Take a tour of the circa 1920’s farmhouse fixer we bought, plus a few of the plans we have to remodel and restore it to be a house of our dreams.
Okay, so can you guess I’m a tad bit excited about sharing our new house with you guys? I’ve had to wait for a week because of moving and rain, rain, rain, but I was finally able to take pictures to show you. And this is just a sampling – I tried to get at least one from every room so you could get an idea of the house, but it would’ve been way too long to include everything. You’ll just have to be sure to follow along to not miss anything!
If you’re a VIP subscriber or podcast listener, you already saw (or heard) our announcement that we bought an old 1920’s farmhouse (more on the age in a bit) on three acres. This was after 15+ months of house-hunting while living with family. While it is more land than we were looking for, part of it is a woodlot that we can leave natural. And we couldn’t resist this sweet house and setting:
Since closing on the property we have found out a bit more about it’s history. The 3 acres was part of a 100-acre parcel that belonged to one family, some of whom still own part of it. We bought the house from one of the descendants who had grown up in the home.
We recently met a neighbor who’s wife grew up in the home (she is a sister to who we bought it from) and said they would be able to share some historical photos with us, which I’m so excited about! He already told us a couple interesting things – one, he thinks the house is older than 1920 (and I did see some county records that put it at 1900) and there was a general store on the property. So fun- I’m looking forward to learning more!
Okay, now on to the farmhouse details. Just a warning – I’m not calling it a “farmhouse fixer” just for fun – it really needs a LOT of work. I’m trying to not get overwhelmed by it actually, just taking one day at a time and realizing it will take us years to fully redo it like we want – and that’s okay.
While you’ll get a good idea through the photos I’m sharing here, to get the full tour along with all the ideas I have, you’ll want to watch the walk-through video I took for you:
So – welcome and come on in, starting with what you see first, the porch. Oh, the work it needs, right? It could be a lot more welcoming with a few of the same things we did to our cottage. Before we talk about the porch details, let’s just get the vinyl siding out of the way: the whole of it is going. It’s broken, cracked, and discolored everywhere. We hope to restore it to it’s original siding, but we’ll keep it white.
Okay, here are just a few of the things I’d like to see changed on the porch:
- New wood door with a window and a sidelite or two.
- Lights moved to beside door (interesting placement right now, huh? Lighted pathway but dark door…).
- Reconfigured window to right of door. I’m thinking two smaller windows since all the vintage house plans I’ve seen with off-center doors have double windows to the bigger side.
- I’d prefer no railings (less upkeep), but there’s a drop-off on one side that may mean we have to have some. Maybe just regular railing on the sides after making a planting bed to the left front.
- Tongue-and-groove ceiling.
- The shutters are part of the vinyl siding so they will go. I have a pet peeve with shutters on windows that are too big to actually fit if they were real (I know, it’s just me…), so we’ll probably remove all the shutters and go with wider moldings.
- Replace current porch roof with a simple metal shed roof (to then have more room to replace the windows that I’m just sure are supposed to be above it on the second floor!)
And I can just see it all in my mind- sitting on our redone porch and enjoying this view.
Living and Dining
When you walk in the door, you walk right into one big rectangular room. To the right (above) is what will be the living room. Which I’m sure will seem bigger when the walls aren’t dark terra cotta.
To the left is where our dining room will be. The floors are all unfinished laminate (I think I called it vinyl in the video, but it’s low-end laminate) – meaning they never added floor molding, just left all the foam underlay sticking out of the edges.
We’ve already started pulling it up to see what is underneath. Sadly, no amazing hardwood, just 40s tile on plywood. But the plywood is on top of thick tongue-and-groove flooring, which is probably fir, so we’ll keep working on removing it.
Here’s the plan for this big room:
- Replace the fans with a chandelier and flush-mount – including wiring for switches (right now you can only turn them on with the remotes!).
- Redo or new flooring.
- Paint walls white.
- Wood ceiling (maybe with wood beams).
- Replicate original molding around windows.
- Maybe add a wood wainscoting of some kind.
- Widen doorway into kitchen.
Interesting note: in the video I mention it’s odd not to have a fireplace in such an old house and that our inspector couldn’t find remnants of one. The neighbor we met after filming that told us there was a fireplace – it was in the middle of the living-dining area in a wall that separated them. Mystery solved! And it explains the different colored roofing material in the center of the house’s peak.
This is the view walking in from the big room. You can actually see the stove wall when you walk in the front door. The stairs are to the left and sink to the right – with a window into an enclosed side porch that was being used as a laundry room. Everybody’s dream sink view, right? 😉
And here’s the view of the kitchen looking from the doorway of the hall that goes to the main-floor bath and bedroom. The kitchen is a fairly large room with lots of potential and nice light. You can see here better how widening the doorway just a bit would help the flow.
