so thankful and grateful to have found someone to work on this old house.
It was so exciting just to look at this beautiful door and appreciate all the hard work that had brought me to this point. The rear of the house looked totally amazing once the stoop was finished and the new porch light was installed.
Craftsman Bungalow - circa 1907
Back Porch Stoop
With every completed project on my farmhouse I just have to step back and thank the good Lord for helping me finish each one.
Over the decades the steps had settled and separated from the bricks. They had tilted and sloped downward. We tried to straighten them a few years ago but it didn't work and after a few months the steps cracked and were an even bigger hazard.
We hadn't been able to use the back door steps for many years. They were such an eye sore and hazard we decided to close off the entire back entrance so no one would get hurt.
New Doors Need a New Entrance
It wasn't until my new back door and storm door was installed that I began to get inspiration on how I wanted to finish the entry way.
Removing the Old Bricks
I was not looking forward to breaking up the steps. It just looked like a hard job that I wasn't ready to tackle.
Dan was eager to get started and after he had finished getting the steps apart I helped with the bricks.
The steps were in far worse shape underneath and behind the block than I could've imagined. I'm not sure how so much dirt got trapped behind the steps, but it had been a den for both rodent and reptile. I was so happy to finally get this mess cleaned up.
The Steps are Finally Gone
Now that the old steps were gone I could finally get the back door entrance underway. I didn't have a lot of options since I had a small budget to work with.
Over the years, I had saved some bricks from the demolished smoke house, the silo and also from the fireplace hearth inside the house. I thought it would be great to re-purpose the bricks for use at the back door.
I wanted some type of landing so I thought it would just make sense to reuse the cinder blocks from the tobacco barn along with all the bricks I had collected over the years.
Cleaning Cinder Blocks
This was no easy task. It took me three Saturdays to clean the morter from the blocks and two months for my hands to recover. It was one of the hardest jobs I've tackled on my craftsman bungalow restoration, but I knew salvaging the blocks from the tobacco barn would be special.
I needed about 50 cinder blocks to build my new stoop. Fortunately, I had enough even after I cracked a few of them.
I stacked all the bricks and blocks so they'd be neat and pretty for the mason.
Building a Porch Stoop
Compared to what was here before, I was ecstatic over the upgrade. There was a lot more work that had to be done, but boy was my back entry way really shaping up!
The mason finished building the stoop in a few hours. I was able to dump a lot of the broken bricks and blocks inside before adding the dirt.
Filling the stoop with dirt wasn't to hard since I was able to use the front end loader on my tractor.
After getting the dirt level and packed, I had to wait for pest control to stop by and spray for termites.
Filling the Stoop with Concrete
My son was on hand to help us with the concrete. It took seventeen 80 pound bags of concrete to finish our stoop.
It was the first concrete project I've ever worked on. Thankfully, it was a small project and only took about five hours to finish. Over the next few days the gray whitened and the stoop was pretty and smooth.
I learned a lot about working with concrete and can't wait to start on some other small projects around the house.
Setting the Steps
It was really exciting to finally get the steps installed. It had been years since we've used the back door entrance and now it's my favorite place to sit and take a break from all the work around the house.
I will eventually install metal railing around the stoop and steps, but for now I must move on to another more important project.
This was a family fun DIY project. We was able to transform an unsightly area to a space that has become a favorite hang out for the entire family. I had a small budget to work with, thankfully, all the materials were free except the cement and steps. Mission accomplished...on to the next project!
The past year has been very exciting for me. I've not been able to complete all the work on my farmhouse at one time but I've been working with some really great people who have helped me according to my budget. I skip around trying to complete projects based on their importance. This blog features the sag in the front porch, the new window and vents on the gable and the new soffit.
The sag didn't seem noticeable to many but it was very noticeable to me. I didn't realize the repairs would be as extensive as they would be.
When I asked my Facebook friends to refer a great and meticulous carpenter, my friend Kendrick quickly asked me what I needed work on. He came over, looked at the job and wasted no time in getting it done.
It's not easy finding someone that is willing to work on small projects with a lot of rotten wood and masses of spider webs...
...especially on old houses.
But after a few days he had reinforced the attic wood, replaced all the rotten wood...
...and added new support posts. The work didn't help with the aesthetics of the house but I was just as happy knowing the saggy porch and all that rotten wood had been replaced.
