Mayapple Farm, Middleburg, Virginia
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Minutes from town, highly protected area. 37.65 acres with frontage on the Goose Creek.
Details on House, Log Addition, Barn and Log Shed
The Nathan Ayers House was built in 1790 in Preston City, Connecticut as a classic New England center chimney of the hall and parlor plan. (See Versaci drawing for a description of the first floor layout.) The attached photograph taken in 1930 was obtained from the local Historical Society and shows the house exterior with fluted pilasters which were removed when the clapboards were later covered with shingles.
The process of dismantling the house was essentially the reverse order of its original construction. The clapboards were removed (they were too old to salvage but the original hand wrought rose head nails were retained) along with the interior plaster and wood lathing strips. All of the interior woodwork including corner post trim, baseboards, mantels, chair rails, crown moldings, doors, shutters and cupboards, etc. were marked and moved to an enclosed trailer for safe storage and transport. Then the staircases and flooring were taken apart. The chimney stack was dismantled starting at the top with all hand made bricks placed on pallets for use in the reassembled house. The cut stones and bricks from the six fireplaces were marked so that they could be placed in the correct order when reconstructed. Additionally, all stone lintels, cut hearth stones as well as the cut foundation and step stones were collected for replacement.
Once the exterior sheathing and roof were discarded, the oak framing members were marked and as they were held together by mortise and tenon joints, upon removing the wooden pegs, were disassembled through the use of a crane. Although there was very little damage to the frame, an advantage of this process was that any needed repairs could be easily performed. One of the first floor plates and several joists were replaced with new hand hewn oak members. (There was virtually no termite damage due to the weather conditions in New England, nevertheless, all framing members were treated for termites before reconstruction.)
Although the fluted pilasters had to be reproduced, the cornice dentil molding and fascia as well as the front and back door surrounds and pediments including transom windows are all original with only minimal repairs needed. The window sash were reproduced based upon the few original ones that were present in the house. Because of the post and beam framing construction, there was no need for the use of studs to support the second floor and attic or walls. Rather the original house had exterior oak sheathing to which the clapboards were applied on the outside and then lathing and plaster on the interior. During reconstruction, the sheathing was replaced with plywood over which an exterior vapor barrier was applied. Then 2" x 4" studs were attached to permit the application of fiberglass insulation. The interior walls were then plastered to replicate the original condition.
What made this house rather exceptional was the condition of the interior woodwork which was virtually all intact with very little change or damage. The oak flooring (matched width in the two front parlors and 12" - 24" wide boards elsewhere) were marked so that they could be replaced in their original location upon reassembly. The paneled doors containing original H-L hinges along with the front and back staircases were carefully dismantled and later put back in place. The six fireplaces were reconstructed with modern dampers (all are working) and five of the original mantels. For the sixth fireplace in the upstairs sitting room/bedroom, a full wall of raised paneling was substituted which had originally been in a 1740 New England house. Beaded board paneling was applied in the keeping room from boards originally used for closets and partitions. Also in the keeping room, the bake oven, ash pit cover, and crane pintles are original to the house. (Pintles from five of the fireplaces were salvaged and put back in place along with acquired period cranes.)
Wherever door latches were missing, period replacements were purchased but the majority of the strikers and keepers were reproduced. The flooring in the first level was reattached with the original rose-head nails but for the second level, hand distressed reproduction nails were used.
In the attic, flooring was reinstalled along with reconstructing the original smoke oven and interior chimney stack with salvaged bricks. Chestnut rafters were put back in place with only two having to be substituted. Because the attic presented additional living space, plumbing lines were extended to this area for future expansion along with HVAC ducts.
Turning now to the log cabin, it was built in 1830 in Virginia west of Winchester in what is now West Virginia. The wide faced pine logs are very unusual and required little in the way of repair when reassembled. The cabin is a full two stories and the heart/hard pine flooring, staircase, doors (exterior and interior), partition boards and double beaded floor joists are all original. Perhaps the most unique feature of the cabin is that it contained on each floor an original chimney wall of raised paneling, one of which had the outline of faux graining that now has been reproduced. Both fireplaces are working.
The cabin was reconstructed on a walkout field stone basement foundation and now serves as an office. It too contains a full wall of raised paneling from an eighteenth century New England house with a working cooking fireplace and bake oven. The flagstone floor is heated by an additional circulating water system.
The house and cabin are heated and cooled by a geothermal system with seven separate controllable zones including one in the attic for future use. There are four full and two half bathrooms. There is a security/smoke detection system, an in-ground swimming pool and a two car garage.
The bank barn dates to the last quarter of the nineteenth century and was originally built in Leesburg, Virginia. The frame is comprised of hand hewn oak and poplar, mortise and tenon members over which an exterior fieldstone structure was constructed. (This was not a stone veneer but rather a "double-sided" free-standing structure.) The floor joists are original to the barn or old replacements and the window sash are from an old building. The lower level of the bank barn has rough-in plumbing and an electrical system to permit a five stall center isle stable along with a separate septic system which would allow the upper area to be utilized as living quarters. A log shed was also acquired from the same site and now serves as a storage structure.