- Lay it out on paper. Sketch. Sketch. And sketch some more. Using grid paper will help to keep your floor plans to scale. When sketching out our floor plan for the farmhouse, I always had a rule of thumb that every line of a square on the grid paper was 2′. Once you start drawing, things begin falling into place. I spent countless evenings drawing to get our floor plan just how we wanted it. It took a lot of thought and maneuvering around existing structures.
- Establish your must haves in a house. For us, a master suite, a designated entry way, a kitchen island, an open floor plan, and a covered deck were important to us. Once you get your wants placed, the rest starts to fit in like a puzzle.
- Invite over the person drawing up your blue prints. Ours was very helpful in letting us know where low bearing walls were. He also gave us confidence in some of our more drastic reconstruction ideas and was realistic on how much a renovation like this would cost us.
- Establish a budget. When we had our blueprints drawn up, we included everything we could ever want this farmhouse to have. We then sent the blueprints out to our different contractors to get bids. Once we tallied up the total project cost, we were able to see how on track we were budget wise. We were $20k over budget so then we cut back in a few different ways. We nixed a dormer that we wanted situated on the roof above the front door, we opted for double hung standard windows instead of a large bay window that was set to go in our master bedroom, and we cut off a 2×14′ section on the new addition which shrunk our kitchen by 2′.
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Our most dramatic reconfigurations:
Moving the stairs going both up & downstairs. They weren’t stacked on top of each other and took up a lot of space making it hard to build an open floor plan around. We moved them to the east wall of the house and stacked them on top of eachother to save us a good amount of space.
Tearing out 2/3 of the upstairs to make our future “great room” feel like a great BIG room. We had no use for the layout of a large section of the upstairs. Saving just enough of the 2nd story for a small loft and 2 bedrooms was ideal. We now have 20′ ceilings in our family/living area which gives the farmhouse a definite WOW factor.
Taking part of the garage and transitioning it over to be part of our home. An existing detached 3 car garage and office/storage area was there when we purchased this acreage back in January 2016. There was a 14×30′ section between the house and the garage. It was a no brainer to build an addition to connect the two. Making the office/storage area of the garage part of our home took some brainstorming from our drafter. His biggest hurdle was making enough head room because of elevation of the garage and the house. He made it happen and now this space is redesigned to be the laundry/mudroom, 1/2 bath, and my office.
Late June 2016
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Many people ask if we would do this again… Most likely not to the extent that we did to this farmhouse. If the timing and location were right to do another more manageable fixer upper though, we would likely be up for the job. This is number three for us. Our first house was a 1970’s outdated ranch-style home that we did a quick 3 month flip to, the second was a new construction investment property, and now our third is the 35th Ave farmhouse… All in our childbearing years. Yikes, time sure flies!
I would love to hear from you if you found any of these tips helpful!
From The Founder,