It was several weeks before I found the greatest vinyl guy to install the soffit on my house. Mr. Larry and his team did an amazing job on the soffit. Mr. Larry did not cut corners. He takes great pride in his work and took the time to level and straighten out the uneven sections. When finished the entire house was level and the soffit looked great. Adding the soffit was a total transformation and I couldn't believe how stunning it looked when it was all finished.
Vinyl Siding, Attic Window & Vents on a Craftsman Bungalow
I debated several months on whether to install Hardy board or vinyl siding. My old house absolutely deserved Hardy board but with so much work that had to be done on the house I simply couldn't afford it. I had to quickly get something on the gable to prevent the wood from rotting. The house had lap siding that was in good condition and I knew I would be painting the rest of the house to match the gable. I had other damage that required my attention so I didn't need to worry with the rest of the vinyl at that time.
Craftsman Bungalow Gable Window
Absolutely thrilled was an understatement when they finished the gable. I got my inspiration for the vents and window from "The Cottages at Southport." A friend had told me about them and my family and I drove there just to see all of them in person. They have built brand new homes identical to my 100+ year old bungalow. I chose a three light window that matched all the others in the house. Now it's time to paint!
This is my pa at one of the barns he built and cured tobacco in during his lifetime. The picture was most likely taken in the early 60's as he appeared to be in his late 70's at that time. The barn may be 40-50+ years old and looks to be in good condition. It didn't start deteriorating until the late 80's after it was no longer in use. The barn had three side shelters. The farmers used two sides for stringing tobacco and the tractor and plows were kept under the third side.
NC Tobacco Barn
WEEK 1 - Dec. 31, 2016
After many years of cleaning up the other barns, silos and exterior projects on the premises, I was finally able to start cleaning up around my favorite barn. It was a real eyesore, especially since my craftsman bungalow farmhouse has had a beautiful make over and sits just yards away.
All the kids have helped with the clean up in past years but my daughter, Taylor came to help with the barn clean up. She is planning a wedding ceremony near the pond later next year and there was much work to be done.
The barn's side was already falling down but was being supported by a 2 X 4 underneath. I didn't have a chain long enough to wrap around the 2 X 4 from where it was so I opted to try and collapse the frame from the side.
There was a lot of tin we were dealing with, but with a little finesse and extreme caution the "girl power" managed to collapse the barn side without incident.
Mission accomplished - Our task today was to get the side of the barn down and with the help of family we got it done.
WEEK 2 - Jan. 14, 2017
Week 3 - Jan. 21, 2017
I didn't get a lot accomplished on Week 3. I cut up some of the wood and picked up trash and yard debris but we were rained out in the early afternoon.
Week 4 - Jan. 28, 2017
Today's goal was to finish knocking over this side and clean up as much as possible. There was a lot of big pieces of tin, old farm equipment pieces, other metal parts, a scaffold and an old gas heater to move out. This side collapsed many years ago and I'm very curious as to what, if any, treasures I may find!
My plan is to pull the barn's side down so I'm using my John Deere utility tractor to move the trailer so the barn's side doesn't fall on top of it.
Week 5 - Feb. 4, 2017
It was very windy and a chilly 32 degrees today. I really wanted to stay inside where it was nice and toasty but I knew there was much work to be done on the barn project. So I bundled up and got busy!
Now that the shelter is down the old out house now comes in to view...but that's a project for another day!
The goal for today was to haul all the tin, metal and wood out and to close the barn door at the end of the day
Extra hands were on board today. My daughter, sister and granddaughter were very helpful in seeing that today's goal was met. We were super excited when we managed to get to the old camper top that has been there for years and years. It's interesting since no one seems to know where it came from.
...and thankfully at the end of a hard day's work we were able to close the barn door after many, many decades of it hanging open!
Next week we'll focus on this area to clean up and hopefully get the tree cut down.
Week 6 - Feb. 11, 2017
Most of the day was spent raking and hauling away wood. There was a lot of broken glass, ceramic pieces, vines, small pieces of metal and nails that had to be picked up by hand. My grandson, Jakob was my shadow for most of the day and was a big help since he got to ride the tractor with grandma!
About seven hours later and today's goal has been met with the exception of getting the tree down.
I was on target when I guessed it would take six weeks to clean up around my tobacco barn. What I didn't figure in the equation was the extra time it would take to load all the metal and aluminum in the trailer. It will take another day's work to load, secure and haul it all away. So, I wasn't off too badly!
Week 7 - Feb. 18. 2017
I used the front end loader to mash the tin as far as it would go down on the trailer. There was more work involved than just loading it onto the trailer since there was a lot of glass and wood attached to different pieces of the metal and aluminum that had to be torn apart.
