Amish Customs

John Hart

Hi everyone. As promised, I would like to post a little progress report on our move out to Amish Country in Middlefield Ohio. Since I'm new here, I suppose it would be inappropriate for me to just post the latest stage in the project...So, I'll take it from the beginning.

A long time ago, when I was a lad.... Nope...too far back.

A little over a year ago, I took a ride with my brother-in-law while he checked on the progress of his bedroom set being built by an amish craftsman. We went out to the house and they were jawing about finishes and stains and stuff, so I just wandered around the property, sticking my nose where it didn't belong. The whole time, I was thinking, "Man! would I like to have a place like this some day!".

So, anyway...they were wrapping up their chat, so I sez to Raymond, I sez, "Raymond...this place is just beautiful...I love everything about it."

Raymond sez, "You wanna buy it?"

"Is it for sale?", I asked as I swallowed hard.

He said, "Well...It can be"

That was the beginning. The two of us figured we had about a year. Me?...well, I had to get my finances in order. Raymond had to build a new house on the promise that I was buying this one. Big risk. But it seemed worthwhile at the time.

The property consists of a little over 5 acres and has a barn, a woodshop, and two houses. Here's a satelite pic of the property

Raymond and his family lived in one house, and his wife's grandparents lived in the other house. The two houses are separated by 32 feet of yard.
Here's the main house

And here's the second house

The woodshop is roughly 3000 sq feet upstairs and downstairs with a 22 horsepower diesel engine driving an underfloor pulley shaft connected to all his woodworking tools. There's a compressor also connected to the diesel, keeping a 1000 gallon air tank charged. The air tank supplies pneumatic power for the shop and also runs a pneumatic water pump...keeping the water system for the property at 60 psi.
This is a pic of the Shop and the Barn
000woodshop and stable.jpg

And one of just the shop

There were horses everywhere.:eek: I scared them away.:thumb:

Anyway...The plan was....kick the grandparents out of their house and join the two houses into one big one, with the new addition to become an atrium that I would generously give to myself as an office....filled with plants and hopefully decorated by Mark Singer.

So I took a picture of the two houses

And then Photoshopped an atrium into the picture

We all agreed that this is what we wanted.

To be continued......

John Hart

The first thing on the agenda was to install electricity. No big deal....just dig a 300 foot trench, lay 300 feet of 4-ought cable, wire the whole property, get it inspected, pass inspection the first time, have the electric company come out and install a transformer and hook us up! No problem!:rolleyes: make a really long story short...NONE of it went well. Between rain, bureaucracies, rain, money, broken tools and rain....It took 4 months just to get the cable laid and approved. Then on to a 20 week waiting list for power turn on. I installed a 10 Kilowatt generator on to the diesel engine and we lived in a construction environment. (still do, now that I think about it)

In the mean time....there was an atrium to build. The neighbors converted a giant chicken coop into a gorgeous new house for the grandparents. Took them a couple weeks...sheesh. I hate the amish...don't you?

My wonderful amish neighbors wanted to help with the construction of the atrium, and I didn't deny them the opportunity.

Here's a couple shots of the concrete work:

Some Framing:

Then a little OSB to keep the wind out

Here's a view of the inside before any insulation

And this is a nighttime pic after the insulation

And here's what it looks like as of this morning

I'm taking the afternoon off today and we'll have the drywall done by 9:00pm tonight. (That what my neighbors say)

Glenn Clabo

The Ocean State
This fun to see. I remember it was just a gleem in your eye. Your ambishen was fun to witness first hand. This couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

Everyone...these pictures will never show how wonderful this place really is. You really have to stand in front of it and take it all in at once. I remember standing there when he took me to see it and saying... man this is amazing...I hate you sooo much. ;) Wait till you see the shop building. The upper floor is like a ballroom.

Marty Walsh

Southern Georgia
W O W John,

The entire concept, the property, the setting, the buildings...AMAZING!

You're one lucky man! :thumb:

And I wanna see the pictures of the shop...bad! :rolleyes:

- Marty -

Stuart Ablett

Tokyo Japan
John, I'm really impressed, you are doing so much and doing it so well! :clap:

..............but............. I see one small problem...........

You are making such a nice little spot of heaven there that your kids are NOT going to want to leave! :eek:

Oh sure, they might go away for a while, but when they see that most people live in little apartments or houses and are surrounded by noise and pollution in the cities, they well beat a path back to your homestead and find a way to stay :D :thumb: ;)

Great to see your dream coming true, thanks for sharing it with us!


