Take the back roads with Jeannie Taylor

When moving out to the middle, it was never a thought that one day I would be connected to a network of people who would have the same love for old houses and in some cases even a bit more. With having been inspired by this community, I decided it would be fun once a month to take you on the “back roads” and give you a glimpse into the lives of those who are out there living their lives on the roads less traveled and leaning into whatever may come their way. It’s my hope that with each trip we take in getting to know someone new, you too will be inspired to cartwheel pass the norm and step into something that makes you feel alive and full of purpose!

If you are a member of the old house community on social media, you’re likely to already be familiar with Bill and Jeannie Taylor and their home the “Depot” or maybe you saw them on HGTV’s Cheap Old Houses. For those of you who haven’t stumbled across this dynamic duo, you’ve landed in just the right place as Jeannie was so kind in sharing a bit of their life and love of old houses with us today. Let’s buckle up and head east to meet Jeannie Taylor!

Jeannie, would you share with readers a little bit about yourself?

Bill and I are originally from NW Ohio and have been married for 30 years. Old houses have been a part of our lives from the beginning. Our first home was his grandmother’s 1940’s bungalow not too far from the world-famous Jeep plant. Before our move to Mississippi, we restored a 1900’s farmhouse. During Mississippi we lived in new construction houses but always ventured and explored into historic Memphis. 

We purchased a 1902 segregated train depot upon our arrival in North Carolina in June 2018. It was disguised to be more “house like” over the decades. We striped back the layers to merge past and present. Blended its history while making it our home. We are delighted the Depot was featured on season 1, episode 8 of Cheap Old Houses on HGTV. It is currently streaming on DiscoveryPlus

Left: The Depot. Edenton, NC. Right: Jeannie and Bill standing in front of the ticket window promoting their Cheap Old Houses episode. 

Owning and restoring an old house is not new to you. What keeps you both coming back to them?

We had one more old house in us to love upon. So we said farewell to the Depot and now have just begun the work on our 1870 home, The Slade House. It has no heat or air. The property has had deferred maintenance for decades. It will be fun spiffying the old gal up!

What is one of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from living in an old house?

 We have learned not to fight the building. Compromise with your expectations. For instance: you might have wanted a huge kitchen island – but the kitchen space isn’t permitting that vision and you compromise with a beautiful peninsula instead. The building will guide you and challenge you, which can be fun – it is all how you approach it. 

Do what you love, not what others might like. It is easy to allow social media to influence you. It’s okay to be inspired by social media, but it is your home and your choices.

For those who would like to step into the old house community, what advice could you share that you wish someone would have shared with you?

Give yourself permission to be part of your house’s history.  Your house might be so old it wasn’t designed for a bathroom – do what you need to do and style the space the way you wish … you are part of the history. 

Ways to follow

There is so much to come! Don’t miss out on Jeannie and Bill’s progress on the Historic Slade House! Follow them on Instagram here.

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