15 Year House Anniversary, Part 2

kitchen cupboards

Have you heard of restless leg syndrome? Well, I think I’ve got a case of restless house syndrome ailing me. So my self-medication is to remind myself of all the projects we’ve done over the last 15 years on this Fake Farmhouse!

So I will convince myself that this old house is “So Close To Amazing”, which happens to be the name of a new book coming out in September by KariAnne Wood of Thistlewood Farms. {See “Our Home’s 15 Year Anniversary: “So Close To Amazing” for move-in day pics and info on the book that’s inspiring this post.}

I’d love to tell you that we just jumped right into remodeling the kitchen, after you were horrified by the 1960’s decor in my previous post. Mr. Fix-it looked at those old photos and had buyer’s remorse. Have you ever heard of buyer’s remorse striking 15 years after a home purchase??

Nope. Acting as the sacrificial parents, we started with redecorating the kid’s rooms. (Because everyone knows once you have kids, your desires come after theirs!) We tore up yucky carpet, painted the walls and replaced the flimsy 60’s trim with farmhouse inspired moldings. These projects were just the warm-up for what this old house really needed.

kitchen windows

We lived with the gold linoleum and the orange-stained cupboards for awhile. I even got pretty well trained with not being able to use the water when the dishwasher was hooked up to the sink. But we upgraded the harvest gold stove and frig for stainless, because the harvest gold appliances were not meeting the modern expectations of a bustling family! The combination of stainless steel in a 60’s setting is not a designer look…but it all functioned well for awhile.

Bathroom mirror

We knew the kitchen needed a re-do and we “needed” a main floor bathroom, so we’d talk over possible floor plans to create the flow that seemed best.

One Saturday morning over pancakes (and probably too much coffee), we were debating as to whether our brick backsplash was real brick or fake. Mr. Fix-it got out a putty knife and popped one off…

By the end of that Saturday, the wall separating our kitchen and a dead-end “den” was gone…and our children had learned how much fun it was to break down a plaster wall with a hammer!

white beadboard

Despite Mr. Fix-it always wanting a very detailed, well-budgeted plan before beginning any house remodeling, it seems all our projects begin this way…they just kind of happen.

farmhouse sink

While Mr. Fix-it and the kids ripped into the kitchen walls, I read every kitchen magazine I could find and started debating over the floor plan. We shortened cupboards and pulled them away from the walls so we could still use them and have counter space and a functioning kitchen amidst all the chaos. I was never without running water for more than a day, which is a bonus when you are doing the project slowly and by yourself!

Kitchen Pantry

Old houses always contain surprises when walls are opened up and taken down. We found out the end of the kitchen with the beautiful 9 foot expanse of  south-facing windows used to be a side porch, complete with a beadboard ceiling (yes, I am regretting not keeping that). When Mr. Fix-it was checking out the ceiling from the den side one night he exclaimed calmly, “I think we can get 8 more inches out of this ceiling height”. “What??”, the lover of high ceilings yelled.

With such beautiful high, farmhouse ceilings, one needs to make them even more amazing, right?

Schoolhouse pendant

Rise-fall accent light

I found antique-inspired lighting on-line and decided the kitchen needed to be aqua, like the sky. Of course, I was met with the objection that ceilings are white. “Not in Sweden, they’re not”, I replied. “And we’re Swedish”. He is so sorry I aced my Persuasion class in college;)

As I was designing the floor plan and the cupboards, we decided to take out the double inner back door to open up the back entrance. For some reason there was a dumb storage area above the steps to the basement that could only be accessed with a ladder. I had the -seriously brilliant- idea that we could pop through the wall from the kitchen and create a walk in pantry by closing the stairway access. I didn’t have to do any convincing on this idea!

In the pic of the pantry, above, you can see the old exterior house sheathing. We have this cool, old, ship-lap style wood in the back hall and the pantry. The house used to end here, but somewhere in it’s years a stairway to the basement was added and a back porch closed. 100 year old houses have so much history!

kitchen cupboards

Once the walls and ceiling were sheetrocked and painted, we laid the hand-scraped hardwood floor together one weekend when G’ma and G’pa had the kids at the cabin. If you’ve ever wallpapered with your spouse…sheetrocking a high ceiling is much worse…just sayin’.

I designed the cupboards and the floor plan, which slowly developed through the years. The large, baking pantry cupboard, exhaust hood and behind the stove cupboard was built first. Then about a year later we had the sink/kitchen wall built, along with the center island and got the beautiful granite countertops. That was fun after such a long wait! I finally got some antique family doors installed on the cupboard they were built for just recently. {See, “Kitchen Cupboard with Antique Doors”}

kitchen cupboard

Several years later we finally had the big, glass-front bank of cupboards built, which I designed to be similar to an old house’s built-in hutch. I love styling these cupboards through the seasons; lots of fun things, but corralled behind dust-free glass!

Kitchen cupboard

My original plan for this kitchen was for it to be a cross between an old farmhouse and a 1920’s style classic kitchen. I wanted it to be “unfitted”; not long stretches of cabinets like new houses, but lots of ins and outs.

We added 6 double-hung Marvin windows with the kitchen/bathroom remodel, which embraces the beauty of the back part of our property, a tree-lined ravine. I can look out windows while standing at my sink and my stove, and have had a great view of my kiddos playing in the yard and driveway all these years.

I still love the color scheme I chose; the black granite against the taupe cupboards with the green glass handles. Everyone who comes into my kitchen for the first time looks up and comments about the aqua ceiling. One recent grad party bathroom attender exclaimed, “I just need to stand here and take it all in”.

I think my case of “restless house syndrome” is getting a little better. These old houses that we buy with “potential” just take so much out of us, don’t they? I guess that means it’s time to finally enjoy some of the fruits of our labor!

Next week I’ll show you what we did to our master bedroom…oye vay!

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farmhouse sink

Sharing at these lovely parties:

Wow Us Wednesdays

To Grandma’s House We Go

DIY Salvaged Junk Projects

The Painted Hinge

Vintage Charm


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