The renovation project that Christian Blake and Sandy Bosbach are involved in on an old farmstead on Route 5 in Westminster is hard to miss.
The farm - an old house with a large barn behind it - is located on a sharp S-turn just north of Westminster Station. Abandoned and vacant for well into two decades, the property was overgrown and the buildings were in serious disrepair. In fact, when he bought the 35-acre property, Blake said it was advertised noting that the house and barn would be razed.
Blake and Bosbach had other plans, which involved saving the house, which likely dates back to the late 1700s, Blake said, based on architectural clues in the building. The barn was in such poor shape that the couple tore much of it down, rebuilding it as a two-story, 30' by 30' building. They did manage to salvage and re-install the original sliding barn door.
When asked why they took the pains to restore buildings in such poor shape, Bosbach and Blake laughed, noting that it probably was a little crazy on their part.
What made the project instantly the subject of discussion among the locals was that one of the first things Blake and Bosbach did was to have the property around the house bush hogged, clearing away years of overgrowth and neglect.
The interior of the house was stripped down all the way to the handhewn chestnut post and beam frame and the wide, shiplapped subfloors.
"We filled three, 30-yard dumpsters with debris from the house," Blake said.
Then the house was rewired and snugged up to defeat the long, cold Vermont winters with a wrapping of Tyvek, 2" of blueboard insulation and foam and 27 new, insulated windows. A new roof was put on, the chimneys redone, the exterior repaired and painted and an old deck was rebuilt on the back of the house.