Imagine, you finally buy your dream farm. Complete with dream farmhouse. Then you realize, said farmhouse is actually falling apart inside and kind of smells.
As soon as we closed my skin started to crawl thinking about living in the farmhouse in its then current state. The walls, covered in wood paneling. The floors completely swathed in shag carpeting. The kitchen cabinets made of plywood.
We evaluated every option. Tear it down? Renovate? Live in it as-is for five years until we could tear it down or renovate? Live in the caretaker’s home while we renovate or tear down? Ultimately, the most responsible decision was to tear it down and just start over.
We worked with my brother-in-law and sister to start developing a budget for the new house and the entire time I just felt sick. I loved the old house. I really wanted to live in it. It did NOT make sense. Yes it would cost a fortune. But it’s what I wanted. So I spoke up.
“It would be such a shame to never live in that house”
At that moment, I could tell Dan agreed. He looked at my brother-in-law, who then started going through the options of renovating. It was doable if we stayed to a strict budget and agreed to put some things on the back-burner.
In that one sentence, we went from tearing down a 100-year-old historic homestead to renovating it. Best sentence ever.
The budget would be tight. We all agreed the farmhouse had some really important needs, like electrical, which would cost us money (not a DIY option for us) and other things like painting we would have to do ourselves to save.
Since we were still living in another state, my sister and brother-in-law agreed to manage the project for us. My sister, the quintessential project manager, started the project plan on a scrap piece of paper, complete with timeline for completion of each step. And so it began.
Now came the hard part, what will it look like?
Everyone had ideas and suggestions. I tried listening to them all but soon realized I needed to clarify my vision before asking for advice.
I’m no decorator but I love Pinterest. Pinning to my “Farmhouse” board became my favorite nighttime activity. At first, I didn’t have a vision, I just pinned things I liked. Soon, though, I started to see a trend and my vision came into focus.
The common theme was a modern take on a farmhouse. I wanted clean and bright, not cold or cluttered.
Once I had a vision, planning the layout and making the actual design decisions were really difficult. I pulled in help from my family and friends. Everyone contributed advice for me to consider. My sister and brother-in-law, both engineers, drew up some floor plan suggestions to give us more workable space and function, like an additional bathroom upstairs. Since we were on a budget we had to prioritize the must-haves over the wants.
And so it began. The demolition started almost immediately. We literally uncovered a whole host of issues to solve once demo began. And wallpaper. Lots and lots of wallpaper.
We soon learned demolition is addicting. It’s really fun but if you don’t know where to stop, you can get yourself into some really expensive areas. We dove in completely unaware of the mess hidden underneath all that wood paneling. Probably best.
Click here to view my farmhouse inspiration board on Pinterest.