A Description of the Abraham Middaugh House
Carried over from home page
The small frame home built by Abraham VanAken Middaugh is considered a single room frame house with a loft, a 1 1/2 story house. It sat on a foundation of pilings with possibly a fruit cellar. The home had a fireplace in which to cook meals and to provide heat. The loft was comprised of one or two rooms with a ladder to gain access. Furnishings were most likely sparce with perhaps a few heirlooms as the young couple started their family.
In Colonial America during the early settling lots under British rule, requirements set down by the crown instructed "each of said families to build and finish a dwelling house upon his home lot, of the following dimensions: viz. 18 feet square and 7 foot stud at least". Although our home was built after British rule, many early settlers used this standard to build their homes.
To elaborate a little more: "In English Feudalism form of Two Bents - One Bay: a serf was limited to one bay for every six acres of land he worked. In medieval England, a bay was a standard length, about 16 ft long or the distance required for two teams of oxen to stand side by side. That dimension varied greatly in American timber frames, but in early houses, it is more likely to be honored than not". (How Old Is This House? Hugh Howard for Home Renovation Assoc.)
The original structure was very small by today's standards. The sills in the original section of the home are rounded, bark covered logs. The original home was 576 square feet with dimensions of 18 x 16 ft. Many renovations were made to the house throughout the years, increasing the size to 1368 sq ft. It was during a 1950 renovation when a staircase was added. The staircase dates older than the house. We have reason to believe it belonged to the original inn/farmhouse on the Elias Middaugh property. It was in the 1950's a next door neighbor Mr. Wheadon moved a shell of an old house across the road and refitted it, to which he added on to create a beautiful home. The property at that time belonged to the Kilpatrick's, the Wheadon's family. A new beautiful stair case was added to their house and our house received the old one.
When I purchased the house in 1993, the renovations began! A major reconstruction of the roof. A new heating system. Foundation repair. New well pump. Numerous repairs through the structure, inside and out. When Ron and I married we made the decision to stay and make the house work for us. It required more renovation and a large addition...Twenty three years of renovations. We now have a very comfortable home and are so pleased to know we've kept a little piece of history alive.
The interesting thing about renovations and restorations. It is amazing when a house is restored back to a previous date, or original state. If you are going to live in an old house, it has to work for you. I love primitives and colonial furniture. I also like comfortable furniture. So a compromise has to be made to furniture styles, etc. Take a bathroom for example. You wouldn't do away with a bathroom would you? After all, they didn't have bathrooms in colonial days. Or kitchens with long counter tops and cupboards. And I am not going to start cooking dinner on an open hearth. We kept the old cupboards and mixed old with new. We painted the cupboards and updated them. We used a Victorian look, since the kitchen and bathroom would have been added at the end of the Victorian era. There are few houses that haven't had changes made through the years. So keep that in mind when you are renovating or restoring. You can mix the old with the new. It will work and you can be comfy in your own home.
Artist Depictions of the Interior of a Colonial American Single Room Frame House.
A ladder was used to gain access to the loft. The bed on the first floor was used for the elderly or very young, for the sick or the husband and wife. It was strategically placed near the fireplace. The loft was mainly used for the children, they slept in bedding on the floor. Although the loft could be one large room, it sometimes was built as 2 rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls.
Our yard is an extension
Late Fall Photos of the Abraham Middaugh House, 2014. The last splash of color. Click to enlarge