recipe for a farmhouse

My husband and I bought a very sad and neglected farm a couple of years ago. Not for any particular reason other than we are bonkers! Our three girls had just left home so we decided that we needed a project… We own a heritage home in the city but always wanted a summer place on the river away from the summer fog!

The property was part of a Loyalist land grant of 20,000 acres made to General Thomas Gage in 1765. Our particular piece of the grant is 200 acres. The original farm-house burned to the ground around the turn of the century. The current house was built in 1904. It is a simple 2 story wooden farm-house built on the original granite foundation.

As with any renovation of an older property, it is always a mystery as to what lies ahead. Our farmhouse was no exception!

We started by removing wall paper so that we could see what condition the plaster walls were in…

Mom and I spent the better part of a month, working our way from room to room discovering walls that were in terrible condition.

Mom giving me instructions!

At the end of the first month, we had concluded that we would have to completely gut the kitchen and bathroom. We would also have to remove all of the plaster on the exterior walls because we did not have a drop of insulation. We kept all of the original mouldings and doors and stored them until the walls and floors were re-done. We insulated the attic. All of the windows were replaced with new vinyl which I was not happy about…you pick your battles! Basically, we rebuilt the old house.

And so it began… Anything that could be reused was given to whomever wanted it.

Our master bedroom with new closets and window seat

This is the door that leads to our master bedroom which we called the “hobbit” door…it became our coffee table. You can also see where we installed the new insulation.

The shed doors were crooked and rotten.

Part of the back shed had only a dirt floor which made a happy highway for mice.

Uncle George removing all of the rotten shingles… By this time, we felt that we should have torn the old place down and just built from scratch!

Then the windows arrived and our spirits brightened…the view from inside the house was now spectacular! From this day onward, we saw huge leaps forward.

New floor boards were laid in the front room where there had been a wall dividing the space into 2 small rooms.

We really got excited when our carpenter started the veranda.

The veranda looked as though it should have always been there.

I was starting to dream about sitting on our new verhanda, staring at the river and sipping a cup of coffee…sigh.

The back shed with new doors, windows and siding. My Dad leveled the shed and installed the new floor.

At the same time that the outside was coming together the inside was also taking shape!

This is the only hardwood in the house. Our floor guy Mike told us this would be the last time the floor could be sanded…

The original pine floors brought back to life.

We agonized over the color of the stain. Once it started going on, we were glad we did! The color is perfect for our family.

Dad had started hauling loads of top soil to change the grade of the front lawn. It ended up taking hundreds of tractor buckets to finish the job.

Afternoon Spring sunlight…

We love our new farmhouse!

I wanted to share the story of our renovation with you, because in a couple of weeks, this is where I will be cooking for the next few months.

Hope you will join me…

Thanks for reading!

  • Colin

    Whole lot of hard work and a lotta love went into that restoration. Sure the vinyl windows was agonizing but the result is wonderful. Congrats to you all!!

    • Thank you Colin…we really love it!

  • Wendy & Bill Hanson

    Absolutely beautiful ! You are to be commended for a job so tastefully done. Your insight & compassion for this project is an inspiration. We love the color you chose, as well as the interior appointments.

    I hope you put as much effort into the “Barn Restoration”, including several antique automobiles. HaHa.

    • Thank you for your kind comments! I may be looking for a little guidance when it comes to the barn.

  • Heidi Eaton

    Love it! It is just beautiful. The color is perfect…same as my house :). Happy and sunny. Can we see the view of the water?

    • Thanks Heidi! You can see the water…I’ll try to include pics in a later post…

  • Kaitie

    You are crazy but it seems to always turn out wonderful!

  • If only General Gage could see it now! Great job and many hours now to enjoy all that you guys went through to get it to the finished state.

    • Thanks Heather! It would be fun to know what he thinks…

  • That is a beautiful house. The best thing about it is that you saved the main structure and history. I love the pine floors.

    • I love the floors too! I think about how many people have walked across them…

  • Nathalie Godbout

    More than a little piece of heaven… couldn’t have happened to two nicer people!

  • Judy

    Just spectacular Michelle!!

    • Thank you Judy…it really is lovely!

  • That is just lovely. It is something I’ve always wanted to do as well. Still got a few years though before my girls are gone and I’ll be in need of a project. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you Penny. We had a great time and it was ‘indeed’ a project!

  • Dee Stubbs-Lee

    Nice job, Michelle! Not for the timid, for sure. We’re now at about week 18 of our little kitchen renovation. Old houses are never simple to fix. It has been a character building experience! Enjoying your blog — happy cooking!

    • We can’t wait to see the finished job at your place. Thanks for reading!

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