Decorating Our Farmhouse

#11. There’s a tightrope you walk when doing an old house. Ours has a history dating back to the mid 1800s and some indicators suggest even further back than that. So how do you work on a historical home in order to make it your own without destroying its character? That’s where the tightrope comes in. It really is a sensitive balance of updating things and letting other things go.

Our house had been empty for many years until in 1986 it was bought and moved three miles to its current location. At that time the master bedroom (above) was dark with small windows. It had a closet which connected to a porch, a working fireplace and a very low ceiling. The new owner didn’t do too much except remove the fireplace and paint. Later, though, she began making major changes. She bumped into the space above the ceiling to provide ample head room. The closet was relocated. Lastly, the porch was enclosed to create a master bath with large floor-to-ceiling windows.

The owner then decided to use it as a rental property and the house had many people pass through. Finally the place became too much to maintain and she sold it to us in 2015. We began work on the master bedroom last summer. We installed period-appropriate windows and trim work. We took out the old fan that was caked with dirt. And the whole bedroom and bath got a fresh coat of paint. But it was still lacking something. I decided to add two old beams (actually they were posts we removed during our kitchen renovation) into the ceiling. I’m now mulling over a few other ideas to implement.

(Photo by previous owner c. 1986.)