The Roost

November 28, 2013 in Editorials

The Roost” Busy Bee Farmhouse Renovation Project
Jamie Dudiak, Busy Bee Publisher, Greenbrier, Tennessee

When we moved to the family farm in Greenbrier about seven years ago, we inherited numerous century-old buildings. Due to their advanced deterioration, the old house, stable and hay barn are now just memories, but their good parts stored for re-use. The buildings that will remain are the smokehouse, corn crib and the old tenant house, better known as “The Roost.” It was dubbed “Buzzard’s Roost,” as one year a pair of buzzards roosted on the back porch and raised their baby in its rafters.

It was probably built in the 1880s to 1900, and years ago my grandfather, Robin Earl Bowie, wrote a list of people he remembered living in the “little house”. This was the Boyd Clinard farm, established around 1815, and several Clinards lived in it. James Bowie was my great-great grandfather; Jack Bowie was my great-grandfather who married Jessie Lee Clinard, who inherited this portion of the farm. The others were renters or tenant workers for the farm.

We had a new metal roof put on it several years ago when water leaks threatened the structure. A few months ago, we decided to go ahead with the renovation project and revive it to be livable. Wally and our neighbor Joe are handy at construction and building, so they have been working full time on the renovation.

The main body of the house had two rooms, with a front and back porch. Inside the main house was hardwood floor and beadboard walls and ceiling. The main part was pretty square, however, the porches were sagging and the upstairs was bowing out terribly and many rafters were rotten. That meant the porches, upstairs and roof had to come off. After pulling up the hardwood flooring and storing for re-use, Joe poured concrete footers and put in new joists so it had a good foundation. The exterior oak wood siding was stripped off and stacked and will be re-purposed for trim, cabinets and furniture. We wanted to preserve the beadboard walls, so with the siding off, we will run the electric and add the insulation from outside.

So we now have a new upstairs and porches and the red metal roof is back on it. The house has the same footprint of about 1,300 square feet, but is taller and now looks and feels much bigger. The windows are in upstairs and on the back, and the fascia boards and bird boxes are on, using recycled wood from the siding for the trim. Next up is electrical wiring and insulation. We’re planning to recycle some of the old tin from the demolished buildings for some ceilings and on the porches. The new porch posts came from the old stable. Until next month…

The Roost