When James Barron bought a tumbledown farmhouse in Eureka, S.C., in 1976, his friends thought he had lost his mind.
The 102-year-old house on 38 acres was only home to goats when he bought the property in 1976. Vines and trees creeped in and out of doors and windows, and vandals had taken the front door, staircase and banister.
But Mr. Barron was a builder by trade and was undeterred.
"He's not scared of anything," said his wife, Pat.
It took about two years of rebuilding to make the house livable. But improvements are ongoing in the 5,200-square-foot historic home, birthplace of Marie Cromer Seigler, a pioneer of the National 4-H club.
"There are always projects," Mr. Barron said. "And we like it that way."
Mr. Barron got rid of the back porch and built a two-car garage and laundry room. He replaced the missing front door with one left from the changes on the back of the house.
He extended the kitchen to include a dining area, and added wainscoting to the bottom half of the wall with wood from barns that sat in ruins when he bought the land. He also salvaged wooden beams from the barns to build a pot rack and ceiling beams in the kitchen.
The living room was once the original dining room. Mr. Barron removed a two-way fireplace shared with the kitchen and built a stone fireplace on an outer wall.
The original bathroom was downstairs and has been renovated and updated. It is now one of 4 1/2 bathrooms in the home.
In the master suite, which was originally a parlor room, Mr. Barron built two closets and a bathroom.
In the master bath, Mr. Barron chose to divert from the period decor of the rest of the house. He used cedar planks on the walls and installed a large garden tub. Mrs. Barron's vanity by the window offers a view of her bird feeders.
Upstairs, there are four identical bedrooms and a large public area that mimics the foyer at the front door. Mr. Barron closed up a back balcony and made room for two bathrooms.
One of Mr. Barron's favorite areas is the large, wrap-around front porch, typical of old Southern homes. Six rocking chairs and a porch swing make the porch as comfortable as an indoor room, and four hummingbird feeders provide ample entertainment from the swarms of little birds.
OWNERS: James and Pat Barron
LOCATION: Eureka, S.C.
SQUARE FOOTAGE: 5,200 square feet
AGE AND STYLE: Construction lasted from 1895 to 1900.
THE ESSENTIALS: 7 bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths, kitchen, dining room, living room, den, laundry room and garage, wraparound front porch
WHY THIS HOUSE? Mr. Barron was looking for land to buy, the house was a bonus.
Reach Lisa M. Lohr at (706) 823-3332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.