Real Estate Tips

From Haylofts to Hardwoods: How One Family Salvaged a Historic Barn

There’s a century of history woven into the floors of a contemporary home east of Seattle: golden planks, shiny blondes and the occasional knotted gray.

It’s just how Amanda Gatlin wanted it – even if she didn’t expect it would involve recycling an entire Mississippi barn, with pieces dating back to when Woodrow Wilson was president.

“It was my great-grandfather and grandfather and a bunch of people in the community who helped build it,” said Gatlin, referring to the barn 2,300 miles away. “Some of the pieces of wood are 100-plus years old.”

What started out as a small undertaking – Gatlin and her husband, Jeff Layton, peeling away a couple wood slabs for a picture frame or accent wall in their Northwest new construction – quickly grew into something more.

“I don’t know how it transitioned from taking a few pieces to taking down the whole barn,” said Jeff. “Amanda’s dad talked to the landowner, and they said, ‘You can come and take the whole thing.’ That evolved into, ‘Gosh, let’s salvage this thing.’”

‘I called it my clubhouse’

In 1912, Amanda’s great-grandparents started a farm in rural Choctaw County, Mississippi, about two hours south of Memphis. They ran a small dairy operation while growing corn and cotton. In 1949, the family built a large wooden barn on the same piece of land.

“The lumber was primarily white oak,” said Boyd Gatlin, Amanda’s father. “I think we kept three jersey cows and a bull. We would hand-milk in the morning, and then we sold it.”

“I grew up drinking raw milk. That’s why I have such a great immune system,” he joked.

Boyd played in the barn as a child, jumping out of the hayloft or getting stung by wasps in the summer. His family eventually moved away, but they later learned the new owner added to the barn using wood from Boyd’s grandparents’ home nearby.

“So there are some unusual materials,” Boyd said, “some of which had square nails, indicating they were more than 100 years old.”

The Gatlins repurchased the land when Amanda was 7, using it as a country home to spend weekends or vacations. The sale allowed her to play in the same barn her father played in as a kid.

“I remember sitting up in that loft. I called it my clubhouse,” she recalled. “You could dangle your legs over the side and look out onto the other house on the property – into the tall grass.”

‘We were swinging sledgehammers’

When Amanda and Jeff set out to salvage the barn in 2016, it no longer belonged to her family, but they struck an agreement with the landowner to take it apart. They booked a flight from Seattle to Mississippi for September, hoping Mother Nature would give them a break from the unrelenting summers of the South.

As with many aspects of the project, it was a lot more complicated than one might expect.

“It was 95 degrees, super high humidity – it was just scorching hot,” Jeff recalled. “We were swinging sledgehammers, and it was by hand. Everything was by hand.”

The couple had done their research. A lot of people, it turns out, take apart barns for a living.

“[Other people are] using cherry pickers and forklifts. We didn’t have access to that,” Jeff said. “But as it turns out, it all came apart pretty easily. No electricity. It was all done by hand.”

The duo used sledgehammers to take the barn down, piece by piece. Relatives and neighbors joined in for days at a time. A tornado that hit the area a few years back had loosened up some of the planks, making it a little easier.

They got lucky, they say, that there were no menacing bugs or wasps. They found some ants – and the occasional relic.

“Sometimes we found bullets inside [the wood],” Jeff recalled. “Apparently it’s really common in the South to go shooting at old barns.”

It took the pair a full two weeks to take the building apart and remove the nails by hand. In the process, they discovered the barn was more than 90 percent hardwoods, forming a solid base for their Seattle home’s new floors.

They also discovered something else: the importance of family.

“One huge benefit of doing all this labor is that we’ve bonded with family,” Amanda recalled. “You sweat together, you have lunch together. It’s an amazing bonding experience.”

Long hours toiling in the hot Mississippi sun sparked great stories of the family’s deep roots. Amanda’s father shared tales of living on the farm as a child. A cousin talked about flying helicopters in the Vietnam War. Another cousin drove up from Florida and helped for three days, along with her husband.

“It created opportunities that we would not have had otherwise,” Jeff added.

‘He was telling me stories from the Navy’

Once the wood was taken apart, it had to be milled and transported across the country. A local Mississippi mill, dating back to 1875, sanded down the boards and created tongue-and-groove joints, costing the family about $6,000.

“A lot of the pieces we were pulling down had that gray patina on it. The mill guys said that 20 years ago you couldn’t give it away,” Jeff said. “But now it has that aged look people are really looking for.”

Jeff planned to drive the wood across the country. His father, who also lives near Seattle, was planning to meet him in Arkansas.

