Franklin County Couple Rework Civil Warfare-Period House | Recreation, Outside Actions and Journey


When Stephanie and Cyrus Lehman of Long Lane Livestock in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania began renovating their 150-year-old brick farmhouse, they knew they wanted to keep its charm.

“We wanted to keep parts of the house that reflected its character,” Stephanie said.

Since 2020, the farming couple have been working room by room, slowly adding modern concepts while preserving elements they find attractive, like the rustic, red-brick splashback in the kitchen.

The original layout had several shared rooms on the second floor where the kitchen and living area are located. The couple preferred an open floor concept, so they knocked down the walls and replaced the home’s main beam. This original beam had been in place since 1860 and was showing its age. Some of it was rotted and bent, which negatively impacted work done by previous contractors, said Cyrus, who happens to be a general contractor.

“It wasn’t very supportive for one end of the house,” he said. “We just had to delete that.”

Cyrus cast a baseboard to replace the original joist with laminated veneer lumber.

Cyrus Lehman is getting the barn hayloft beams ready to mount inside the house.

“There’s enough support to hold the weight off the roof down and the weight off the top,” he said.

Additional support included posts from the original barn’s hayloft. Cyrus cut and packaged the posts and took them to a lumber mill where they were sawn to fit the dimensions of the second floor. The Lehmans wanted to preserve unique 19th-century construction techniques such as mortise and tenon joints, but most had to be redone.

“It’s smart for what they had to do back then, but it doesn’t last very long,” Cyrus said.

The Lehmans spent days redesigning all the walls of their farmhouse. They stripped wallpaper, scraped off layers of paint, chiseled the horsehair plaster down to the bare frames, and replaced those layers with drywall.

“I wanted the walls to be nice and smooth,” Stephanie said.

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A before photo of the kitchen. Stephanie and Cyrus Lehman removed layers of wallpaper and plaster covering the walls.

Drywall also improved the home’s insulation efficiency, which can mean significant savings in an old farmhouse. The kitchen was the focus of their remodeling plans. It was also the part that took the most time as the room required electrical and plumbing work. Stephanie said they expected to redo the kitchen walls with drywall, but those plans changed when she found rustic red brick behind years of cover-up.

To complement the color of the bricks, the Lehmans added custom steel gray cabinets at floor level and white cabinets against the brick back wall. Stephanie also found a 10 inch deep farmhouse sink made out of white fire clay to tie it all together. The Lehmans are happy with the improvements, but they know that a centuries-old farmhouse is a lifetime project.

Stephanie said she’s eagerly awaiting the day when most of the remodeling is complete so she and Cyrus can enjoy the fruits of their labor before moving on to further child-friendly adaptations.

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Stephanie Lehman works on the walls and ceilings of the farmhouse.

But enough has been accomplished for the Lehmans to host Easter this year.

“At the end of the day, we’ve been extremely blessed with very minor hiccups throughout this process,” Cyrus said.

“I feel like we’re finally getting to the Instagram reel part of this process,” Stephanie added.

You can follow the Lehmans’ renovation journey on Instagram at @longlanelivestock