Over the decades, pieces of the original McPherson parcel were sold off to developers. Within the past decade, the younger generation decided to sell off the last parcels of land.
However, they didn’t want the family farmhouse to fall prey to the wrecking ball. So, in 2017, the McPherson descendants donated the structure to the city of Grapevine.
As it turns out, the city is known for its restored 19th- and 20th-century buildings, with many historic homes located downtown. The city also owns a few plots of land in the historic area, so it had an ideal resting place for the farmhouse.
Getting it there was the next hurdle. The city paid to have the entire home moved 2 miles down the road and placed on a new foundation. There’s video of the mighty effort undertaken to move the home while dodging trees and power lines.
Once the home was in its new spot, the city put it up for auction. At first, there were no takers. Although it was a screaming bargain, the restoration promised to be daunting.
“The house was just a shell with no systems,” says listing agent Sue Wykes with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “Certainly a project like this for an individual would be difficult.”
After a third auction, Dave and Siri Smith picked the place up in 2018. Dave owns Grapevine Historic Homes, and specializes in buying, renovating, and selling “special interest” historic homes. He set out to restore the structure.
In keeping with strict preservation guidelines, the exterior had to be preserved, including the handmade “wavy” glass windows. Some of the exterior wood siding was replaced, but new boards were made to look original. The exterior paint was selected with the help of a paint historian and the home’s original front door remains intact.
However, there were no such restrictions on what Smith could do inside the home. As a result, the renovations are more “Fixer Upper” than 1880s farmhouse. And it looks amazing.
With 1,967 square feet, including three bedrooms and 2.5 baths, the modern interior does pay tribute to its past. Details include shiplap on the walls rather than Sheetrock, which didn’t exist at the time the home was built. The two wood-burning fireplaces (one in the living room, the other in the master suite) were rebuilt with special brick sourced in Virginia.
The thoroughly modern kitchen features a walk-in pantry and breakfast bar, along with stainless-steel appliances and white Carrara marble countertops. In addition, there’s a main-floor office, a dining room, and a modern iron-railing staircase.
Raising the roof was Smith’s favorite job.
“The second floor originally had a low 6-foot, 4-inch ceiling, and after we vaulted it to 10 feet, it changed the entire look and feel of the two upstairs bedrooms and bath. Same with the kitchen, where we raised the original 8-foot ceiling to 10 feet. It’s the best feature of the house,” he says.
All of the home’s mechanical systems were replaced, including water, sewer, gas, HVAC, and electrical. The home also has a new roof, foundation, and foam insulation. Hardwood flooring runs throughout the house.
Smith’s biggest challenge in renovating the vintage structure was getting the building “straight and level.”
“We basically rebuilt the entire floor system with new joists and subflooring,” he says. “After the floor was in place, we had to reframe most of the interior and exterior walls. We encapsulated the house in foam insulation, which not only made it energy-efficient, it created rigidity to the structure, which gives it its solid look and quiet feel.”
Following a year of major renovations, the sparkling result is ready for its next homeowners. No elbow grease required.
Considered to be one of the oldest homes in Grapevine, “it is a very unique opportunity in the neighborhood,” says Wykes. Though there are many houses in the historic district, this one, having made such an incredible journey, really stands out.
“It’s extra special,” she says.
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