We first took a look at the house in January of 2008. We were engaged to be married the upcoming summer and were eager to get a home of our own. My parents had purchased this old farmhouse 20 years ago from my uncle, who had purchased it from my grandmother, and so on and so forth. They did some upgrades, but only tenants have called this place home since.
Knowing that it needed to have an entire upgrade and a lot of hugs and kisses to be made into a home we were a little leary about taking on such a big project. But after much consideration, a wedding later and a baby on the way we decided that this was the house for us.
The front part of the home was built in the late 1800's and the back addition was added in 1912. It is located in the countryside, surrounded by fields and trees. Not another house can be seen for miles, yet at the same time it is in walking distance to my family next door.
While this was my dream home and we wanted to keep as much of the historical details as possible, we knew it needed some major work to bring it into the 21st century. However this would be harder done than said. To get a better understanding of what we were up against I will take you along with us on our first a tour of the house.
This is the first sight we saw as we walked through the side kitchen door. At first we were so excited about the size of the kitchen, but on closer inspection we realised how much work needed to be done. The kitchen and the rest of this side of the house was built in 1912. The cabinets, plumbing and everything else was old, counter space was limited, the floors were covered in linoleum and there were hardly any windows. We had the space to work with, but we knew instantly everything else had to go.
The side entry and the eating area were also badly laid out. The dropped fake ceiling, the laundry room right beside the table and the rotting floors all had to go. I started redesigning in my head before we even moved into the next room.
Formal Living Room and Dining Room
We loved everything about this space. Giant mouldings, a bay window, wide planked wood floors, beautiful windows. So much potential and I was happy to see that most of the two rooms could be updated without the use of a sledge hammer. This part of the house is the oldest, with a date guesstimate at around 1880 . I wanted to keep as much as I could and made sure my husband was well aware. However a few things needed to go.....the fireplace in front of the front entrance door, the cedar plank wall, the popcorn ceiling, and of course the electrical (1/2 knob and tube, and the rest of which was located on the outside of the walls).
No one can remember the last time the front door was used. In fact there was no door knob on the door and it was covered with plastic. The hall from the front door was also blocked off by a fireplace which had been installed in the adjoining living room. It was a beautiful little spot that needed some major reviving.
The front stairs were also hardly used and we wanted to make this entry more of a focal point to the house then a useless space to put unused pianos (We got to keep the piano).
The Kids Wing
What originally would have been the only two bedrooms in the house were now 2 out of 5 rooms upstairs. In my perfect world house these two perfectly small rooms and the landing at the top of the stairs would make up the kids wing of my home. However at this point in time what we had were badly insulates, cold and wet rooms. Every time it rained water would drip into the plaster leaving beautiful water marks all around the windows. We knew that some TLC was needed before we brought any babies into these rooms.
Off the "kids wing" was a hallway with a large stove pipe right up the middle and a badly placed stairwell at the end.
To the left was the master bedroom and to the right was an office and the homes only bathroom. With such a poor layout we quickly envisioned removing all the walls, stove pipe and staircase to create a beautiful and large master suite. It was hard to imagine as we walked around these small flimsy rooms (all the walls were made out of beaver board) but we had high hopes for this old house.
While the bathroom had some cute period features we knew the whole thing had to go. The bathtub and toilet were rusted and sinking into rotting floor boards. My husband likes to refer to it as the "Trainspotting" bathroom. Also seeing that this was the only bathroom in the house it really needed to be updated to our modern needs.
The End/The Beginning
This is where the tour ends. We were excited and eager to get started. To be honest before I got my husband indoors he was very reluctant to call this place home. However once he saw how much potential there was he was on board.
We bought the house July 7th, 2009.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
My love of design has not been very long in the making.
Throughout my life I have had many passions, all of which I thought of making a career out of. None however have been as realistic as the idea of becoming a designer.
A great enjoyment of mine is sitting down with a nice cup of tea and a new House and Home magazine to browse through what is new in the world of design. However my passion only really took shape when my husband and I bought our house.
An old farmhouse circa 1878/1912 that needed a lot of TLC. And so my once a month reading sessions became a full on obsession as I bought every magazine I could find, studied every move my idol Sarah Richardson made and broke the bank and bought some full on design books.
I fell in love with design. The thrill of having a project come together after months of work is extremely exhilarating. So while at first my designing work was solely to make my own home a haven I have decided that I had too much fun doing it to stop.
So that's my plan.....to one day become a designer and I thought what better way to get started then show off the work I have done already. Hopefully word will spread and my house will just be the first of many I will get my hands on.