Front of our 1937 farm house is finished

Three years ago when we bought our house it was seriously lacking in the curb-appeal department. After the initial “cute!” impression wore off, you quickly realized that the deck was out of level, the front window was broken, there was dirt piled against the siding, huge trees were growing just three feet from the porch, and the roof was rapidly heading toward failure.

Two years ago, we hired out some structural work and a new roof. While this greatly improved the “bones” of the house, the corbels were destroyed in the process and some of the front shingle siding was removed.

One of our summer goals was to restore the front facade of the house to better-than-original condition. To that end, the following changes were made:

  • Rigid foam was applied to the exterior front wall.
  • Three front windows were replaced with insulated double hung windows of the same style and proportions.
  • A new door was hung.
  • Upgraded corbels were built and installed.
  • The porch floor structure was leveled and a new deck installed.
  • The porch ceiling structure was leveled and historically accurate soffit was installed.
  • New cedar shingle siding was installed.

Only the front of the house was painted as there are still windows to replace and siding to fix on the other three sides. The porch was finished with a solid deck stain which was color-matched to the dark brown trim color. The primary trim color in these pictures looks white but its actually a creamy color. Our next front yard project is to finish digging out those stumps so we can put in a more appropriate sidewalk.

I am very pleased with how the colors turned out. I still catch myself staring at the front of the house as it looks so odd after three years of a big dirty white mess. This next picture renders the colors a little more cool than is accurate. The small rectangles on the front pillars will eventually mount porch lights.

Our front door had to be custom ordered from Rogue Valley because it was so narrow. The doug fir door arrived unfinished, leaving us with intimidating process of applying stain and multiple coats of spar varnish. In combination with the new facade and fresh paint, I think we have a pretty welcoming front porch for the first time in years. Just don’t open the door … it’s all saw dust and project mess beyond.

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25 Responses to Front of our 1937 farm house is finished

  1. Ali says:

    I feel your pain. Those big structural projects take so much time and money… sometimes you just want something to look good! In this case, it looks really really good.

    • lee says:

      Thanks! Yeah, that was definitely the reason for this project. We first started talking about it in January as a house face-lift purely for the sake of appearance. Somehow more structural fixes (and a shed) made it onto the list as well. 🙂

  2. Nice! What a change.

    I think our house is about the same size as yours (900ish square feet), and we just replaced a few windows and put in one French door. That’s given us the bug to renovate the rest of the house, though — it’s a slippery slope.

    Your porch is inviting. Your front door is beautiful. Your house is lovely.

    • lee says:

      Yes, the footprint of our houses must be similar. Ours is around 30′ by 30′. (Nothing is precise .. they didn’t use measurements in Oregon in 1937.) We have a second floor squeezed into that high gable though, which adds about 50% more floorspace.

      The big-impact changes are really addictive. We are already looking forward to being able to paint the rest of the house.

  3. Ann says:

    Once again, @#$%ing awesome is the only expression that comes to mind. My, what work you’ve done! The end result is just…sublime. Well done, a big pat on the back to you both. I can’t wait to see the light fixtures you’re going to choose.

    On the door…how wide is it really? As in, can you fit a regular fridge through the door opening, or an oven? Or do you have wider access around the back of the house?

    Curious minds want to know…LOL.

    And again, congrats. You’ve created a little gem.

    • lee says:

      Ah, thanks! I’m glad it came together like we hoped. Nearby Eugene, Oregon has a lot of great craftsman era homes, so we drove through some of the old neighborhoods looking for what paint schemes worked and which ones didn’t.

      I’m looking forward to seeing the light fixtures too! Robin has a mental block on looking for any more lighting options at the moment I think. We have *most* of the second floor lights waiting to be installed.

      The front door is 2’8″, whereas most standard modern doors are 3’0″. It has 31″ of clear space. We actually got our new fridge through the door, but the delivery guys had to remove the fridge doors. The back door doesn’t have the floor plan limitations, so we will install a 3’0″ back there, both for convenience and so I can get the insulated fiberglass door I wanted. (Wood is still a lot prettier though, I have to admit.)

      • Ann says:

        Because I am an enabler, these lights are bee-yoo-tee-ful:

        Just the price…ouch.

        And while I was at it, what about your house numbers?

        Ohhh…and 16 sheets of 5/8″ firecode gyproc upstairs. Things are heading in the right direction.

