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About the House

“Follow the restoration saga of my 1850s Broken Back Saltbox”

I believe this is the oldest pic I have of the house

My house was built around the 1850’s and I purchased the home in 2000. The style is a broken back saltbox. What is a broken back saltbox? Picture a saltbox style house and on the long side of the roof take your thumb and push down a little. Yup, you just broke the back of the saltbox and that’s what my house looks like.

I use the term “house” loosely because local lore is that the house may have started life as a barn for a nearby farm. Word also has it that it was moved from another location to it’s current spot. The original part of the “house” is a 10×24 one-and-a-half story structure. At some point a one story, about 10×24 addition was added to the back. The roof lines were connected creating the broken back salt box look. The previous owner, Leslie told me the addition was timber frame construction, but I can’t confirm this as I’ve never torn into any of the walls in the addition.

If you were trying to figure out the square footage and you didn’t have your calculator handy, I’ll give you the answer… the total square footage is about 750. That’s the size of a master bedroom in some of these “McMansions” and yet too large to be considered a tiny house. If you think 750 square feet is small, consider this: one of the previous owners and longest residents (her obituary said she live in the home 47 years) raised three daughters here. Talk about cramped quarters! And yes, there’s only one bathroom or possibly only one outhouse at the time!

The barn house has been tastefully update over the years, but retains many of the original details. The cedar clapboard siding shows lots of age and appears to have been installed when the addition was added. Asbestos shingle siding was added and then later removed by Leslie. Leslie and her husband did the greatest amount of restoration work to the house and one of the things that drew me to the old place. When she handed over the keys she said “You’re the new steward now” something I haven’t forgotten any time I take on a project. Kinda crazy but I always think “would Leslie approve?”

Join me for the restoration of this small, unique house. Check out the restoration gallery and follow along with the restoration blog.


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