Categories
Report

2020 Progress Report

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.

Victorian Porch

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:

Library Restoration

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.

Landscaping

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.

Lamp Post

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).

The Herzog Mansion front porch and lamp post shine again!
The Herzog Mansion front porch and lamp post shine again!

Basement

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!

Conclusion

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.

Categories
Restoration

Restoring the Library – Part 2

Be sure to check out part 1 of the library restoration.

The library has seen significant progress since removing the second kitchen this summer. Here is where we left off for reference:

After removing the second kitchen used by the bed and breakfast.

The first order of business, remove the layers of flooring, and expose the original wood:

To the left, evidence of a fireplace. The house originally had six marble fireplaces, only one original remain in the dining room.

The original wood underneath is in much better condition than we expected. There are three square openings for vents and various holes for plumbing the kitchen that will need to be plugged.

Next, we move on to the casing and trim around the historic window. This project was an undertaking, and we were fortunate to be working with a talented carpenter that was excited to take on the effort. Here is a picture of what we started with:

A little bit of everything was needed, from casing to filling holes, baseboard moulding, and intricate trim.

From casing to trim, there was a lot to put back in order:

Upon careful inspection, we know there was originally a doorway walled off leading from the library to the bathroom connected to the men’s parlor. We decided to give it a go and open it up:

To our surprise, the door jam was left in great shape. We also found the original door in the basement; perfect match!

Matt Heaney confirming the door fits! Nearly all of the doors and windows in the house are different sizes.
A new perspective emerges seeing the beautiful library window from the bathroom.
The library only had one entrance and always felt a bit disconnected from the rest of the house. Space flows much better with the door-way opened up.

What’s next? The final effort of this room is waiting on the following:

  • When we removed the walled-off doorway, we introduced a new problem: We don’t have enough original casing moulding to surround the door. We had the moulding custom milled in St. Louis. It’s now complete and ready for pick up.
  • The library originally had a marble fireplace. We have a hand-carved marble fireplace mantel surround coming in from New York scheduled to arrive this week. It took Alexandria months to make a decision, and it’s beautiful!
  • The transom above the door we opened up was originally stained glass, and we are working on having a replacement reproduced. It’s an interesting architectural element given that the transom “goes nowhere” but is there for consistency. We found that power was run to light the transom.

While our primary focus for 2020 has been on the exterior, we are excited about the progress of restoring our first room. We’re planning on posting updates on the victorian porch soon, so keep an eye out!

Thank you for reading,

Michael and Alexandria Morgan

Categories
Restoration

Restoring the Library – Part 1

When a house is used as a bed and breakfast for several decades, there are many remnants left behind. One such remnant is the second kitchen used for guest meals. We knew this space deserved more and decided it was the ideal candidate for the first room to undergo a full restoration.

The second kitchen before careful extraction.

The appliances and cabinets were in good condition, and fortunately, we were able to find a family that could take it all off our hands. My father-in-law was in town visiting from Florida, and together, we carefully dismantled the kitchen.

When we moved the cabinet holding the kitchen sink, we were delighted to see the original wood molding. Several pieces of trim were removed in order to install the cabinets. Lucky enough, we found nearly all of the missing trim piled together in a crawl space under the house.

Excited to uncover the original wood molding!

The library is an impressive little space. It is one of the rare areas with a builtin, has one of the largest windows in the house, and, for its size, originally had a fireplace. We also discovered a door had been walled off leading into the bathroom.

The next step in restoring the library is carefully pulling up the new flooring with the goal is restoring the original wood underneath, along with installing the original wood trim and opening up the door to the bathroom. Stay tuned!

The library after the second kitchen was removed.
Trim with original handmade nails intact, with a near-perfect match!
Categories
Restoration

Let there be light!

We heard it had been a long time since the front lamp shined bright, and now it shines again! We discovered that a portion of the electricity to the front of the house was cut (likely many years ago). It wasn’t until removing drywall in the basement that we came across the old junction box that provided power to not only the front lamp post but also the porch light and a portion of the outlets in the lady’s parlor.