Mount Airy was passed down to Catherine and Tayloe Emery, who are fixing it up so they can one day pass it on to their children and grandchildren. They are starting with the kitchen, which has an unusual narrow, curved design. Its layout is impractical and its style is outdated, so they enlist the family to help make it a modern kitchen with a vintage feel.
The main house at Mt. Airy is very formal and not really suited for a family with young kids, so Catherine and Tayloe Emery take on the challenge of converting an extra bedroom into a casual family room where they can kick back and relax. But just as they're wrapping up the project, they realize they have made a very costly mistake.
The grounds of Mt. Airy are massive, but Catherine and Tayloe Emery don't really have a designated place to entertain outside, so they want to create an outdoor cooking and dining area complete with a fire pit. Before they start digging in the yard, they must pass inspection from an archaeological team. If any significant historic elements are found in the soil, the entire project will be shut down.
The smokehouse at Mt. Airy is an outbuilding constructed in 1761 that was used to preserve meat. Catherine and Tayloe Emery want to convert this dilapidated space into a speakeasy-style bar they can use for their wedding business and for entertaining family and friends. Everything needs work in this building, from the deteriorating wood walls to the floor made up of uneven crumbling stones that are dangerous to walk on. With all of the work and expenses involved, they have to get creative and repurpose items they already have, including wood from another building on the verge of falling down.
When Catherine and Tayloe Emery moved into Mt. Airy, all of their furnishings went into storage and they lived with Tayloe's grandparents' furniture and decor. They're ready for the master bedroom and bathroom to finally feel like their own space where they can unwind at the end of a long day. They're tearing out most of the bathroom, including replacing a makeshift attic ladder attached by a wire hanger.
The Mt. Airy counting house, built in 1761, is an outbuilding that is rich in history but has become a dumping ground for Tayloe's tools and outdoor gear. Tayloe wants to fulfill his grandfather's vision of converting this building into the ultimate man cave complete with a seating and storage area and a functioning workshop. This seemingly simple project turns out to be more than they bargained for when their lime-based paint looks splotchy and a storage rack that takes all day to build doesn't fit into the space. Then Tayloe takes a nasty fall from a ladder.
At Mt. Airy, the lower level of the west wing has warped floors and crumbling brick walls, so it needs major restoration. The Emerys decide to turn this wasted space into a multifunctional mudroom where they can wash up after a long day on the farm, do laundry, house their six dogs and store the kids sports equipment. They'd even like to squeeze in a bathroom, but it feels like they are starting from scratch with this renovation because this building doesn't even have plumbing yet.
The west wing at Mt. Airy was originally used as servants' quarters, but in the last century it became a storage space where family heirlooms piled up. Between their large family and the hunting and wedding parties they host on the property, Catherine and Tayloe Emery often have guests staying in the main house, which is not always convenient. They want to turn two unused west wing rooms into a guest bedroom and bathroom that can accommodate multiple guests. A trip to another family property also built in the 1700s provides inspiration for designs and also serves as a harsh reminder that Mt. Airy could literally crumble if they don't restore it quickly.
At Mt. Airy, the main level of the west wing houses the original laundry room where clothes were washed by hand. Despite its lack of flooring and crumbling walls, Catherine and Tayloe Emery want to turn this space into a lounge for their guests. This massive undertaking has a lot of intricate details like a dealing with a suspended wood ceiling, opening up a brick wall to reveal the original archway, repurposing an old church pew and a very delicate piece of stained glass and incorporating the Tayloe family crest. They even use a piece of an old Mt. Airy tree to create a table.
Catherine and Tayloe Emery want to turn the original kitchen in the west wing into a chef's kitchen for when they host large parties at Mt. Airy. The old fireplace in this room was used to cook in, but over the last two centuries it went unused and quickly deteriorated. Not only do they need to rebuild the fireplace brick by brick, but they also need to blend historic aspects with modern kitchen features like a rolling island and a pot rack that works on pulleys.
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