old home love makeover

Photo: © by Brooke Schultz

Love House: Built in 1859

Built by Mayor Leonard Harrington and his son for their family, this home in a small Utah town took nearly two years to build and was completed in 1859. It is a rare 1850s "Prairie L-Shape" adobe home. In a time when most dwellings in the area were single-room log houses, this home stood out as a masterpiece.

We bought this house as our first home together. We wanted a place for our new blended family to have a fresh start—somewhere that was new to just us. We wanted a house filled with love—thus the name Love House. We were married here, brought our baby girl home from the hospital here and have enjoyed countless memories within the thick adobe walls.

Before we bought the house, it had fallen into severe disrepair and was slated for demolition. It was considered the worst house in the neighborhood (maybe the whole town) and most people had forgotten how special it was. We spent nearly a year bringing it back to life and are honored to be a part of its history—we are so lucky we got to save it.
old home love renovation

Photo: © by Chaunte Vaughn

Love House Today

Many people ask why we painted the house black, thinking it's a very modern thing to do. In reality, black was a common house color in the 1800s.
old home love demolition

Photo: © by Candis Meredith

Love House was a mess when we started—literally. It was stacked to the ceiling with garbage, among other things we won’t mention. It took a little bit of vision to look past the mess and see that we were lucky to still have the original doors, trim, and by some miracle, kitchen cabinets. We restored the cabinets with a lot of sanding, puttying and painting.
old home love home renovation

Photo: © by Chaunte Vaughn

New Old Character

In the living room we added this lovely fireplace surround made with modern materials to house an electric fireplace. We were careful to make sure that it went well with the home’s original features and brought enough character to fit in with the old.
kitchen renovation

Photo: © by Chaunte Vaughn

We exposed the original adobe wall, above, to act as a focal point in the kitchen. The large cast-iron sink protects the adobe from water and we love seeing what the house is made of.
bathroom renovation

Photo: © by Chaunte Vaughn

Old Clawfoot tubs are a staple in almost all of our renovations. In our opinion, it is somewhat life-changing to take a long soak in an old cast-iron tub. We rarely refinish them on the inside for two reasons: we like the natural patina of time, and we don’t like things to be so clean that you have to maintain a level of perfection. We simply paint the outside with chalkboard paint to give it a beautiful matte finish.
dark paint colors

Photo: © by Chaunte Vaughn

The office walls painted in Farrow & Ball “Studio Green” add a bit of drama to a home that is mostly white inside. In the room behind, picture-less gold-leaf frames are stacked against the wall to create a cluster of large objects that includes the chair. A modern lamp adds height to the grouping and with a small picture above, it’s a look we like; we aren’t afraid to challenge scale in this way.

Excerpted from Old Home Love. Text Copyright © 2017 by Andy and Candis Meredith. Reprinted with permission by Gibbs Smith.

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