Friday, March 4, 2011

1880, Cheney Farmhouse ; 2010, Dallaryan Acres

When we're not at the farmhouse, my mind still thinks of it often... like, for example, between the hours of 9-5 Monday through Friday, when I am glued to this computer. It's such an immense project that it sort of gets in your head, your bones even, and settles there. Sitting at a desk all day doesn't quite suit our active personalities, when really what we'd like to be doing is working day in and out on this beloved project of ours. Right now I am sitting and typing, but my body is telling me... go get a crowbar and knock down some plaster. Alas, that is not an option, so we will continue to beef up this blog in the meantime!

The Dallaryan Family have been proud owners of this home since Oct. 15, 2010. Numbers 1-5 of the photo slideshows you see on the right-hand side of this blog document our progress up to now. It might not look like much, but we've been trying our best considering the weather conditions these last few months. Signing on a house just as a New England winter is coming on, bearing in mind there is no heat and foundation work can't be done with frozen ground, has made our progress seem meager at times. We're focusing on improvements in baby steps, not leaps and bounds, and anyway spring is only a few weeks away at this point!

Before we begin delving into the work we have done so far, I think it is important to have a blog post on the history of this fine little home. Nothing extensive or high school textbook in size, just a few lines to tell you the story of our home... from then til now, if you will. My goal: keep it short and keep you captivated. Here we go:
The Cheney Farmhouse has been standing, once looking a little better than it does today, since 1880. It was built by Wales Cheney, a local carpenter and furniture maker. Rumor has it a few pieces of his furniture are still on display in a local museum. I wouldn't be surprised, as the quality of his woodworking is partially what sold us on this lovely home. The home has been abandoned for the last 30 years, minus a few droves of mice, bats and small woodland creatures whom hoarded their nuts for the winter in every crevice of the house. The last resident to live here, aside from Mother Nature, was Florence Crowninshield, a granddaughter of the Cheneys, who came to live in the house as a teenager. She may or may not be the young girl sitting along the dirt road in the photo above, which was a gift from a new neighbor.

Flash forward to Presidents' Day Weekend 2010, when fate lent a hand in finding this home new owners. Tony and I were in VT for a weekend of snowboarding, and made a stop at the house after having shared a collective "WOW" when driving by earlier. As we peered into the windows, who should pull up but the owner, Bill Knight, a rugged older man in a pick-up. The first words out of his mouth were "You want the house? You can have it. How much?" We laughed but found ourselves following this complete stranger into an abandoned house via a hole in the basement wall (he had no key). Despite being freezing inside, fairly run-down and littered with 30 years of junk, there was an overall welcoming feeling and warmth to the house. It was as if it had just been sitting there, waiting for someone to make it a home again. I took one look at the craftsmanship of the staircase and fell in love. 8 months later, Mairim and Tony signed their names on the deed. We now have the fixer-upper we've always wanted, and then some.

This is the story of the Cheney Farmhouse, faithfully told and I believe fairly accurate. Now all that's left to tell is the future! So begins the transformation of Cheney Farmhouse to Dallaryan Acres! (hand-carved sign to follow).
- Melissa


  1. Hi. My husband and I are closing on our 1879 farm house on Wednesday! We are super excited and very worried about what we have just done...I was looking for ideas on what to do and where to start and found your blog. I look forward to reading it.
    All the Best, Kelly

    1. Hi Kelly! So glad to hear that you guys are taking on a farmhouse of your own! It's definitely intimidating at first, and has taken WAY longer than we ever thought possible, but we've loved every step along the way. It is so rewarding knowing that (when this house is finished) we will have made our mark on almost every inch of that house.

      How is your project going so far? Are you keeping a record of your progress with a blog or anything? If so, please send it along! Wishing you guys all the best renovation luck in the world :) You can do it!!