It’s raining, I have a nasty sinus infection, and I have not enough coffee to keep these sleep deprived eyes open. So what better than a blog entry folks??! Lately my thoughts and days have been consumed with the farm and all of these things that we will have to do to get it up and running. This venture is going to take years to get off the ground but I am super excited about it. Who knows….maybe in a few years we’ll start having small weddings and events in the vineyard and rent out the tasting room (which will be the 100 year old farmhouse we will be renovating that is already on the property). Sadly though it is in very poor condition which makes me wonder if we can even save it. Our builder came out and surveyed the property for the new house last week and he thinks that the farm house is too far gone to make any kind of serious renovation. So we’ll have to see I guess. It was in this family for over 4 generations but it has remained abandoned and empty for the past 15 years. There is a terrible leak in the roof, the walls are caving in, and there is black mold growing on the walls. I am fairly sure that the original wood on the outside of the house (which was covered over with vinyl siding) is eaten up with termites as the front porch is starting to fall apart from the pest damage. I am sure that the paint is all lead based and that the ceiling and walls have asbestos in them. As much as I would love to save this house, I am not sure if it is fiscally responsible to invest so much money in trying to save the thing. We’re going to try though. First step is to get my home inspector that I already work with to come in and survey the damage. Then I guess the hubs and I can make a more informed decision and just go from there.
We are blessed to have enough space on the farm to build the new house on a completely different part. Our house will overlook the little farm house, back and to the right of the front pasture area. The house will be located in the back away from the road frontage, with the Morton Barn, equipment barn, and fenced pasture area in the front. Our fence will look very similar to the pic on the left that you see. We will probably leave about 5-6 acres for our “yard” and then leave about 10-12 acres for the front pasture. We have enough space to make another pasture in the back of the property if we really decide to get back into the horse business but for now just the one barn and pasture for my boys will do. They are older horses so they don’t do much running around these days. Hopefully we can start working the ground and planting a good quality fescue before the house is ready so that we can have the pasture established enough to move my guys right around the same time the house will be finished. I would hate to commute from the old barn to our new property but if I have to make it work for awhile, then so be it. It’s only about 15 miles so not too shabby. While the house is being finished we will also till under the other land tracts and plant a clover cover crop to add more nutrients to the soil and help with any fungus that may be hanging out underground. Realistically the farm won’t have it’s first “real” season until 2019 but it will be worth the wait if we can get the right prep work done. It also gives us time to decide if we want to tackle wines or not. Wine is very daunting and in NC there are quite a few small successful vineyards. Not sure if we want to play with the big boys with our mere 50 acres. We have been given the option to purchase the remaining 15 acres across the street but for now we are forgoing that to concentrate on the land we have already purchased. If we do buy it this summer we will grow fescue hay on it until we decide what we really are set on.
But back to the farm house itself. In order to preserve the heritage of the farm, we have decided to go old school with just a touch of modern (see the big pic above). We want to do rustic real wood floors and big wood beams in the kitchen. The house will have lots of windows to let in plenty of natural light and showcase the gorgeous landscape outside. There will be a real wood burning fireplace in the living room that will be double sided and back up to the fireplace outside on the screened in porch off the master. All of these fabulous plans were designed by me but are being drawn up by a local Raleigh architect who has won tons of awards for his designs and who has planned several Parade Homes. As silly as this sounds, I would love for our house to be a Parade Home. I know that sounds pretentious but we are going to incorporate so many neat elements in the house that I would love to share them with other people who love the farm house design. For example, the original farm house on the property has an antique Hotpoint stove that I plan on using in the new house. Of course I will have to have the entire wiring redone but when it is finished it will add that vintage element to the kitchen that I just love!!! In the end if we have to have the farm house torn down I will try to reuse every single little thing in the new house to try to preserve the memories of the family and carry on the farm house legacy in a new way. There are lots of large, old solid wood doors that I would love to use as well as the original wrought iron door knobs and brackets. Right now the house stands exactly as it was 15 years ago when the last heir passed away. All of her effects are still in the house and I have to admit, it’s heartbreaking. Apparently from what we have learned about the family history, there was a huge family fight between the heirs and the two sides of the family. When the last daughter passed away, the family was in such a disagreement that the house was left untouched. Nothing has been removed. Even her toothbrush and shampoo are still in the bathroom. In the south when a family member passes away the traditional thing to do is the family comes to the house, goes through the loved ones belongings, and sorts out who inherits what. But in this case, everything was left completely intact. Not a thing was removed. So when we finally close on the property and get the keys we will legally own everything in the barns and the house that hasn’t been removed. Kinda creepy I know. We are hoping that the family will go through the house in the next month to remove what they want to during the due diligence period. After that legally everything becomes ours and trust me….I will put a lot of the belongings to good use. There are many gorgeous antiques peppered throughout the house that I would love to incorporate in our new house. So now it’s just a wait and see to find out what and when the family will remove their belongings. Here’s just a few pics below of some of the items that are still in the house at this moment……..
In a nutshell, these are my mind’s workings as of late. I swoon over light fixtures. I pour over design magazines. I beg hubby to go to country auctions with me to start gathering our furniture hoard for the new place. It’s like I’m having a hot, steamy illicit affair but with a house LOL! Of course we have a long, long way to go. We still have to sell the hubs house in the city, the house we are currently living in, and wait out the 8-12 months that it will take to finish the farm house. It’s a lot. It will be trying, stressful, and an absolute financial nightmare. But in the end I truly feel it will be worth it. This isn’t just a house here. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a legacy for our children and families. Trying to get back to the simpler things. Trying to unplug a little bit. Going back to my farming roots. And hoping it doesn’t kill me in the process! I’ll keep everyone posted as more details come. And maybe if I actually have time I’ll post some bridal info to keep all my Brides out there current.
Stay savvy…… Gigi