Monday, October 25, 2010

Our Home

When we decided to purchase our home in 2007, the idea of having a "farm" had never crossed our minds. We simply wanted to find an older home with some property and restore it to its original beauty, something my in-laws had successfully done a number of times.

Verde Heights-Traditional American Four Square
My husband and I bought a great house, in 1998, when we moved to West Virginia--my home, from the mountains of North Carolina, his home. We loved our house in the suburbs and really believed we would be there until we died. However, I couldn't shake my longing to live in an older home, one with stories, history.

I love houses. I love to look at houses and I love everything about decorating them.  One evening, I was flipping through our area "Homes" magazine to see what was on the market when a certain house seemed to leap from the pages. I fixed my gaze on a beautiful, brick house, built in the early 1900s, including 11 acres of land. I had to see it.

Some of the property.  The corrals were added by us.
A few days later, I made an appointment to see it. I really didn't think it would go anywhere, but within a few weeks we owned the place. The house and property were filled with a peaceful, sweet spirit, we couldn't deny. Something like that isn't easy to define, it's just that when we visited the property and the house between the time we purchased and actually moved in, we felt better about life in general.

The house itself is a traditional American four square with three levels, which is a very common style in this area, and a simple design at that. The floors were original and in good condition. A recent addition, including a kitchen and mud room on the back of the house, was a plus. The walls needed a lot of plaster work, bathroom remodels and some electrical upgrades, but overall it was a project we not only wanted to tackle, but one we needed to tackle, as well.

The parlor pre-move in.  Original wood floors.
The parlor at Christmas after restoration.
The house and property have a few unique and interesting landmarks, including the first in-ground pool  in Huntington, WV.  The old pool had seen better days, however. It hadn't been used in about 40 years so its once precise lines and curves were now reduced to gray rubble, cracked and lying beneath a jungle of vegetation.
The old pool as we were digging it out.
The same pool restored.
Down by the pond, an old iron cage, rusted and rickety, stands silently still. It has seen 80 years pass in this spot. Some people wonder why we keep it. A few reasons come to mind. The morning glories sure love to climb it, and in the '30s, it was home to a bear on the lam from the circus. We wanted stories. We wanted history.  How could we get rid of the bear cage?

The Bear Cage on left during winter. A favorite spot of the ducks.
A long time ago, a master gardener from Pittsburgh, Pa. traveled to Huntington, WV to design a rose garden for the lady at the home on Ohio River Road. The vintage roses are long gone but the garden's potential remained.
The rose garden this past summer.  We just added the fountain.
The garden entrance in early spring
The evergreens, by the hundreds, sent from overseas and planted on the property provided the inspiration to call the place, Verde Heights.  Verde translates to green, olive, emerald-thus the name.The cedars, junipers, hemlocks and spruce, some you can't find anymore, just knocked us out. In addition, the hardwoods, such as oaks, maples, beech, walnut and chestnut with dogwoods and redbuds excited us further. But, all the trees were being taken over by honeysuckle, wisteria and grapevine.  Many of the trees were being strangled and had started to die. They needed us.
A shot from last summer with trees in the background,
standing here for many years.
We've been here about four years, and really feel privileged to be stewards of this great property for a time.  It's as if we borrowed a little history, privacy, land and spirit--if only for a little while. As we continue to live here we are also becoming our homes history.

Does your house have a history? Are there any unique stories hidden in the walls that you call home? Happy Monday Farm Friends.

51 comments:

Sharon said...

Well, Amy, I am nearly speechless. Your home (not house) is so knock-out beautiful! Lovely, lovely!

We have a small brick home (and I mean small) and it was built in 1983, we are the second people to live in it.

Flat Creek Farm said...

Your home is absolutely breathtaking!! Love, love, love! Our home has history alright. It was built around 1920 (?) by an eccentric school teacher who had four children. He planned each of the outer rooms so he could observe the children doing their homework in each room via reflections from the glass on the doors (while he was sitting in the 'middle' room). He had a strange obsession with glass it seems. At one time, this was called the glass house because of so many windows & doors in a very small home. And, as a side note, my ornery hubby told me -- when we hadn't lived here very long (30 years ago) -- that the school teacher kept his dead wife in a glass casket for a time before her burial (very untrue). Egads. I should have never forgiven him for that!! :-o Thanks for sharing your home with us. I'm ready to come for a visit! :) -Tammy

Unknown said...

