A full write-up of our renovation of the family room is here.
This year, a major undertaking was renovating this 1980s addition, which served as the community room for the B&B.
We made strides this year in the library. Be sure to check out our latest update here.
We end the year having refinished the original floor and recreating the ornate doorway into the Men’s parlor.
Last year we began the process of painting the porch. We continued this year by painting and replacing all of the exterior screens.
We have also continued working on the main french doors.
In the spring, we added porch gates for an increasingly curious toddler.
As we get closer to finishing the library, we are preparing to tackle one of our favorite spaces in the house, the Men’s parlor. When we first moved in, it was still configured to be the game room for the B&B with a pool table and poker table.
Around the time we refinished the library floor, we moved the pool table from the Men’s parlor into the basement. The floors in the Men’s parlor are in good shape since there was a large carpet covering most of the heavy foot traffic.
One of the most important features of a historic building is its windows. Windows are like eyes for your home. All of the windows in the house (except the three in the mansard roof) are wood. Before we moved in, they had begun chipping. We have been in the process of restoring every window. We are happy to say we are now 20 windows in of what feels like countless.
I’ve learned that it’s a labor of love carefully scraping, sanding, sealing, reglazing, and painting these windows. I have chosen to take this on because this will be needed every 5-10 years.
We feel truly blessed and surrounded by community. On December 1st, we welcomed our twin girls into the world. The outpour of love and fellowship has been truly overwhelming. We chose Hermann to raise a family and restore a historic building; we couldn’t be happier with that choice.
We are excited for 2022 and continuing the restoration of this home. Stay tuned!
Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the library restoration.
The restoration of the library continues with a focus on refinishing the floor and recreating the doorway to the Men’s parlor.
The floor was quite literally a jigsaw puzzle for such a compact room. We were fortunate enough to get our hands on antique donor wood, which we reworked into the disrupted areas due to the previous kitchen.
We were surprised in Part 2 to discover a doorway to the Men’s parlor. The hard part was bringing back the original plinths, casing, rosettes, baseboards and more. We spent quite a bit of time scouring for artifacts looking for the originals in the basement. At times we got lucky, such as having the original door that fits like a glove. We also had several plinths and rosettes. When it came to the casing, we were not so lucky. We ended up having to recreate all of the casing on both sides of the doors.
It is fun to look back on how much this space has changed, from a second B&B kitchen to being carefully restored to a library. We’re now in the home stretch of finishing this room! Next up is paint.
Our largest interior project we have taken on yet. The family room was added in the 1980s and is around 900 square feet. It was used as the reception and breakfast space for the B&B. As a result, it was by far the most in need of a refreshing. Since it’s our primary living room, it also sees the most action. Since this space was an addition, it is the only space we plan on using modern design.
When we moved in, this room was still very much a B&B community room. There was a reception desk, three dining tables, and a sitting area. Over our first year, this space naturally turned into our family room–especially an ideal space for a toddler.
Casing, Aprons & Sills
Before embarking on the prep work for painting, we took inventory of the windows. The room has nine windows total and needs updates. The window aprons that were originally chosen were too thick and protruded beyond the casing. The window sills were laminated MDF with a marble pattern.
Needless to say, everything about this configuration needed to change. We fabricated custom window sills that better matched the style of the windows and replaced the window aprons with the proper thickness.
The room has nine windows, and we quickly learned about a winter tradition previously common, taping up over the windows. We spent more time removing goo from the casing and windows than painting.
The main entry doors into the room has seen a lot of action over the years.
The biggest part of this project was the floors. When you first entered the room, there was an elevated floor, and the remainder of the room was carpeted. It turns out that the commercial carpet is original to when the room was added. We knew we wanted to do away with the elevated entry, but we wrestled choosing the right flooring. Our goal has been hardwood throughout, but this is the main space for toddlers and a large dog. We ordered countless samples of everything under the sun, from engineered to rigid core. It’s amazing how few passed the “toddler-proof” test.
There were three ceiling fans, likely original from the 1980s. We started with the main entry, replacing the fan with a 16-light chandelier.
There were eight outlets near the ceiling that we changed out for sconces. We replaced the other two fans with 12-light chandeliers.
Before & After
Renovating the family room is a project of projects, and we are happy it’s nearly done. Just in time, too, the twins are due in December!
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!
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:
The first order of business, remove the layers of flooring, and expose the original wood:
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:
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!
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!
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 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.
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!
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.