Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The 1850 Homestead - First Look

 This past weekend, if you follow Blackburn Family Design on Instagram, you probably watched multiple time lapse videos of me doing various demo around the house. With any house, you're going to find things you weren't expecting. Like in the Harvard Ranch where I demoed a wall and found a very old Schlitz can, rusted with age, standing between each stud for the entire length of the wall.

So far in this house I've found unexpected wallpaper. There is a room between the front hallway and the kitchen that had green walls but we could tell it was that faux wood paneling that seems to pop up in every house we renovate. So I started taking those down and found this wallpaper (below) hidden behind it. It's horsehair plaster and it's crumbling so we're going to have to demo more of it and replace it with drywall, so that was unexpected.


When we saw the house back in November we were in it for maybe half an hour, since there were Covid restrictions and people were limited in numbers and length of time. Once our offer was accepted I started studying the layout, which I'd saved off the listing. And I couldn't quite remember, but from the blueprints it looked like there were two built-ins back to back (on in the front hall, one in the dining room). The more I looked at the layout, the more I questioned whether those built-ins were necessary, and I know, removing built-ins is like a faux pas, but I didn't like that if someone was working in the front room with the doors closed (because I'm imagining it as an office) then the only way to get to the dining room from the front of the house is walking all the way down the length of the house and then looping back through the kitchen. We needed another access point. So I took out both built-ins (the "back" or dividing wall of both was another faux-wood panel, go figure). It was clear once the built-ins were removed, that this space had once been a doorway that someone chose to cover up and underneath the faux wood paneling was this gorgeous water-colory wallpaper (below). Sadly, it's not salvageable, but it's lovely and I'm glad I got to see it.

I started off the day on Saturday working in the sun porch, where this door is currently located. The door will have to be removed and closed off because if you were to open that door and step out you'd fall about five feet. It's unclear whether there once were steps of a porch out there, but there isn't one now so we'll be moving the door elsewhere. I love how the red house across the street is so picturesque in the snow.

If you watched all my stories on Instagram over the weekend then you saw me remove all the curtains and rods and tear up the carpet to reveal gorgeous wood beneath it (second photo below). This is currently my favorite room of the house because it had three walls of windows, gets sun the entire day, and I would very much like to install a sectional and spend my Sundays reading out there.

Lastly, I really can't wait until the kitchen is complete. The "cabinets" below, well, what do you even say about those? They weren't cabinets. I feel like those drawers came from a dresser? Needless to say, demoing the kitchen was quicker work than past houses, and we've been to see our cabinet guy and made decisions about layout, color, and door front. So we're on our way. And I tore up that hideous red carpet and the subfloor under it revealing oak floors that will need to be sanded and stained. 

As with every house, this is now my favorite renovation to date and we're only one week in. I just... I love it. I love the character, how each room feels grand in its own way, how the previous families over the past 175 years have taken such good care of it. And I am so excited to see it transform into something even more beloved. I'll do my best to remember to post each week but for more content check out our Instagram (@BlackburnFamilyDesign) to see much more as it happens.

~ Stephanie


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