Monday, May 23, 2011

Our first weekend of work...

How exactly do you begin the restoration of a mid-1800's dog-trot?

Outside of the home, of course! We spent DAY ONE of our project clearing away overgrown shrubbery and weeds, cutting down saplings that had sprouted in the fenceline, and "bush-hogging" the field beside the house. Here is a photo of the house before we cleaned away the overgrowth. Sorry, but I forgot to take a photo after we finished because I was too exhausted!

Amazingly enough, we finished mowing / weed eating / bush hogging ahead of schedule and began working on the second project-- pulling down the old sheet rock from the back three rooms of the house. We spent DAY TWO by beginning the messiest part of the entire project. Here is a photo of the old kitchen during the sheet rock demolition this weekend. Notice the old wallpaper that we left on the walls temporarily. That will come down soon, but I just couldn't rip it away without capturing the history first.

The photo below is my hubby mid-swing during our sheet rock demolition in the first room that we stripped clean. Of the fourteen rooms in the house, only three have sheet rock. (Thank the Lord above for this small mirace!) Termites invaded the sheet rocked walls years ago, and thankfully they were only there long enough to eat away the majority of the wallpaper that was sandwiched between the sheet rock and the original wooden walls. We were very happy to find that only about 10% of the wood was destroyed behind the layers of wallpaper, termite trails and sheet rock. Our original plan was to remove this section of the house due to termite damage, but after closer inspection we may adjust this plan and keep the four back rooms after all!

This is what we found in the "living room" behind the sheet rock. I'm not sure about the exact age of the wallpaper, but it is no newer than the 1940's.

Here is a photo of our oldest son helping me to clean out the root cellar. The boys and I found jars of homemade blackberry preserves, peaches, green beans, and tons of old Seven-Up, Coke and Royal Crown Cola bottles. I also found a few plates (one that has a pattern with the beautiful fleur-de-lis we love so much in Louisiana) and even an old cake platter and cover from the 1950's!

So that's it, folks. It's the end of Week One. Check back often for more updates and photos, along with a lot of interesting local history that I'm uncovering in the backwoods of Northern Louisiana.


  1. I'm the first comment! Did you say 14 rooms? Wow! What's the square feet of the home? Keep us posted.

  2. Not sure about the total sq. ft., actually. I'm thinking that it's somewhere around 2700. We had planned to take off the two back rooms and bring it down to around 2200, but now that we're considering keeping them on the back of the house we'll need to reconfigure everything. :)