Do we even want to start a list of kitchen ideas? It’s basically a gut-job, though not down to the studs. Well, this list will give us a start:
- Rebuild stairs to be same width at top as at bottom and deal with head clearance and safety issues (plus replace the lovely metal trailer-park rail…).
- Remove wall between kitchen and enclosed porch, enlarging the space.
- Create a large island and new work triangle of stove, sink and refrigerator on this side of the kitchen.
- Replace current stove-frige wall with a wall of butler’s pantry like cabinets and counter, similar to what we had in our old house’s kitchen.
- Add character with shiplap walls.
Main Floor Bath and Bedroom
There is a main floor bath just around the corner from a bedroom and we plan to make this our master bedroom and bath. I like the idea of the bath being accessible to guests, though, since people don’t like to use a bath they have to walk through a bedroom to get to, so we won’t have the door in the bedroom.
As you can see it’s pretty small and we hope to gain a couple feet with the bedroom bump-out.
This is the main-floor bedroom (and yes, that’s a good representation of the color!). Right now it’s about 7 feet long by 14 feet wide. The plan is to bump out the wall 8 feet, using 2 of those feet for the bathroom and creating a master bedroom that’s about 13 x 14 (with a wall of closets where I’m standing taking the photo above).
So lots to do here:
- Move shower to bedroom wall, opening up outside wall for a window and vanity.
- Move bath door 1-foot into hallway (just wasted space now)
- Add outlet to bathroom (there’s NO outlet!)
- Add period character with subway tile and shiplap walls.
- Find something unique to use as a vanity.
- Two new larger windows in bedroom to match rest of house.
- New flooring and period correct molding.
- Paint all walls white.
- Wood ceiling.
- New doors for both (reclaimed?).
- New wall of closets – maybe with french doors?
The upstairs consists of 3 bedrooms and a half bath. All the windows up here have their original molding, thankfully. This is the smallest, a cute little dormer room that will become our office and where Brian will have is iMac for video production.
This room, like the others upstairs, will be simple:
- New flooring (we’re going to try and see what was original here, too.)
- New paint.
- New closet doors.
- New light fixture.
- New door and knob (there are no original doors, unfortunately)
- New period moldings around door.
It’s hard to see in this photo, but I’m really excited about this room. It will become my new studio and when it’s painted white, the light form the almost floor-to-ceiling windows will bounce around nicely for photography. And this room has the best view of probably the whole house (well, the little dormer office room has it, too).
Unfortunately, the doorways into this room and the guest room from the hall are short and we’re not sure we can do anything about it because of the roof slant. I don’t have to duck, but Brian does. It’s like some of the really old east coast houses – and I always see the British ducking through doorways on PBS shows, so maybe we’ll just be like that. 🙂
There is a matching room next to the studio that will be the guest room. Both these rooms will need:
- New flooring (the current one is built up almost 2 inches!).
- New paint.
- New closet doors.
- New light fixtures.
- Maybe some type of wood on walls for character?
- New doors and knobs.
- New period moldings around doors and floors.
Ah, and here we come to the last room of our farmhouse fixer “before tour,” the upstairs bathroom. It’s really fairly large, and yet is only a half bath. So odd. And yes, another room that pretty much needs to be gutted. We’ll need:
- A new a tub.
- New flooring.
- New vanity.
- New light fixtures.
- Paint, molding, etc.
Whew. Do you think that’s enough? Ha – I wasn’t kidding about the fixer part, was I?
Before we get into any ‘fun’ stuff, we have to take care of the major issue: there is no foundation. The posts are actually on large boulders! Isn’t that a hoot? Talk about use-what-you-have. We’ll do the bedroom bump-out at the same time and once these are done, we can start chipping away at the other things on our lists.
We did offer a lot less on the house because of the foundation issues, but with the market the way it is here in the West, it’s wasn’t a screaming good deal. We’ll need to be very creative in order to do the other things we want after the foundation and bump out are completed.
In the meantime, I’ll give you a peek at where we were able to move into:
One of the pluses to the property was the legal other home that had been rented out. It very comfortable and it’s so nice to have all our stuff out of storage again. But we know it’s not a forever home, and so we hope to not be in it too long – though we know we’re blessed to have a place right on the property to live and manage the remodel.
So that’s your first full tour of our new farmhouse! I’d love to know what you think and if you have any ideas for us. I’m so glad to be able to share this journey with you!