October 10, 2009

the junk house

Ten years ago, when we decided to move from the burbs to the country, we were planning to buy a bit of acreage and build a home. We ended up buying the second place we looked at. It had it all. A great view of the mountains, a pond with fish, and green fields. It was a peaceful, rural setting - just what we wanted to start our new way of life. It was the perfect piece of land. With just one exception. Actually several exceptions. Rather large exceptions. It came with this......

The Junk House

Notice the lovely bright blue astro turf? It's covering up the gaping holes in the porch flooring. And who doesn't enjoy a nice refrigerator on their front porch. A lovely way to offer guests a beverage before they even knock on the door. "Hi there, guests - welcome to Montucky! Grab a brewski and watch your step!" Not exactly the picture I was hoping to paint for our beautiful country life.

Back view.

Note the hot tub on the back porch that, until today, I hadn't thought about for about nine years. The nightmares will return tonight. The "garage" on the end was an obvious add on, the peak of the roof covered part of the upstairs bedroom window, and the living room window downstairs looked into the garage. Charming.

A little distance helps....a little.



The farther you get, the better it looks.



I loved the property, but despised the house and it's hideous group of outbuildings (a post all their own, coming soon.) I suggested to my husband that we see if we could potentially buy the property, minus the five acres or so that the house occupied. He pointed out that if we didn't buy it and fix it up, we'd be living next to it forever. Good point.

We ended up buying the whole property, and thus began the biggest project of our lives. A total gutting, almost ten years, and many changes of plans later we still have two doorknobs to put on and a couple pieces of baseboard trim to install, but we're pretty much there.

*My youngest just walked in and saw the old house pictures laying about. He said "I remember those days! Those ugly days." He was the one who coined the phrase "Junk House." He was five when we moved here and absolutely couldn't comprehend that the house would ever be livable. He would tear up and ask why we bought a junk house instead of a real house. It took a long time, but we finally got it up to his standards.

Here's an after shot.

Dear Meadowbrook Cottage,
Thank you for hanging in there for 97 years before we found you. Your potential shined (shone?) through the dead mouse bodies and the chicken manure on the floor, and it didn't take long before I had every room color picked and every piece of furniture placed. In my mind anyway. In reality, it took a very, very long time to get you where you are today. You're a good, fine house.

p.s. Here's a photo of our place in days gone by. Our neighbor's grandma had lived in our house at one time, and they found this photo among her things.

23 comments:

  1. ....beautiful... this is the message I kept hearing in my head when we found our 1840s house last year and as I stood covered in dirt and spider webs " shes got great bones.. she just needs some love" lol We are a breed of our own missy.. bringing back what we know is not a lost hope.. just one that is missing -Sarahlynn

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  2. What a labor of love! Our cottage is 108 and has needed a lot of "work" We are still in the process after 5 years so I know you have been sweating swearing crying laughing and total awe of how something so ugly could transform into something so beautiful

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  3. Your home is beautiful... before AND after! I want an old "junk" house too... a dream of mine!

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  4. wow, what a transformation. aren't you glad you didn't run for the hills.

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  5. The way you transformed this sad wonderful house is amazing! But I would have fallen in love with it all just like you did! It is so nice that you saw it had potential and you didn't tear it down and build brand new.....I bet that is one happy house now! :)

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  6. God Bless you for putting a porch swing in that porch! I can't stand driving by a beautiful house with a porch and there not being a swing. I think its s Pacific Northwest thing...they havent caught on to the porch swing ;)

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  7. ok...I still have your blog open on my computer. I cant seem to make myself close it. I have to add you to my google reader! Question: do you know why the house was built with two doors? do you use both og them? I've never seen that before.

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  8. Hi Leah! I visited your cute blog trying to find your email....I love reading about transplanted Southern girls. I always wanted to be Southern!
    The way we hear it, the house was originally a tri-plex for workers on the local huge estate. Two halves downstairs, and the upstairs supposedly had an outside staircase for access. We usually only use one door, and it's funny because people never seem to come to the other door. Now, both doors enter the living room. It kind of bugged me at first, but now I like it as a special quirk that only my house has.

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  9. Your house is BEAUTIFUL!! Do you want to come to NC and finish our house for us haha, very beautiful and I am in LOVE with your kitchen! We have had our little cottage house now for a year almost and have done a few upgrades but I am ready to add on and do all kinds of things thanks to your blog inspiration!

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  10. I would love to know what's in your garden...

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  11. SO cool! You're living our dream. LOVE your blog :) Thanks for sharing :)

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  12. Your junk house posts are so inspiring, this place was really a disaster as ours was/ kinda still is. I am inspired and am sending this page to my hubby to inspire him for his all-nighter he has planned after work to work on our "junk house"!
    By the way, the end product of your house is just amazingly beautiful! Please, if there are any more before and after posts I'll be waiting!

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  13. Teresa!
    Found you in a roundabout way (is there any OTHER?) while researching my Johnson Brothers JB18 pattern!! LOL

    I'm so glad I found your blog today... and have fallen in love with the Junk House posts, your lovely gardens, spectacular mountains and the breathtaking photography that you share with us! Thanks for the inspiration! I'm a new fan of your many talents!
    - vicki xo

    PS and another junk house/farm girl (in my heart) if there ever was one!

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  14. i just found your blog! beautiful house! you did a great job!!!!
    Ezia.

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  15. How come I never commented on this!? I remember seeing it!!

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  16. I so want to be you when I grow up! I love your story. Just found your blog today and I'm so glad I did.
    Happy Holidays! Thank you for the inspiration.

    Hugs,
    Bridgette

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  17. I just found your blog! I LOVE it!! The junk house really reminds me of my old farm house. Can I just say that I love your kitchen...it is from my dreams! My kitchen is still patiently waiting to be made new! Stop by my blog myredbarnrevival.blogspot!

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  18. You're probably going to wonder why you're getting a comment on a 2 year old post, but I must tell you I am in love with your "junk house" (and the gorgeous land surrounding it)! I happened upon your blog from a picture I found on Pinterest of your cottage style guest room I think it was. Your vintage style and your lovely photos sucked me right in and I've spent the last hour perusing your entire blog. I'll definitely be your newest follower!

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  19. Love this! Your pictures are amazing! I found you on Pinterest, and I will be visiting often!

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  20. Living in a 108+ year old here. I feel your pain - and pride.

    We have little "attacks of charm" around here all the time (right down to the mouse in the house. There is only one explanation. They all have skeleton keys).

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  21. Just found these pictures of your house and they have given me such hope!! Our house is from 1896 and the progress seems sooooo slow, especially the outside with our various falling down outbuildings (my husband says they are great to paint, he is an artist, but I am not so sure!) Thank you!

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  22. I was drawn in by the door knob that took 10 years to put on. Seems that is how it is around our farmhouse these days. Your cottage turned out perfect! The back in the day picture that was the house in all its former glory was touching. So glad you brought it back to life!

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