A major farmhouse reno at my childhood farm – Part 2

This story is a continuation of A bikeride to my land with a new partner

In a nutshell, my son and I had gone on an unexpected VERY long bike ride, and my heart pined to cruise past my childhood farm. But I was hesitant to see it for a multitude of reasons.

When we ended up heading in that direction, I was excited but nervous… then ended up absolutely stunned at what I saw…

Here’s part 2… starting with a little back story.

deconstructed door, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net
I’m pretty sure everyone knows the risks of visiting a home you once lived in… after the fact.

I grew up on a 40 acre dairy farm, with the typical rambling old farmhouse, and red barn out back.

(you can see a slideshow video of the farm in THIS post)

When we lived there, it was well cared for. Mom’s days were spent in the massive yard. She was so proud of her flowering trees and massive vegetable garden. And of course, Dad was outdoors, either milking the cows or tending the fields.

Our farm was far from perfect, but it was kept up. When the barn and house both needed paint, mom made sure they were both done at the same time so everything looked nice.

After mom left the farm after dad’s passing, things changed drastically. Strange, rickety structures were propped up for small livestock all over the once beautiful field we called our main lawn, trees were left to grow scraggly or dead, and windows were patched when broken. Never repaired. You get the idea.

I use to drive by periodically, and would always prepare to wince. It was horrible. Things deteriorated so badly, I avoided going down the road at one point. Heart wrenching does not even come close. The last time I drove by, my eyes stung as I silently said good-bye to a once beautiful life on that property. It was time to just stop the agony.

Over time, curiosity got the best of me, and I challenged myself to drive by the place one more time. Out of morbid curiosity I suppose.

Fully prepared to be devastated once again, that’s not quite what happened. 

I stopped the truck on the side of the road, and had to get out. Met with ear deafening countryside silence, I peered around the yard. Bright sunlight was streaming down all the debris as if to say, something BIG was going down. Glad to have you back… because you need to see this.

And this is what I saw.

farmhouse windows, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net
farmhouse porch, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net
farmhouse porch, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net

farmhouse porch, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net

original stone pillars, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net


strapping removed, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net

stone siding removed, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net
All the massive trees were ripped out of the yard, with huge trenches dug. Chunks of the farmhouse were being pounded off. There were huge piles of debris everywhere you looked.

After my initial shock, I tried to figure out the plan of action. Were they tearing everything down and starting over? That would be a shame. It was such a beautiful farmhouse structure. Even with my emotion removed. Truly. 

And that’s when someone approached me from the yard. He apparently rented there, and told me the new owner was doing a total revamp.

With a hopeful heart, I gasped, “Will the house stay then?”

And his reply, “Oh yeah… in a way you won’t believe.”

It was not only staying, it was going to be enhanced in a big way. 

And that’s when I had to poke my head into the house and see what stage it was in.

And all I could say was, WOA.

a complete gutting, right down to the studs, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net
My parent’s bedroom.

a complete gutting, right down to the studs, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net
The living room entry with those big sliding storm doors in the interior gap.

a complete gutting, right down to the studs, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net

And the front living room, right behind the porch.

See that window with the 3 panes? That use to resemble tropical Maui, my mom’s beloved plant window.

The little window on the left? Every Christmas my mom propped up her wooden camels along the sill.

So anyway… yeah. Wow. 

Talk about a renovation! Everything was gutted and ripped right down to the studs!

Honestly? I was just beside myself that they went to this extent to save the house!

But why? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just start over rather than repairing everything?

the red barn, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net
And that’s when the fella offered me a tour of the barn area.

Oh my heart… yes please!

chippy red barn paint, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net
chippy red barn paint, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net
chippy blue and aqua barn door, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net
It was obvious the new owners had cleaned up some, but it was still so bad in some areas, I’m not even going to post those pictures out of respect.

But the good news… inside the barn were piles of original hardwood floor from the house (I didn’t even know we had… we had it covered with apparently 4 layers of lino)

When I asked if I could have a sample as a memory, he offered me a few pieces. I was thrilled!

After we left, I had been mildly curious where things were headed with the farm. 

And then we biked by that one fateful day…

When we approached, there were some VERY BIG improvements. My eyes grew wide with amazement once I spotted their visualization of what the place could be.

And this is what I saw.

new porch wood pillars, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net
Would you look at those beams?!

new windows, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net
That’s my bedroom window! But now it has all new windows.

Piles of debris cleaned up. 

And a new massive addition attached to the exterior of the house.

I did say MASSIVE.

What? But why?

