In 1994 Venoge narrowly escaped destruction, but fortunately it was discovered in time that the building was of a rare architectural type and important in the early French-Swiss settlement in Switzerland County. It was deemed worthy of restoration and its significance appreciated. The barn was not so lucky; it had already been burned.
The house is a posts-on-sill (poteaux-sur-sol) timber frame structure with brick nogging insulation. The cottage is of a French Colonial style typical of the lower Mississippi Valley but extremely rare (if not unique) in the Ohio Valley. It has the broken pitch roof line, common in French settled areas. There is one room on the first floor and two on the second. Its structure was precisely measured and symmetrical. It is side-gabled, rectangular in plan, 18 feet wide by 38 feet including integral front gallery (porch).
After the initial investigation and research, restoration began with the removal of all additions made to the house after 1839, the date that Jacob and Charlotte Weaver sold the house. In 2005, the 200th anniversary of the purchase of the property, the asphalt shingle roof was removed and a wood shake roof was installed over new live-sawn poplar sheathing.
During 2009 the house was dismantled nearly down to its timber frame.
The original fireplace mantel had been found in a shed to the rear of
the house, but the firebox, chimney and hearth were missing. The major
rebuilding of those and stabilization of the first floor joists was done
in 2010. At every step of the way information was gathered and
photographs taken of clues that would lead us to the next phase of the
The remaining original paint evidence was studied and it was determined
that much of the interior wood trim had not been painted initially.
First coats much later were gray.
In rebuilding the porch (gallery) posts we had the originals as
guides. Sparse decoration typical of French construction include
chamfering of the posts with lambs’ tongue detailing, and beading on
exposed beam edges and on a single front weatherboard and vertical along
the building corners.
An outdoor bake oven was built behind the house in order to demonstrate early baking techniques. We do not believe that there was one original to the house. However, the building methods would have been common knowledge to the builders and occupants of the house.