Friday, May 4, 2007

By Popular Demand...

I hear you. I hear you all loud and clear. The demand for pictures of my beloved Freeman House has been the dominating subject in the comments of this blog for quite awhile. "Where are pictures? GIVE ME PICTURES!" several of you have suggested. Then reminded. Then demanded. [Smiling]

So I've hesitated. I've procrastinated. I've debated. I mean, when I say my life is messy and thrilling, I mean it. If you kind, kind people only knew just how messy and thrilling it's been!

... and well, how messy and thrilling Freeman House herself is. But without further ado, I give you... well... I give you the house I've always wanted. The house that gobbles up all my free time and all my money. The ultimate fixer-upper. My pride and joy. My great white whale. I give you Freeman House:

Um... purty, ain't she?
The house was built in the 1880s. She's 38 feet tall from the original pine floors to the highest point in the second floor. And actually, the home sits five feet off the ground in parts, so when you stand on the grass and look up to that peak, you're gazing up a good 43-45 feet or so. I love how the oversized rattan chairs on the porch look like doll house furniture. And those are some big chairs!

When I bought her, she'd been abandoned for nearly 20 years. Prior to that, she had served as the beloved home of Miss Freeman. Prior to that, she'd been divided into 3 living spaces. When I signed on the dotted line, she still had 3 downstairs bathrooms, 3 kitchens and 3 front doors. But she still had all her originals: original woodwork, chimney(s), windows, doors and floors.

After demolition to a large part of the back of the house, Freeman House has 11 rooms downstairs and will have 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a sitting room upstairs. Eventually. If I inherit gobs of money. If the Prize Patrol shows up.

For now, the kitchen is the major project. I haven't mentioned it often, but I own a small baking business called henrybella's. I really wanted to get the commercial kitchen installed in time for summer fruit tarts and jam season and the pecan harvest. Doesn't look as though I'll make it. But I'm pushing. Oh how I'm pushing ahead...

Tomorrow the lights go up. Don't laugh. Currently only two rooms have overhead lighting. I have dozens of lamps, but come nightfall it gets really dark in this old place. The past few weeks I've found the most gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, sconces and chandeliers. They ate my lunch for sure, but they're period fixtures and will fit in beautifully with the restoration. They all go up tomorrow. I can't wait. Next week, we'll have a light show.

In the meantime, I have a list a mile long. It's longer than Santa's naughty list. It's loong. Storm clean up has been moved to the top, though. Early Thursday, Maebelline (the cat) and I huddled in the bathroom I showed you earlier this week while the wind coughed and raged. The roof leaked. Shingles flew. And I have cottonwood branches - BIG ones - down all over the place. One is lodged on the roof. I'm so thankful it didn't crash through! Anyhow, I took one step outside yesterday and froze. "Thanks, God, for the free firewood," I said. Then I cried a little.

Oh, this house. There you have her. From one angle anyway. I'll be getting you more shots as time and the weather allow. But for now, I must be off. I have some electrical do-dad thingy to find before tomorrow. That and Advil. Hope there's a sale on Advil!

Have a happy, peaceful, and fun weekend! Love to you all - Brin

By the way, 85% of all proceeds of my Etsy shop go toward the restoration of this historic home. The other 15% goes to an organization that's reaching out and mentoring troubled teenagers in this area. A big, huge thanks to all of you who've shopped and supported the Freeman House Shop. Thanks to you, the house will be bright and shining tomorrow night! I couldn't be more grateful if I tried!


Diane Duda said...

I think she (she being Freeman House) is just beautiful!
My dream house is the horse barn on my dad's farm. Right now there are still horses living in it and it's WELL over 100 yrs. old. My husband says "never" ,but I say "that manure smell will certainly fade eventually".

Suzanne said...

Oh, How beautiful! I LOVE LOVE LOVE old houses. They have such character and history.
We were fortunate to have owned a home that was built in 1901, and loved restoring it...but, had to leave it behind when we moved. :( Now we have to add character to a newer home.

How lovely you are restoring it. Can't wait to see the progress of your kitchen!


Beach Girl said...

Hey There Crooked House Dweller!

