Before and After: Renovating an 1841 Farmhouse

See how this historic Southern home was lovingly renovated.

You may not know that is based in Knoxville, Tenn. It's mainly known as Big Orange Country (Go Vols!), but many people don’t realize how beautiful it is around here. The Great Smoky Mountains are very close to the heart of downtown, and the Tennessee River flows right through the city. The surrounding areas boast amazing farmland, including Murphy Springs Farm, a 190-acre farm in Northeast Knoxville. Kevin Murphy, the current resident, walks us through how he renovated his family's 1841 farmhouse.

Murphy Farmhouse Circa 1890

Murphy Farmhouse Circa 1890

The house didn't undergo a significant renovation until 1925, 84 years after Kevin's great-great-great grandfather, Hugh Murphy, built the house. It was passed down from generation to generation, and was eventually only occupied during the summers from the 1970s until Kevin moved in in 2008. 

Present-Day Farmhouse

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Present-Day Farmhouse

The house needed some TLC, but Kevin was up for the challenge. The log smokehouse, sitting outside the main house, had been there since the house was first built. The original wood had decayed from several years of being exposed to salt particles used to cure the meat. With the help of a consultant, Kevin replaced the rotted wood with reclaimed lumber and the roof rafters with pine logs from trees right off the property. To complete the renovation, he replaced the tin roof with cedar shake shingles.

Before Smokehouse

Before Smokehouse

Restored Smokehouse

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Restored Smokehouse

One of the oldest pieces in the house is the 1925 Frigidaire Ap-7 refrigerator. It sat in one spot for more than 84 years, causing it to depress into the kitchen floor. To remove it, they had to tear down a wall and lift it with an excavator. It was all worth the effort though because Kevin had it restored to function as stunning antique kitchen storage.

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During the renovation, Kevin had to dig up the basement to shore up the foundation. The wine enthusiast in him decided to add a wine cellar complete with hand-built wine racks made of cypress wood and a small table perfect for gathering friends for a wine tasting. I wouldn’t mind having a glass or two of wine here!

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