And So, It Begins.

We are so excited to bring her back to life!
Ever since John and I met, we've been talking about how we'd love to renovate and restore an old house -- both of us grew up in old houses.

My childhood home is in North Mississippi. It is a 1917 white clapboard farmhouse, with an L-shaped front porch, a couple of lovely gables, and a 200-year-old pecan tree out back. (There was an ash tree in the front yard that was just as old as the pecan; but, a tornado came through in the 80s and it fell on the house while we were at the church bazaar.)

We were no strangers to squirrels in the attic. Their bumping and scratching beneath and beyond the wooden clapboard walls was a constant source of annoyance. Daddy waged a holy world war against them for years and finally gave up. You could hit the wall with your fist and maybe they'd stop making noise for a few minutes. If you were lucky, you fell asleep before they started back again.

Rodents had their ways of getting inside and next thing you know, there's a resident rat in the old pump organ.

Floors weren't level and creaked constantly, so there was no way of being quiet, ever.

The home was modestly built, though it had a few great features still intact: an original mantle with mirror, huge old windows with original glass, most of the doors and hardware, beautiful front porch columns and railing, and a pretty built-in china cabinet in the dining room.

My childhood home. (pardon the finger)

It was once used as a duplex, so like every other old house in the history of ever, it has its mysteries and the 'who in the hell thought this was a good idea' kind of design quirks.

John participated in some of the renovation on 2 of their old houses, and his parents did a lot of the actual work themselves. Though they did hire folks out for the hard jobs. My parents hired a contractor and we had guys working on our house for a couple of months.

As for us, we are going to try to do as much as we can ourselves -- with the help of John's parents and family. Thankfully, they have been in the construction business a long time and know the ropes (BONUS...because I have no idea what I'm doing).

I am both excited and dread it. You know what I mean. Ignorance is I'm excited to do the dirty stuff right now because my mind is in a state of old house euphoria. I can admit that.

So, without further ado, this is our Grand Old Lady:
She looks small, but wait until you get inside. The house is over 2200 square feet in all.

Last week, after two days and what amounted to about 5 hours worth of research at the Montgomery County Courthouse (with the help of very kind clerks!), the trail of old deeds led us to an approximate time period. 

The first mention of the house was in 1872 when Matthew M. Clay sold both it and lot to a Mr. Thomas Moore. Clay initially bought the land in 1870 from H.C. Howard. So, until I go dig in the city files, we know it was built sometime between 1870-1872. For now, an approximate is ok with me but I am curious to see if there is any other information on record.

The interior of the house is a mishmash of a few different eras. The front part still has the beautiful tall ceilings and old wallpaper, the hardwood floors are covered with lime green carpet, a few ceilings have been dropped -- twice -- and there is quite a bit of paneling on the walls, too. The back part of the house was an addition at some point in her life. Good stuff is there regardless, and we'll be peeling layers away as we go along.

3 bedrooms, a living room, 2 big walk-in closets (!!), small office room, 1 weird transition room (hall, maybe?), kitchen and laundry room.

Everyone has been asking if we can go ahead and move in. Not quite yet! Oh, we could, but neither bathroom is ready for live-in use, though the kitchen would be workable. And, well, bathrooms are important...

We'd rather stay where we are, just commute the 2 minutes it takes to walk up the street, and work on it until she's ready for full-time company. 

Hang around and I'll take you on a room by room tour.


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