Crazy-in-Love Farmhouse Restoration

Labor of love for local couple honors Cypress history

Article by Laura SanchezQuan

Photography by Shannon Raske | Lunalux Photography

Originally published in Cypress Lifestyle

In the late 90s when a friend offered newly-engaged couple, Jon and Tori Dahl a farmhouse on her land rent-free in exchange for renovating the house, the soon-to-be newlyweds say they were crazy-in-love to take her up on it. “It was just a shell. No plumbing, no AC, half of the windows were broken or missing, no insulation, you name it.” Tori says.

Upon touring the property, Jon and Tori could see the potential and agreed to work nights and weekends to restore the home while also planning their upcoming wedding. In June of 1999 they said ‘I do’, and moved into the farmhouse in August of 1999. “I don’t think there was even one window that had all of the panes of glass intact.” says Jon, “For many months, we lived in the home with plastic drawn tight and strips of wood for windows.”

By October of 1999, almost a year into the renovations, the Dahls were able to purchase the home and three acres. They were putting so much of their hearts into the home–not to mention time and elbow grease–they knew they wanted it to be theirs. 

With the exception of HVAC, roof and exterior painting, the newlyweds completed all the renovations themselves, with a little help from family. They rented sanders and refinished all of the floors room-by-room. They enlisted Jon’s two younger brothers to run all-new electrical in the house. Plumbing was done by Jon and his father-in-law.

“Whether it was a pipe or a wire, it was very challenging to install in a home with shiplap on all of the walls.” says Jon. “Moreover, the framing is actually all dimensional lumber and it’s all antique heart pine, so it’s extremely hard and difficult to work with.”

Jon and Tori did all of the painting themselves, spending many late hours at the house–nights, weekends and holidays. Jon custom-built all of the cabinetry; centering the rebuild of the kitchen entirely around the original 100-year-old farmhouse sink. 

“For sitting so many years uninhabited, we were very lucky the house was in relatively good shape. And when I say good shape, I mean “good bones”.  There was very little rot and no termites. The front porch probably had the most damage. It has basically all been rebuilt as it was in the early 1900s using an old photo we found in the attic of “Gussie” sitting out front.”

The home sat abandoned from the 1960s until 1998 when the Dahl’s began the restoration.  “On the very last day of our clean-out, I found a stack of old letters and glass negatives left behind by the Matzkes,” Tori says; “I have several of the letters and photos framed around our home. We have their family photos hanging up next to ours. The Matzkes are part of our home and our story.”

The Dahl’s believe their home was originally a Sears Home Kit moved onto the property in 1901. “Back then,” Tori says, “the Matzkes had a dairy farm with over 200 cows here. Mr. Allen, a farmhand, milked 200 cows every day. The Matzkes had one son named Walter, who married Martha. Walter and Martha didn’t have any children and when they passed away the property was divided between Mr Allen and a cousin, Mr Bishop. Mr. Allen sold the 14 acres to pay the back taxes. Mr. Allen passed away several years ago, but his wife still lives next door in a home built in the 40s by Walter and Martha.”

Both local business owners, Jon and Tori say the work is never done.  The bathroom has been remodeled since their original renovation, and the attic has been converted into a half-bath and bedrooms.  The porches have been replaced with IPE decking, made to last 50 years.  

Jon started Jonathon Dahl Custom Woodworks in September of 1996 where they design, fabricate, finish and install high end cabinetry and furniture locally, and nationwide. The showroom is located on the property. Jon also recently launched Notch Woodworks; a high-end Kitchenware company focusing on reclaimed Texas Pecan materials JonathonDahl.com

Tori started The Dahl Farmhouse fragrance company out of her farmhouse kitchen in 2019.  She works out of her studio which was once the old milking room for the Matzke dairy farm. Currently selling online and in local Cypress stores The Little Eclectic House and Initially Yours Boutique, the Dahl Farmhouse Collection recently opened a brick and mortar store, carrying. their entire fragrance collection, gifts and home goods. DahlFarmhouse.com

"We have their family photos hanging up next to ours. The Matzkes are part of our home and our story."

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