Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sneaking Home... And A Kitchen Question


I'm back.

Really back. As in, the telephone company is coming Thursday to turn on the phone service at Freeman House. I hope to be home for good. I'm praying I'm home for good.

What does this mean? It means very exciting things. This means I can actually be here to tend a garden. It means work will begin (again) on the old place. It means lunches will soon be served out of the house. It means I can be home to share autumn with you.

It's wonderful. Isn't it? It's a proud day.

I celebrated this afternoon by climbing atop a ladder and taking a stab at removing the cheesecloth wallpaper still clinging to the wooden walls in the kitchen. The walls are over 120 years old. They're solid, tongue-and-groove wood. Cedar, I think. The floors are pine. (Back in 2005, a builder from New Orleans offered me good money to let him tear the house down so he could sell the wood. I think I told him to take a hike.)

So, question: suppose Freeman House was yours. Would you cover the wooden walls in the kitchen with sheet rock or plaster? Or would you clean them, polish them, and leave the 120+ year old plank walls for all the world to see?

Think on it, would you? I'd be grateful. In the meantime, I'm going to unpack and make a pot of stew and some Chocolate Bread Pudding for dinner....

Hello again. Glad to see you. It's good to be home.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brin!!!! i'm so excited to hear this!! autumn is my favorite time of year and i just couldnt imagine having to start it without you and your wonderful blog, i missed you so much and couldn't even wait for you to come back to us!!! Yay!!!! connie

Anonymous said...

Please clean them, polish them, and leave the 120+ year old plank walls for all the world to see.'Twould be a shame to cover them, I think.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I have spent the last few weekends going up to lake arrowhead and crestline here in calif.I have looked at cottage after cottage and cabins (my home is up for sale and I am going for the dream)AND I have to say, NOTHING is like restoring the wood.It is absolutely beautiful and the wood tells a story.It is part of the history that needs to be told and continued.The cottages I saw that the wood was lovingly restored actually made my heart skip a beat.
Geneen from Calif

Susan said...

no question clean em, polish em, leave them !! for sure 120 year old Patina !

jodi said...

Restore them. These walls have seen so much and have so much character that if you covered them up you might be losing the character of your kitchen all together.

Tina ~ Blessings Friends. said...

heavens to betsy please leave them. wow, what those walls have seen. So much history.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Happy news indeed!

I'd leave the walls...I'd celebrate the walls...no sheetrock, no plaster!

Rosemary said...

oh yeah, you are back! I enjoy your blog so much :) I would probably clean them and leave them, unless of course your home is drafty, then i'd go with sheetrock.

Pippi said...

crazyhtr6247Another vote to clean, polish & leave the plank walls for all to see and enjoy! The stories those walls will tell. I am all about enhancing the beauty that lies underneath the surface. That's my vote! Welcome back...so great to come to your blog & feel your presence!

Mayberry Magpie said...

Restore, restore, restore.

It took me far too long to learn this lesson.

http://web.me.com/mayberrymagpie/Mayberry_Magpie/Blog/Entries/2008/8/9_Entry_1.html

Cheryl said...

Leave them, they'd be beautiful. As Tina said, just think of the history those walls have been a witness to. If walls could talk, indeed! Oh, and I'm sure Freeman House is more pleased than you can imagine to have you home.

Mim said...

Yeah, glad you are back.
Restore them...
Mim

Jeannie said...

This is my first time posting here. Brin,I just love your blog!!!
Omigosh...no way could I ever cover those wonderful old wood walls with boring sheetrock!!!
As someone already said, the walls have character!!!
Enjoy being home again!
I'll be back to see what you're up to. :)

debbie bailey said...

Looks like it's unanimous! Leave those walls alone! I love your blog, by the way!

Kristie said...

I am so glad you are home!!!!! Can't wait to see what you get into...especially with Autumn right around the corner!

I'll think about the question and get back to ya!

Lochlanina said...

Ummm... Yeah, I'm with them. You didn't really think anyone would say hide those boards away, did you?

Welcome Home, I've missed reading your blog.

Sandy said...

Hi Brin, I know you don't know me and I've only been over a couple of times now, but I would definitely restore the wood walls and keep them original to the house, you could give the kitchen a rustic look. It will be hard work, but so worth it!
Wish I lived in Texas nearby to I could help you!
huggs, Sandy

Anonymous said...

Glad your back!
Your blog is the best.
Your house is so beautiful & cozy.
I would leave the walls.
Karen

Debra said...

Welcome home!!!

cupcake studio said...

