Pennsylvania Limestone Farmhouse Renovations to an 1863 farmhouse built of limestone

April 25, 2014


Filed under: Dining Room,Living room,Stone house restoration — Duane Diefenbach @ 8:37 pm

Ok, so after paving the front porch in bricks, finishing the floors and painting the walls in the future living and dining rooms, and putting a coat of paint on all the trim, we then declared that we needed to live in this space once again!

Here is a taste of what we have accomplished… details to follow!

(as for most photos in the blog, click on the image to get a better view)



The living room still needs a second coat of paint on all the trim and some finish carpentry around the window sashes. Otherwise, it is pretty much finished (except we have some new furniture needs with all the space).


The dining room needs a new front door (to replace the 1950s vintage door) and a door to the basement installed.


Also, we think we have figured out the colors for the stairs. The trim will be a paler shade of yellow with the newel post and balusters matching the trim and walls, respectively.  The steps will may become a slightly darker shade of blue depending on how the second coat turns out.  Thank you Liz for your help with colors!

A lot has been accomplished the past week or so and we’re not sure where to direct our energies at this point. It might be some furniture (like an entryway pieced that will hide our dog food, recyclables, and charging cords for multiple devices!).

The Porch

Filed under: Uncategorized — Duane Diefenbach @ 8:12 pm

A major task to finish the front porch was to put a “finish”on the concrete pad that is the foundation for the final surface. Originally, we considered concrete pavers a possibility but after doing the back porch we wanted a more elegant and finished look for the entryway.

We investigated real bricks with mortar and selected a style of brick that is manufactured with the “historic” look – that means it has waves, rolls, and cups after it is fired as well as variation in color… just what we wanted.

We hired the mason who did the stonework in the house to come and lay the brick. We used a 90° herringbone pattern edged by bricks in a soldiered pattern. It was not easy.

You can see the 750 bricks purchased to cover the porch. My job, as apprentice, was to learn how to mix mortar (my first batch I added too much water) and strike the brick (that is, finish the mortar joints between bricks).

photo (1)

Here the progress we made the first day…


Striking brick is not that easy and it takes practice using the tool (called a “slick”) to add and smooth mortar without making a mess of everything. About Day 3 I almost got good at it!.

Here’s the progress we made by Day 2.

photo (4)


On Day 3 we didn’t finish laying the last brick (we kept looking for it!) until 9:30pm and cleaned everything up by about 10pm.

photo (5) photo (6) photo (7)

The final product, however, looks spectacular! Thanks to our mason Dave Walker.


So this project that I expected to take 1 day (maybe 1.5?) actually took 3 long days to complete. But it’s done and looks beautiful! We need to let it cure a bit before we wash and clean it with a mild acid.

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