Roswell couple start renovations after landing historic farmhouse for $125K

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

A Roswell couple in search of a historic home to renovate didn’t expect to land a farmhouse owned by one of the city’s first families.

Brandy and Jared Kirschner were selected by The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation to purchase the original homestead of the Hembree family for $125,000. The home was built circa 1835 and owned by Amariah Hembree, who came to Roswell that year with his extended family and settled on what is now Hembree Road.

The Kirschners are rehabbing the home and plan to install modern plumbing, a bathroom and kitchen.

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

The Hembree family donated the 1,400 square foot home and land to the Roswell Historical Society in 2006. Considered an endangered historic property, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation managed the sale last summer with conditions that the future owner would preserve the home and limit remodeling.

“Our dream is to bring it back to it’s glory,” Brandy Kirschner said. “We do want to have chickens and we do want to have an insanely large garden.”

Kirshner said her work as a producer and casting director of home renovation shows such as HGTV’s “Farmhouse Life” introduced her to people across Georgia who do historical renovations.

“I kept telling my husband that I’m going to do that one day,” she said.

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

The property was originally part of the Cherokee Nation. Georgia took portions of Indian territory in land lotteries between 1805 and 1833.

The remaining one and half acre property is the last of 600 acres the Hembree family came to own.

Amariah Hembree’s son, James, built the house, according to the Roswell Historical Society. Descendants lived on the land for eight generations.

Amariah’ son, Elihu, is buried on the property.

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

A conservation easement keeps the Georgia Trust involved with the property in perpetuity even if it’s sold, said Ben Sutton, a director at the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

Funds from sales similar to the Hembree House go into the trust’s revolving fund for improvements of other homes being prepared for purchase, Sutton said.

“We believe they will be good stewards of the property and we appreciate their enthusiasm,” he said of the Kirschners.

The couple, who live two miles away, are rehabbing the home for Brandy’s mother who plans to live there and eventually hold small educational classes on the history of the property.

Her mother, Yvonne Howell, is a longtime docent and has worked or volunteered at such places as the Tully House at the Atlanta History Center, she said.

“My mom asked me yesterday if she can go ahead and start plotting out the garden so she knows where she can plant her 10 rows of corn,” Kirschner said.

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Renovations include finding a masonry. The home has four fireplaces but no chimneys. Those were detached when a portion of land was sold years ago and the home was moved 300 feet.

Kirschner said the home has a tiny bathroom that appears to have been constructed in more modern times using a portion of front porch space. The couple plans to deconstruct the space, restoring the porch to its original size and add a full bathroom in another part of the home.

“The only reason we’re able to tackle this is because of the size of the home,” Kirschner said. “For us its an opportunity of a lifetime ... To use our knowledge and ability to work hard to save something that is important to the fabric of Roswell and maybe even Fulton County.”

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com