So glad to read your post! Hope you enjoy every moment of autumn...at home.

Show off those wood walls...they're earned their day in the spotlight.

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Stay with the original walls. Old sheetrock is everywhere and doesn't tell a story like your walls. I vote for cleaning up the walls and seeing the wood. Let us know what you will do.

Amy said...

Hi Brin...Glad you're back. I think I would leave the walls wood and just be with them a while. You can always add the plaster later, but it would be awful to have to remove it. Love your blog.
Amy

elenka said...

hmmmm, I have a very old house and I've had to make many decisions, too. I vote for the wood, BUT, if it's not in very good condition OR too hard to clean, I would paint the wood a creamy white. I've seen many homes with the wood painted and it looks wonderful ! Sometimes old wood isn't very warm and comfy...I don't buy it that just 'cause something is old, it looks good...sometimes it doesn't. But I would not sheetrock or plaster it over.

Kimberley said...

I say restore the walls, and if you don't just love them, you can always change it later! My guess is you're gonna love them because of the history and nostalgia they will bring.

Anonymous said...

If you don't need to cover the walls for energy purposes leave them be. I can smell the sweetness of the old wood mixed with a beeswax polish. Best of luck in your new endeavour.

Anonymous said...

i'm with everyone else, LEAVE THEM ALONE!! you might be sorry later and by then it will be too late. but the wood does look dark and maybe it would be to depressing to leave it that way?? only you can know, but do think about it long and hard before you plaster over them. Lonni (ND girl!)

Julie said...

Glad to hear you're back. I am anxious to experience autumn Freeman-style!

betty r said...

Welcome back home Brin! About the walls, I agree with the rest, restore them if you can.

Erica said...

Ohhh so glad you are back. I love your darling blog. Restore those old walls and be proud of them!!

Kimberleigh said...

So your home huh? Does this mean we have a dinner party on the horizon? Our thanksgiving after dinner needs to become an annual event! I Miss you too much and need an excuse to come see the ol'place, and my even older friend!! Love you muchas! Kimberleigh

PS... were you seriously asking peoples opinion on something you couldnt possibly be questioning yourself? We all know you would NEVER cover up such a treasure!! :)

Carolyn (sea mystery) said...

Welcome home, sweet girl. So good to "see" you again.

Leave the wood walls. Freeman House will be able to breathe again if you do. I think that's what it has been waiting for.

Can't wait to see the pics you'll take during the Fall.

Missed you lots! xxoo

Polly said...

So glad you're back, Brin. As for the kitchen, you never really thought anyone here would tell you to cover them up, did you?

Polly

Lady Farmer said...

I agree with the previous 32 people! :~}
Glad your back!
Raeann

alice said...

I am so glad that you are back! I just discovered and fell in love with your blog right before you went on hiatus. I was so disappointed. I look forward to what you have in store for the fall, also my favorite time of year. And even though it is still hot here in Calif. I have also been doing a little fall baking/cooking, and a stew sounds wonderful. Not to mention chocolate bread pudding, yum!
As for the kitchen walls, I agree with everyone else, keep the wood.

Rosa said...

Well Brin, I'm with Elenka.
I would paint the walls a creamy white.
I find wood on both the floor and the walls a bit dark and I love lots of light when I'm cooking or baking.
Welcome back.

Sue said...

In case you haven't heard, none of us want you to cover up the walls with sheetrock or plaster. I am so glad to hear you have returned!

tam said...

Definately clean and polish those walls. What a treasure.

Kathleen Grace said...

So good to have you back! Whatever you do with the walls I am sure will be beautiful, you have great taste:>) A word of warning though, along with 120 year old walls comes old dust and mold that can wreak havoc on your lungs, I hope you wear a face mask while tearing down the old wall covering.

THE TATTERED NEST said...

wow. looks like major say keep it! that's what I would suggest...do you have any old pictures of the house? I would do what was orginal to the house...good luck and have fun!

MeridionalBelle said...

Brin, Welcome Back!!! I'm an interior designer and I say restore the wood walls. Not a chance I would ever cover them with a modern drywall material! (Unless there were huge gaping holes where critters and the weather would come through from the other side!!) I'm sure restoring them is what is in your heart...

Kathi~Lavender, Lace and Thyme said...

Welcome Home Brin!

Wow, a kitchen with wooden walls, tongue and groove, you must know the labor that took :). I'm thinking of my sister who purchased an old home in MN some 20 or so years ago. It was a family gathering to help her rebuild part of the home. It had wood walls of some kind, nothing of value if I remember correctly and underneath was lath, stuffed with paper, not plaster, can you say fire hazard? It was amazing when it was finished. We did go for replacing the lath due to the no insulation factor, cold in the winter hot in the summer.

