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Historic Farmhouse Renovation

The Queen Branch farmhouse renovation has been a “hands on” experiment in historical preservation, land conservation, and sustainable building technology.

This house was originally built around 1880, and gifted to the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee in 2004. They decided to place the surrounding acreage in land conservancy, and to work with Preservation North Carolina to protect the historic farmhouse and find new owners who would restore it.

My husband, Charlie, and I purchased the house in 2008. (So, yes, I’m putting my own house up on my website – but it’s a really good project and has been a great learning experience!) We wanted the house to be comfortable and energy efficient, so we decided to install spray foam insulation, energy efficient lighting and mechanical systems, Water Sense-rated plumbing fixtures, and a hot water heat pump. These choices helped the house become an Energy Star qualified home. We also incorporated many “green” building solutions, including: low VOC finishes, salvaged wood floors and bead board, site-found stone, reclaimed metal roofing, and non-toxic termite control methods. The end result is an historic house that looks much the same as it always has inside and out - but provides comfort and energy efficiency far exceeding that of most new homes.

The Queen Branch house has been published in the Franklin Press, WNC Magazine, and a case study of the project was included in the 2010 WNC Green Building Directory.

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