Farmhouse renovation realities happen all the time here at Sunny Side Up. Deep inside, I’d like to think we’re the unknown stars of a northwest Ohio version of Fixer Upper. However, it’s more likely we’re the candid camera victims of an episode of Renovation Realities. Or even Dirty Jobs, for that matter.
Many a time, I help Matt do things I don’t necessarily want to do. Like, say, moving heavy pieces of plywood from point a to point b for him to cut. Or, I put on my brave face to toss bat crap covered pieces of cardboard we found in the barn loft into a dumpster. Or relinquish space in our house to stack things until they’re ready to install, like when we redid our plantation shutters.
We’ve lived in our farmhouse fixer-upper for three years and we’ve rented three dumpsters so far! This latest one is filling up with old drywall pieces and popcorn ceiling remnants from our living room.
A little over three years ago, we purchased our “little farmhouse that could”. And, indeed, we had to make some adjustments to our expectations. A lot of people think an old farmhouse with a few acres of property sounds idyllic. And on a hot summer day when the view is dazzling, peaceful, and colorful, it is.
But our farmhouse renovation realities also involve a lot of work. Here are a few things we have learned so far in the process.
There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Project
Every time we work on a renovation project, we’re squaring our shoulders preparing for battle. We had fun ripping out the old cabinetry and installing the shiplap when we did our upstairs bathroom remodel. But the plumbing involved a big learning curve and a setback near the completion of the project. It took a lot longer than we thought it would, but the payoff was worth the punches we rolled with.
We Have To Spend Money On Unpretty Things
Farmhouses may come with lots of charm. However, they also come with a lot of things that need to be done to keep the property looking nice. Those things, like putting on a fresh layer of driveway stone, fixing fences, and buying riding mowers, eat up our budget for things that are infinitely more fun. And they always cost more than we think. It’s just a fact of renovation life.
For example, we moved in during the month of November. As soon as we got our first baseboard heating bill, we decided to put in HVAC. There was no way we were going to shell out five hundred dollars a month for ineffective heating. It wasn’t worth freezing through winter for the sake of charm or grit. Turns out, though, that our fieldstone foundation was so thick the vents had to be positioned eighteen inches from the walls. The company we hired to install it said it was one of the toughest jobs they’ve ever had. But hey, at least we’re warm now when that northwest Ohio winter wind blows through. And, we can legitimately rest easy knowing we can survive the Zombie Apocalypse. This house isn’t going anywhere!
We Have To Plan Our Free Time
Matt and I both have full-time jobs, on top of working on our farmhouse renovation projects. In addition, I teach a few classes at a local gym. We’re both early risers and go-getters. In a perfect world, we’d have a few goats and mini cows. But, for now, a large garden, 2 beehives, and chickens is our max capacity for what’s on our plates. One of our biggest learning curves with our farmhouse was biting off more than we could chew. It sounds great in your head to have this cute little homestead with animals and land and gardens and chickens. But every new thing you add on requires more time, and there are only so many hours in a day. We’ve learned to respect our limits. And that helps us enjoy what we’re doing instead of letting it stress us out.
The Joys Of Our Farmhouse Renovation Realties
Despite the fact that every renovation project involves the unknown, I would take our floors that need to be leveled and ceiling angles that aren’t quite square any day. Our projects take a long time to complete since we’re doing them on our own, but we’re learning so much in the process, and we’re having fun.
We’re enjoying the process of not rushing. And, when we stumble upon unexpected setbacks, we’re still able to laugh about them. When we finish a project, we can enjoy the fruit of our labors and the gratification of knowing we did it ourselves.
Also, because I’m so busy doing things that give me true joy, like canning and gardening, I’ve saved a lot of money not buying “stuff” the way I used to. I’m infinitely happier living with less in a smaller house, and I’ve embraced the simple joys of digging in the garden, noticing the patterns of nature, and gathering eggs.
Our little farmhouse that could is slowly becoming our dream home, regardless of our farmhouse renovation realities. We’ve never regretted our decision, and we’re loving every crazy minute.