The Cellar


I have an old cellar.

I’ve always wanted an old cellar. I fell in love with my first old cellar at the slanted little house long ago, when I was a kid. (You can see more about that old cellar in this post.) I never imagined I’d have a real old cellar of my own.

Old cellars are awesome places, alive with the wonderment of what all has been kept there, when it was built, how it was built, all the people who used it over time.

Did you notice this post is not about the upstairs in my new Sassafras Farm house? I was going to show you the upstairs next, then I painted my bedroom and was overcome with adoration of my bedroom and decided I had to finish decorating before I showed it to you. That just sounded like more fun. I also need to nest in at least one room, have at least one room that is finished. So I’m kinda all about my bedroom right now, which is really fun. But you can’t see it yet. But you can see the cellar! And the cellar is FAR from done. So be gentle with me when I show you these photos.

When I got here, the previous owners had left many things behind. They weren’t being messy–we had discussed it. One time when I was out here, I saw some adorable old church pews in the barn and one of the previous owners mentioned that he was thinking of burning them, along with getting rid of all kinds of stuff they didn’t want to move. They were trying to clean up. I said, “LEAVE EVERYTHING!! Whatever you don’t want, LEAVE IT! I’ll dispose of it if I don’t want it, don’t worry about it.” I had to tell him several times before he seemed to believe me. The result is that they left a lot of stuff, for which I’m grateful. I will definitely end up disposing of some things, but many things are fantastic. As I continue on the tour, I’ll be showing you some of the things they left for me, but for now, I’ll show you what they left me in the cellar. And part of the reason I’m pointing this out now is to explain the current state of the cellar. It’s a MESS. I haven’t had a chance yet to go through what they left behind, much less organize my own things.

So I’m about to show you a mess, but it will be straightened up soon.

Let’s start with the exterior of the cellar, which is just as fantastic as the cellar itself. (And by the way, most of what is hanging on the outside of the cellar are things they left behind as well. I like them, so I’ll leave them.)

The cellar has a delightful red door, which is one of my favorite things about it.

It’s built into a small hill behind the house. I’m not sure how old this cellar is, but it likely predates the current 1930s house and goes back to the barn period, circa 1890. The studio, which is a newer structure, was built on top of the cellar at some point later.

The cellar is just a few steps away out the back door, across the back porch, which is very handy.

The gardens around the cellar are very pretty, and I especially love the small statuary peeking through the vines.

It’s all very romantic.

Inside, the previous owners left shelving on the righthand side. The shelves are full of all kinds of things I need to go through to decide what to keep and what to dispose of. They left an amazing array of things, from a dehydrator to what looks like it must be a quite an expensive saw of some sort, and even a tool chest full of tools.

Nice. Cuz I had no tools, and now I do!

I added some shelving on the left side, and put in a refrigerator and a small freezer. I also added a worktable in the center of the cellar so I have some place to mess around with stuff when I’m in there.

I’ve been stashing trash in here, to keep it safe till trash day. Then trash day passed and I hadn’t figured out yet what to do with the trash sticker, though I did really enjoy watching the trash truck come by. As God is my witness, I will figure out what to do with the trash sticker by next trash day so I can put out some trash. Forgive me, I’m not accustomed to trash service. I just keep putting trash in the cellar because, hello, I don’t know how to use the trash service. I’m lucky I figured out how to open the mail box.

I’m not sure I’m ready for civilization.

But I do know how to use the cellar! I can’t wait to get it organized and ready to be utilized efficiently. An old cellar is a wonderful thing, and this one is about to get a lot of use!


  1. Hlhohnholz says:

    Yay!!! I’m so glad you did the cellar first. I wish I had a cellar. I’m afraid I’ll have to make do with an extra room in my basement. *sigh* Oh well. Looks like you have more treasures in there than you know what to do with. Awesome. Oh, and don’t worry about the trash thing. I forget to put mine out at least once a month. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. CindyP says:

    Look at all those tools! That would be an electric miter saw you have there…a very handy piece of equipment :woof:

    Love the cellar!

  3. wormlady says:

    If your mail box is on your side of the road, then put your trash sticker on it & the trash nearby. That is a great cellar. Congrats! We have a much less nice one under our garage, so I don’t use it properly.

  4. bonita says:

    I never thought a ‘cellar’ could be anywhere but under the house. . . built into the side of a hill says storm (tornado) cellar to me. . . I’d get lost trying to clean and organize that first. . . but it does seem like a treasure trove..Burn old pews? Really?Thank goodness you disabused him of that idea. Do I understand correctly, the cellar is electrified? Holy Cow!

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      bonita, yes, there is electric in the cellar. There is also a washer/dryer hookup in there (forgot to mention that) but I’m using the laundry room in the house. It’s built into the side of the hill because that’s what we have in West Virginia, hills, LOL. I’ve seen a lot of old cellars outside the house, somewhere close, built into the ground around here. The cellar at the slanted little house was originally outside the house and was later connected to the house by an addition.