Because… get ready for this.

curved ceiling framework, part of a major farmhouse reno / funkyjunkinteriors.net
THE ENTIRE FARMHOUSE AS IT WAS, IS GOING TO BE ONE BIG BEDROOM.

Say what?!

Yep. The new owners happened to be chatting in the yard when my son and I pulled up with our bikes. I felt I’d better say something as I was kinda staring at their house!

That’s when they invited me for a tour. And gave me permission to post all these pictures.

The entire farmhouse will be the master bedroom plus, and the extension will be for the rest of the family. How profound is that? And look at that ceiling height. That is amazing!

And that’s when I asked the owners…

“Why did you go to THIS extent to save the farmhouse?”

“Houses aren’t built like this today. This structure is something you just can’t get brand new. It’s worth it!”

Goodness…

And talk about gracious or what.

Talk about what a way to revamp an old memory.

Talk about I couldn’t think of a better ending for this house!

I didn’t take a tour of the new partition because we were tight for time. Maybe one day. But in all honestly, it’s the farmhouse part that had my heart, and let me tell you, it filled up to the top that day.

As we peddled home, it was as if I had just received news that a sick friend was getting well again. It was neat, but still sad in a funny kind of way. I guess I’m still internalizing a final goodbye. I’m not even sure that’s possible. My heart and soul lie on that land and always will.

All I know is, the pull is fierce to be back in that area again. So as time moves on, I’ll see what that pull actually means, because honestly, I have no idea.

And while I don’t wish to invade the privacy of these wonderful folks, if they’d let me take a few pics again before they moved in, you can bet I will. I’d better hop on that bike soon! 🙂

And in other good news, this farmhouse renovation has inspired me to ‘finish’ my own home in areas I’ve been avoiding. I called for two quotes today, for planked ceilings, and to finish the shower surround in the master farmhouse bathroom. A little at a time… and on we go.

What those folks did to that house? I need to do to this one. Finish it right, and make it amazing.

All I know is, I’m so happy I can cruise by a soon to be BEAUTIFUL childhood farmhouse property. You just have no idea what this story means to me. I’m so grateful the owners allowed this story to publish. That house… that’s my old, amazing wonderful world in some pretty great hands.

And what transpires next, your guess is as good as mine.

Part 3 to come… I’m pretty sure. 🙂

– – – – –

Part 1 – A bikeride to my land and a new partner

Visit more bike riding adventures HERE

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  1. Very cool, Donna, and such an ambitious undertaking those folks got into! I don’t even like to go to the old neighborhood where I grew up, it is so terribly sad. My grade school is gone, our church is no longer with resident priests (imagine that!), and our home is in shambles. My parents must be turning over in their graves.
    I was curious about how your son reacted through it all and afterward, both the sites of your home place and the ride itself?
    Rita

  2. Wow, what an amazing story, I am so glad your childhood farmhouse has fallen into some kind hands and they are doing right by that beautiful home and that BARN, I can’t wait to see that barn all done and proud again! I adore what you said,”the pull is fierce to be back in that area again. So as time moves on, I’ll see what that pull actually means, because honestly, I have no idea.” Following that pull is so amazing even when you have no idea where it will go, thanks for sharing.

  3. I am so happy for you.. How wonderful that these people are showing the house some love. Great that they love wood also. Maybe you should be looking for more land? Your body is calling you back to the land.

  4. All I can say is WOW! That is going to be one incredible master bedroom! I’m so glad they’re keeping the old farmhouse that you grew up in. My sister and her family live in the old farmhouse that I and my dad grew up in. My mom moved into town after my dad passed away more than 20 years ago. I love that we can still have family living in the house. Can’t wait for part 3!

  5. Donna, that’s so heartwarming. Several years ago, I made that mistake and visited my family summer home back in the Czech Republic and broke my heart over it, so I know how that could have gone for you. I’m so glad that your family’s legacy is being lived with and so carefully renovated.

  6. What a heartwarming story! I hate to see old, beautifully made, architecturally solid homes razed to build something much less aesthetic. What a blessing for you that someone has come along that loves the property so much that they are resurrecting the structure and adding to it! How wonderful. Thanks for your post, it made my heart glad.

  7. I finally took the time to read both Part 1 and 2. WOW! I’m stunned. I can just imagine what you’re going through. I have only been down that road a few times since we’ve left there. Too many changes for me to handle. I ssooo would like to do a tour of the house when it’s finished. Let me know when you do it and if I’m in town maybe I’ll tag along? Then we can reminisce about the good ole days. 🙂

  8. I’m so excited to see the next piece of this story. The first piece really filled me with anticipations…no wonder you were so overcome!

