We love old homes….all kinds. We love 20’s cottages, 50’s ranches, 40’s war homes, Early 1900’s etc, but homes built before 1900 are our favorite. I’m not sure if that’s obvious or anything (6 out of 7 of ours are from the 1800’s.)
For us, there is something about a home built before many modern conveniences, such as, you know, concrete. In Utah, a common material for building homes was called Adobe. All of our 1800’s houses are built from it and we are big fans. I might even venture to say that we are somewhat of adobe experts. We know it’s characteristics in and out…we know how to hit it just right to either split it in half or trench a small channel. We know how wet it can get before turning back to mud. We know how much subtraction it can take before it’s no longer usable. We know how to fasten things to it properly (no easy task.) You get the idea. We LOVE it. It is an ingenious method of home-building and we are so proud to have homes built from it.
Here is a little bit of info on adobe:
Adobe is a natural building material made from sand, clay, water, and some kind of fibrous or organic material (sticks, straw, and/or manure), which the builders shape into bricks (using frames) and dry in the sun. Adobe structures are extremely durable, and account for some of the oldest existing buildings in the world. Compared to wooden buildings, adobe buildings offer significant advantages due to their greater thermal mass.
This image is not from the building of our house (source: Library of Congress) but it still shows how absolutely amazing it is that you can mix mud and straw, bake it in the sun and then BUILD A HO– USE out of it. Not just a temporary house, but something that could potentially last forever with superior strength! I marvel at it every time I see our house.
Something interesting that I have read…the ground would need to be compacted pretty heavily before building an adobe house. Because adobe is extremely heavy (much more so that stick frame) if the ground has not been properly compacted, the adobe house will settle and crack almost immediately. Ours is built on an 8 foot stone wall. I am assuming they dug it down, laid the foundation and then immediately started building because our house has signs of very early settling. That explains why everything is crooked, like window moldings, but looks like it was built that way! It had to have settled within months of building the walls, before the finish work was done. Love.
Anyway, I will probably dive more into this a little later on the blog when I discuss the history of the home, but for now, here is a picture of some of the adobe bricks we took from one of the chimney protrusions that was damaged:
We donated some to pioneer museums here in Utah. I love that you can still see straw sticking our from them. I get oddly emotional when I think about all the time and care it took to make this home.
At this point in the renovation, we were focused on getting demo done and getting rid of all smells! Here is a little home tour. The downstairs bathroom was awful…
We also dismantled, with controversy, a closet build in 1920. To my defense, the closet was awkwardly large and in the dinning room. The wall behind it needed so much work and it was difficult to get to it without damaging the closet anyway.
Erica was sad.
I’m glad we did it, though. We saved everything from the bead board to the hardware, trust me.
Cleaned up the kitchen area a little…we love our should-actually-be-in-a-corner sink and original cabinets.
We started making plans for the loft…
And found more amazing wallpaper!
People ask us all the time how we have time to do houses, considering we have 6 kids and full time jobs…basically, because we both have ex-spouses, we have every other weekend and 2 nights a week kid free. We are like machines when they are gone…for real. Of course we wish we could always be with the boys, but we make the best of it by restoring these homes! We feel pretty lucky to have the best of both worlds. Plus we REALLY enjoy what we do…
Working with Chris on the job and eating yummy thai food…the life.
Tomorrow I’m going to post a little bit about our wedding at love house…if reading about true love and happiness makes you a little queasy, feel free to skip it, haha!