For today’s connoisseur of smoked meat products, one can simply run to the deli or grocery store to pick up whatever quantity of beef, ham, or bacon that you desire, any time of the year. Things were not always that simple. Preserving meats was hard work, and if any step of the butchering, curing, or smoking processes didn’t go right, a family could lose an entire year’s supply of meat. We have a huge respect for our forefathers (and foremothers) who used these smaller farm structures out of necessity to feed family and neighbors. With the advent of refrigeration, smokehouses fell out of use and only the lucky ones have been “repurposed” as storage sheds. All too many have been razed. One such lucky smokehouse still stands in Lancaster County, but time and storms took its toll.
A storm literally lifted its roof and several upper courses of logs, but that didn’t spell the end of this relic of our past. The roof frame, though tossed upside down, was still solidly intact and suitable for re-use. Deteriorated or damaged wall logs were replaced using half dovetail corner joinery. All the walls were re-chinked, trim boards reproduced, and a new cedar shake roof was installed.
The lowly springhouse is often overlooked for maintenance on many farms because, well, they have no real use anymore. In this age of wells, indoor plumbing, and refrigeration, many springhouses are abandoned and eventually fall to ruin. Thankfully, Lee & Nancy recognized the importance of preserving their own slice of rural life.
Although at first glance the completed preservation doesn’t appear much different than “before,” that’s the point of restoration and preservation: Stylistically, a preserved structure should remain true to its original design. It may appear fresher and brighter, as does this springhouse, but its original design elements should remain the same. The failing chimney was torn down and re-built along with new copper flashing; the badly deteriorated wood shingle roof was removed, all the original lath was repaired or replaced with like kind, and a new wood shake roof was installed; window and door frames were repaired; the original window sash were repaired and re-glazed; a new period-style door was constructed and installed along with vintage hardware; and the stone walls were re-pointed.
Restore ‘N More’s second ever project, and a first in a long, long line of historic restorations now spanning more than 25 years.
The owners had met us at a restoration show in York and quickly determined we were capable of performing the restoration of their prized springhouse. Although it was structurally sound, the entire building needed tender loving care – repairs and restoration – from the foundation to the roof. Additionally, the owners were quite conscientious about how the work and the materials used on it might affect the immediate environment, particularly the pure spring water that flowed from within the building. After all, the new stucco that was being applied to the interior walls would come into contact with the water. The craftsman applying the stucco assured her of its safety, explaining that the mixture was custom made of safe, natural materials because we, too, didn’t want anything harmful coming in contact with the spring water. He then promptly put some in his mouth and swallowed it to prove his claims!
We certainly don’t recommend that practice – ever! – but we’re happy to report that he never reported even so much as a little indigestion from that stunt. And we’re happy to report also that the spring water remained flowing pure as ever.
At historic Daniel Lady Farm, owned by the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association, the 1842 large barn had survived years of dormancy, but the elements had caused even this superior built structure to eventually deteriorate. GBPA contracted Restore ‘N More to replace the old tin roof with wood shingles and repair the soffit and fascia, as well as install three very large custom-built cupolas. With cupolas flying above, timing, scheduling, and a quick pace were the order of the day to keep everyone and everything working safely and without interruption.
Gaping holes in the roof, doors busted off their hinges, and small trees growing out of the foundation made for a pretty sad picture for this once-grand Maryland barn. But, the owner-artist saw the inherent beauty, and the Restore ‘N More crew knew there were many more years of service inside the structure. Her vision and Restore ‘N More’s expertise brought about a spectacular transformation, creatively adapting this barn into an artist’s studio and living quarters.
Deteriorated and missing roof coverings, missing siding on the forebay, no gutters, and improper soil grading had contributed heavily to the structural damage of this bank (or Swisser) barn. In addition, several sheds, accessory buildings, and other structures had been built onto the barn. In removing those additions, we found even more damage than anticipated. Restore ‘N More’s carpenters replaced hand-hewn rafters, roof plates, purlins, floor joists, and forebay posts and sills; roofers installed a new wood shake roof; and, masons re-built entire sections of stone walls, including the stone and earthen ramps. New board-&-batten doors duplicate the originals, including the wrought nails used for clinching in the battens.
New porches, built. Old porches, restored. And every porch, diminutive or grandiose, should be anchored by a patio or walkway that, together with the porch, invites visitors to come in or beckon the inhabitants to come out.