Craftsman Bungalow - circa 1907
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!
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.
Roofing an Old House
The house had major structural damage and one of the most important jobs was adding support beams in the attic. An exterior wall had begun to separate from the house and I'm sure it just a matter of time before the front section of the house would've collapsed.
Covering The Roof
New Shingles on the Farmhouse
I chose gray architectural shingles and I was oh so happy when the work was finally finished. If my old house could talk she would've taken a sigh of relief at this point. Even though the renovations had just started the old house was beginning to come alive.
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