Cecil Arnold

Houston, TX
Okay John, so much for the house, now get to the important part--THE SHOP.:D :D I know that it sometime isn't fun, but you're doing a great job and I know you and the family are looking forward to getting the major parts finished. Hope there are some good new tools under your Christmas tree.:thumb:

Karl Laustrup

Wisconsin Dells, WI
First, glad to see you here. Your dream is coming true. Congrats. :thumb:

I am most impressed that the finished [well almost] came out looking exactly like the photoshopped version you did.:eek: :D How did you manage that?:confused:

When do we get to see the shop?????


Vaughn McMillan

Staff member
Has anyone in the last 15 minutes mentioned what a lucky dog you are, John? Beautiful place, and it looks like your additions and revisions will make it all that much nicer.

Thanks for the pics, and we'll be expecting frequent updates.

John Hart

Thanks everyone! Yep...this is a dream come true. I don't care if it takes the rest of my life to do all the things I want to do with this place. I can die here. Right now, the amish boys are out hammering away in the atrium. They kicked me out because I just slow them down.:rolleyes: At the rate they're going, it'll be drywalled in the next two hours like they said.

The Shop??? Hmm, well....I gotta say in advance that you are seeing the "before" pictures. I took the pics today, but I promised myself that I wouldn't invest any time into making it a showplace until I got all these other major things done and the family was comfortable.

This first one is of the outside. It's fully brick, has a chimney and a woodburner. There are two floors and has a 50 X 30 footprint.

Here's the inside first floor. As you can see, it's pretty cluttered...but it's functional. After building a giant lathe, I'm going to turn two cherry pillars to replace those vertical beams and put in some nice cabinetry. My brother-in-law gave me a grove of 40 foot cherry trees that I'll have milled and kiln dried by a local sawmill and deck this thing out in cherry.

Here's a pic of the diesel room. It's a 22 hp engine, driving a 2" shaft. The compressor in the foreground charges the 1000 gallon air tank just outside the shop. Air lines run to the well, the house and throughout the shop.

This is the 10 kilowatt generator that kept us alive for two months while we waited for electricity. It's nice not smelling diesel.:thumb: This generator will prove handy for future outages.

Here's a couple of pictures of the upstairs. It's 1500 square feet and has a 12 foot ceiling. I still don't know what I'm going to do with it. Any ideas?

So that's the shop. I really want to build my own lathe with a 4 foot swing and a 15 foot bed. Plenty of folks around here that love to weld. I just gotta come up with a design.

Art Mulder

London, Ontario
... Air lines run to the well, the house and throughout the shop.

Here's a couple of pictures of the upstairs. It's 1500 square feet and has a 12 foot ceiling. I still don't know what I'm going to do with it. Any ideas?

I'm trying to think of a reason why there is an air line running to the house and the only thing I can think of is to maybe drive a well pump? If that isn't it, please ... why!?

As for the upstairs... if you have young kids I'd say that's a good rainy-day playroom that gets them out of the hosue. But then, I remember that you've also got a barn on the property.

So I suppose you can use it for storage for lots and lots 'o lumber to air dry, as well as a place to store excess jigs, and all those other things that you might need ... someday. ;)

John Hart

I'm trying to think of a reason why there is an air line running to the house and the only thing I can think of is to maybe drive a well pump? If that isn't it, please ... why!?...

Sorta. He ran a large air line to the house, then split it off to go to the well pump. Evidently, he used his pneumatic tools to do a lot of work in the house, because there were several hoses that could reach most anywhere. He even had one coming up through the floor to the dining room.

The kids tried to claim the upstairs of the shop as a playroom....but they already had the upstairs of the barn for the lower level to do whatever they wanted. Sheesh...they went from having to share a bedroom and play in a postage stamp yard, to absolute paradise. Nope...I think I'll keep the shop building out of their crosshairs.;)

Storage is a pretty good idea. I seem to accumulate wood....a lot! I was even thinking about a kiln maybe. So many possibilities.

Denise Walsh


Congratulations on the property, house and shop!! Please be sure to keep us posted on your progress of getting your renovations done. Looks like it's already an amazing place... can't wait to see the shop when you get it all set up. Looks like you have plenty of room :thumb:

Good luck!!