1880s Farmhouse Interior Ideas

Questions and answers relating to houses built in the 1800s and before.

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1880s Farmhouse Interior Ideas

Postby knochd » Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:13 am

I am in the process of restoring a late 19th-century T-style farmhouse in rural Kentucky that was extensively renovated in 1962. I'd like to return the interior to something closely resembling its original appearance, but I'm no expert when it comes to period interior design. Does anyone know of some resources that can help me get an idea of how the interiors of rural farm homes in this period may have looked? Thanks a bunch for any guidance.

Dave
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Re: 1880s Farmhouse Interior Ideas

Postby Nettie » Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:57 pm

Well a couple ideas are historical societies. Our state's Minnesota Historical society has an online database of photos and you can search 1800's farmhouse for pictures and pull up a few. Other states might have even better ones.
PBS had a special a couple of years back called Death of the Dream which featured dying farmhouses. You can check out this link- I think there is a virtual farmhouse you can visit. http://www.pbs.org/ktca/farmhouses/
There are a few of us on this site that have farmhouses from the 1800s so you can search this site as well for pictures.
I commend you for wanting to restore your house- most farmhouses are pretty bare bones for conveniences, it's fun to come on here and listen to stories about butler's pantries and bells for the maids. Our reality was more likely a root cellar and big dinner bell for the neighborhood men that came to help :P with the threshing.
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Re: 1880s Farmhouse Interior Ideas

Postby knochd » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:04 am

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll check them out and see what I can come up with. We don't live far from the KY Historical Society museum, so maybe that would be a good place to start as well. My wife and I would certainly love a grand ol' Victorian, but finding a house like that on large acreage is near impossible here - with the exception of a plantation, something way beyond our means. So we adopted our utilitarian farmhouse and have really fallen in love with it. Unfortunately, the previous owners gutted the place in 1962 so all of the original woodwork, doors, windows, etc. are long gone which means we're basically starting from scratch.
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Re: 1880s Farmhouse Interior Ideas

Postby S Melissa » Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:22 pm

Do take a pictoral tour though the photo archives we have here on the picture thread. You can rebuild most anything. In my Michigan farm house, the woodwork was shot and not all that great to begin with, and we removed it and replaced it (before anyone yells, this was 1978 and no one was working on old houses!). Ours was made of Tulip Poplar wood and was soft and green, and had been painted so many times it was featureless. I stripped miles of it only to have nothing to show for it. We have had built 9" baseboards for our house - with some nice detail added to the top - all with minimal router skill and stock mouldings. You can too! We ordered 5 panel doors to replace the mish mash of doors we had and which were battered beyond value. I stained them and bought nice reproduction hardware for them. You can too. Our house was a decent farm house -nothing fancy but nice enough for a pretty successful farmer. With today's resources you can rebuild your house's character too!
Melissa
Canton, MI
1860 Italianate - Reuben Huston Home
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Re: 1880s Farmhouse Interior Ideas

Postby BeaArthur » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:55 pm

Nettie wrote:Well a couple ideas are historical societies. Our state's Minnesota Historical society has an online database of photos and you can search 1800's farmhouse for pictures and pull up a few. Other states might have even better ones.
PBS had a special a couple of years back called Death of the Dream which featured dying farmhouses. You can check out this link- I think there is a virtual farmhouse you can visit. http://www.pbs.org/ktca/farmhouses/
There are a few of us on this site that have farmhouses from the 1800s so you can search this site as well for pictures.
I commend you for wanting to restore your house- most farmhouses are pretty bare bones for conveniences, it's fun to come on here and listen to stories about butler's pantries and bells for the maids. Our reality was more likely a root cellar and big dinner bell for the neighborhood men that came to help :P with the threshing.


I didn't know there was an actual program of Death of the Dream! I bought the book years ago and it was fascinating. And... I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't know about the online farmhouse pictures! MHS is such a great resource and it's only a hop-skip-and a jump away! Good tips!
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