    I understand the mixed feelings very well though and I love how you’re letting this inspire you to do more at your own home. Sharing your story here & through our new ‘Crap to clean’ page is inspiring so many more of us to do the same! 🙂 I can’t wait to see what comes next.

  9. *tears* I think we’d all love to see such love and care taken with our childhood homes…I know I would be overjoyed to see the little dollhouse out in the boonies where I lived given such an amazing revamp!

    OMG…I can’t even imagine a master bedroom that huge…now THAT is drool-worthy! I can hardly wait to see Part III…I’m sure if the owners have been gracious enough to oblige you this far into it, they’d want you to document the final stage!

    I am sooooooo happy for you, Donna…now your heart has no need to be ashamed to stay at your childhood home anymore and you can revisit it as often as you want without the experience chipping away at your beautiful memories!

  10. What a beautiful story…..I TOTALLY get the significance of the farm to you. My childhood farmhouse is still standing though all the surrounding property is filled with houses. It amazes me that mine is still there among all the new modern homes. It does my heart good whenever I’m home and get to drive by it.
    I think God may be up to something in your life yet to be revealed. Those strong “pullls or desires” are for a reason. Just keep listening to His whispers! It truly will be an amazing home and I so hope you get to post pictures of the end product!!!!!

  11. This is a wonderful story Donna! When I started reading I was afraid it wasn’t going to be good. I’m so happy for you! Can’t wait to see the progress!

  12. Donna,
    I think there are many of us that have a growing-up home and sentiments like yours, I know I do. I’m happy for you to have ‘revamped memories’ now, and maybe more in the future!?! Thanks for sharing.
    Kari-Anne

  13. Donna, I’m so happy for you. It is hard to go by a treasured memory and see it deteriorate. We have photos of my husband’s Great-grandparents’ wood log cabin, where his mom grew up on a farm. Sadly, each time we drove by it was leaning a little further, and sagging more here. While cared for and used as an out building the structure from the 1870’s wasn’t going to make it.

    Wehn it was finally gone, she can look at the pictures and smiles as her memories are intact, now and not disintergrating. Such a joy this must be for you!

    Grins, have a great week. Sandi

  14. Living in a very old house myself, I know that I love seeing old photos of how it was many years ago. I bet if you made up a scrapbook of old photos of the barn, house and fields, and offered it as a gift, you’d get another tour.

  15. Donna, I am just sooooo glad your story has a happy ending!!! And hopefully the new owners will be proud to share the new inside….maybe in exchange for receiving copies of some of your old photos to provide a history for their new home!!

  16. Going back is always a shock. I went back to a home I lived in as a grade schooler. About 50 yrs ago. I remembered it as bigger home. I knocked on the door. And said “Excuse me I once lived here”. Before I could say more the lady said “You must be Carrie. I bought the home from your parents. Come in”. I asked “How do you know my name?” ( I came from a family of 6 children). She said “I knew you would be the one to come back. I cannot turn a shovel full of dirt over, without finding your notes and toys”. She brought out a box. As I read the notes , it all came back to me. We lived on a inlet to the ocean. I believed at age 6 or 7yrs old , Pirates would someday come get my toys. So the notes warned the Pirates to leave these toys alone. Or what I would do.
    She and I had a lot of laughs over a little persons imagination .

    • This is the greatest story EVER! I love that you left buried treasure everywhere in the yard… it must be like a precious treasure hunt when they garden. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!

  17. Oh, what a wonderful tribute to your Mom and Dad. How great that the place is being restored, instead of torn down. Now, it will be exciting to drive by and see the great transformation!

    My parents house is having little renovations done but the yard which was Mom’s pride and joy, was completely destroyed. Over 50 years of hard work wiped out. All the trees and flowers, gone. How ironic that I left the perennials in place, instead of digging them up and taking them home because I wanted it to be nice for the new owners.
    I guess I should be happy that at least the house wasn’t wrecked too.

    Lori

  18. Awww Donna – What a beautiful story. What a lovely way to find your childhood home. I know that feeling when you want to ride by a previously loved house, but don’t want to because the new owners haven’t taken care of it. I try to avoid my previous house for that same reason. You think about all the wonderful memories and it saddens the heart when you see the home in disrepair. Your story does have a wonderful ending! And I suspect you will have made some new friends in the process. I bet the new homeowners loved to hear your memories that were attached to their house. It takes a special kind of people to love a property so much that they want to restore it and make it better which means they respect the history it has and the people who lived there. Can’t wait to see it finished!

  19. So glad it had a happy ending for you and hope to see more pictures to see what they have done with something that means so much.Love your blog and all you do.

  20. Sweet memories of your childhood. Thank you for sharing your story and what joy to see your old home place being restored.