What’s the Big Idea?

So far at Twin Cities Farmhouse, we’ve been focusing a lot on the projects directly at hand.  But what is the big picture?  What do we hope to achieve in all of this?  Let’s get into that now.

This photo was taken in 1913, down the street from where our house sits now. How can we bring the past to the present? (Credit: mnhs.org)

Early on, Paul and I knew we wanted an older house.  For Paul, it was in part because he grew up on the East Side in an old house, so it’s what he knows and has grown to love.  For me, I like the idea of a property having a story.  The photo above was one I found after doing some research at the Minnesota Historical Society library.  I love the aesthetic–simple, yet with an extravagant detail (that hat!); humble but also classy.  Without waxing too much, let’s just say that this photo could be seen as my inspiration for this project.

While the simple, vintage farmhouse feel is what we will be going for, we are on a tight budget.  So we are working with what we got.  For me, that means that we will do exactly like the woman in the photo–keep it simple, but make the details count.

A good example is in the kitchen.  In a previous post, I discussed the kitchen cabinetry I got on Twin Cities Free Market.  The “seller” had in the listing that these cabinets were put in in the 1990s–hardly the vintage we’re going for.  But meanwhile, places like the ReUse Center in Maplewood often carry salvaged cabinet hardware, which we could install to subtly evoke the “old farmhouse” feel without having to go all in with solid wood doors.

Kitchen cabinets circa 1920. I doubt they make 'em like that anymore. (Credit: mnhs.org)

The photo above illustrates another barrier to my vintage dream-kitchen: the stove.  Here’s a photo from another kitchen in 1920:

Putting wood in the stove--probably not up to 2011 fire code, unfortunately for me (Credit: mnhs.org)

Obviously, a wood-burning stove is not going to work out for us.  And while I have found that there are people out there who refurbish stoves like these to function in modern times, that is very seriously above our price point.  So while we will probably have a normal white electric stove/oven combo in our kitchen, we’ll make up for it with another detail: something that Paul talked about in an earlier post.  Here’s a photo from a kitchen in 1905:

No, not the cats. Although it is nice to know that they are historically accurate, too. (Credit: mnhs.org)

On the left side of the photograph is something that our kitchen already has: wainscoting.  So we will either keep what’s there or replace it with something similar.  (Also note the door and its hardware–this will likely be another feathery-hat detail we’ll pursue putting into our home).  Of course, things may change and we may get more or less of the vintage details we’re looking to include.  There is still a lot of planning and searching to do.

This photo is just adorable, so even though this post is over I had to include it. (Credit: mnhs.org)



About Leigh

Born and raised in Rochester, MN, Leigh moved to the Twin Cities in 2004 for college. She stayed, and now works for a south metro city in the recycling department. In February of 2011, she and Paul bought a neglected farm house in the city to start our own urban hobby farm.

Posted on March 2, 2011, in Design, History, House, Renovation and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I love it!!! Thanks for your passion. I will continue to watch your progress!!!

  1. Pingback: Twin Cities Farmhouse

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