Wow! I am in LOVE with your home and farm! You have made it absolutely breathtaking! I'll be having dreams of a place like this someday...

Missouri Gal said...

I'd love to buy an old farm house and fix it up. A little less land than what we have now would be nice too but I sure would miss the woods we have! They are so peaceful! You home is beautiful! Excellent job!

TexWisGirl said...

A gorgeous place! So glad you discovered it and it called to you to restore it with love and attention. I can see why you are wanting to share its views with others. Just really wonderful! You've already put a lot of work and love back into it.

If we're lucky, the soul of a place connects with us. Our place called to us as well. After getting quite a runaround trying to buy it (another person had it under contract but couldn't get financing; we had our current house to sell, etc.) we finally succeeded in getting our contract accepted. Our realtor dubbed me "Faith Woman" as I WILLED it to be ours. We then named our place "Run*A*Round Ranch" - for our struggles in making it ours, and also for the 9-sided roundish house we have lived in for over 8 yrs. now.

Thanks for sharing your lovely home with us! Looking forward to more tours!

Farm Girl said...

Oh I just love this history of Verde Farm. Gosh what would be my favorite part, I love the picture of before and after of your parlor, I love how beautiful the restored floors are and I really, love your furniture. I love how pretty the swimming pool looks after you restored that too. I love the gardens and I think my favorite part is that you didn't want to loose the trees.
When we bought our place we had one tree and the landscaper told us it would die, we didn't want that to happen and have tried to take such good care of it but your have 11 acres of trees.
I love all of the different kinds that you named and it just makes me so happy to read about that. Since I do have a thing about trees.
This is just a wonderful post and I wish you many blessings. I love the bear cage too.
Thanks so much for inviting me in today.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Oh, she's a grand old girl !
What charm and character, it reminds me of the Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson's homestead just up the road.
You are indeed privileged in being stewards of such a fine property, I'm off to read the post one more time !
Just perfect.

Janice Grinyer said...

Your home chose its owners well ;)

Four years and you managed do all that work? WOW! The woodwork in older homes is absolutely fantastic and yours is no exception. I love your gardens ~ incredibly peaceful. And I agree; the bear cage should stay, that's history!

As far as our history, we are on our 6th home, and I must admit each move or build is different; why we selected the home, how etc. ~ but I do think the history aspect of a home is the most fun part! Don't you find it slants your decorating style, in a good way? But thats the fun part too; donating or selling the old furniture, keeping some of the pieces that work with the home, and then having fun starting all over again! We be kindred spirits in that regard!

And I bet you have many interesting stories about what kind of creatures you find on the pool cover too ~We had an in-ground pool at a house we once owned, surrounded by woodland, and it was amazing to find the salamanders, garter snakes etc. that loved that darn pool cover lol made for an adventure to swim for sure! I also remember taking morning swims before the world was up - I bet you love doing that too :)

And goodness, how in the world do you keep the ducks from swimming with you?!!! :D

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

Oh Amy, how beautiful it all is. There is something about the solidness of brick that makes you feel protected somehow. Thank you for inviting us into your lovely home and farm.

Michelle said...

Just stunning. And, you have accomplished so much. WOW! We live in a Folk Victorian Farmhouse on 25 acres in central KY. Not much of the interior "charm" was left after it sat empty for many, many years. It had become a home for small animals (yuck) before it was renovated and brought back to life. Old houses are the best, such history and meaning in their structures.

John Going Gently said...

our cottage would fit in your hallway!!!!!

Maura @ Kisiwa Creek Photography said...

Amy...I am in awe of your incredible home. I had no idea that hidden behind the trees in one of your photo's a while back was such an incredible site! Absolutely amazing. You have a real piece of history that you have done an amazing job restoring. I can't believe that you restored the pool! Most people would have probably filled it in...but you brought it back to life. I think it's facinating that you know so much of it's history...even though it is an incredible home..it's the history that makes it even more so. THANK YOU for sharing your home with us...now I feel I know you a little better. I hope you and your hubby have a wonderful evening....Maura :)

Beth said...

Awesome tour! Beautiful place!

Do you think y'all will sell it and find another place with stories that you can restore?

Inger said...

I have to say the same as all the rest, I just love Verde Farm. The house, the garden, the parlor -- it is all so truly beautiful and you have done so much to it and will take such good care of it for years to come. Thank you so much for sharing this treasure.