“It was quite an adventure. The day I left Mississippi, there were all these tornado warnings. There were tornadoes touching down around me, and it was really dark,” he recalls. “I was thinking, ‘What am I doing? What have I done?'”

Jeff and his father drove through the South to escape the cold winter weather. The duo ended up having their own family experience getting the hardwoods back to the West Coast.

“He was telling me stories from the Navy. We talked politics and religion,” Jeff added. “I got to spend all this great time with my dad.”

Amanda working on the hardwoods in her new home in Plain, Washington.

‘Putting a puzzle together’

With the wood safely back in Washington, the couple stored it for the winter, enduring subzero temperatures. They placed it in the garage of their rental home, covering the pieces with plastic and putting a heater in the room to keep the moisture down.

Before installing the wood, they sprayed it with an insecticide. The duo worked 12-hour days, laying out the floors in the main rooms, along the stairs and in a couple of small loft spaces.

They were working with five different board widths, along with different wood species. The couple loved the look – even at the risk of having the boards expand and contract at different rates.

“You basically start putting a puzzle together,” Jeff says.

That patchwork meant hiding some Easter eggs throughout the house – the couple found a smiley face in one plank of wood, placing it outside their son’s room.

“We would find different knots that look like things, [such as] an Eiffel Tower. We have a room that has two bears in it. We have one that looks like a wine spill,” Jeff says.

The installation, from bare floor to stained, finished wood, took the family about 2 1/2 weeks.

‘A good substitute’

The couple is now fully moved into their 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom home and ready to welcome guests over the summer, when sunshine brings warm weather and ideal conditions for hiking, rafting and barbecues.

It wasn’t the least expensive way to put floors down, added Boyd Gatlin, Amanda’s father, but it is certainly special.

“In a nutshell, their flooring was quite expensive, but it is like no other in that it carries family memories,” he said. “We had a house fire in 1960 that destroyed all family heirlooms, so Amanda and her cousin both felt the barn wood would be a good substitute.”

Not all the wood was solid enough for the floors. Some of it became the lining of the master bath; the couple is also talking about doing some accent walls in wood.

The family’s nearly complete home, about two hours east of Seattle.

Boyd commissioned two paintings of the barn from a relative. The family plans to build a picture frame out of the leftover wood and some of the square nails. Even the rusty old barn roof will be put to good use as siding on Jeff and Amanda’s home.

Most importantly, the family loves to share stories about how their hardwood floors were more than 100 years in the making.

“We’ve been blown away by the results,” he said.

Photos by Jeff Layton, Amanda Gatlin and Boyd Gatlin.

You can follow Jeff and Amanda’s progress on their blog, Married to Adventure.

Related:

Originally published June 2017.
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Real Estate Tips

This Philadelphia Farmhouse Is a Historic Stunner

Take a stone farmhouse from 1810, mix it with the best furnishings you can find at flea markets in Paris, and the result is this exquisitely renovated Colonial home outside Philadelphia.

A walk-in fireplace graces the living room, while the formal dining room boasts French doors that open onto a screened porch. For a cozier ambiance, the library of this 4-bedroom, 3,800-square-foot home features a fireplace and picture-window views.

A beautifully upholstered floating wall was installed in one bedroom to allow a lake view while lounging in bed. A chandelier hangs above the bed, and behind it is a sitting room.

 

Owners Michele and Michael Friezo also remade the nearly 8-acre grounds, adding formal and informal gardens. They planted more than 300 types of flowers in a meadow with a fire pit that overlooks a private lake.

The pleasure of watching the sun on autumn evenings is rivaled only by watching the snow fall while sitting by a roaring fire in the barn, Michele Friezo said.

The couple also renovated the estate’s crumbling horse barn, which is a rustic version of the main home. Concerned that adding insulation would take away the barn-like appearance of the structure’s interior, they bought a second barn and installed it inside the first one.

The barn’s massive French windows face the meadow and the lake, offering front-row seats to the nesting of two bald eagles who live in a nearby grove of pine trees.

The estate sold for $2.575 million with Caryn Black of Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty.

Photos by Juan Vidal Photography.

Related:

Originally published December 2016.
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Real Estate Tips

1800s Estate Proves History Is Anything But Drab

Steven Favreau is the type to go big – and go home.

When he set out to put down roots near his hometown of Boston, Favreau fell in love with an old country estate in quaint Chelsea, Vermont. It was the perfect place for this interior designer to escape from the hubbub of big city life after working with celebrity clients and more.

