18th century Pennsylvania stone house

The first floor of the house is made of builders' foam, also known as foam board insulation. The board I used was green, just like the one shown below. It came in a 1" x 24" x 24" sheet, was inexpensive, easy to cut with a scroll saw and carvable.
My inspiration for this house was the photo below.
This is a photo of an old stone farmhouse taken sometime in the 1800's. The farm this house stood on is now part of urban Philadelphia, near what is now 17th and Dauphin streets. Similar houses were built throughout eastern Pennsylvania from around 1690 onwards.

Whitewashing of exterior walls was common. It was supposed to keep bugs out of the house and help preserve the stonework.

The door in the upper story was a common feature in homes of this era. This was so it would be easier to transfer stored items in and out of the building. Anything you can think of would be kept up there, even grain and lumber.

Closeup of the loft door. Usually they were plainer than this, but I saw a photo of one that I liked on a house that was rebuilt by a historical society, so I made my own version.
I added a little stone veranda. The stones were cut or torn from a cardboard egg carton, then colored with a series of paint washes. The moss between the stones is simply paint.
Here's a closer view of the stonework. Instructions showing how I did it are here.

I've furnished the house in an 1830's period. 
The story that came to me was that the house belonged to a prosperous widow who decided she needed some peace and quiet and the house she was born in would be the perfect place, so she had it reroofed and made comfortable. Her sons and daughters said, "But Ma, won't you miss having us and all your grandchildren around you everyday?"
Back in her grandfather's day it could have sheltered a family of 6 or more.

Here's the main room of the house.
I've found that photos often make items in the foreground look oversized, so I retook the picture without the rocker. In real eye view the rocker looks just fine where it is. I decided to go for the invisible 4th wall look.

Here's the hearth and heart of the home, complete with ashes and a water pitcher and bucket in case a fire got out of hand (which they often did).

The other side of the room with a hutch displaying the homeowner's treasured china.

Here's a view of the inner side of the front door. All of the doors are fixed in place. The black iron hinges are clock hands. The latch here is also made using tiny clock hands.
Black slick Tulip brand fabric paint is very handy for black ironwork details. Recently, while working on another project, I discovered that I could form a shape with the stuff, then once it was dry, I could peel it off and glue it into place. Nice when you're trying to make a version of something and can't get it quite right the first time or two.

The bedroom with the height of luxury, a fireplace. As in any farmhouse of this era, it still continued to function as a storeroom.


  1. I love how it has turned out Grazhina. I think I might want a place of peace and quiet....it is a little piece of heaven

  2. You have captured the atmosphere of a home of that era and the tranquility of it's widow, So Well! It is beautifully detailed with the functional simplicity associated with this style of house. I especially love the blue you've selected for the keeping room and the cosy atmosphere of the bedroom. Very Well Done!

  3. This came out looking so charming, Graz! I love all of the techniques you incorporated and am really looking forward to a time when I'll be able to try out your stone method! I love the historical aspects that you included and I also love and can relate to the back story!

  4. Nice work! I especially admire the kitchen hearth and the back story!