When we bought BWF in October 2015, we lived in the small empty rooms and slowly explored them. This was a tiny room at the front of the house that held the most warmth - with the only working fireplace, with paneled trim work around the windows, with a secret cabinet behind the mantle where I found old glass bottles. I hung my rose quartz here. We found an old farm door in the basement, cleaned it up, laid it across sawhorses and made it our dining table those first months.
Old floors hold a lot of the story. The floor boards of the small fireplace room were painted black and worn with layers of chipped paint.
Lavender and the smell of fires from the night before.
We discovered live termites and rot actively eroding the BWF and it set into motion the reframing of the entire foundation.
While we stripped back and rebuilt, it became clear that most of the walls of the four front rooms did not bear any weight. We could shake the wall free from the ground with our hands.
We cleared all the walls and started believing in one great room with many windows and two fireplaces back in working order. A distant but good dream.
Too far gone, the front rooms of BWF couldn't be salvaged, so we rewrote the story. A gut job, in other words, but one with an eye toward remembering the BWF in new and unexpected ways.
The bricks of the fireplaces were thin, multi-colored and mixed with clay and horse hair. A mason helped us find out that they were likely made on Robins Island, a small island close by in the Peconic Bay. I especially liked the purple-black bricks in the mix. We decided to save them and use them to rebuild the facade of the fireplaces down the line.
Our first fall ended with a gutted great room. The front door from the inside.
When you are too pregnant so, you scrape and paint the pretty storm windows you found.
The 3-ish acre BWF is home to a wild and unruly garden plot. This plot could feed the town, it's so big. She laughs at me by waving her waist high wildflower weeds and flapping her shabby fencing. One day, we will be friends.
Our first winter went like this:
Walks in the woods
A tree in the kitchen.
A lot of candles and fires ...
'cause the electric wasn't newly wired.
So peaceful in the warm winter sun. The back of the house is home to the kitchen, which we plan to renovate in phase 2. A ways off. We'll be keeping the small original frame, but will be replacing this back wall with a singular glass wall, to let the wild in.
Clay in his wood shop. To work in the cold, he resided this little shack on the property and bought a wood burning stove. The projects are, no doubt, endless.
As the snow melts into spring.
Springtime Painting of the Tiny Porch
Three raised beds for thyme
Baby ate all the strawberries we grew. I had not one.
Summer: Insert the smell of freshly cut herbs and tomato vine here.
The Farmhouse Haiku:
A bug you never
saw before, now lives in the
room that is next door
Dried Cilantro = Corriander
Manual masonry. The results of chimney demo & brick preservation. This picture does not tell the story of back breaking day's work, but it happened.
Summer's end. The replacement windows that were in most of the BWF when we bought it were small, broken, cheap and not at all in sync with the character of this old house. We did our best to find modern windows that would feel right and frame the wild all around. We even added a few to let the light shine in, in all the right places.
‘Tis the season to hang your wreaths from electrical outlets. #constructionseason
Once there was a window looking into our porch from the living room. It was an exterior window at some point, but now we’re closing it in to create some much needed visual and physical rest. The editing process in an old home can be counter-intuitive. Ultimately, we wanted the eye to wander in other directions here - to the other windows and their green leafy views.
Good friends with old tools that still get the job done. Sounds like the North Fork.
Framing the wild every which way. We’ve grown used to the shadow of full moons and bright early mornings. I’m not sure we believe in window treatments any longer.
The Barn. Overgrown with new and old roots.
Or farmhouse table. Even with the power tools going and the construction debris scattered like a storm. Bundle dyed cloth made with wildflowers from the Orient Flower Farm. Bounty from the beach and woods.
There’s an open door policy here. #barndoorsneeded #saab #thewaywayback
Past the workshed, past the barn, past the unruly overgrown garden plot: A chicken coup. A future meditation hideout and writers studio. #cantrushtheprocess
Farm porch coffee in cups made by our sister and potter Sarah. Vintage rattan.
Small batch tile from cle for the downstairs shower oasis. As if there wasn’t enough green at the Black Walnut Farm. #overload #greenongreen
These small and mighty beauties make us endlessly happy.
Against the worn and chipping paint.
Sweeping the front flower bed.
Every year more roots, more soft sage stalks.
Every other year a bloom to last you through winter.