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My House – From the Outside in

I love old houses. Love, love, love, love, love them. So when it came time to move to Indiana, it was a no-brainer that we’d look for an old house with lots of character. After all, the house we were moving out of had been built in 1849 & we loved every soft-edged corner of that place. After showing us quite a few houses, our realtor sent us a link to a house in the middle of nowhere. Our first instinct was “No way” but the more we looked at the pictures, the more we thought that just maybe we should check it out. You know, just for fun. When the day came for us to tour the house, we fell in love. It was 100% perfect. Well, except for the fact that it was 25 minutes to town. Considering I was raised right in the middle of said town, that was a pretty big deal to me. Ask anyone who knows me & they’ll tell you that I’m in no way, shape, or form a country girl. Still, I couldn’t get the house out of my head. We were trying to find something 10-15 minutes outside of town anyway, so really, what was another 10 minutes? As you can guess, we couldn’t resist & bought our big, Victorian farmhouse in the middle of an Indiana cornfield, complete with an awesome, red barn. It’s a mile down a gravel road that gets maybe 5 cars down it a day, and that’s including mail delivery. It’s a lovely place though & such a great piece of land on which to raise two wild boys.

Some cool history about our house…

It was built by United States Senator Silas Peterson in 1880 & we’re only the fourth family to own this house.┬áThe previous couple who owned the home before us, saved it from being torn down & rehabilitated the entire house from top to bottom. Their redecoration included returning the home to it’s original Victorian Italianate design aesthetic. This included lots of floral wallpaper & intricate, hand-sewn, floral carpet as well. It was filled with gorgeous antiques & novelties. They actually used to give tours of the home & we even have pictures of tour buses pulled up to the house, along with a register signed by the over 3,000 guests who toured our home during the time the previous owners lived here! How crazy is that? They were kind enough to leave us a lot of historical pictures & documents to the house, along with photo albums & descriptions of their renovations. I’ll be including their pictures as I give you the room tours. It’s pretty fascinating to see how much work they put into the place.

Of course, this had to be a home that felt right to us & our (at the time) 1 year old son, Jack. So, down came the wallpaper & out came the fancy carpet. In it’s place are crisply painted walls filled with lots of artwork & photographs & a mixture of hardwood & lushly carpeted floors that are perfect for the numerous wrestling matches that take place in the living room. I figured the best place to start with my home is from the outside, yes? We just had it repainted last year & I absolutely love it. It’s not a huge change, but just enough to make me happy. The landscaping is this year’s project (& probably next year’s as well), so it’s still a mess.

The home with it’s original owners. I still can’t believe that’s my house they’re standing in front of. Crazy.

Here’s what the house looked like when the owners previous to us bought/saved it…

…and here’s how it looked when they were finished…

…and here’s what it looks like after our renovations over the summer. I took this last month, so it’s not as pretty as it should be.

The accent colors on the house before we repainted it were burgundy & hunter green. Unfortunately two of my least favorite colors in the whole world. I think they remind me too much of high school & college. We were originally going to just paint all of the trim white for a clean look, but the painters urged us to consider doing something in an additional color to bring out the detail of the trim. Of course they were right. We still kept it simple though & just went with a slightly darker grey than the house. I’m constantly updating the color schemes in our house, so we thought it best to not mess with it too much outside, lest I change my mind in a year. My husband loves me, but I don’t think he’s going to climb on a 30 foot ladder just because I want a new trim color. Alright, he probably would, but still. I decided to have a little fun with color on the front and back doors. I’ve wanted a boldly colored door for forever & now I finally have it. I was torn between orange & yellow (see?) but ultimately, I have a deep love for yellow, so it wasn’t too much of a decision. Of course if I lived alone it’d be hot pink, but I digress. We also had to have our metal roof recoated & we ended up going with white because it was a greener option. With the white roof, you can see our house for miles now. People must think we’re crazy, but that’s ok.

Here are a couple before & after details…

Here’s a small portion of the decorative trim around the top & windows…


So that’s the outside & all of the history that goes along with the house. Next week we’ll head inside & you can see with your own eyes all of the florals that co-existed in one house.


Family portrait by Gail Werner


Carol Fitch - BEAUTIFUL! How cool is it that they gave you the photos and documents! I can”t wait to see the inside!

Stephanie O'Connor - Can’t wait to go inside!

Hollie - I can still see the light fixture in pink neon!

Gail - You know me…I always LOVE learning more about your house! Eeek! Bring on the interiors!

amanda - So, i found your blog through Gail’s blog…and now I might just be stalking you! I LOVE your house (and style). We renovated a 1920’s house and now live in the city. I’m with you though, love old houses and love the history! Can’t wait to see more!!

Johne596 - Awesome article post.Thanks Again. Much obliged. keabceecaebe

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