The cabin is circa 1820 from Alamance County, NC and made of hand hewn American Chestnut. It was originally what was called a "story and a half cabin" and measured 16x20 feet. There was a stairway that went to the loft but the stairs were missing when we found it. No flooring -- it used to be dirt! The fireplace was missing too but we didn't care about that. We had the door open into the house with a dog-trot so that the wall of the cabin could be seen from inside the house.
We used reclaimed wood from a home in eastern Tennessee for the flooring in both the cabin and the dog-trot and for the cabin ceiling with beams from the same home. The dry stack fireplace was done on site and the mantle was cut from one of the bottom logs of the cabin that had some dry-rot from sitting directly in the ground for so many years. The chinking was done by a local man who grew up huntin' on the mountain and was thrilled to be part of this process. In order for the cabin to pass code the logs were split and framing placed between with the wiring, HVAC, and 6" of insulation. It sure gave me some nice wide window sills for display! The end of the logs were left intact so you had no idea that any of those things were even there.
The picture next to the front door is of my great-great-great grandmother from southwestern Virginia. The dog-trot and cabin connect to the main portion of the house as you can see. Our flooring was wide plank heart pine reclaimed from an old bleach factory from the late 1800's that still had many of the screw holes and marks from the machinery which we thought added so much character to the feel of our home.
Our great room/dining room connected to the keeping kitchen. The home was supposed to look as if the cabin had been there since pioneer times and as the family grew and prospered, the home had grown as well. Therefore, I didn't want appliances to distract from that feeling so we had a cabinet maker build what I called the cook center (the blue cabinet on the left of the above photo). The doors opened and inside was the range and microwave plus shelving for pots and pans and all the spices and oils needed for my limited cooking skills. Our builder had a little fun with us and made the vent for the stove to look like an old stove pipe -- we loved it! The frig was built into the red cabinet shown on the right corner of the picture and both gave me great display areas for all the collections. The ladder hanging over the island that contained the sink, dishwasher and trash, was from my husband's family farm and he and his dad used to climb this to pick apples. It was handmade and not sure if my father-in-law made it or if his father-in-law did but I love the history and the look. We had 2 hanging lights coming through the ladder rungs that provided plenty of task lighting. I filled the ladder with things I love -- baskets, gourds I grew, an old egg basket from a farm in Virginia, a corn dryer from my husband's farm, old wooden spoons and mashers, an enamel cream can, and many things that were changed out for different seasons and the holidays. The ceiling and beams were wormy chestnut that is very hard to find but was exactly what my husband wanted. The American Chestnut trees became extinct during the very beginning of the 1900's from disease. We didn't use any traditional cabinets but instead used a great old pie safe, a pot-belly table, a school masters desk and a 3 shelf display piece that I used for jars that contained sugar, flour, coffee, etc. There was a large pantry just next to the kitchen so I had lots of storage. The top of the island and the farm sink were custom made of Vermont soapstone.
The hallway going from the keeping kitchen to the garage was finished with old reclaimed barn siding and we used a traditional barn door slide for the coat closet door. The powder room was next to the garage door and contained a sink made out of my mother-in-laws metal pan that she used to wash dishes in. We had the cabinet custom made to fit into the corner and be the right size for the sink. I got the antique mirror from my dad and we used a single-tree from the farm to hang it from the ceiling. I did the wall stenciling using 3 different shades of green stain. The hand towels are hanging from a wooden cottage cheese rake that we found in Wisconsin years ago. The old white enamel "slop bucket" for used hand-towels. All of the paint colors are from buttermilk paint but I had them matched at a local paint shop to make a more durable paint that would better hold up to every day use, our golden retriever, visiting grandchildren and grand-dogs. We also used only hardware that was suitable for a home in the 1850's and the all light switches were push-button just like the first ones were when homes became electrified.
This was and is a great house. It is currently being rented out until I can find a buyer but I miss this home and my husband and the golden that I was so lucky to share it with.
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