“It was a quintessential Vermont house in a quintessential Vermont town,” said Favreau, about spotting the house in 2012. “I hopped on a plane and bought it the next week.”

Built in 1832, the house was once owned by a man named Aaron Davis, whose family lived in it for at least 100 years. Davis’ granddaughter eventually sold the 23-acre property in the 1980s, and the new owner converted it into a bed-and-breakfast. (There’s still a portrait of Davis above one of the home’s five fireplaces.)

After Favreau purchased the 5-bed, 5-bath home, he sought to restore it to its original grandeur – at a frenetic pace. A contractor brought in a crew to rework everything from the wiring (it was a fire waiting to happen) to the wallpaper (there were eight layers throughout the house). The workers even put in a massive new beam to support the house and keep it from sinking.

Up next on the designer’s list: keeping the look, feel and integrity of the antique touches, while updating the space to accommodate today’s trends. He tore out a downstairs wall to expand the kitchen to 700 square feet; the master suite got a modern bath with a soaking tub.

Favreau painted walls in his signature bright colors and added bold wallpaper. He lined the master bathroom with tree-print wallpaper. The dining room got a splash of flamingo pink with a print of Victorian-looking cake plates – a nod to the era in which the house was built.

“What I wanted to use for inspiration was the house and the period of the house, so nodding to the period and updating it with a contemporary aesthetic,” Favreau said. “It says today, but it also says yesterday.”

Some things are distinctly New England. A wooden footbridge connects the main property to 22 secluded acres on the other side of the White River. On warm summer nights, Favreau’s family will pull a dining room table out onto the bridge and dine alfresco.

In the winter, the adjacent land allows for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.

There’s also an old wood barn, which Favreau envisions becoming an event space for weddings or storage. The possibilities for the next owner are limitless, he said.

“It’s a big glorious house, and my family is a big glorious family. We’ve enjoyed it,” he added. “I feel like I’ve loved my time being there and up in Vermont, but it’s time to find the next one. Maybe an oceanside property.”

The home is on the market for $695,000. Zoe Hathorn Washburn of Snyder Donegan carries the listing.

Interior photos courtesy of Jim Mauchly of Mountain Graphics Photography. Exterior photos courtesy of Andrew Holson with Snyder Donegan Real Estate Group.

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Originally published September 2017.
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Local Pros

Apopka Realtor – Michelle Chase

Location: Apopka, FL

Phone: (407) 268-6718

Website: michellechaserealtor.com

Michelle Chase is a local realtor and certified staging agent with Home Wise Realty that knows what buyers are looking for. Staging your home involves creating an inviting space that house hunters can envision themselves living in and can also help to facilitate a speedy sale for top dollar.

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Real Estate Tips

This Historic Connecticut Home Once Hosted a Dancing George Washington

Built in 1680 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this center hall Colonial home in Old Lyme, Connecticut, is not only a living testament to early American architecture – it’s also got a storied past of its own.

The home once served as a storefront during the Revolutionary War and was largely used as the Peck Tavern throughout the second half of the 18th century and early part of the 19th century.

It’s even rumored that George Washington stopped by to dance in the former ballroom, which is now used as the master bedroom.

The house was also once headquarters for the Old Lyme Guild, an organization started in the 1930s that exhibited and sold arts and crafts.

For a period of time, there were even shops for cabinetmakers, bookbinders, metal workers, potters and weavers out in the barn.

“Can you imagine the conversations that have happened in this house? That’s something I like to think about,” says the homeowner.

In addition to its spectacular history, the home is also architecturally significant. Hand-hewn beamed ceilings and corner posts, original wide-board floors, and rare double-arched paneling that was specific to the Connecticut River Valley in the 18th century are just a few of the unique features in the home.

Updated for modern living (yet still keeping the historical integrity), the home now has geothermal heating and cooling, a modern kitchen and updated bathrooms, and plenty of space for entertaining.

“It’s been a wonderful house to share with friends and family,” says the homeowner.

The home is listed for $1.075 million by William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty.

Photos courtesy of Peter Harron.

Related:

Originally published July 2018.

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Home & Garden

Cleaning Limestone Surfaces

Limestone surfaces are a popular choice for renovations and improvements providing the luxurious expensive look of marble but an a more affordable old-world price. Most limestone is usually white or off-white in color with unique and naturally occurring patterns throughout the stone. 