After another full day the entire area has been cleaned up. All metal, aluminum and tin is loaded on the trailer and ready to be taken to the salvage yard.
At the end of the day we celebrated another completed project and have already started gearing up for the next one!
One day I hope to completely restore the tobacco barn as a loft or man cave. But for now it will stand as a beautiful reminder of days gone by commemorating tobacco farming in a rural southern town in North Carolina.
The tobacco barn project was one of five "must complete" projects for my daughter's vow renewal ceremony. The time frame given to finish them all was ten months. The tobacco barn was the first project to be finished. Although it wasn't finished entirely, the outside was completely cleaned up.
My daughter had a beautiful vow renewal ceremony on the farm. We used left over barn doors from the hay loft and propped them in front of the brick barn to make a photo op.
There were three different styles of windows in my old house. They were all basically the same size, give or take an inch or so, and they all used the same pulley system. The house is over a hundred years old and the pulleys have been broken for at least half that long. As far back as I can remember they were always propped open with tobacco sticks. They were drafty, broken and always sweating when the heat was on. Sometime in the seventies storm windows were added but I removed them when I painted the house this lovely yellow color!
Fast forward to June of 2015. It had been several years since I had done any major work on my house. I met a contractor through my husband and I asked if he'd replace a rotten window sill in one of the bedroom windows.
After looking at the rotted window sill he talked to me about replacing the window too. He gave me a good price on the job and within a day or so he'd put in my first Pella craftsman style window. I didn't have any intention of replacing all the windows at the time but it looked so nice when he finished he told me he was willing to work with me in putting all new windows in my craftsman bungalow. It took eight long months to get them all installed. I was so happy, thankful and excited about all the new Pella windows in my old house...they looked amazing!
All of the windows are this craftsman style. They are double insulated and energy efficient. Gone are the drafts and tobacco sticks! After 100 years my old house has windows that open and close with ease.
Craftsman Kitchen Renovation- Before Picture
This was the saddest kitchen I'd ever been in. The entire floor was spongy, the 1970's cabinets were an inch thick in grease, the paneling had seen better days, the textured sheet rock ceiling was dingy and there were many pipe holes with large gaps in the floor and walls. It could've easily won an award for "America's Ugliest Kitchen".
Craftsman Bungalow Kitchen Demolition
This is the spongy floor that came out of the kitchen. The cabinets had already been removed and hauled away.
Original Wooden Ceiling Revealed
This was a very tiresome demolition. Thankfully, my son helped in tearing down the old wall paneling. The ceiling had been lowered to 8 foot and I'm afraid had he not helped me that day I could've have taken down the studs, plywood and sheet rock from the ceiling by myself. The kitchen was a sight but I was thrilled to discover this beautiful wooden ceiling.
Hanging the Drywall in a Craftsman Bungalow
The kitchen was finally beginning to look a little nicer. Again, my son came over to help hang the drywall and I was more than happy to be on clean up duty.
My daughter took a break from the fireplace project just in time for a photo op.
Adding Window Trim
After finishing and painting the drywall I started thinking about window trim.
I wanted to duplicate the trim like the other windows in the house by giving them a craftsman flair. These windows were original to the house but were not alike.
Hanging the Lights in My Craftsman Kitchen
I was so excited to finally get to the point to purchase and hang some light fixtures. I chose simple lighting that I thought would add personality and charm to my new kitchen. I especially loved hanging the smaller three light fixture with the chain swag over the table.
I found some old valances to temporarily add to the newly trimmed windows until I found the perfect color and style of curtain I wanted. The refrigerator will be moved to a new location in the kitchen after the flooring is added.
Unfortunately, my kitchen is a work in progress. I hired a contractor to replace the kitchen floor and found out after I had everything finished that the floor wasn't level. I cannot install the cabinets, counter tops or anything else until it has been redone. The house has other more pressing issues, so those projects have taken precedence over the kitchen. Stay tuned for upcoming news on our kitchen beautification.
Old House Clean Up
My daughter was just a little girl when we inherited this old house. Her smile made the work seem a little less daunting. The year was 2003.
This is a small room between the living room and kitchen. In the past it was used as a den but I wanted to use it as a dining room. It has the only closet in the house and was probably enclosed because access to the attic was located inside it. As with the rest of the house there was plenty to add to the "To Do" list. Each room had its own list and was attached to a wall or door. Accomplishing a task was a major highlight that sometimes took weeks and being able to mark it off brought so much excitement.