  5. Curly says:

    That cellar is just beautiful! I love, love the outside. Can’t wait to see it when you are done.

  6. twiggityNDgoats says:

    That is a really large cellar compared to others I have seen around here. What a great one!

  7. Flowerpower says:

    That looks like the beginning of a treasure hunt to me! Just think how nice and cool that will be in the summer. Gonna store all your cheese and canned stuff there? Cellars are good for lots of things. Since my house hangs off a hill I could have had a cellar too but at the time I didn’t have the money…still don’t but would love to have one. Trash pickup will be a nice new thing to get used to. You have just had too much thrust upon you all at once I don’t know how you are coping as well as you are…but you are doing amazing.First things first…then add and do what YOU want! :snoopy: :happyflower:

  8. Cheryl LeMay says:

    It’s beautiful. I love the seating out in front. I’ve never seen a root cellar before.Do you also have a basement?

  9. Telynn says:

    Congratulations on your new farm home/land. The unusual saw appears to be a miter saw–used to cut accurate angles (making frames, trim, and the like) What a great find!

  10. Deliafarm says:

    I thought a cellar was under a house? Silly me – yours is across from the back door, what was it used for? It is lovely and looks like it will be such fun to sort through!

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Deliafarm, I’m sure what it was used for was the family’s home preserving, canning, potatoes, onions, etc. Which is what I will use it for, too! As well as some other assorted storage, but a cellar’s main purpose is to store food! The thick-foot walls keep the cellar cool even in the summer, and protect it from freezing as well. Perfect for preserving the year’s goodness, and back in the day, that is the only way people had food in the winter, of course, which is why you only find these lovely old cellars with old houses.

  11. CATRAY44 says:

    You are blessed, Suzanne. That cellar is a wonderful thing!

  12. SarahGrace says:

    I love the cellar! Especially the outside of it. I love cheery red! It reminds me of cottages in England, especially with the little garden close by.

  13. GaPeach says:

    I have never heard of a trash sticker. What is that? I am guessing you need so sticker to show you’ve paid for trash services?? Here (Georgia) we pay for pick-up in our local taxes so everyone pays for it weather they use it or not.

  14. broncobetsy says:

    Ditto on the comment above on the trash sticker. In rural WV, trash pickup is NOT mandatory, so the trash co. issues a sticker that you must place somewhere it is visible so the trash men know you paid. MOst people usually stick it on their mailbox if the mailbox is by where they leave the trash, or on their trash bin (which you’re probably going to want to invest in or build…makes it much nicer than having to go out and round up garbage after a coon has been in it)! So excited that you are sharing all of this with us!! Love the new place!

  15. naomibeth3 says:

    build you a trash bin if there isnt one already there and attach it to the side . then you should have trash pick up the next time they come !

  16. shirley T says:

    WOW!!! That was a great start. I love looking at old cellers and you do have a great one. Wess will have fun with that miter saw.You have a life time to sort things out. Oh what fun you will have doing it,just don’t forget about the “children” in the barn, of course you wont. Good luck Suzanne.

  17. Runningtrails says:

    I love my old underground cellar! My WINE is stored in there! and so’s the beer. It stores root veggies very well, the onions and geraniums are hanging in there, the dahlias,cannas,glads, four o’clock bulbs are stored in the for the winter. The potted rosemary is stored in there. Cabbages will keep all winter in a good underground cellar. Cellars are great!!

    You are so blessed to have a real underground cellar! They are hard to find these days.

  18. BuckeyeGirl says:

    Is Casper convinced that that dog on the welcome sign is a portrait of him? Love it!

    It sure is hard to get things raked out once they’ve built up that way. That chop saw is great! I know how to use a lot of our woodworking tools, but that one is one of the least intimidating so I am ok with using it and it sure is super useful.

  19. Diane says:

    Love the cellar!! The saw is a miter saw. That is a useful item if you are going cut small pieces of wood, and need angles and what not. An extra dehydrator is a handy thing to have. The trash sticker goes on the can or mail box. Just make sure its visable so the trash men can see you paid for service. I like the other poster who said to build a trash bin. What a great idea to keep animals out of the garbage. We finally broke down and got a big can that has wheels and a lid that has to be lifted up so that the racoons cant get into it. You might want to check out diffrent cans too.
    Over all I am jellous. I have a basement that I cant use because my husban has it all junked up with stuff! It would be a great area for an extra stove, crafting area, tv area in the summer, put shelves for pantry stuff. Well I can dream. lol. Enjoy your cellar for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. wildcat says:

    I think I spied a roll of aluminum foil on the shelf. Now you’re all set for winter! ๐Ÿ˜†

  21. thistlewoodmanor says:

    Woohoo, free tools! I love your cellar, especially the red door. I’m so glad everything is working out for you. Can’t wait to see more.

