* Thanks for joining me today! I've had SO MANY people ask about our Farmhouse Renovations that I decided I would publish a series of blog posts titled "The Joys (and Woes!) of Farmhouse Living", chronicling our adventures.
Here is Part One - Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel!
If I had a dollar for every time someone gushed “Oh my goodness? You live in an old farmhouse? I’ve always dreaming of renovating a farmhouse!”, I would be wealthy woman. Ha!
I can’t quite figure out what it is… seems like everyone these days gets all starry-eyed when they imagine a farmhouse renovation.
Blame it on HGTV. Blame it on “Fixer Upper”. Blame it on home improvement blogs. Blame on the inspiring hardware store advertisements. Who knows!
(Side Note: I’d also be rich if I had a dollar for every time people tell me we remind them of Chip and Joanna Gaines. What?!?!? It makes me laugh! Believe me, they make renovations look way more fun and glamorous!)
Let me tell you, friend. Remodeling can be fun. It can be rewarding. It can be an adventure...
But also... it can be hard and depressing and stressful and exhausting.
When someone tells me they’ve always dreamed of renovating a farmhouse, I laugh and tell them I imagine a renovation would be fun if you had:
- Unlimited Time
- Unlimited Resources
- Unlimited Money
Unfortunately, we've never had any of those things. Ha!
Start at the Beginning
Before we dive into the story of our farmhouse renovations, I want to share a few things to set the stage.
In 2009, while we were living in the suburbs, I had a vision of us living on a farm, surrounded by people laughing and talking in a huge garden. God put it in my heart that this was our next step, so guided by this vision, we began looking for the farm in my vision.
When we pulled up in the driveway for the first time, I KNEW this was where we belonged. I couldn’t even put it into words. You guys, I didn’t even like the house! Yet, I knew deep inside this was the place. This was the farm in the vision.
The place needed MAJOR work. The previous owners of the house had lived here since the 1940’s. That was also the last time any major renovations had been made. Our house was built sometime in the 1880's but we think the kitchen was added on in the 20's or 30's.
When we purchased the house in 2010, the sellers were shocked we were actually going to LIVE here. They were certain whoever purchased the property would bulldoze the house and build a new house.
We had managed to sell our previous home in 2010, but at a massive loss (during the major housing slump), so were completely broke and living tight on one income. Affording food was our main priority.
When we decided to look for a new home, we declared we did NOT want another fixer upper (since we had just lost our shirt on our last fixer upper). Huh. Somehow we ended up buying a house that people thought should be bulldozed. [ Insert maniacal laugh here]
Long story short, we bought the farm, we were broke and we had SO MANY renovations to do. For about 3 years, we left most of the house as is, until we could afford to renovate.
Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel
Honestly, the only thing I LIKED about this house was the kitchen. While it was nothing to brag about, it WAS huge and had tons of storage space.
For me, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and as a Homesteader, Gardener, Farmer, and Real Foodie, I spend a ridiculous amount of time in the kitchen.
I’m always cooking, baking, preserving, chopping, cleaning. ALL DAY LONG. Thankfully, the kitchen is also my favorite place in our house. It’s the hub of all activity and when friends come over, we all naturally congregate there.
Here is what the kitchen looked like when we bought the house:
Yup. Most people would have run away screaming (and we almost did), but we could see potential.
We lived with the kitchen like this for a few years until we saved up enough money to make improvements.
- Remove carpet and refinish floor. After pulling up carpet and 2 layers of linoleum, we spent a summer scraping gunk off old floorboards and sanding them smooth. The floor is not great. The cracks between the boards are so wide you can look into the basement and you can see the outline of where there was once a wood-burning stove (and lots of burn marks on the floor), but it was an inexpensive fix. We like the character of the floor and discovered that rugs can cover a multitude of problems :)
- Dishwasher and Kitchen Island. For 3 years, I had been cooking EVERYTHING from scratch because money was so tight. As you know, cooking from scratch = heaps upon heaps of dishes. I would easily spend 2+ hours a day just washing and putting away dishes. My husband built me a kitchen island and installed the new dishwasher in the island. I literally cried big messy tears of joy and relief...and still say a prayer of thankfulness every time I run a load of dishes!
- New window over the sink with a lower sill. I was too short to see out of the old window. Now I could watch the kids play in the backyard while making dinner.
- Remove upper cabinet doors and paint inside. We decided to keep all the cabinets intact to save money. A few coats of paint can do wonders.
- Remove the peninsula on the side of the stove.
- New Counter Tops. After pricing several options (and not being to afford any of them! HA!), we decided to go with unfinished wood flooring for the counters. We had experimented with wood flooring on the kitchen island and liked it. We bought the cheapest, roughest flooring we could find (we liked the irregularities), sanded it down like crazy, filled the cracks and sealed it with several coats of water-based polyurethane.
- New Sink. Oh how I love this sink!!! I'd dreamed about a farmhouse sink, but after months of searching, we admitted we simply couldn't afford one and ended up buying a boring sink. About a week later, my husband and I were at IKEA and spotted this sink... and it was the same price as the cheap one we had bought at the hardware store! It was perfect. We returned the other one (thank goodness we hadn't installed it yet!) and installed this beauty. LOOK! It's big enough for a large canning pot and can hold a bushel of produce to be washed.
These renovations took us the entire summers of 2012 and 2013. Whew! We were also building a huge garden, a greenhouse, raising goats, pigs, chickens, and doing a million other homesteading projects at the same time. It was CRAZY.
In 2014, we finished the job, which involved:
- Massive amounts of white paint.
- Installing a bead board back splash.
- Using floor trim to "frame in" and dress up the cabinet fronts. All of the cabinets are original - we just made them look fancier.
- Adding a hood vent over the stove (much needed with all the canning I do!). Yay for cheap Craigslist finds!
- Fresh and cheery yellow paint on the walls.
- New lighting
- New shelves surrounding the sink
- New pantry door
- Did I mention lots of white paint?!?
I even found this cute cabinet to hold eggs, bread and fruit. Thank goodness for our "Egg Cabinet" because in the spring/summer, we have so many eggs and no room in the fridge (farm-fresh unwashed eggs are perfectly safe at room temperature for about 1-2 weeks).
So there you have it, folks! Our farmhouse kitchen is never officially "done" but it's "done enough" for now and completely functional, which is all we need.
In the spirit of true disclosure, I'll leave you with a photo of what our kitchen normally looks like on an average day.
Don't you get fed up with the photos in magazines/blogs sometimes? It never looks like people live there! Seriously, it's so unrealistic!
Here is our real life. I bet it looks a bit like yours. ;)
Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into our life on Three Acre Farm.
I have many more renovations and transformations to share with you, so stay tuned!