Beautiful as they are, they come with a downside that they require more care than other stone types, such as granite. This is because compositionally, limestone is more porous and sensitive to acids attack. The porosity makes it more prone than other stains and discoloration. (We once were asked to seal a brand new set of limestone stairs after removing a coffee stain… it took 6 seal applications to finally seal the stone… and each day the property manager dropped a new cup of coffee as a test.) Once sealed it usually just takes another annual application to maintain, but the first application is a doosey. Once sealed spills are easily cleaned up without staining. 

Read the rest of the article here: https://marblelife.com/posts/01-16-2019-cleaning-limestone-surfaces/

The post Cleaning Limestone Surfaces appeared first on Everyday Articles.

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Real Estate Tips

Should You Have A Real Estate Agent When Buying A Home?

If you’re looking to purchase a new home, then you may have considered partnering with a licensed real estate agent. You’re not among the few, considering 88 percent of homebuyers enlist the assistance of an Apopka Realtor. Most builders and buyers find it the best decision to deal with a real estate agent to make the process easier. In fact, it’s typically expected that a buyer have an agent before the purchase of any home.

Purchasing A New Home

Buyers who are looking to make a purchase on newly constructed homes may feel like enlisting a Realtor is unnecessary. New home project sales people are a great resource to help anyone understand the project. However, your Realtor will be able to help you find the best deal whether it is a resale or newly constructed. The builder’s sales person represents the builder’s best interests not the buyer’s! Anyone new to the real estate realm can easily be overwhelmed with options and pricing. Your Realtor will be able to represent you and negotiate with any builder to develop your dream home at a reasonable price.

Let an experienced professional advise you where to look for your new home. They are able to help you find the house you envisioned, while keeping you in price range!

Read the rest of the article here: https://michellechaserealtor.com/should-you-have-a-real-estate-agent-when-buying-a-home/

The post Should You Have A Real Estate Agent When Buying A Home? appeared first on Everyday Articles.

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Real Estate Tips

Dreaming of Warmer Weather? These 7 Sunny Homes Are Under $300K

Whether you’re thinking about a permanent move for milder weather or going the seasonal snowbird route, here are eight affordable homes in the warmest cities in the country, all to inspire your search for warmth.

A bright bungalow in Florida

For sale: $299,900

This Spanish bungalow in West Palm Beach, Florida, has everything you need to escape the cold weather: a vibrant green yard, a brightly colored exterior and a back patio perfect for sipping on a beachy cocktail.

If you ever happen to make it inside, you’ll find hardwood floors throughout, an abundance of natural light from the Florida sunshine and unique details, such as arched windows and a clawfoot tub for soaking.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more West Palm Beach homes for sale.

Picturesque in the low country

For sale: $284,900

If you’re looking for the definition of a picture-perfect cottage, you might just find a picture of this home in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Besides all the hallmarks of a Southern home – a white picket fence, plantation shutters and brick steps up to the front porch – this home also features an oversized screened-in back porch, ideal for enjoying those low country breezes. When you’re not spending time outside, you can enjoy custom cabinetry and cozy built-in shelves for reading books on a lazy summer day (even in the middle of January).

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more Beaufort homes for sale.

A Spanish revival in the Southwest

For sale: $299,900

This Spanish revival home in Phoenix, Arizona, is likely to make you forget that winter ever existed in the first place. Built in 1925 and considered a contributing historic property, this home has all of the Southwest charm you could ask for: colorful stucco on the exterior, a Spanish tile roof and a vibrant interior.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more Phoenix homes for sale.

A historic hideaway on the Texas coast

For sale: $289,900

Built in 1886 in Galveston, Texas, this home gives you a sense of history and plenty of character – all within a few blocks of the beach. The home greets you with a double stained-glass door entrance and continues to enchant inside with a grand staircase, wide-plank wood floors and trace ceilings. Other details like a spacious galley kitchen and a master bedroom with a fireplace create a pretty spectacular Gulf Coast getaway.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more Galveston homes for sale.

A rare Queen Anne in Alabama

For sale: $280,000

This sunny early-20th-century Queen Anne in Mobile, Alabama, is a rare architectural find for the city, and this one has been painstakingly remodeled for life in the 21st.

In addition to a major kitchen renovation – featuring quartz countertops and open shelving – new pine flooring coats the whole house, and all the walls have locally sourced tongue-and-groove paneling that brightens the space. This home also has plenty of spots to curl up and enjoy the Alabama warmth that permeates throughout the winter, including a charming front porch and a bay window that lets in plenty of sunshine.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more Mobile homes for sale.