Do you know what's behind the tongue and grove? I personally would leave them, your home is so beautiful. I know why someone offered you a good sum of money to purchase Freeman House. If Walls Could Talk :).

Hugs!
MN Kathi :)

Denise said...

Ditto on the walls...Looks like everyone is in agreement!!! And what time is lunch?? I'll be there.
Denise

Jenny said...

Plaster the walls and paint them a nice soft aqua, for a tranquil cooking space.

JOKE!

I'm with everyone else. Clean 'em up and leave 'em. At the most, I would paint them as Rosa suggested. That would also be beautiful.

So glad you're back home safe and sound.

Linda Lou said...

leave your beautiful walls alone, just give them a little scrubbin-I have missed your blog-it is awesome, glad to see you back in blogland, can't wait to see what autumn brings

Jan said...

I am so thrilled to hear you are home!

My house was built in 1842 and for the most part, lovingly preserved, but I could cry at some of the well meaning restorations.

Please, by all means, let her former glory show. Clean off those wood walls and let them show!

Hazel said...

I wouldn't even give it a thought. Do you actually know how lucky you are to have walls like that!! Wood is becoming a treasure that is not so easily replaced now, we need to preserve all of it that we can!! By the way, I am redoing a house and my kitchen walls are now sheetrocked, so you can see, I might be a wee bit jealous!

traci said...

oh definately leave them. what a beautiful sight they have to be.

Cori G. said...

Hi Bren,
I've been lurking about your blog for several months now so I thought I should introduce myself to you... my name is Cori and I just love your blog!
I think it would be helpful to see what the unfinished wood looks like before making a decision on how your walls should be treated.
I think you're so brave to be opening a B&B/Bakery/restaurant(I can never spell that word). You're living a dream I have always wanted for myself.
May the Lord bless everything you put your hands to!
XO Cori

Anonymous said...

Look how many have been waiting for your return Brin! Welcome back and thank you for sharing your life with all of us.

Lori

Belle of the Ball said...

I would leave them in their natural state. They will be so beautiful!

kali said...

Definitely don't plaster. And I would leave at least one wall exposed, but if you need to have a wall to paint, sheetrock is your best bet...
I think if the lovely freeman house were my own, I would have a terrible time making decisions...indecisiveness being probably my worst quality...:o)
Its so good to have you back, and WELCOME FALL!!!

Amy said...

I'd say to work toward restoring the walls, but if they're ugly, cover them. I'll send tons of pictures of the cutest boy in the world. That should do it.

Glad you're back. Are we going to get a recipe for the Bread Pudding?

Going to Homecoming?

Randi said...

Leave the plank and let the character of the place ooze on out.

I`m Sassy, said...

I live in an old house also, we have tried very hard to keep it as it was.

I can tell you, you would regret covering that wood. Even if you have to paint over the wood, LEAVE THE WOOD, sheetrock......plaster.....no no no

Sorry so bossy BUT......i`ve been there done that.......then redid it!

We took the old tongue and groove wood off the outside porch ceiling and put it in the bathroom, painted it a sea green, then rubbed white paint over that for a weathered look, it is gorgeous!

Theresa said...

I would leave the wood...awesome!

Sara said...

Are you kidding me?!? I don't have time to read what everyone said but I'm so glad it seems that everyone is in agreement to restore the wood on the walls! How dare you cover those rustic wonderful one of a kind things! Even if it's drafty, surely there's something you can use to patch up cracks, and there's got to be some sort of clear thick substance akin to shellack (sp?) that you can use to cover them after they've been cleaned that would cover any cracks or crevices and protect them from bugs, humidity, and the like...

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

I'm so happy your home and I will be praying along with you that it's for good! I've missed you! I vote to restore them, you've got too, all the work you've done so far to preserve Freeman House, and you had to think about it? LOL Will you be sharing your recipe for dark chocolate bread pudding with us? Sounds like fall to me, my favorite time of the year too! Hugs!!

Eloise said...

Another vote for restoring the wood walls. I can't wait to see pictures!

Cyndi said...

Brin, our whole house is the same way and as much as everyone says clean them and restore them...wow...be prepaired girl...what a pain...the nail rust to but as my marine baby said...its worth it in the end...my question was???Productivity??? Can you restore AND upgrade? For example we did the ceilings and left the walls? Good luck either way!
Cyndi