We bought the farm in November 2010 – 94 acres of raw dirt. Then we had to decide where we were going to stay when we came down to work on the farm. We really didn’t want to stay at a hotel, we wanted something more permanent. Besides, the nearest hotel is about half an hour away. We also wanted to be able to bring our dogs with us when we came down to the farm.
When we bought the property, there was a small old trailer near the property line. We thought it was on our side and asked that it be moved. The children of the owner were handling the sale of the property for their elderly mother. They told us there was no trailer on the property. Not only was the trailer on our property, but we later found out from one the grandsons of the prior owner that the abandoned trailer was his “crazy” uncle’s (we all have one of those, right?).
The existing trailer, however was not a livable option. A tree branch had cracked a window, the attached enclosed porch had a huge hole in the middle, the inside of the trailer was all turned about (chair in the sink, mattress on end, empty alcohol bottles strewn about) and it looked like it had been through a fire.
The grandson of the prior owner said he would take it off the property for us. We let him have it to scrap out. I hope he made enough to pay for his efforts, but I still think we need to take him and his family out to dinner to thank him.
We thought about buying a nicer trailer to put on the property. It would be nice to stay right on the property. However, I’m not much of a trailer person. And not only did we need a place to stay when we visited the property, but we also needed a place to live for a few years until the farm house is built. A trailer would have been quite cramped, especially since Steve works out of the house. We considered the price of getting a decent used trailer, and then the cost/time it would take to set up electric, water, and septic. We decided that for just a little more than what it would cost to set the trailer up, we should be able to find a decent house. Especially with the way the housing market was.
So we picked out a few houses that looked promising from the internet and headed back to Tennessee for a weekend trip determined to find what we were looking for. We met with the realtor we found the farm through and he showed us the houses we had picked out and a couple others. (His name is Fred Webb by the way. If you ever want to buy or sell in this area of the state, give him a call. ~Steve)
One of the houses in the running was right next to the boat launch in Saltillo. But that was about a 20 minute drive away from the farm. I also didn’t really care for the house and the area just didn’t feel right. The house we decided to make an offer on was a cute little house less than 2 miles from our farm. We verbally negotiated a price that night and then the next day we had a builder come look at the house to make sure there weren’t any structural show stoppers. We had signed paperwork noon. Mission accomplished. That was Super Bowl Weekend and Steve was able to watch the big game from the hotel room (at least while he wasn’t snoozing).
In summary, we drove from Indiana to Tennessee on a Friday, looked at houses on Saturday, and had a signed purchase agreement on Sunday morning. Then there was the drive back to Indiana on Monday.
We were ready to close within two weeks, but it took a little longer on the other end for some reason. We didn’t make a special trip back for closing – we signed everything and mailed it back (along with a check of course). We gave the owners a few weeks to remove their belongings after closing. They were not living in the house when it sold, but they still had many of their belongings in it. After they moved out, we came down for our first trip to stay in our new home. This time (and every trip after), we brought the dogs along.
Thank goodness the dogs travel well, they would make the trip back and forth between Indiana and Tennessee eight times before making the final trip to permanently move to the new home.
The house definite has some issues, but I find it quite charming and I think it will suit our needs for the next couple years. Some of issues with the house you would expect for a house built in the 50s in an area that apparently has very little in the way of building codes. Like the old furnace that is under the floor beneath some grates (currently hidden by a throw rug). The house has been upgraded to a new heating and air system, but the old unit remains complete with a hole in the floor. There are also some cracks in the dry wall and most of the doors do not close properly. But I think the biggest problem area is some of the floors slope. The biggest slope is where they added on to the kitchen. The support where the addition starts is apparently too high since there is a very noticeable slope downward in both directions from that location.
The layout of the house is also a little strange. The house was advertised as having 3 bedrooms. The large master bedroom was added on to the house. But to be able to get to the master bedroom, you have to walk through one of the old bedrooms – making that bedroom not so functional as a bedroom. Since it is just the two of us, it works out fine. We just use that room as Steve’s office. The bedroom is large enough that I have my office in the bedroom. And that leaves us with one extra room for guests when they visit.
Something that is a little different is the laundry room. It is located in a shed just a few steps from the backdoor. Behind the shed is a close line if I want to air dry. For the first few weeks after me moved here, I line dried all the clothes until we ran gas lines out to the laundry room so that we could hook up my gas drier.
When they added on to the kitchen, they apparently moved the bathroom too. So there is this kind-of-room that you walk through before getting to the bathroom. We currently have some shelving units there and I use it as a pantry/storage area. We plan to build some custom shelving units and hide them behind either French or sliding doors.
Besides the sloping floors, I like the kitchen. The kitchen is a nice size and the cabinets have a certain appeal. We plan to practice and build some more cabinets for the kitchen so that we know what we are doing by the time we build them for the farm house. I think we’ll also practice on the counter tops and do something interesting with them.
The added on master bedroom is quite large compared to the rest of the house. It also has a large walk-in closet with two entry doors. Funny thing about the doors. The light switch for the closet is inside the closet between the two doors. Both doors open into the closet such that the door blocks access to the light switch. You need to close the door in order to be able to turn the light on. If the doors were switched, they would both open nicely to provide access to the switch – I’m thinking whoever installed the doors goofed. We plan to fix the issue, possibly by moving the switch to bedroom side of the closet. We may also convert part of the closet to a small bathroom. We kind of got used to the luxury of having two bathrooms available. We plan to make some built in organizers for the closet so the space lost to the bathroom would be made up for with more productive storage in the rest of the closet.
If I could change one room, it would be the living room. It is quite small. It is O.K. for the two of us, and for short periods of time 4 people can make do. But you put more than 4 people in there and it is quite cramped.
The thing I like most about the house are the porches. There is a long covered front porch along the entire front of the house. Occasionally I’ll take Daisy (our dog) out with me on the porch and I’ll read a book from the Kindle.
There is also a porch at the back door that is partially covered by the car port. The porch provides access to the dog’s yard. Since the porch is partially covered, if we let the dogs out when we go some where, they have shelter on the porch in case it rains. The dogs go porching out there quite a bit.