Old Empty Farmhouse Takes a Road Trip!
Posted on April 03 2020
Well it’s official, we are moving a farmhouse to our store property. I know right, we are so excited… it’s not everyday you see a 1940’s, 30×40 ft., 2 story house going down the road. So how did we even decide to move a house?… What got us to this point?… Well…
As you know I love everything old, the more worn out and used it is the more I love it!! If you read our blog post about “How I Turned it into a Business” you can read about how we had the large custom home and had to sell it in order to purchase the business property.
Home We Sold To Buy The Business
We then moved our family of 4 into the tiny 2 bedroom house that came with the business. But, then suddenly in one quick sweep, we went from a family of 4 to a family of 7 and had to move out of that home.
Tiny Home We Quickly Out Grew
We ended up renting half of a duplex, just behind the business. It is a very spacious modern home with really high ceilings in the living-room and white kitchen counters (which are never white because you know kids are such stain free creatures, sure). The washer and dryer is basically a closet with no work space at all (um.. laundry for 7 people… you need space). Did I mention because it’s a duplex, there are only windows in the bedrooms not the living spaces, so definitely not enough sunshine for this country girl.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned in life to appreciate what God gives me and I’m not one to complain. However this house just wasn’t working for my family. I want a “worn in” home, yes it needs to be unique and old, but I also don’t want to freak out if a wall gets dinged, after all I have 4 boys and a dancer who leaps through the air at any given moment.
So what does a girl do when she needs/wants a new house… yup… she goes shopping. No, not in the real estate listings, she takes long drives in the country looking for old empty farm houses. Then she goes to the tax records and finds out who owns them, and tries to find someone who knows those people. Simple right!
Well, in my travels I saw this old barn that had fallen down.
Old Barn and Yellow House
It also had a really cute yellow farmhouse that looked empty but still in good shape and the best part….there was a car for sale in the driveway with a phone number on it! Can you say SCORE!!
So I sent a text to that number, asking if they had the car for sale. He said yup and then I asked them if they lived in the yellow farmhouse, or rented from the owner on the deed. He said yes, he was born in that house and he’d lived in it for the past 10 years. It was empty now, but it belonged to his uncle.
I also asked about a white farm house that sat on the other corner, because the tax deeds showed the same last name. Turns out another uncle owned that house. The family own’s a huge section of land there.
I then told them I was looking for an old farmhouse to remodel and live in. I asked him if his uncles had any plans for either of the houses, he said no plans, but you’d have more luck with the white than the yellow. The white was in a trust so that might make it easier but then again that might make it harder.
I asked him to pass my phone number along to both of his uncles. He said, “He would start some conversations for me, however his uncles had no need to sell either property”. He then added that his uncles weren’t great at returning phone calls, so I’d have to be patient. He did suggested that maybe they would like the idea of someone restoring one of the houses, rather that it just falling apart.
A few weeks went by and I asked if he’d spoken to his uncles, he said he planted the seed in their ears, but all we can do now is wait. I then told him how I drove by another farmhouse that I’ve had my eye on for years and they burned it down… I said “I just want to make sure they don’t get burned down”. (In my mind, I was thinking that they own over a 100 acres of prime real estate just off a major highway exit and they could sell it to a developer who would burn it or bull dose it to put up more modern windowless duplexes.. ugh!)
Now, I’d also toured 2 other farmhouse. One belonged to a customer who came into the store, we got chatting and I discovered she had a farmhouse that had a fire in it, it needed some work but was still salvageable. I liked the house, however they were considering doing the work themselves. So they weren’t ready to sell. The other house I simple knocked on the door, no one answered, so I checked out the tax records and tried to find someone who knew them. I also like that house. But, I really wanted to see the white house, the one I was waiting for the call from the uncle.
We finally spoke and set-up a time for me to tour the house. I was waiting at the white house excited to see inside. He then texted me I’m here, and I was like but I’m here and your not. Turns out he was the owner of the yellow house, not the white one. (I never did get to see inside the white house, but it all worked out in the end). I loved the property surrounding the yellow house, the run down barn excited me to remodel it as well. Once I saw inside the home I was hooked, the woodwork the builts-ins, the windows. (just what this farmgirl dreamed about). They don’t make stuff like that anymore.