I love it. Freeman House has a similar shape to Yahweh's Retreat, although YR wasn't built until the 1930's.

I am anxiously waiting to receive a 1955 National Geograophic (Yahoo auction win) that has a picture in it of the the builder of my house and his daughter painting the big red buoy in the front yard.

Old houses are a challenge, but oh so interesting.....


Beach Girl said...

That should have been Geographic.....typing too fast!

Kristy said...

The house is beautiful! Thanks for sharing it. :)

Unknown said...

Oh Brin, I just love it, I can why it's your dream house and I so admire you for taking on such a project! The house is very lucky to have a owner who loves it so much, it will reward you over and over in so many ways! Thanks for the fix, can't wait to see more! Your living my dream, so I'll tag along!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Aww, Brin, she's beautiful! I just love her looks & shape & I'm so happy that you are restoring this former beauty to her gorgeous original. It sounds like a major undertaking for a single gal, so I really think you're brave & determined now. I have always loved old houses, but without a handy man to fix one up, it just seems like a daunting task. I hope you have some men in your life who will help with the hard & heavy jobs! :)

I cannot wait to see more...your blog is such a favorite of mine now & I wouldn't miss it for the world.

A. Rhoda :)
Southern Hospitality

Lacy said...

WOW...she's a beauty!!!...I totally understand where you're coming from...can't wait for more updates!!!...thanks for sharing...lacy

Southern Heart said...

Beautiful home, Brin! She is full of character and grace, and lucky to have such a loving caretaker, too. I will enjoy seeing your progress...and I loved your list, too! I am always so charmed by your posts!


Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

oh - that house is beautiful!!! I can't even imagine how gorgeous it will be when you are done!

WOW - you are a strong woman though. All that work would make me cry! (I am not gifted in the home reno dept!!)

Betty said...

Brin, I think your home looks like a grand lady who is being refreshed and refurbish and once again will look just as lovely as she did when she was young but with a grace that comes with age. Enjoy the journey with her.

When we married 47 years ago June 19th, we began a journey with our home by remodeling a small house on our farm. Through the years we've gone through adding on rooms here and there and only one original interior wall remains that hasn't been moved but we love her and all the memories she holds for us. We'll probably never be through with her but so be it. I wouldn't trade her for a brand new palace. As newly weds, for a birthday or anniversary gift I would receive a door, etc. so I understand about going slow and doing as you can........

Thanks for your sweet comment and thinking of us and Don's family...We had his funeral today. A very sweet celebration of his home going.......

Deb said...

What an amazing home you have!
Thank you for sharing the photos - it's nice to have a picture to go with all your renovation stories

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Brin- can not wait for more pics!! Also would love to hear about the bakery biz- boy you can just do it all girl!!!I am quite impressed.

Mary said...

You are such a brave and amazing young woman Brin! Bringing such a beautiful old home back to life will be a lot of hard work for you, I pray you will have help along the way...............if not looks like all your blog friends will have to gang up and come to Texas - and we'll show "habitat for humanity" how it's really done!!!
You are one in a million - I wish you luck and fortitude - I know you will continue to make a difference, not only with this house but with many other things as you go through life.

Anonymous said...

WOW! All I can say is that she is simply beautiful. Heart stoppingly so.

Cherry xx

kattz*cottage said...

It's awesome! I Love, love, love old houses! The most amazing thing is making it into what is all "yours"! Mine was built in 1891 - I could never live in a new house again!~ Thanks for visiting kattz* have a wonderful blog!
Have a great week!

Lana Manis said...

She is breath-taking ~ missing shingles, peeling paint, and all!
Thank you for sharing and please keep us updated.


Kim @ Home Is Where The Heart Is said...

What a beautiful home...I just love the character of it! How great that you have taken on the task of restoring such a great home. I look forward to seeing more!

Anonymous said...

Brin, Kimberly gave me your blog address. I was drawn to this one on your house. We bought the family home I grew up in, have been remodeling off and on for 3 years now. It's the Durham house and is 100+ years old; a love/hate relationship. It's also the location of my home based The Cruise Princess.

Jae Nelson
The Cruise Princess