  22. Liz Pike says:

    Girl, you had some goooood karma coming to you with this farm and all these goodies!!!!! I’m sooo jealous ; )) and sooo thrilled for you!!! It couldn’t have been more perfect!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  23. marymac says:

    Love the red door and the whole entry, it is so cute and inviting!! How lucky for you they left all that junk, I LOVE other peoples junk, and I’m sure you will find use for a lot of it! LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!!!!!!!! Can’t wait to see more!

  24. Bev in CA says:

    For 31 years we recycled everything(still do.) The rest was driven 14 miles to the dump. We were amazed six years ago to be able to put our trash out by the front gate once a week. We do pay a monthly fee, but it is not much and is wonderful. A bin is a great idea, you have to watch out for animals getting into everything. Saves a mess. My DH built a root cellar at our first place. Things kept so well. So happy for you. Also love the red door.

  25. mamawolf says:

    It really is true. Good things come to those who wait. Your period at Stringtown Farm was a test of your endurance, faith and hard work. Of all the people I know you deserve this new farm, house, cellar, barn and all the other pluses that came with it. I wish that I could be there to go through the treasures with you. :snoopy: :sheepjump: :duck: :fairy:

  26. Murphala says:

    LOVE that cellar! Can’t wait to see how cute it’s going to be when it’s all organized and stuff! I remember when we went to trash stickers *per bag or can*. It’s 2 dollars per, and 1.00 for yard waste (what? people pay to have perfectly good compost hauled away!?) Recycling is free. It was an incentive to recycle rather than use the trash services. I think it has worked, at least for my household. It still makes me mad though.

    Past city limits here, the company gives you or you buy (not sure which) particular kinds of trash cans that indicate you have paid for trash service. And on another note, this brought back memories…when I was a country girl, part of my chores were to “burn the papers”. I sorta miss being able to do that. I was a little firebug!

  27. Ramona Slocum says:

    Suzanne, This is such an exciting journey. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. You have a jewel of a home here. It is just so very warm and inviting. I look forward to seeing each day where you lead us next. I’d give you a big hug if I could. A nice warm fuzzy.
    MN Mona

  28. holstein woman says:

    I remember having a root cellar in the side of the hill above the house in Virginia when I was young. We used it for storing kraut and canned vegies. We dug a hole in the hill to store cabbage. I one in California that flooded each year. Bummer. What I put in it got wet the first year then was never used again.
    I have never seen one so beautiful as yours. I’d like another one someday.

  29. Donna says:

    Delightful, simply delightful! God’s been good to you Suzanne – we look forward to reading of many wonderful adventures from Sassafras Farm!

  30. Jersey Lady says:

    Thanks for the cellar tour.We don’t have one so I am a little jealous. You will love that saw-it’s a goody.Remember to wear goggles and watch your fingers.Enjoy.

  31. Jersey Lady says:

    Oh,I just read that there is a washer hook-up in the cellar.You might think about getting an old washer for down there. It is really nice to have a place wash super dirty chore clothes, horse blankets (hint hint), calf coats or whatever else you might have that would be pretty messy to drag into the house to wash.

  32. SusanSink says:

    I am in vicarious-living heaven, here! I live on 80 acres in Minnesota, much of it wetlands. It was an old hog farm for a Benedictine monastery up the road. Our house was built in 1987 without a thought to where you would store the produce!! The barns have basements, but it gets way below zero down there in the winter. I’ve been scouring the place for any appropriate storage space… Mostly I shift things around– in the garage for a month or two, then covered in a cool corner of the basement while we try to eat as much squash as possible (though it’s a finished, heated basement connected to a rented apartment– which means we keep it warm for the renter’s comfort, not for the vegetables!) I’ve thought of sinking a refrigerator into the ground and other crazy things. My great-grandparents had a cellar on their small New Jersey farm and I remember the scent of it so well. I would always go there on our august visits just to soak up the cool, earthy, mineral scent of the place… I also had to laugh that you put up your own shelves! Carve some order out of the chaos! The sorting can wait until summer… congratulations, Suzanne, and thanks for sharing this with all of us.

  33. Merryment says:

    Look at all that cool stuff! and lots of it will be useful. I think I saw some canners (and pickles!), a dehydrator, and some stainless steel milking gear back in that right hand corner. Miter saws are always useful. Suzanne, I think you’ve found a great home and we’re so happy for you. Thanks for letting us in on the journey.

    I hope when we are farm hunting in Missouri that we can find a place like this. Yipee!

