This farmhouse renovation takes some insensitive additions and some new construction and blends them in with the original historic Greek Revival style.
For over 150 years, this late nineteenth century Greek Revival farmhouse has been owned by the original family. They were pioneers who traveled from New York to Minnesota in 1858 as first settlers.
What’s special about the current generation of these settlers is that they understand and appreciate the history and architecture of their family homestead.
Over the years additions were built with designs that were not compatible with the historic portion of the house. Now more space is needed.
The goal is to create more living space and renovate the additions to fit in with the original historic part of the house. All sides of the house should be in harmony with the historic Greek Revival farmhouse.
Farmhouse Renovation – Front View
All four sides of the farmhouse received a makeover. Let’s begin with the front of the house. In the historic photo above, the front of the house is partially visible on the far right.
The original house you see is a basic 1 1/2 story farmhouse. The garage section to the side was added on in the 1990’s and has a ranch style appearance as it is low and wide. The original house has vertical lines but the garage section is horizontal and conflicts with the overall feel.
We need to increase living space, correct bad renovations, and preserve historic integrity.
The original house must remain intact. If an addition were added here it would harm the house’s historic integrity. Normally, additions would be at the rear of the house but this was not possible because of the interior layout and other plans for the rear, as you will see later.
The best solution for this farmhouse renovation is to convert the garage into living space and construct a new garage in front of the existing garage. Since this is a farmhouse and there are 80 acres with a barn and out buildings, the most natural and historic design would be for the house to have a connected barn.
Many nineteenth century farmhouses had a large main house with an extension on the side leading to a barn or farm buildings. Here we have the perfect layout. The current garage, converted to living space, will be designed as a barn extension. A new barn will built in front and used as a garage.
The original historic section must maintain hierarchy. Since this section is small already, all additions must be smaller, being careful not to overpower the house.
Here is the proposed design for the farmhouse renovation. The opening in the center, which is the side entrance to the main house, was changed to look like a barn entrance. I would have liked to make the garage-barn larger but it would then overpower the house. The house must show hierarchy.
The windows in the main house are replaced with two-over-two window sash with working wood shutters . A new entrance is added in the Greek Revival style to match the house. The original chimney was removed at one time and although the fireplace is not working, a fake chimney is installed for appearance.
This side of the house you see was really the last phase of the project. That’s why it has new colors and shutters while the earlier phases that you will see next do not.
Below we have the same image you see above modified to be a Christmas card. Click to enlarge.
Here you see the side of the original house to the left and the current side of the garage to the right.
Since the proposed garage could not be enlarged without overpowering the house, a shed is attached for additional space. A barn door provides entrance into the garage.
Opposite Side of Farmhouse
This view is similar to the historic photo at the top of the page. This is actually the left side of the house. The original house is the gabled portion to the right. The porch and everything behind it is an old addition.
As you see there is a beautiful large porch that needs to be opened up. The issue here which is more visible from the rear, is the porch roof. To the left there is a large portion that is virtually flat. Extending the top floor not only corrects that problem but improves the aesthetics of the rear of the house.
Top floor is extended and a second fake chimney is restored to its original location. Porch roof is replaced with a standing seam metal roof. Original wood columns stored in a barn are put back where they were. A brick porch skirt with vents is used for a small space under the porch.
Although the porch looks nice as it is, since it’s low, one may be inclined to just hop on to the porch from the side. Landscaping helps direct you to the steps.
Rear of Farmhouse
Here we now have the rear view. The larger left portion that looks like a ranch house is the rear of the current garage. On the far right you see part of the enclosed porch. The porch roof extends to the left and back to the gabled top floor of the main house. The roof here is flat and covers a large area that awkwardly meets the other roofs surrounding it.
In this image the garage is now converted to living space. From the left we now have a new bay window with a metal roof. From the new family roof inside, french doors lead you to the sun parlor. Click to enlarge for a better view. A ceiling fan is located at the peak.
All of the windows are in keeping with the late 19th century period. The gable to the right is the top floor that is extended to the existing rear wall of the house, creating a simple facade.
The 1960’s kitchen window is replaced. The opening size was not changed but two-over-two style casement windows were installed to provide vertical lines to maintain the rhythm of the house.
To the far right you see the side of the porch opened up.
The upside down barrel is covering a water pump.
History of the Anderson Homestead
Born in 1838, Abram J. Anderson had but brief opportunities for education. He left home in New York state at twenty to secure a home in the west. In August 1858, after a long travel by train, he arrived in Zumbro Minnesota where he bought a preemption right to 160 acres of property.
In 1861 he bought an additional 80 acres, built a cabin, and later built the current home. He was known as a cattle broker.
The country was then wild, and though white settlers were coming in, there were as yet few cultivated farms. There was a good deal of timber and the Indians were numerous; so also were deer and wolves and various sorts of wild game. Mr. Anderson, like all the pioneer settlers, had to put up with more or less hardship and privation, but he made gradual progress in developing a farm, and became a little better off. At different times his total land possessions in the three states amounted to 800 acres.
Mr. Anderson was first united in marriage on February 1858, to Angeline Dennison of New York state, who after 14 years of married life died September 12, 1872. She left four children.
Mr. Anderson was married secondly in 1873, to Melvina Mitchell, a native of the state of Maine. By her he has had eight children. For those familiar with Laura Ingalls Wilder , "Little House on the Prairie" , and her series of books - her family lived nearby for a short time in 1876. Today, 157 years later, the homestead and 80 acres remain. Abram's great-grand daughter and her husband reside in the house and the farmland is rented out for crop farming. Many family members still live locally.