House Renovation Update

As many of you know, we are deep into renovating and restoring the farmhouse built in 1902.  This farmhouse sits on the edge of M22 and we are only the 2nd owners in its history, the first owners being those who built and farmsteaded it.  Originally the house was tiny--only the 4 sided building that is currently the living room--no kitchen, no bathroom, just 4 walls.  Over time, of course, the family grew and added on and today we have still a fairly small house, but now with 1 bathroom, a kitchen and 2 upstairs bedrooms (though really one of the bedrooms is so tiny it's a shame to call it a bedroom.  There is about 0 closet space and while it is built on a solid foundation, the basement is not something we want to or plan to renovate and finish.

Honestly, the idea of having a pretty small and simple structure appeals to us quite a bit. This doesn't need to be a full-time home, at least right now, so maintaining the original structure and simplicity is pretty easy to do, and important as well.  Ian and I are both sort of exhausted by huge, giant Lake Michigan homes, without any charm or personality, so while our agent originally told us to tear the house down and build new, we are pretty excited about renovating and bringing the original house into the 21st century.

We have lots of ideas and hopes for what the home will eventually become, but the first step, before anything else, is gutting it.  We started this process a couple months ago, slowly, but now that we are up in the North full time for a few weeks, we've really been able to sink our hands into the house and start to get to it's base--below are some before and after pictures of the kitchen/living room and main floor bedroom:

This is the living room prior to gutting--the curtains, carpet and couch were a thoughtful leftover from the previous owner (sarcasm).  You can see that the wood paneling on the left is starting to be torn away and obviously 1 of the 3 (!!!) drop ceilings has been removed. 

This is the living room prior to gutting--the curtains, carpet and couch were a thoughtful leftover from the previous owner (sarcasm).  You can see that the wood paneling on the left is starting to be torn away and obviously 1 of the 3 (!!!) drop ceilings has been removed. 

Again, after partial gutting--1 of the 3 layers of linoleum is up (the blue layer is the layer that was present when we purchased), with the hardwood floor underneath.  You can also see that the wallpaper along the boards on the top is just beautiful. 

Again, after partial gutting--1 of the 3 layers of linoleum is up (the blue layer is the layer that was present when we purchased), with the hardwood floor underneath.  You can also see that the wallpaper along the boards on the top is just beautiful. 

As you can see, this is the main living/kitchen area about 1/2 way through the gutting--we managed to get all the wall panels out and the blue lino off the floor.  The green lino is not coming up--it's glued down tight and just simply isn't budging--so we're trying to figure out if we should just lay a new wood floor on top of the lino or pull it all up down to the sub floor.  We'll probably do the latter.  On the far right of the picture you can see what was the original farmhouse wall of wood--we're hoping to leave that as is since it's pretty cool. It has has newspapers on it dating back to 1896.  In the front of the picture, near the walls of the house, we found several shoes in the wall--children's and lady's shoes, but so far no bags of money or gold dabloons.  Be damned.

These above shots are of what used to be the second bedroom on the downstairs level.  Now, before you start to think "Oooh, well, that's after they started renovating it", let me emphasize that this bedroom is photograhed AS IS and how it was being USED--plaster on the ceiling falling off in chunks and horrifyingly stained wallpaper. We started calling it the "Murder Room" because we could literally make no sense out of what was going on here.  

This is the wall separating the Murder Room from the main living room.  But, it's GONE now! We wanted to open up the space to be one big area and we'll likely remove the studs and keep just a beam in the middle of the room to give it lots of space. 

While pulling out the boards of the Murder Room and cleaning up the plaster, Ian also tacked the "closet" which was an opening that had been plastered under the stairway--it was in just as good a shape as the room itself, so he jumped in to tear it all out.  Now we have a nice, wide opening under the stairs (which will likely need to be rebuilt so that they aren't so terrifyingly steep, and I think putting a little cozy built in single bed right there might be perfect--or maybe a bookshelf. But a built in bed seems so much more fun. 

Below you can see the living room once alllll the ceilings are out and the exposed rafters! We are definitely planning to leave the rafters exposed (though probably paint them white), and I love how rustic that looks. As you can see, we're down to the lathe and will likely dry wall over the lathe in most places, although there are a few spots where exposed lathe might actually be sort of cool.  Along the right of the photo) we'll probably change up the windows since that looks out over M22 and we want to orient the house towards the filed in the back.  Also, check out that gorgeous hardwood floor!! Eeeeeh! Squeals of excitement!

This is the front corner of the house, where that beautiful wood paneling used to reside--you can see now it is just lathe and hardwood floors.  We have more lathe than we would ever know what to do with, so what we aren't pulling off (and burning in a nightly bonfire), we are leaving up for now and likely drywalling over in a few weeks.

So there you have it, the first steps of the farmhouse renovation! We've really been enjoying this process (ok, maybe me more than Ian since I'm not working nearly as hard as he is) and we hope that by the end of the summer there are lots of big changes to show you!