The Meaning behind my BLOG name- Life at Gray Gables.



Here is our FIRST pic of the house...EEK!

I have had a few ask why I chose "Life at Gray Gables" for my blog name. Rightfully so, in my opinion.  I mean, as an outsider looking in and seeing that name, I think I would wonder what is Gray Gables?  I give a peek a boo approach on my blog site with some before and after pics of a big old, gray house- but is that Gray Gables at all?  And what does Gray Gables even mean? 

Well, here is Gray Gables, the name of our old farm house- and this picture is from around 1996. (Thanks to my parents taking the picture themselves, as they too, loved this old house)





Our Story of how we came to own Gray Gables.
My Husband and I had a home, our first home, that was a lovely 1,600 square foot Blue House in Toledo, Ohio.  It suited us well when it was just us.  Then we had a baby and noticed that it was a little cramped. Then, we had another and the realization that this would just NOT do became VERY apparent.  So the hunt was on, once again to find a new, bigger home.

When we were looking for our first home, we went through tons of houses before we set our sights on that home. This new journey, at that point, five years later, was proving to be just as big a challenge for us.  We knew what we wanted...land.  We wanted a bigger home, space and Hubby was dead set on his dream pole barn.

It was one day in September, late, that I got a call from my Mom, who happened to be on a county website and happened to see that Gray Gables was on the list of Land Bank properties and it has 5 acres left with the estate.

This prompted a drive with Hubby in tow to check out this Land Bank Property.  It was a sad sight to see. It was near being condemned, they wanted a full demolish, but due to the history of the home and the fact that it was built in 1892, it just wouldn't do.  Hubby was a firm NO.  He was not impressed.  For me, it spoke to me. Something that is strange to me, even, as the house was bare bones and full of vining weeds and brush that obscured any visions of the front of the house from the street.

It took a lot of 'talks' with Hubby and my Parents to convince everyone to get on board, we were going to pursue this property.

It was an all out bidding war and a lot of time. Idle time at that.  It took months before we found out that we, the good Old Amstutz's, were the PROUD owners of this diamond in the ROUGH. (no joking here!)

March 6th 2012, we signed papers and work began. Lucky for us, Hubby was on layoff from the flooring company he worked and devoted 100% of his time to the old house. We are not talking a little project here.  We were missing many components that make a house a working home. It was gutting the old plaster walls, getting ride of the espestos flooring in the kitchen and laundry room areas.  It was reworking the house to meet our needs and disagreements left and right on opinions of how this house should be.

Hubby managed a Pond and Pole Barn out of the deal . (although neither are finished yet)  It was a depletion of savings, swallowing pride to borrow from family and fights, pain, sweat and tons of tears but on October 1st 2013, we moved in!

We have a ton left to do, but slowly and surly it is coming together exactly how Hubby and I have imaged.  I think maybe even better.

I have been on my own personal journey since acquiring the property (OK, maybe even before then!).  I have researched the heck out of the house and found that it was indeed built in 1892 by a man of wealth in Toledo, Aaron Chesbrough.  They called the house, Chesbrough farms and entertained at the house frequently. I think that the house was intended to be a vacation/summer home of sorts. It was a much smaller scale from their mansion that they built in Toledo.

I find the history that I have uncovered, fascinating to say the least.  I wish I could find more, as all i have is one picture of the house in the early 1900s maybe,and a lovely shot that it is.

Here is the photo from an old Book published. This is OURS!

Our home features coffer-ed ceilings of dark mahogany, original hard wood floors (which we were going to refinish but after seeing that they are over 120 years old and in fair shape, we will be covering- now they are bare and covered with rugs in all their natural state), we have a portico (which Mama's big SUV does NOT fit comfortably under) and our massive front/side porch, which we gather regularly.

The house, upon purchase, had a tiled, floor to ceiling with tile border, bathroom.  A lot of the old tiles were cracked or had stress marks in them, due to the foundation issues, and we ended up parting with the tile, sadly, but made a modern bathroom in its place that suits our family very well. (we did keep large parts of the tile for our collection!) We also have a massive fireplace. Pictures below.

Uncovering the old plaster revealed markings from a time long gone and dates and names of those who had a hand in the building and construction of this house.  Which brings us to the name. We are not certain of how the home became Gray Gables. This is something that I am still researching.  I know that there was hotel not far from our home that was called Gray Gables and that a lot of the people who did work here were also connected to the old hotel. But, this could all just be a coincidence.

All in all, we have good days and bad days with this old house. I am smitten, to say the least. I have never felt like I belonged as much as I do out here. We are far out but close enough to the grocery stores and such, yet I feel like when I walk outside, I am in another place all together.  Settled would be a perfect term!


Here is Hubby and I right after our purchase (yard cleaned up a lot) for the local newspaper, The Blade.  They did an article on our purchase and our plans.  Historic home saved!

Here is another pic of the house in its old glory with original cedar shake (unpainted) and old windows)
Here is Gray Gables with new siding and windows. Looking good girl!


Winter at Gray Gables and lord knows this past one was brutal. She held her own pretty well.

Living room with our massive fireplace and coffer-ed ceilings.

Old pic we found in 2nd floor ceiling. We believe THIS might be Franny Cleveland - which is interesting because her and Grover lived in Gray Gables in Mass. (similar design to our home- picture below)


For me, this house makes me fall asleep thanking my lucky stars that she is mine and wake up pinching myself because we live in such a great old house with such a cool, mysterious history that I long to solve one day. 

I would also like to note that all who are afraid to jump into a HUGE project with your spouse.  I would encourage it. I don't always get along with Hubby, but I am a pretty laid back person. We worked side by side in our small business beautifully. Not many can say that either.  This project, and yes, we still have a ways to go, has been the best, healthiest thing for us.  It has brought us together, taught us how to work as a team and make decisions based on compromises for our wants.  I would not trade the project for anything as it has come full circle with its fruits to our family.

So, Life at Gray Gables describes my life. The good, the bad, the ugly.  The hard times, the happy times and the construction that I don't know we will ever be rid of! I know that for now, we still have lots to do, but we are also able to enjoy life. I have learned to let things go, tomorrow is another day- which I can thank to my laid back, country life!

That is my story and I am sticking to it!

~Kel of Gray Gables~

Our Columns (there are 2) at the end of the drive with Gray Gables stamped in them)

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