Sam and Sean run the blog and Instagram account for After Hours Farm, where they showcase the renovation of an 1860’s farmhouse they saved from demolition. They decided to keep the historic charm of their home in all of the details, which included installing Nostalgic Warehouse door hardware throughout. The story of their process has been fascinating, and we are proud to be a part of it!
Please give us some more details on After Hours Farm. How did you develop it, and what sets it apart from the rest?
After seeing so many farmhouses being torn down in the area Sam grew up, we knew we wanted to save one. Once we finally closed on the property, we were over there working every free minute we had – which usually meant late nights after our day jobs, putting in hours via flashlight. The idea of putting in the work ourselves even “after hours” just made sense for us. We wanted our home to tell a story of us and not just look like a 2021 new construction or remodel. Over the last few years, many home renovations have the same basic details – we wanted to break the mold and add individual charm to this house.
What is your design style, and how do you incorporate those decorating decisions within your home?
Our design style is a mix of traditional and modern. We always want to incorporate the original feel and style of a space but add modern elements and function. We feel the more permanent/architectural items in a room should stand the test of time.
Where do you find design inspiration?
I (Sam) like to look at design that has lasted through the ages. Patrick Ahearn is a huge inspiration. From his new builds to his renovations and restorations, they all look as timeless as the next, even though they may have been built hundreds of years apart. His use of natural materials from cedar, bluestone, and slate all give his work an elevated, classic feel without feeling dated.
When starting a design project, how do you organize and plan for it?
The biggest thing we do when starting any design is napkin-sketch-brainstorms. We’ll grab a drink and pour out all of our wildest dreams for a space on the napkins in front of us. (We seriously have a collection of 100 doodle-covered napkins.) From there, we narrow down what we can afford to do and what will help that space serve multiple functions down the road. We always keep flexibility in mind, so we’re not locked into one purpose for a room or one layout. We love having the option of potentially swapping where a dining room and living room might be down the road.
When renovating, were there specific rooms in your home that were more challenging than others? Why?
The most challenging item to design was the stairs. They were initially located in the center of the house but weren’t up to code. The location didn’t make sense for us, so we wanted to tuck them against a sidewall. By doing this, they ran in front of the main windows on the front side of the house. Because we didn’t want to remove two of the windows and ruin the exterior balance, we floated the stairs off the wall a few inches, and the stairs are now one of my favorite design elements of the whole house.
How long did this project take to complete?
The house was slated for demolition when we bought it, so purchasing alone took us a year and eight months to seal the deal. From demo, moving the house to a new foundation, and putting her back together again, it took another three years.
How did you choose the hardware featured in this project? What attracted you to Nostalgic Warehouse?
We were so excited to see that Nostalgic Warehouse offered almost the same knobs that we originally had in our house. Instead of using the old broken knobs, we wanted a product we knew would last another 100 years in our home. (And those long backplates, come on!! They’re the perfect traditional/modern feel we were looking for.) Sean is a sucker for the quality of how things feel, and he was sold as soon as he picked up the hardware I picked out.
Will you use this hardware again in other projects/areas of your home? If so, why?
After using Nostalgic Warehouse hardware, I don’t think we can ever go back to anything else! We’ll be using it on all of our future projects, including the basement living quarters and our barn. We have already had a builder-grade handle on an exterior door break. That isn’t something we have had to even think about happening with Nostalgic’s products. Hardware can set the tone as you enter the room and shouldn’t be an afterthought.
Did you learn any tips and tricks about door hardware you think would be beneficial for others?
Deciding which door hardware is best for your home can be overwhelming with so many gorgeous options to choose from. An easy trick to help narrow things down is to think about when your house was built. Looking back at hardware from the same era and choosing a similar style will help keep a seamless feel to your design and add character to your home.
A lot of people want to get involved in large remodeling projects. How do you go about choosing a house to buy and renovate?
You’re always going to be hit with surprises in an extensive remodel. My best advice is to find a house that may be more work than you planned but is at the right price point when you’re initially buying. We looked at many houses that were either vacant or on the verge of being torn down because their price points were always a lot more affordable.
What are some recommendations for readers who want to take on an old farmhouse restoration?
Do it! There are so many neglected old homes and farmhouses that we see each week being torn down, only to have a new cookie-cutter subdivision built. Take a risk to save a little piece of history and tell your own story in the process. You won’t be sorry you did.
Other than your own home, are you working on any other properties or projects?
As our farmhouse is coming to a close, we have been on the hunt for our next project. We’ve looked at a few houses and even commercial buildings to tackle next. We haven’t quite found the perfect fit yet, but we’re super excited to roll up our sleeves and get back to work on another challenge. We’ll also be building a new barn on our property in the coming year or two that we’re super excited about.
What is next?
Our end goal is to help tell the story of more old places. Whether they’re homes or businesses, each space has a life of its own. When you walk into one of our spaces, we hope you want to kick off your shoes and stay awhile. We want to help others realize they can save these old buildings and that it is 100% worth it to put in the energy and learn along the way. We want to honor the timeless design and architecture and make it last hundreds of years to come.