A work still in progress, this two-room house wasn’t much to look at a year and a half ago.

The simple frame structure, built in the 1920’s, originally served to house seasonal workers on a farm where it was referred to as the “bunkhouse”.  It had suffered from decades of neglect.  Water came into the interior with every rain and plaster was beginning to fall from the ceilings and walls.  Mice and birds had taken up residence in the spaces not filled with unwanted items and debris.  It was overgrown and the environs littered with beer cans.  A former owner had been advised that it was a “tear-down” by a friend in the construction business and that it was too far gone to save.  Fortunately, nothing was done.  I know that most old buildings, no matter how dilapidated, are able to be retained.  It simply takes time, effort, knowledge and the desire to make it happen.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot… that’s where the salvaged materials come in handy!

Interestingly, the house was built from the start with a mix of new and salvaged materials.  The door between the rooms was clearly 19th century and door and window casings were not consistent in width.  Wall sheathing showed evidence of having been salvaged from another building.

It was determined from the start that a true restoration was not the goal; a Victorian-period remodeling was.  The house would be backdated and upgraded in the process.  The current owner had been saving salvaged materials from demolished houses for decades and wanted to use some of that material here.  Although the house was about to get “Victorianized”, the owner wanted to make sure that the end result did not feel contrived.  Only antique salvaged materials would be used, and all were from roughly 1875 to 1895.

The following photographs depict the bunkhouse in the “Before” stages of its on-going transformation.  Occasional follow-up posts will document the progress.


An old truck tarp protects the roof and interior from further damage; it was the first item on the priority list.  Though overgrown and ignored, the   bunkhouse is about to get some serious love.


Half-way through patching the roof.  A broken window is boarded over to keep the critters and elements out.


Believe it or not, the interior has already been substantially cleaned out.  It was much worse previously… this is just the dregs.


Another wall in the same room.  The color scheme appears to date to the 50’s or 60’s.


The front door is at left.  Note the difference in header sizes over the doors.


It doesn’t take long for water to damage a house.  Now that the roof is patched, the place can dry out.


The dirty linoleum floor was protecting a wood floor beneath!


Water had destroyed the sill of this broken window.  The opening has since been replaced with a door.


An elderly roller shade clings to the window casing.


Birds had taken a shine to the old four-panel door.


This is a teaser for Part 2.  Here you can see the fir flooring which was found beneath the linoleum in the process of being sanded (with a 1940’s floor sander!).  A salvaged door replaces the former broken window.  The walls have been insulated, wired, repaired and painted!


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