Our LA house is a 19202s bungalow, lovingly restored also. Our Canyon house here is a 1970s little house, nothing much to look at, and my husband hasn't had time to do any major renovations. We have fun colors on the walls and a few other nice things, that's about it. But it is really the outside that counts for me.--Inger

Country Gal said...

Absolutly beautiful home ! Our farm house was built in 1895, it was an old school house before it was a farm house, this Farm house had alot of land ,so much that some of the land is now the village we live in ! I love old builings with history ! Have a great day!

Angela said...

I love it Amy! I'm glad that you were able to find out so much history about your place. I felt as if I was reading a "If Walls Could Talk" episode! You've done a wonderful job restoring it to the grand palace that it once was! It's truly stunning! Love the grand pool too!

Have a Great Day!
Angela

Terry said...

Your home and the grounds are beautiful, beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Joe said...

WOW!! That is nice. I especially like the winter pic.

The Whistle Stop said...

Everytime I see more of your property I am in awe! It is a dream for most of us! Thanks for sharing!
Laurie

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

So glad you came to my blog so I learned about yours! Love all the animals and love the house! I'm also an old house nut. I was living in a really cool 1904 farmhouse with all the original details, many fireplaces, beadboard everywhere, on 53 acres of property, the whole bit, but we had to move out of there because we had the neighbors from hell. We call that the Amityville Horror House. I won't even tell you what they did to some of my animals... Since we had to scramble to get something else real quick, this house, though adorable, is not exactly what I wanted. It's Depression-era, which is my favorite period, but the people who "restored" it took out all the original details. I couldn't even tell whether it was new or old when I came to look at it. We are moving again to be closer to my family (inspired by losing my mom) up in Jersey, and I HAVE to get an old house! Just like you said you were, I am LONGING for it.

Chris at Red Gate Farm said...

Amy,
Your home is fabulous! I really love the four square style of homes. You and your animals are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place! It's so great to see someone bring a place back to all it's glory, inside and out. I think I would have kept the bear cage too!
Chris

Windy Meadows Farm said...

There's nothing I can add to the above...absolutely lovely! I love that you're surrounded by trees...our farming area is in a valley, so there's a lot of flat, open land. I have a soft spot in my heart for old homes...there's just something about them that can't be replicated in newer homes. A charm, a sense of pride in craftsmanship, and the history. Gets me every time! Ours was built in 1864 by a gentlman who farmed. When he retired from farming, he moved to town and opened a jewelry shop. Our home has a back staircase, which the kids love, and a fireplace in the kitchen, which I love. Thank you for the tour...truly, hats off to you for all your hard work. What a restful place it must be to enjoy at the day's end.

Razzberry Corner said...

Your place is TRULY BEAUTIFUL, breathtaking, inspiring. There are no words to express how I fell. It so encourages me to hang on while dealing with my little house with all it's issues. You have done so much in just 4 years. Well done, I applaud you and the work you have accomplished.

It's interesting how the right place sort of finds you. You didn't expect to move, but it just happened. That's how it was with us when we got our old farm. It wasn't planned, but I was driven to the place, I knew it was "it". And so often I still doubt it, but hopefully my little house one day with be as wonderful and grand as your estate!

~Lynn

Unknown said...

Everything is just beautiful!

xo,

annie

Jill said...

Your place is absolutely beautiful! What a wonderful story about the bear cage. I would keep it too. I also think you have a fabulous barn.

Jen said...

Love It... Very Beautiful Place You Have There!

thecrazysheeplady said...

Wow! Your place is lovely! What a great tour - thanks for sharing :-).

Teri said...

Just Beautiful! It really does not get any better than that! Thanks for sharing Amy.

Lisa Sall - Sall's Country Life said...

Amy, What a beautiful house and it looks like you've done a wonderful job in making it a home. I think I would trade you farms in a heartbeat! My husband is a carpenter by trade and you know how that works. Our fixer-upper farm house has turned into the 7 year itch! Originally purchased for my husband and buddies to use as a hunting camp, I only agreed to move in if he remodeled the master bedroom, that was 7 years ago and I'm still looking at cracks in the ceiling. But, I did get some history, it turns out we're living in my Grandmother's Uncle's homestead. A local historian came by and gave us a picture from 1907. How's that for coincidence or "meant-to-be" or something? I'll just keep nagging and maybe someday the place will look as good as Verde Farm!!
Lisa

Unknown said...

