This is not a drill. I repeat! This is not a drill.
Our house hunt is over and I can finally talk about our new home without jinxing the deal. Thank goodness!
Our new home is actually quite old. Old as in founding fathers old!
So without further ado, welcome to our colonial farmhouse!
If the story is correct, the original part of this house was supposedly built in the 1780s. The “new” section of the house (shown above) was built around 1849. There is some etching in a stone in the attic with the builder’s name and date to verify the 1849 date.
Let me do the math for you. At a minimum our colonial farmhouse is 170 years old, but that first section is closer to 240 years old.
If your first response to that sentence was “that’s incredible” closely followed by “they are crazy” do not worry. I’m not offended. I vacillate between those two sentiments 100 times a day.
I have ALWAYS dreamed of restoring an old farmhouse, but I imagined it being in Vermont not New Jersey. Ha! But I’m good with a half-correct dream.
I’m calling our home a colonial farmhouse because that’s what it looks like to me. It does have some interior features of traditional colonial architecture, but not enough to be solidly in that architectural camp. It’s more colonial in the true sense of time, not architecture.
Our colonial farmhouse sits on 2 acres. It has 2,300 finished sq. ft. and is FULL of quirks. The wide-plank wood floors are original. It has 3 fireplaces, one of which is in the master bedroom. It has a formal staircase and a back staircase into the kitchen.
Not surprisingly, the house does need to have the kitchen and bathrooms updated. This is not a complaint. It’s more a statement of fact. I’m just glad the house has indoor plumbing given its age!
The home is located in what would be considered a semi-rural area. It sits closer to the road than I would like, but that doesn’t surprise me given the age of the home. Our two acres extends in a rectangle all behind the house. There’s a forest to our right, a field behind us and to the left there is a neighbor’s house.
The property includes a stone carriage house with a slate roof (below) that literally housed a horse and carriage back when it was built.
The carriage house now has a studio apartment in it that has not been updated in at least 30 years. I’m not going to show you pictures of the inside for awhile because we have guests coming later this summer and I don’t want to scare them. Ha!
I’ll get it cleaned up, don’t worry. Well, worry a little.
The property also has a small barn the size of a two-car garage that will be great for storage.
It looks a little rough, but I’m 73% certain that it is structurally sound.
The seller left so much furniture I’m considering having a pop-up shop in the barn to sell my wares!
Our kids are super excited that the home has an in-ground swimming pool behind the carriage house.
Do we know anything about maintaining a swimming pool?
No. Definitely not.
Are we learning as fast as possible? Yes.
I do know that green water is bad, but by the time you are reading this post that should be remedied.
*crosses fingers…and toes*
Given the age of this home, it is in remarkable condition. It has a 4-year-old roof, recent exterior paint, a brand new septic and a back-up generator. We looked at homes less than 50 years old that were in worse shape due to neglect. It doesn’t mean there aren’t quirks (hello lack of outlets), but it is clear the previous owners going back hundreds of years have taken great care of it.
We bought the house from an elderly widower who lived there for almost 50 years. That’s longer than I’ve been alive! In a somewhat unusual move in today’s real estate world, the homeowner met us for the first and second showings and gave us the property tour himself.
He told me on our first meeting that he was shocked when his wife walked through the home on a whim and immediately fell in love with it. He didn’t understand why she wanted to leave their perfectly nice, brand new house to live in this old one. They made the leap though and ended up raising three boys and having a good life there.
I understand why she was smitten with this colonial farmhouse and I can tell she loved on it for the majority of her life. You don’t stencil the inside of a bathroom closet unless you are ultra passionate about your home!
If you have a soft spot for old houses, something about this one will speak to your soul. It’s not as grand as some, but I can tell it has heart and soul and has survived the test of time. That’s pretty amazing.
There are plenty of improvements we want to make to the home, but nothing major will happen for awhile. First we need to fully move in. Then we need time to figure out how to make the house live best for us while maintaining its historical charm. We also need time to save more money because new kitchens and bathrooms aren’t cheap!
Besides, it’s going to take me a good long while to remove ALL THE WALLPAPER in this house, so I’ll have plenty of time to think happy thoughts about all things design-related.
Thanks for following along on this journey! I will share more interior photos soon. I’ll also share some better exterior shots once we tame the landscaping, so that the house is actually visible.
Get ready for lots of projects and small, incremental changes. I don’t know exactly what they will be yet, but I know there will always be something to do. Isn’t that how it goes?
If you like old houses, you might enjoy one of these posts!