We are excited about the momentum we have after our first year of working on the home. It has been a big year for our family. We moved from Florida to Missouri and soon welcomed our son into the world. With all of this change, we were able to kick off important projects for this house.
We chose to tackle painting the porch this year because it represents most of the house’s external wood. It was over 20 years ago since the entire porch was painted; the paint was chipping and had faded.
We were surprised when we first moved in; it turns out we had a major water feature built directly into our porch! The flat roof covering the gazebo had a major leak that had supposedly been fixed.
This leak turned out to be a larger problem than expected, and the entire portion of the roof had to be replaced. After replacing the roof, we turned to the ceiling that was ruined.
Here are progress photos:
Having been a B&B for several decades, it only makes sense that there would be a second kitchen. We came across an old photo of this room and discovered it originally was the library. Being one of the smaller first floor rooms, it is one of the more complex. The library originally had a marble fireplace, one of the largest windows in the house, built-in wood cabinets with glass doors, and a doorway into the men’s parlor. We’re putting it back to how it was as close as we can. Be sure to checkout Part 1 and Part 2 of the library restoration on the blog for more detail.
Cast Iron Fence
One of the home’s most beautiful exterior features is the original cast iron fence with large limestone footers. Unfortunately, it has been playing a game of tug of war with the Missouri winters. The expansion and contraction have slowly pushed the left side of the fence, almost tipping over at one point. In February, it made a big move and jumped to the top of our list.
I lost track of the number of contractors and specialists that looked at this fence. I have to admit, in the end, I overthought my entire approach to rescuing this fence. We did find help, and it took a degree of finesse. Trenches were dug on the backside of both sides of the fence, and wood was used to move the footers back into place carefully. I had thought deadmen were the way to go, but after careful assessment, the engineering needed to protect the 133-year-old footers was overkill for the length of the fence. To help protect against the fence listing in the future, we’re using drainage on the backside to help during the winters.
One very large sick tree towered over the five-story house. We knew it was one bad storm away from a terrible consequence. We also took out two overgrown bushes that were eyesores.
After trying multiple bulbs and flipping every switch we could find on the first level, the post would not light up. It wasn’t until removing an unpermitted room in the basement that I discovered electricity to the poll had been cut. We restored the electricity, and now the light post shines bright. Looking down from the third floor, it had started to rust. With a bit of prep, it only took a couple of hours to paint the lamp a fresh gloss black oil paint (refreshing quick win after countless hours of acrylic paints on the porch).
We love the basement; it’s the entire footprint of the historic home. It has an original coal room, cellar, and multiple large rooms. There was a nearly finished room that turned out not to be permitted. I ordered a construction container and demoed the room in a day. Fortunate to do so, discovered where electricity had been cut to the ladies parlor above. The entire basement had plaster ceilings originally, which had been largely removed. First time removing plaster, and I have to say, wow, that’s a messy job!
We are excited about the momentum going into 2021. Alexandria and I were reflecting recently on our first year in Hermann, and the main theme that surfaced was gratitude. We feel truly blessed to have been so warmly welcomed into the community.
What’s next? Wrap up the porch and library restoration. From there, we’re going to start painting exterior windows. There is still much to do!
Thank you for reading, The Morgan Family.