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!
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.
I Love This Old House!
Fast forward 25+ years to the house I inherited in 2003. Little did I know when I took on the challenge of remodeling this house it would be a labor of love. This is my story of how I was blessed to become caretaker of "the old house" and how I've been restoring her back to her glory days.
Caretaker Of An Old House
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