Bonafide Farm

Oh, but I jest

September 30th, 2009 § 0

When I bought this property, the only thing wrong with it was the existing house. It was so far from my vision of my dream farmhouse–which is probably the reason I could afford to buy it. I presume many potential buyers took one look at the hot mess planted on an otherwise gorgeous piece of ground and ran away screaming. We’ll start with the interior, which makes it look fairly good, or at least livable.

But when we start examining the exterior, some major problems arise. The house was supposedly built in 1930. It was certainly not the highest quality construction to begin with. I described it to a potential builder as an old shack, and he gently corrected me by saying, “We call those country-built houses.” Country-built it certainly is, of rough-sawn lumber that may have even come from the woods on property. The previous owner hadn’t lived in the home for several years, and the neglect showed. The house originally sported a metal roof, but it was at one point replaced with asphalt shingles, the weight of which caused the 2×4 rafters to sway. Some people who looked at it said the roof had a “pagoda effect.” Door and window sills were rotted out, the aluminum siding that was artlessly tacked onto the original wood siding had gone powdery with age, and the floors dipped and swayed. Where they were low, a trip to the very shallow crawlspace revealed, the floor was held up with piles of field stone.

Taken together, these clues painted the picture of how a house was built, back in the day in mountainous Virginia, for not much money and with what was close at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that and I admire the spirit of the original home. I just didn’t want to live in it.

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