It's been almost a year since Derek, Lizzie and I uprooted ourselves to take an adventure buying a historical farm in the Chagrin Valley. We clearly have an unusual way to experience a midlife crisis, but at least we both had the same relative idea about what we were in search of! As in any renovation, projects progress much slower than you anticipate and the time flies by, but despite blood, sweat and tears (many, many tears on my part!!) we wouldn't change a thing about our move. Even Lizzie is finally forgiving us for leaving our other home that we had already lovingly restored. If you didn't see my blog about the move, here's a recap - it was one of our most popular entries (besides Tinsel, the Percheron)….
Rebecca Ray Design's Family is on an Extended Adventure Renovating a 1920s Ohio Farm!
Well - its is official! Derek and I now officially own a 35 acre farm in Chagrin Falls, Ohio! We left our very beloved last home that we had poured our heart and soul into (see blog dated....) and we are starting over. Lizzie, our daughter, did inform us early in the process that we had "ruined her life" by moving, but she might be have to admit that she is completely eating those words now that we have been in it for about 5 weeks. We have a historically significant home that was built by the architect who built the Cleveland Museum of Art and the very famous Westside Market. He Built it as his own home and then sold it in 1949 to the family that we bought it from. We feel truly privileged to be entrusted as the stewards of such a special place.
So everyone keeps asking, what does it look like and what have you done? Well - we have finally received approval for our barn to be built for our Percheron girls who are hitting their heads on the lightbulbs of the old barn. We hope to break ground within the next few weeks. We've also come up with the most gorgeous preliminary house plans for a modest renovation that we will take place in the next few years. The addition will maintain the integrity of the historical house, just make it a little better for a modern family (air conditioning would be key here!). We are finding things on the property every day, and every season change is like getting a present from nature. So without further adieu, here is a photo tour of one year's worth the work…
My trusty dogs welcome everyone at the end of the drive, where we have a pond and pretty bridge to drive over.
The view from the high point in the front pasture looking towards the front of the house…the yard is slowly taking shape and the grass that we are mowing is finally coming back...
The grapes had their spring pruning and are now loaded with fruit. I hope that this field will eventually become a hunt field for riding. And finally we unearthed the old orchard. We have peaches, pears and apples this year. The trees are loaded up! Who is coming to help with canning week!?
The hedges are getting haircuts - we took about two feet off the tops. The Percheron girls (and Licorice) have all happily settled into their new pastures. We can see them grazing from the house. Also, we are putting in fences and more fences. Every time we have a little extra in the budget (which is almost never by now!) up goes more fence. From the woods, you can see the dogs are out in their temporary paddock.
Kitchen renovation on a dime! Knowing that we have a major addition as soon as we save our pennies, we did a minor "refurbish on the kitchen". We added a new stone floor, painted the cabinets, put new hardware on them, and installed new appliances. After throwing in some can lighting, and new paint colors on the walls, our old farmhouse kitchen has a new life. Believe it or not, the stainless counters were there. And we kept the great farm sink and faucet!
The powder room - how about that mini sink?!
Look how great the floors look - we haven't touched them yet - except for pulling up thousands of nails!!
We made a make-shift family room out of the old dining room, so that we had a sitting area just off the kitchen.
I'm beginning to find homes for all of my collections…I've actually found more storage space in the house than I thought that I would. New homes for all of my collections...kind of fun to create new vignettes. It's like a working studio !
In the living room, the fireplace tiles appear to be Rookwood Pottery.
I put old cabinets to new display use... This is in the corner of the dining room.
We been unburying and creating gardens for lots if flowers. The original architect and owner of the house was a master gardener, so there are amazing plantings and trees that just need some attention...
Along the path to some of the outbuildings, we've rebuilt the trellis and redone the plantings. Here is the climbing rose that we think is as old as the house, from 1924. We found this birdbath buried in the woods and resurrected it. The birds are quite happy.
We have a big painting job ahead of us! But at least the buildings are all cleaned out and organized!
I will keep you updated on our progress so stayed tuned!