When our family was making the big move from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest, we had one week to find the our dream home.
One week of spending hours in the car, countless “hard no” houses and a very cranky baby.
We fancied ourselves a younger version of Chip and Joanna Gaines while we were looking for houses! We knew we were looking for a fixer upper, and along the way my husband had a lot of fun making the relator laugh with his entertaining house names.
At some point during that whirlwind house hunting trip, we took a look at a very dated farmhouse (nicknamed the “gut job”) and fell in love. Not with the carpet or the kitchen or the bathrooms, but with the potential! The house was big enough for our growing family, had a solid structure and had enough land for everything we wanted to do.
Oh, and that barn. The barn was the icing on the cake!
We didn’t know much about it, the realtor’s paperwork said it was between 50-75 years old and had been on the market for almost two years. We found a date in the basement of 1938 but we believe that’s from one of the many renovations. When we finally found the paperwork for the deed, it said it was built in 1900. 116 years ago!
It has 5 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a stone basement, attic and tons of interesting and funky nooks and crannies.
While we were buying our farm truck a few weeks after buying the place, we met a man who used to work at the farm as a teenager. He said it used to be part of a massive dairy farm that was divided into smaller plots. We just got lucky enough to get the house and barn of it!
The process was not easy though. Our appraiser worried about the roof, our realtor worried about the appraisal, the loan officer worried about our credit and we just worried about everything! There were many times where it felt like everything was about to fall apart.
But we made it through and, for the first time in either of our lives, we have a place we can really call our own! That’s saying something after 12 years of renting. We can put holes in the walls, paint them, or heck even just knock them down if we want to!
And trust me. We plan on knocking down a LOT of walls.
As you can see we have a lot of work to do. Everything is dated (and not in the super fun antique way) and the floor plan is so closed in it almost makes me claustrophobic. It needs paint, flooring, fixtures, trim, lights, windows, doors… I’m not entirely sure what it doesn’t need replaced or updated! It definitely earned its nickname.
This house is sorely lacking in several areas:
- Pantry – seriously, where am I supposed to put all of the food?
- Laundry room – I do not like having to trek down 2 staircases to our dark and dreary basement to do laundry. Which I have to do a lot.
- Second (or third) bathroom – I need a separate area from kids and guests to call my own. Ok maybe not NEED but really really want. And just any sort of flow or sense to the layout.
It’s just not what we want in a house. But our imaginations know that we can turn it into what we want! It isn’t entertaining friendly, and you all should know by now how much we love to entertain! That kitchen is a nightmare for my chef of a man, and so many other aspects of the house just feel disjointed and awkward.
I’m not even sure where we’re going to start yet! I’ll leave that part up to the handyman in the family. He’ll know what needs to be done and in what order. I think I heard something about the stairs, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Don’t get me wrong, we love our house and we love being homeowners. However, I think the thing we love about it the most is that we can finally make a house our home. We can finally do those projects we’ve been eyeing for years. And we can turn this gut job of a farmhouse into our dream home.
While I’ll try not to let our farmhouse renovation project take us away too much from our other adventures, I hope you won’t mind if I share our progress along the way. I’m just too excited!
For the next post in our adventure as homeowners and renovators, check out The Staircase Part 1!
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