We know from records that our farmhouse was built in 1911. It was common to scratch a date in the concrete as it is poured and 1911 can be found in the old concrete leading to the steps on the south side of the house. The kitchen, mudroom, second floor hall bath and master bath had either been updated or added in the last number of years. The exterior was covered with vinyl sometime back so as not to have to continue to paint. The wood siding beneath the vinyl is in good shape and we hope to remove the vinyl at some point and paint once again.
One of the most distinguishing features of the inside of the house is the well preserved and unpainted oak beadboard with its surface “saw marks”. This material was used on most of the walls and the ceilings. Beadboard became popular during the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was used for more informal areas of the home such as halls and kitchens usually hidden from public view or only for rustic retreats. Because it was made from scraps, it was inexpensive and it could be put up by practically anyone. Beadboard was milled with a thin ridge or tongue on one edge and a groove on the opposite edge so that the panels fit together easily. Most of the time this wonderful old beadboard has been painted at some point in its history and once painted it never truly regains the “original look”. We are told that in the 50s or 60s when the residents of this home decided to “modernize” they covered the beautiful original beadboard with drywall rather than painting and this both brightened up the inside and also served as a means of insulation. The drywall in this house was removed in the ‘90s, and the wood beneath has been slowly “spruced up” to take on its current warm and, we think, elegant appearance.
The farmhouse was originally built without a bathroom as indoor plumbing was not at all common until the late 20s. The location of the former outhouse is marked with a concrete base and is about 30 yards behind the house. The downstairs bathroom was likely added in the 30s. We suspect that some of the wood that was eventually used for this bathroom had been tucked away and stored from the original house construction as it is similar to the rest of the house only of poorer quality. In restoring this old bathroom we spent a lot of time working with this original old beadboard. These were and are the only painted walls in the house. The two other bathrooms in the house were added later and are on the second floor. We have added various unique antique toilet paper holders and towel racks to all of the bathrooms and these are correct for the era.
The house was originally heated with the three fireplaces and at one point to maintain heat downstairs there was an enclosure around the stair with a door. This has since been removed and the staircase is now open. The farmhouse now has central heat and air and is quite comfortable.
We had slowly collected a number of period pieces through the years and some of these were an excellent fit for this 1911 farmhouse. We have since been able to find all of the additional pieces needed to appropriately “finish off” each room and space. The items in the house are for the most part either period for the house or a bit older and in keeping with what people would have owned or had access to in about 1911 and some years beyond. The family that had always lived on this farm started out in a log cabin near the dairy barn and very likely brought older furniture with them when they moved from the log cabin to the house. The upholstered furniture has been recovered in fabric true to the era.
We enjoyed looking for, finding, and restoring the antique steel beds. All of these beds including the two matching geometric designs, “wedding ring”, in the lower bedroom and the various Victorian designs of the four beds on the upper level would have originated from about 1890 to 1910. New mattresses have been added as a compromise to comfort.
The only other “bed” in the house is a daybed that had originally come out of the house of Seven Gables in Salem, Mass. We were looking for a way to have a couch in the parlor and also add an extra bed and were very happy to find this unique item. All it needed were some pillows, a cover and a new mattress made to match the original mattress that was still with the bed when we found it.
Our pictures in the house, for the most part, are related to animals that one might find around a farm. Most all have simple old frames that would have been more common in a farm house. Our library consists of various books and some pamphlets that were either copyrighted or published in 1911. We now have close to 40 and have enjoyed reading most of these.
We spent over 18 months personally restoring this wonderful old farmhouse. We made the previously remodeled kitchen look more “farmy” and added appropriate conveniences so that the farmhouse can be rented and appreciated in comfort.
It is our hope to give our guests the opportunity to experience living in a time long gone and yet with the conveniences of today.
We are excited to be able to share this farmhouse and the farm experience with guests and especially with families and friends of our Yesterday Spaces clients who may decide to rent the farmhouse to use prior to and during their wedding event.