A spectacular stucco home in Arizona

For sale: $280,000

This charismatic pueblo-like home in Tucson, Arizona, is optimal for living like it’s summer year-round. A Southwest color scheme greets you in the front of the house, with orange steps, a teal barrier wall and creamy stucco on the home’s exterior. The backyard, however, is really primed for all-year outdoor living with a built-in barbecue and in-ground pool – perfect for those scorching summer days ahead.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more Tucson homes for sale.

A beachy bungalow

For sale: $279,000

We’d kiss our snow shovel goodbye in a heartbeat for this dreamy beach bungalow in Delray Beach, Florida.

The front walkway and garden – complete with palm trees – is a great place to park your Adirondack chairs for a morning coffee or an evening mai tai. If you ever need to escape the Florida humidity, the home also boasts a custom-built theater system, and it’s just a few minutes away from the nearest beach.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more Delray Beach homes for sale.

Top photo from Zillow listing.

Related:

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Family

The Nanny Check

Your children are the most precious and important people in your life. You treasure them more than life itself. So, when it’s time to hire a nanny or babysitter, how do you decide who will protect your child as much as you do? Access Investigative Services has the answers.  Vetting your child’s nanny is one of our specialties.

We’ve all heard horror stories about children found wandering the streets unattended because the babysitter fell asleep.  Or, kids were harmed or neglected by a nanny.   A background check of your nanny is not overreacting. It’s being safe.

Read the rest of this article at https://accessinvestigativeservices.com/the-nanny-check/

The post The Nanny Check appeared first on Everyday Articles.

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Real Estate Tips

Explore a Tiny Tropical Treehouse in Hawaii

No one ever complains about Hawaii.

That’s one reason why Kristie Wolfe bought a piece of land there sight unseen. She went from spotting the overgrown, verdant lot on Craigslist to chatting with the owner to buying a plane ticket to clear the underbrush for building – all in the span of just two days.

“It could’ve gone a lot of awful ways, but I didn’t see it until I had flown here to start building,” Wolfe said. “I had never been to Hawaii, and I knew I wanted to build a treehouse, so I was thinking tropical.”

The vision for the 230-square-foot getaway came from sketches Wolfe drew on restaurant napkins. The Idaho native envisioned a lush, lofted escape with a 4-foot wraparound lanai for endless tropical sunsets and rainforest views.

Making that happen, however, required a lot of hard work – and a chain saw.

“When we arrived, the first step was actually just finding the land. My road was so overgrown that we actually thought the end of the road was down the block,” Wolfe chuckled. “After we actually established where it was, the next step was clearing a path so we could come through.”

Wolfe had good company for the build: She brought her mom along for the adventure. The two had worked hand in hand since Wolfe was a child and her mother flipped houses around town, “before flipping was a thing,” Wolfe joked.

For this undertaking, they wanted to maximize every dime, so they used all their precious luggage space for tools. That forced the duo to wear every article of clothing they brought with them on the plane.

They landed on the Big Island in a sweat.

The budget, on the other hand, was something they could chill out about: $11,000 – cheaper than the price of a new car. With the half-acre lot cleared, Wolfe and her mother got to work, building the main living space 15 feet high up on stilts.

The duo recycled and upcycled everything they purchased. The 1970s vintage fern wallpaper came from Etsy, while the bed was cobbled together from scrap materials.

Wolfe crafted the headboard out of a long shipping tube that originally held the home’s window parts; she then covered it with a grass mat.

The duo built an indoor-outdoor shower with tiles made out of cork. They added air plants for a true tropical vibe.

With sun plentiful in the tropical climate, Wolfe installed solar panels to provide electricity to the home and a rainwater catchment for the toilet and the shower. There’s a copper-colored sink below latticed porthole windows that look out onto the forest.

On the main entry level, she built a hanging bed.

At the last minute, Wolfe also built a pulley so guests have an easy way to hoist their luggage to the main area. (She jokes that the device should have been the first thing she installed, since it would have made construction much easier.)

The entire home took 2 1/2 months to finish.

There’s snorkeling and hiking nearby. The home is also near Hilo and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where Wolfe often travels to watch lava flow into the ocean.

“[The lava] looks like the end of the world,” she said. “You can walk within feet of it, and it’s absolutely hypnotizing. It’s kind of like a lava lamp – it looks like that, dropping off the cliff into the ocean, splashing and causing all this steam. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.”

Wolfe just bought the lot next door and plans, eventually, to put something there.

“I had built a tiny house, and I wanted to do something different, and a treehouse seemed like a fun, totally unique place,” Wolfe said. “I think everybody has wanted to stay in a treehouse. It just seems to fit a jungle.”

This home is currently available as a short-term rental.

Photos by Erik Hecht.

Related:

Originally published April 2018.

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