Yellow House Interior – Woodwork & More
It sat on 100 acres, a true farm back in the day. So we asked if he would sell us 5 or 10 acres that included the house and barn. He said he couldn’t sell us that, as it was prime real estate and if he could get it rezoned, it might be worth a pretty penny someday. He suggested we buy 10 acres at the other end of the property and move the house there. Hum… move the house? I’d considered moving it to the store property but this was an interesting idea. Well, it turned out to not be the best option for us, for various reason, but now we knew he’d sell us just the house.
We went back and forth a bit on price, but in the end we were both happy. Lets just say it was a lot less than the cost to move it, we hired a professional moving company to do that. I love that there are enough people moving old homes for someone to make a living at this! (oh and don’t even ask how much it cost to have electrical wires taken down for a few hours, you don’t want to know)
Work Starts on The Yellow House
Now, this isn’t something you do quickly, (from the day I made the first call to the day the house will move is about 14 months, and we still have a ton of work to do before we can call it home). We had a few hoops we had to jump through with 2 towns involved, there were permits and such. Just the deed in general, the house address would change and moving it to a new town as well (talk about red-tape). We had to submit all building changes and a new basement foundation had to be poured and sealed. (but first we all had to play in the basement hole we dug, a day of fun and lots of extra laundry)!
Kids “Digging” Hole For Basement
A few weeks ago we had to tear down an addition that had been added because it made the house too wide to fit down the road. The moving company also required that the chimney be taken down as they can’t move the house with it on.
Neil With Moving Foreman
So Neil and my step-dad went over to the house to take down the addition and remove the chimney. The addition came down pretty easy, (well with the use of the over priced tractor Neil said we, but meant he, couldn’t live without! Men and their toys right!)
But no big boy toys to get the chimney down, that was going to required a ton of brute force! How hard can it be, just swing the sledge hammer right. (ok don’t judge, how many of you can say you’ve actually done this before). The plan was to remove the brick in the basement and it will slowly drop, until it was all gone. So that is what they did, they removed all the exposed chimney in the basement, but it didn’t drop. So they went up to the first floor, removed the wall in front of it and proceeded with more brick removal. It still didn’t drop down. So up to the second floor to remove yet another wall. More swinging and still it didn’t drop. (hum… now what.. up to the roof perhaps, but first break time, they were both drenched in sweat by now). GREAT NEWS! When they came back into the house, it had dropped to the first floor… SCORE!
So one last time they hammer it out, leaving a pile of bricks in the basement, that we later went back to salvage. I plan to do something cool with the full bricks inside the house. (I’ll be sure to share what I come up with on this blog for you too).
Chimney Down – Lots of Brick to Salvage
Another item we had to address was getting the approval to have the trees trimmed along the route. Plus the electric company had to be involved since the two story house is too tall to fit under the power lines. They will all have to be taken down before we move the house (so sorry if you lose power that day for a few hours, they will notify you, if you will be affected). Oh and you might not be able to use those roads on the route for a bit, it comes with a police escort and everything.
That’s Us… So Excited.. Can’t Wait!!
We’re planning on getting a drone to capture the whole thing, it’s something you don’t see everyday! (So so exciting… right). If you want to see the house move, we’re waiting for the ground to freeze so the roads are hard enough to hold the weigh of the house (last thing we need is a road construction bill added to the cost). We will let you know the date, as soon as it has been scheduled, were hoping for early Dec (but mother nature’s in charge now).
THE HOUSE HAS MOVED! DEC 26TH, 2018
WATCH FOR UPDATES ON THE REMODELING!!
The route will start just east of the exit in Hammond, which is Highway T, turn right onto 60th Ave and then left onto 11th Ave. To the store, where it will be placed on the new foundation.
We plan to renovate it over the winter, finish the basement, add all new electric, plumbing and put in a new kitchen. It will be old looking in design, I plan on using a mix of vintage finds and brand new items. I’m so excited to start designing it. I promise we will do a big weekend tour of the house before we move in.
…and hey, the other white house (the one I never got to see) is still there… does anyone need a little help with moving an old farmhouse? After all, we’re pro’s now!!