A pane was missing from the window, the floors were wavy and needed refinishing, the drywall was in bad condition and the bead board ceiling needed painting and caulking. The fireplace had an insert that needed removing, other than that I pretty much left it as it were. The closet was the only space in good condition although it was packed with junk, it needed only cleaning out. It had never been painted and was in the original 1907 condition. I found a couple of empty spools inside that my great-grandmother had nailed to the walls. I imagine she would hang her aprons and bonnet from them. Overall, this was one of the easiest rooms that I worked in. After the clean up I refinished the drywall, painted the walls and closet and hung a chandelier. I put a temporary cover over the window knowing it would be replaced in a couple years. The ceiling was lowered during the same time as the living area and kitchen. The floors were a whole different ballroom...more on that in a future blog!
I don't know the year the bathroom was added to the old house, but it was well before the 1960's and by the time I inherited it, it was in dire need of a remodel. The entire room had to be completely gutted.
Toilet and Sink
Water leaks from the sink and toilet had caused major damage to the bathroom floor. As with all the other fixtures, the toilet was worn out, dingy and corroded with rust. The floor was spongy, the wall board was broken, rotten and just plain ugly, the vanity was laden with rust stains, the door was broken off it and the bathroom light fixtures were broken and/or missing.
The Bath Tub
The old house has always operated on an outdoor well which means there's always rust water to deal with and like the sink the bathtub was also full of rust stains. The wall board was rotten all the way around and upon further inspection, the water pipe connecting the tub under the house was gone. The tub water had been draining under neath the house for God only knows how long. This was one demolition I was utterly dreading! But I knew I had it to do and just like the other rooms a hidden gem was soon uncovered!
A Brand New Toilet
I was all smiles after my father in law and dynamic husband, Danny installed the new toilet (they seemed awfully happy too!) A new floor has been laid and it was now time to lay the floor tiles and hang green board on the walls...that is, after that huge water leak dried out!
I knew from the beginning of this remodel I wanted a clawfoot tub in the bathroom. Buying a shiny new tub was not in the budget so finding a refurbished one locally on the other hand would be a challenge. After searching for over a year I finally found one in Hope Mills, NC that had been restored. It wasn't as old as my house but it was manufactured in 1948 and that was old enough for me. The bathroom is not very big so I had to find the smallest claw foot tub to accommodate the space. The tub is small but it weighs in at about 700 lbs.
This isn't one of the fondest demolitions in my old house but as with all the other projects it was hard work and turned out to be one of the best. Stay tuned for upcoming before and after photos of my craftsman bungalow bathroom remodel.
Bead Board Ceiling
This was one of the hardest jobs I've tackled at my old house. As a little girl I remember the high ceilings but at some point in the early 1970's the ceilings were lowered to eight feet in a few of the rooms. The living room happened to be one of them. After scraping and breaking apart sheet rock there were sheets of plywood that also had to be torn down. Holding the plywood were studs framed to the original ceiling. This was a tough job but I was so thankful to have my boy over to help me (he looked like he was having a good time!) He truly was a life saver that day because I couldn't have done all that work by myself (that crow bar in my hand was put to good use). It took the whole day to demolish the ceiling and of course clean up was my job. To my absolute delight above all that work was the original 14 ft. bead board ceiling. I couldn't wait to get it all cleaned up so I could showcase my new ceiling that had been hidden for decades!
Rebuild an Awning
Wooden Awning for Back Door
Like most of the house the back door awning was also in terrible condition and had to be rebuilt. For me, I find it very difficult to get anyone to work on an old house let alone a small project like this. So, I was very thankful when my carpenter savvy cousin, David said he would rebuild the awning. My daddy's old and rusty sheet rock scaffold came in handy for the project.
There was so much work to be done on the old farmhouse, but with each small or large project I was beyond thrilled and excited knowing the old house was coming back to life! I think my great-grandparents would be very happy with all the hard work and excitement that was being put into their home.
As my cousin, David worked on the awning, my son, Joshua is getting ready to cut down a small tree to make way for a new shed.
Since I inherited this old house it's become the hub for the whole family. Everyone gathers at the house to hang out, cook out or just enjoy the breeze under the pecan trees. A lot of activities were happening during this weekend...the back door was getting a new wooden awning, a tree was cut down and my sister and I were getting ready to assemble a trampoline for the children.
The trees been cut down and the awning is finished. What a great day at the old house...just a little yard debris to haul to the fire pit and clean up at the back door. Farmhouse beautification is in full swing...on to the next project!
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