  34. JOJO says:

    Suzanne, I love your new studio, the front of the building reminds me of a store front or a village home front in the early 1700’s — sort of what you would find in an old English village, all you need to do is hang out your shingle.
    What a treasure trove of goodies the previous owners left for you, I wonder if there are treasures buried on the propery, from long times past–how exciting!!

  35. cricketjett says:

    I love your new farm, just a few miles from me as the crow flies. Love, love the red door and benches!!
    I also have a cellar (built into the hill), we built ours a few years ago along with a workshop. I have a canning kitchen in mine. I waited along time for my cellar and absolutely love it as you will too. With the water already in your cellar, it would be easy to put in a canning kitchen for you. You already have some of the tools needed, thanks to the treasures left behind. You will have a blast exploring everything. Lucky you for having free gas!!
    Suzanne, I wish you the best as you begin a new life on Sassafras Farm!!

  36. rainn says:

    :snoopy: GOLDMINE!!!!!!! wow~love the goodies! and the red door and especially the cellar itself!! I’d love a usable one! Mine could be stocked with trout most of the time?!!! :duck: Enjoy-sounds like you’re going right to town! Cleaning and nesting and making it your own! Great!! :happyflower: :woof:

  37. Ms.Becky says:

    I love your cellar and its red door! but I have to admit, I’m confused again….
    so if you have no basement under your house, where is the furnace? do you have a furnace room? perhaps I’m jumping ahead of you here, and it will all be explained in a later tour, so sorry if that’s the case. I live in the Midwest, and our homes (at least most of them!) have basements and that’s where our furnaces are. My sister lives in Oregon and a lot of the houses out there have no basements either. at any rate, your cellar is beautiful. I once lived in an old farmhouse that had 12″ stone walls in the basement, and it was perfect for food storage. I’m so happy for you Suzanne. :hug:

  38. mds9 says:

    There has to be a story on where and how they got the stones for the foundation. Any information on the original owner/builder? Maybe a trip to county records.

  39. wanda1950 says:

    Wow, what a treasure!!

    Granny had a cellar dug into a bank at the house she lived in when I was born–it was a very creepy place, just like a cave in the dirt with a door. I’d have had to be pretty hungry to go in there to get her canned stuff.

    I am so glad you seem to have landed on your feet in a good place. Transitions in life are always hard even when it’s to better circumstances. Love your site–it’s one of the first places I visit when I sit down at the computer. Feels like you’re an old friend!

  40. CarrieJ says:

    I’m jealous. I have sort of an underground pantry with shelving in my basement but no actual CELLAR! The door is beautiful and the statuary is perfect. All very cute ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. jeepdriver says:

    Whoa…that is one great looking house. And the cellar….well, if that doesn’t look like the perfect country cheese store?

  42. kelsimom1998 says:

    I am sure that we have the same waste management company and i just adhere my sticker to the side of the can… but i have seen them on mailboxes, telephone poles, rocks, anything. The guys will know which one you are! I am excited about your move and hopefully kelsi and i can come out when you get settled in and do those classes!!! let me know! jill

  43. Cousin Sheryl says:

    Note – It is actually illegal to put any thing else on a mailbox except your name and address (no trash stickers). It is also illegal to attach anything to a power/telephone pole. All naturally occuring rocks belong to the State and it is illegal to deface them also – you could buy your own rock. The side of a trash can is good IF it will stick. I actually use a seasonal decoration sign – you know those little, “cute” reflector signs on wire stakes that you can buy for $1.99 for different holidays? My current one is shaped like a Stop Sign and says, “Santa, please stop here.” but I have covered the wording with my trash sticker. Then I stick it in the ground where I sit my trash cans. A “trash pen” as I call them is a good idea if it looks decent (I think some of the ones I have seen are just plain ugly!) BTW – The trash sticker lets the men know that you are a paying customer. They won’t stop and pick up trash where there is no sticker-they don’t like freeloaders.

    In WV, you must either pay for trash pickup or have a receipt from an approved landfill for trash dumping. You can be arrested/fined for improper trash disposal. It is illegal to burn household waste. Landowners are only allowed to burn “natural” things such a brush piles and there are special regulations during fire season for proper times to burn and the fire must be attended at all times. Since the entire state of WV is 80% forest, we have tough regulations to prevent forest fires.

    Our trash carrier here limits each household to 6 bags of trash per week! That’s a lot of trash! We do recycle here- it is AMAZING how much packaging our modern food supply comes in. We recycle our plastic, aluminum, vegetable cans, glass, newspapers, magazines and cardboard. We bag these up in clear bags or WallyWorld bags and store it under our shed. Hubby makes a run to the recycling center with his truck about once a month. We usually only put out ONE bag of trash per week. So, that makes me feel great about the helping the environment. Oh, and we compost and or feed scraps to the dogs and cats.

    Hope this answers a few questions! Not trying to be a wet blanket = just trying to be helpful.

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