Prison made furniture or rocker
Our Fixer Upper

Virtual Open House – The Sun Porch

Firehouse Antiques owners
Jeff & Cindy Smotherman

Jeff and I have lived and worked in the Firehouse for over 16 years. Our accomplished dream was to have our living space in a historic building above our antique shop, and as our business grew we realized we needed more space to show and store our inventory. When we found out this home was going to be for sale, we were actually looking into building a carriage house behind the Firehouse and even went as far as buying the property behind us to do it. A fun part of this story is the day we closed on the property behind the firehouse, we were notified that the family was ready to sell. We had let them know 9 years ago during an estate sale they had in the barn.

Although I had my eye on another barn in town, our barn was definitely on our list too. I have a vision for the future of our business and our barn fits in it perfectly. Actually, it wasn’t long after buying our fixer upper that we realized that this property had everything we need now, as we slow down or retire one day. This property came with a house, a barn, and a cottage all on less than an acre in what we consider to be one of the best parts of New Harmony. After slowly getting used to the idea of moving out of the Firehouse, I’m finally happy to call it my corner with a view. I have neighbors I have called friends for many years, who have beautiful garden and landscaping talent that I get to enjoy from my windows.

Porch Swing and RockerToday’s space that we are sharing in our virtual tour is our sun porch, where we can enjoy our beautiful view of New Harmony. The sun porch is actually the entry into our home on Brewery. It’s the first room you see. It is where our address hangs on the front of our house. It still has the original sidewalk and entry and the only restoring we had to do outside was some tuck pointing on the brick, and pressure wash the entry.

Right after we bought the property, we found out we had to replace all the windows and this was the first thing we did. We were not thrilled with the expense, but it really improved this room to have working windows that we crank open often to either hear the rain or feel the nice spring breeze. Jeff and I often find ourselves here in the mornings drinking our coffee or in the evenings having our dessert. Either way it is the beginning and end of our day kind of place. A place to watch our small town come to life each morning and slow down each day. We sometimes smell coffee roasting from Black Lodge or hear the mail men and women start their day.

After replacing the windows, we had the front door refinished and showcased it by adding an all glass door from Kight in Evansville.  Both doors and the windows we purchased through Kight Home Center in Evansville. They were very helpful and found quality installers to change the guttering too. Changing the outer window color from white to terra bronze was a decision inspired by my decorator friend Laura Werner, she suggested it and we are so happy we listened. It modernized our home. I admired other homes in New Harmony that had darker windows and hoped it would completely update the look of this house, which it did.

We didn’t have to do change much about our sun porch since we didn’t paint the wood walls. It had great character on it’s own and was here originally when the house was built. We still need to insulate it before winter to create a warmer space, but for now, it’s working well for us.

One update we did to our sun porch was the old flooring that we covered with tile from Louisville Tile this tile helped modernize the entire room. We also wanted a ceiling fan with a light and found one with an industrial look thru Illuminating Expressions. After tiling the floor, changing the windows, and adding a light with ceiling fan, the only thing left to do was furnish it. At the exact time needed, the opportunity came along to buy the mid-century porch swing and rocker. It is said that these were made by prisoners in the 1940s & 50s here in Indiana. It also could be “Old Hickory” which is highly sought after rustic furniture made in Indiana. 

Murphy Park Sign, NewHarmony IndianaJust today we added an old tool box that came with the house. It was in the barn when we bought the property. The latest addition to our sun porch decor is the old Murphy Park sign we purchased from a sealed bid auction from the town last week and this prompted us to bring in the trunk from the barn.

A fun fact about these finds, the sign and the porch swing is that Jeff had been wanting them for years. It is almost as if he knew one day that they would be his, although that’s not true. He just really wanted them and it makes me wonder if him wanting them was so strong that he eventually got them. I know the power of positive thinking works so manifesting must work too! I’ve recently started believing this after several things have come to us that he has talked about for years. There would be no other explanation really except that his desire was so strong that he mentioned these things throughout the years, told me over and over and then one day, we have them. It’s not like we had to over pay for anything to get it. All the prices we paid were fair. It’s the fact that he wanted them but then trusted in some way that if he got them fine, if not, that would be fine too. I’m definitely not an expert, I just have been a witness to the fact.

Prison made furniture or rockerI wanted to paint our pine sun porch walls white, but Jeff loved the pine walls in our sun porch and that is why they were not painted. We would love to hear in the comments. What would you have done differently? Would you have painted the pine walls? I know either way it would have worked but sometimes compromise is the best solution in marriage and home renovation.

Hey everyone! My name in Cindy Smotherman. I’m a beginner blogger. My husband Jeff and I live in small town America, the Town of New Harmony, Indiana. We have over 27 years of antique experience and we own and operate Firehouse Antiques. Check out our page and feel free to contact us!


  • ruth miller

    Hi Cindy !
    I did a little research on your swing and chair. Your chair was made by Old Hickory circa 1897 ! featured in the Montgomery Ward catalog of that year. I can’t find your swing. It has the “look” of Old Hickory, and may be pictured in one of their old catalogs. The swings I did find look nothing like your swing.
    Old Hickory was started by a few men from Morgantown and Monrovia, IN in 1892. It was incorporated into the State of Indiana in Martinsville, IN, 1899. It stayed and produced furniture in Martinsville until 1969. It was sold in the early 1970’s to a man in Shelbyville, IN, where citizens still produce hand crafted furniture.
    Old Hickory furniture has been sold to Henry Ford for his retreat home., It is in almost all of the National Park Lodges, and many State Parks across this great Nation. It is at Camp David, and five thousand solid hickory chairs were purchased by Indiana University in 1969, for their library.
    The research was fun. Enjoy your furniture and your beautiful sun porch…….and for the record, I’d leave the pine as is. Sometimes, it’s best to leave things as they were built ! Real beauty and comfort never goes out of style !
    Ruth Miller
    (the woman who bought the creepy cat andirons) yes, I still have them.

    • Firehouse Antiques

      Thank you so much Ruth! You want to know the best part, we found them here in New Harmony. I appreciate you doing the research & posting it! You know I’ll always buy back those awesome creepy cat andirons!

  • David Taylor

    What’s NOT to love about New Harmony? – A destination all to itself, distinct in personality, with an amazing history, and a pace that your “golf cart” explains perfectly. Firehouse Antiques is always a treasure trove of surprises, and a few finds from the firehouse have made their way back across the Ohio River to Owensboro. No doubt the architectural item in the background of your picture is long gone. The blog brings me up to date and inspires me to come your way. I need to check out the store and your new hiding places. No doubt there are gems awaiting. Best to you both. – DT

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