Absolutely stunning, what a beautiful home you have Amy! I truly believe owning an older home is a privilege and that we are stewards but for just a short time preserving the past for future generations to come. Obviously you feel the same way. What a beautiful property as well. You have done a tremendous amount of work, in rebuilding, restoring and preserving. I wish more people would see this potential in all older buildings.

Our farmhouse, was built in the 1860's and while we know a pair of farming brothers resided here for quite some time, we're still not sure if their family was one of the original settlers to this little area. We do plan on finding out, as we would like to name the house after the original family. Unfortunately, the last two owners before us, believed in modernizing everything in sight. It will take some time, but we're slowly rectifying that! (You should see some of the light fixtures..egad!)

Once again, congrats on a job well done and in only four years...wow!

~Andrea~

Rural Rambler said...

Verde Farm is Beautiful Amy! Homes are like people and animals, they need someone to love them and watch over them. Looks like a wonderful beautiful relationship to me!

FarmHouse Style said...

Your description indicates how enamored you are with your home... and who could blame you, it is beautiful. I love the bits of history you wove into your post:-)

Rhonda

Mary said...

What a beautiful place you have. It's heanvenly. You have added so much life and interest with your beautiful animals, the way it was meant to be.

-Mary

Melodie said...

WOW! You have a beautiful home! I share your feelings about "old" ! I would rather live in a home with a past and character than a brand new place!

Vintage Country Girl said...

What amazing stories. You are very lucky, and you have a gorgeous house!

V.L. Locey said...

Hi Amy, thanks for dropping into my blog! I`m pleased to meet you! What a lovely home you have, and blog as well!

Kent Island Red said...

Oh. My. GOD!!! I have just seen a glimpse of HEAVEN!!!!

Holly said...

What amazing stories!!! I love it and the house!! The pool looks so inviting and it looks like there is plenty of room in the house...I'm thinking of a visit!!!!
Do you ever do "time outs" in the bear cage?? Just a thought!!
Thanks for sharing and for always leaving me such nice comments!!!
Holly

flowerweaver said...

Wow, what a stunningly beautiful place you have! Restoration projects are always an admirable undertaking. I love fixer-uppers! My art studio (the front of our house) was our town's Post Office from the 30's to the late 60's. Former owners hid the sidewalk (that now goes up to a wall) in a circular patio. I hope to install
french doors someday so I can use it.

Glenda said...

Oh my goodness Amy, I just love your place. Verde Farm is on my list of places I want visit. Please, please do not move until I can get there!
~G~

Pondside said...

That house and property were, obviously, waiting for you to find them and dig in. What a beautiful job you've done.

Staci said...

Amy,
What a beautiful home and such a great history! We have an old home that I really wish we knew the history of. Maybe in time. Your place reminds me slightly of the beautiful B&B we stayed in when we went to Rhode Island. So precious yet cozy.
Thanks for sharing!
Staci

Unknown said...

What a stunning home! And what a lucky property to have you as its owner--the renovations you have done are breathtaking. My daughter will be so excited to see the photos of your animals--she is animal obsessed and begs us to move to a farm. I look forward to reading more of your farming adventures!

Tete said...

Hi Amy,
Glad you found me! I so love this house and farm! Can't wait to see more- I love the parlor...so sweet.
Can't wait to meet all your barn buddies, too!
Hugs- Tete

Laurie at Turner Farm said...

Glorious! Love the history and what a wonderful journey you are on. 2007 was the year to move to the farm ~ The Turner Farm was born that year!

Kim said...

What a beautiful farm you have! It must be wonderful to have such history in your home. We are just trying to build history here at our red farmhouse. So glad you found me. Going back to see more now. Love the fence on your farm. We copied those from your neck of the woods for our place.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

just found you! what a great blog!!!

Katy said...

You have a beautiful home with gorgeous surroundings! So lovely! Blessings, Katy

Linda said...

Your home and farm is absolutely beautiful. Oh..I can see myself with camera in hand...taking lots of beautiful photos.

Thanks for sharing...

Linda

Anonymous said...

Very cool. I have some pictures of this place. Never got to visit, but it was my Great Grandparent's home. My Mother sent me the link. It is good to know that it is being preserved for the future.

Granny Sue said...

Lovely, lovely home. The bear cage is one of those things that just has to stay--who could get rid of it!

And nice to find another WV blogger.