There wasn’t much of a drastic change to the house today. Salvaging a farmhouse takes a lot of time and effort so I expect days where things don’t seem to be moving all that quickly. I’ve finally got myself together after yesterday’s meltdown over the sight of the back entryway in a pile on the ground. And while I was taking some time to process all of that, I may have missed something very exciting. Do you see it? Hint: Look right under the roof pitch where the entry way used to be. See it? Do you? Glorious shiplap!!
And you know what that means? Under that layer of 1900 redwood siding, which is under the layer of 1980’s aluminum siding lives an entire house of SHIPLAP!! Eventually, there will be an addition put on this side of the house. The addition will have a roof pitch which will just about match the pitch of the previous entryway. I am going to be able to keep the original shiplap for the entire east wall of that addition! The exterior wall you see will become an interior wall in the addition. And I did mention, it’s all shiplap?? I am sooooo excited about that!!
If you don’t know what shiplap is then I’m assuming you’ve never watched an episode of Fixer Upper. I feel sorry for you. At this point, I’m not sure we can be friends. Quick! Go watch an episode and then come back here. I’ll be waiting for you.
You can see that Art has begun to dig out where the addition will go. The concrete crew will come in and pour a new basement once the old foundation has been excavated. Our foundation was previously 30 feet by 30 feet. We are extending that foundation another 20 feet out to the west of the existing house to make a 50 foot by 30-foot basement. We had to do that because when we moved the stairwell, we unintentionally created a tight corner in the basement stairwell. If we needed to move anything large into the basement (freezer, refrigerator, etc.) we simply used the scary cellar doors (pictured in this post).
So the decision came down to pouring a new cellar entry or having a new stairway somewhere in the house with basement access. I decided that I will lose those cellar doors as an entry to the basement. I really wanted to keep them because they are pretty convenient when it comes to moving larger items in and out of a house. The concrete contractor would have done what I wanted, but he wasn’t sure they were such a good idea. There’s a possibility water will seep under them which would make my nice, dry basement a wet mess. And it would be expensive.
For just about the same cost as putting in new cellar doors and pouring an entry and stairs, I could have a 20×30 foot foundation addition. I opted to go that route. More living space outweighs the convenience of cellar doors any day. Cody, my building contractor, added a stairway to the basement into the plans for the addition.
The house mover I used for this project is Atlas Enterprises out of Forest City, Iowa. Even as a teenage girl, I knew of them. Back then, I knew them as Ron Holland Moving. They made the Mason City newspaper with the story of this huge, old, two-story brick house they bought for $750 and successfully moved from Mason City to Forest City. They moved the house about 35 miles and at the time, it quite an undertaking. Not all that many years ago, they moved a prefabricated house down the road from us.
With 40 years of experience, I knew they knew their stuff. I should’ve hired Atlas Enterprises in the first place, but when I made the call to them almost two years ago, they were pretty stacked up with work. And there was that thing about wanting to stay in our house, but I’ve already told you how that went. Anyway, if you live in northern Iowa or southern Minnesota and you need a house (or a church) moved, jacked up, or a basement torn out, these are your guys. They were professional, excellent communicators and most of all, very kind. They were worth every penny.
There will be a lot of dirt to move on this project. Do you know people will actually pay for fill dirt? I cannot imagine. We’ve always been fortunate that when we needed dirt, we had a connection. Well, my husband always had a connection.
The last time we had fill dirt brought here was when the county was cleaning out ditches a mile or two from our farm. My husband stopped and asked what they were going to do with the dirt. They said they were going to haul it somewhere and pile it up. He wanted it to fill the dirt floor in our barn so he asked them if he could have it. They were glad to get rid of it and not having to truck it very far was a bonus to them. He was so excited to get it. He was too frugal to spend money on dirt. So I guess I’m going to have to figure out what to do with all of this dirt.
According to my oldest son, we will not be getting rid of it. Waste not, want not, Daddy!
Until Next Time,
Salvaging A Farmhouse is a series of blog posts that chronicle my experience of renovating and reclaiming our 1900 farmhouse. This is a project that is over a decade in the making. We were working towards some pretty serious renovations on the house until my husband became sick with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and died 9 weeks after his diagnosis. My kids and I have been left with the task of completing what we started all those years ago. Every house and every family have a story and this is the story of ours.