We've been super curious about what we'd find when we removed the 80s-era vinyl siding of our 1900's farmhouse fixer. With much of the siding gone, we're sharing about the missing windows, a phantom door, and wondering what the original exterior trim looked like? Which brought up a discussion of restoration vs. renovation and how to have modern updates while being authentic to the house style. Do we want to bring back the second door and make it just like it was or completely cover up all the original to make it "new?" In the cooking segment, I'm sharing my best zucchini recipes because...August. And during recording Brian spots the neighbors removing a major eye-sore - yay! Plus lots more.
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Tearing off the 80s era vinyl siding revealed more than just a lot of wasp nests. We can see that the original siding is in pretty good condition - and that it was probably left wood for a number of years since the white paint is only 1-2 coats deep. I've actually never seen a house this old with so little paint - and no flaking or peeling whatsoever.
This is great for the lead paint issue - we'll just need caulking and filling, but no sanding, thankfully.
Here's the video Brian made of the clever technique he came up with to remove vinyl siding with less possibility of falling off a ladder:
Of course the other thing you can see from the photo above is that there were never any small windows above the porch. This was the biggest surprise to me since I was just sure there were! I've only ever seen this style (2-story, four room front section with a kitchen-dormer "T" section at the back - I don't know what the style of house is called...) with small windows above the porch.
However, our daughter sent this to me that came up on Google when she searched "1900 house:"
Ta-da! That's the style of our farmhouse (minus all Victorian fretwork and posts).
The Mystery Door
Removing the siding also revealed that this house had two front doors originally! I asked my newsletter readers what they thought and got a number of ideas:
- Houses were originally built with just the one door. If the wife died and the husband remarried, a second door was added. It was considered bad luck for the new wife to use the first wife’s door.
- In my Grandma's home, (an old Sears Roebuck & Co.Home delivered on the train) there were three doors off the porch leading into the kitchen, dining and living room.
- My grandparents farm house had 2 doors. One everyone used and it went into family room, the second door went into the parlor and you had to be someone special to go in there.
- We live in Missouri where you will see many old farmhouses like that still being lived in or abandoned. A lady we knew had one like that, although hers didn't have a second story and if it did it was an attic. The right side (facing the house) was the living room and the left side was actually a bedroom.
Since this is a simple farmhouse with the bedrooms on the second floor and just two rooms on the main floor, we're going with the idea that one door was to the family area of the house and the other to a smaller front parlor.
So - Restore or Remodel?
Neither! Well, sort of. We hope to do what we're calling an "authentic remodel" which is the term Brian made up while we were recording! Meaning, we'll remodel for our real life, our budget, and using current technology for weather-proofing, etc.
For instance, we will not be adding back the original second front door, lol. And I will work to see about getting some small windows above the porch - I just think it looks blank and needs something.
We'll do this remodel keeping an eye out for restoring as much as we can to make it feel authentic, like the simple farmhouse it was obviously always meant to be. For us this will include keeping some of the original 100-year-old siding, refinishing the old-growth fir floors wherever possible and adding period appropriate molding, doors, and fixtures.
Here's that HGTV article we talked about: The Key Elements of Farmhouse Architecture.
Siding Farmhouse Inspiration
Here are some of the inspiration photos I mentioned for white farmhouses with two sidings like we want in order to meld the old with the new. The plan is to combine the original siding on the front and upper story with new board-and-batten on the lower section and back of the "T" part of the house.
We have a couple of updates for you on more of what's been found under the house and our out-of-control gopher situation. Make sure to listen for these!
August is for zucchini, right? Here are all my zucchini recipes:
The newest: The Ultimate Zucchini Guide (with 46 recipes!)
- Zucchini, Corn, and Tomato Sauté with Feta
- Zucchini-Feta Fritters with Lime
- Sausage and Corn Stuffed Zucchini
- Amazing White Zucchini Cake with Broiled Caramel-Nut Frosting
- Healthy, Whole Wheat No Fail Zucchini Bread
- Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread (Sweetened with Honey)
- Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
- Glazed Zucchini Lemon Bread
- Zucchini Cinnamon Freezer Muffins (you freeze the dough of these, meaning warm muffins whenever you want - my favorite way to "preserve" zucchini!)
I mentioned jumping on the spiralizing trend (both here and in the last Good Things List) to make "zoodles." Here is the spiralizer I settled on for the most flexibility to make noodle shapes out of other vegetables, too.
This is Really Cool!
Brian: The Werner 20 ft. ladder (300 lb. capacity) that amazed him with it's lightness (for aluminum) and it's sturdiness for the price.
Jami: Trader Joe’s Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookies (I'm providing a link to them on Amazon so you can see the packaging, but obviously these are a lot more than you'd pay in a TJ's store...)
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Marlene Stephenson says
Thanks so much truly enjoyed all you talked about. Sounds like the house is getting a lot done on it. Have a good and productive week.
Thanks for listening, Marlene!
What you see might not be a second door. The door could have been moved from one room to the other. Then they use the siding that they cut out to fill in the old space.
True - I hadn't thought of that!