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A Southern Jewel with a Portico

Happy weekend awesome people of blog land!

The Colonial at

They say the worse the before pictures the more dramatic the after pictures - well then, there is certainly going to be some drama around here eventually! I hope this post finds you happy and healthy and settled into your favorite cozy chair enjoying a lazy Sunday.

This style of home with it’s classic, formal architecture has always captured my heart. For me it represents a bye-gone era when life was simple but challenges were great. It promotes images in my mind of hot summer evenings in the South when families would gather on the porch to escape the heat, and as crickets would chant their mating calls in the distance.

The Colonial at Rock Haven Farm isn’t ready for sweet tea served on her porch, but she does stand proudly at the top of a ridge cloaked in her formal attire. Having been pretty much abandoned for 20+ years, she’s been left to fend for herself against the elements, and the rodents and woodpeckers that call her home. She once had the allure of great bones and solid craftsmanship, but now she wears the signs of aging and neglect. Take a look:

After the real estate listing grabbed my attention, (if you're new here and missed that post you can see it HERE) I google searched and discovered this property was somewhere in the vicinity of the local parks I enjoy spending a lot of time in. I decided to set out on foot and try to find the property. This was my first glimpse from my favorite walking trail. From a distance, it didn't look too bad!

However, once I got onto the property, the truth started to become very clear. This property had been neglected for a very long time. This is a picture of the side entrance. You can see the old farm fence is very weathered, and the shutters are literally falling off the house.

Rock Haven Farm Santa Rosa, CA

This tree gives the front elevation of this home a lot of character, however, it's in pretty bad shape - like everything else! I'm going to have it inspected and determine if it can stay. If not, the up side would be that the interior would be bathed in a lot more natural light.

I've been wanting to start my own bee colony for quite some time now. I was delighted to find a woodpecker so graciously pecked a hole into the ceiling of the portico to give a local colony the perfect place to take up residence. There are literally thousands of bees swarming this area. I've already contacted a local bee company who is going to move them to another location on the farm. I can't wait for my own honey!

The front door and side lights are what you would typically find on a Colonial Revival home. I'm contemplating embracing the creative idea of taking this section out and completely changing it up by installing black steel door/side lights that are all the rage right now - still thinking - what do you think? Whether I decide to keep the original or change it out, this entrance has the possibility of being something very special.

Love the couch in the back yard! More on that in my next post. This area of the house is going to receive a lot of changes. There will be a new ground floor master suite attached to the living room section adjacent to the chimney. This addition will result in a "horseshoe" shaped rear courtyard. And speaking of the chimney, it has a very large crack in it and could come tumbling down at any moment. More coming on that too. The glass section in the middle used to be an open porch. The previous owner enclosed it with cheap glass doors. I'm hoping to extend the porch the full length of the house and put in proper french doors opening to the court yard and a new pool and spa. The roof of the porch will become a roof top deck accessed from a second floor guest room. Did you notice the roof shingles falling off, they are all high percentage asbestos!

You guessed it, lead paint! But, that is to be expected on an old home. As for the windows, I'm going to try my best to keep most of them to retain some original character. I think I'll be able to have each pane removed and replaced with dual glazed glass retaining the old wood frames but making them more energy efficient. At least that is my goal!

There is not much to say about this photo except "hang on" Colonial home, help is on it's way. This courtyard and it's connection to the state park behind is going to be just beautiful when I get done.

I'll end your tour today with this photo. I Love this little detail. It reminds me this property used to be a horse farm; and it encourages me to get this project done as soon as possible so I can bring horses back!

It will take a lot of effort to make her beautiful again, but the potential this property has makes it so worth it. As a lover of interior design and home renovation, it is an absolute pleasure and gift to be able to get my hands on this awesome house - and as a new blogger, it’s very fun having you along with me as I get ready to start the biggest project of my life! Thanks for stopping by today.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

Sandy Sheldon

Hi, I'm Sandy Sheldon -  welcome to my HUB at Rock Haven Farm - the place where I share all of my creative passions. I love having this space to virtually open my door and share, and to meet people from all over the country.


For the day-to-day you can find me on Instagram at @RockHavenFarm_


Let me know if you've read my post. I love hearing from you. Let's connect! 

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