        • robin says:

          I love those house numbers. Very cool!

          I like the house lights too. I think they would look pretty nice on our house. I tend to shy away from all the arts and crafts ‘sort’ of lights though because we see sooooo many around here and in all the magazines. Lee and I tend to like different outside lights too, so it will be interesting to see what we settle on. I refuse to buy any until we are actually in the process of wiring up for them. lol

          Yup, we do indeed have some drywall in the house. I’m afraid to talk about it in case I jinx myself. hehe We were suppose to have wiring done and some drywall up before the end of last year. There has been a little bit of wiring going on upstairs which is unbelievably exciting. One step closer to having my dream of drywall actually come true. 😀

          • Ann says:

            One of our friends is an electrician. I bribe him over to the house for steak and spuds, and tell him to bring his tool box “just in case” LOL. That’s how 90% of the house got wired…one dinner at a time.

            But drywall – it’s so exciting! I so empathize with your situation.

            Hope you can both agree on some sort of lighting. There is very little Craftsman stuff around our area – so most of it looks good to me LOL!

  4. Snowbrush says:

    Oh, I hadn’t heard about your front door. Funny that I hadn’t noticed its narrow width.

    Your house is looking great, and now I hear that you have a load of sheetrock just waiting to be nailed up.

    • lee says:

      The front door was a big deal for us because we spent so much time varnishing and then sanding and then puzzling and then varnishing and then sanding … ad nauseum .. and then waxing and then steel wool rubbing and waxing and steel wool rubbing …

      Yes, the rumors are true! We have 16 sheets of 5/8″ firecode drywall stored about the house waiting to be installed.

  5. Lynn says:

    The house has come so far! It looks great! I’ve been away from blogging for a little bit, and now that I’ve returned, I’m so impressed! That’s funny how skinny the front door is. I, too, am curious about if you can fit a refrigerator or such things through! In our old house we have several skinny doors in the interior of the house, but the front door is normal.

    Anyway, “way to go”! The house is beautiful! Can’t wait to see the rest!

    • lee says:

      Yeah, our blogging seems to slow down when we are busy getting things done! By that logic, we should take a year off from blogging and when we came back it would look like a Fine Homebuilding model home … okay, maybe not. 🙂

      We considered expanding the door by 2″, but it would have ruined the look of the interior trim. I was also frustrated because the door placement meant that front wall was the only place in the house that can’t receive my double-insulated wall treatment. A neighbor suggested we replace the porch window with the front door, but that would wreck the look the house I think, not to mention do a number on my home office. Sometimes you just have to live with the quirks of an old house.

  6. Ron says:

    Looking very sharp, guys. I really like your paint scheme.

  7. Gus says:

    That was a lot of work. Congratulations! The before and after pictures are startling. I wish we lived closer so we could barter some skills back and forth 🙂

    I’ve been reading your blog with interest. Keep up the good work!

    • robin says:

      I love looking at the before and after pictures too. We are glad its mostly done. If we get some time and feel the need down the road there are a few things we might tweak, but that is just the obsessive compulsiveness in us. Too bad you don’t live closer. I’ve never bartered with anyone. 🙂

  8. Benita says:

    I’m surprised you don’t move out onto the porch until the inside is done. It looks warm, welcoming and awesome. You two did a fantastic job. Congratulations!

  9. I don’t know why my phone refuses to post comments..anyway.

    Looks really nice..I am sure that you must be relived to get all that work done!..what a long project…started in 1937 wowie did you get a tortoise to do the general contracting..hehe..Seriously, nice work..big changes ARE addictive!!

    • robin says:

      Well, it took so long because I wouldn’t stop petting the tortoises. Then we kept getting hung up because I really wanted a Aldabra giant tortoise and Lee didn’t want one. The next thing you know, we compromised, and wound up with not a tortoise in sight but a whole lot of chickens. Everyone knows chickens are scatter brained and easily distracted…

      Thanks though. I’m glad that part of the house is done. 🙂

  10. Woody says:

    Awesome! Everything has really come together. The whole project looks so tight! Ya’ll did a remarkable job.

    • lee says:

      Thanks! If we manage to get a sidewalk in and some landscaping, the house will look complete from the front. Just don’t walk around to get a side view, because the other three sides are still a mess.

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