Welcome to Merion Mill House! Thank you so much for joining me as I navigate the joys of living and renovating a historic home. When renovating our home, we really wanted to preserve the historic charm while maintaining a clean, simplistic style. We had such an immense amount of help from our interior designer, Kelly Robson from High Street Market, to help achieve this aesthetic. I hope this is a place where you can share my appreciation for blending the historic with the modern.
Here is a picture of what our house looked like when we bought it. The family who owned it before us lived there for thirty years and raised two boys. One of those boys happened to go to high school with my husband. These small world connections made it even more special to purchase this house. In the second picture, you can see the original addition that was added on to the 1874 structure. The 1874 part has six identical rooms (two on each floor) and no kitchen or bathroom. A center staircase separates the two rooms on each floor. This is still the current layout today.
As we began our renovation plans, we decided not to change the layout. We were purposeful in maintaining the old part of the house as our main living spaces. Therefore the six rooms in the original structure serve as our living room, dining room, and bedrooms. We love old houses and wanted to live in those spaces. Our neighbors, who live in the sister house next door, told us that the original rooms were thought to be “apartments” for the millworkers in the 1800s. Over the years, the various owners added a kitchen and one bathroom on the second floor.
If any of you have ever decided to renovate a historic home, a home that is on the historic registry, you know the logistical hoops you go through to make any changes. We went through all that and more. When addressing any changes to the exterior of the historic facade, we ran everything by the board of the historical society. We sat patiently through multiple hearings about historically accurate windows, shutters, and anything else that might compromise the historical integrity of the house. Luckily, changing the paint color of the shutters was no big deal. I personally didn't like the harsh contrast of the black shutters on the white plaster. We chose a softer green that reminds me of cottages in the English country side.
Originally we thought we would keep the existing addition and just renovate on the inside. However, foundation issues with the addition made it more practical for us to tear down the addition and start new. This gave us a lot more freedom than working within the existing blueprint. This addition includes a mudroom, powder bath, and kitchen on the first floor. A hall bathroom, master closets, and master bath on the second floor. Lastly, there is a shared hall bathroom on the third floor. For our young family, only having one bathroom on the second floor was impractical. We wanted each bedroom space to have an easily accessible bathroom. We also added that amazing back porch!
Down the road we want to add some patio spaces, but that will be some time in the future. We could not have done this wonderful addition with out the tremendous vision of our architect, Warren Claytor of Warren Claytor Architects, and our builder, Pete McKenna of McKenna Building Group. Well, I hope you enjoyed my little introduction to our renovation of Merion Millhouse, and stay tuned for future posts of the renovated interior! If you like what you see, go on over to Instagram and follow me at @merionmillhouse.