An Update On Our Farmhouse

Welcome back! 

It’s been exactly 19 months {to the day} since I’ve posted anything here at!


Since I last posted in May of 2011, we’ve started and finished MANY, MANY farmhouse projects… and we now have an almost 13 month old baby girl… Nora!

Since I continue to receive comments and emails related to FarmhouseLove on a very regular basis, I decided I should post one more update!

I’m simply THRILLED that you are so interested in our farmhouse — and if you’d like to stay “in-the-know” about all the fun projects we’re tackling, just follow my other blog, Simple Organized Living.

You can click on the “House and Home” section if you only want to read about farmhouse stuff… but feel free to read the rest of the blog if you’re at all interested in cleaning, organizing, time management, simple recipes, meal planning, etc.

And just because I’m nice, I included a link to some of our bigger projects below. If you love old farmhouses, be prepared to drool!

Thanks again for stopping by!

Love: Dave, Andrea & Nora 

A Farmhouse…Nursery!

Remember the pictures of our guest bedroom I showed you several weeks ago? You know, that UGLY room with four layers of wallpaper, hideous blue carpet, and horrendous mirrored closet doors?

Well, due to an unexpected “change of plans” our guest room will be our new nursery in about 24 weeks 🙂

Yup, I’m 16 weeks pregnant!

You can read more about how we told our families and some of my thoughts over here, but then make sure you come back and check out the ideas I have brewing for our future nursery!

1. The Color Pallet:

I am 100% positive that I will not have large amounts of blue, pink, green, or any other “baby colors”. Instead, I’m planning a super neutral color pallet — probably all whites, off-whites, creams, beiges, browns, etc. {Similar to this gorgeous nursery from A County Farmhouse}

Not only will a neutral nursery mesh seamlessly with my colors for the rest of our house, I also feel like it would just be silly to have a brightly colored or “themed” room in our 120 year old farmhouse — don’t you think?

Our nursery walls will have no wallpaper, no painted murals, no animals {especially not zoo animals}, no characters, no movie or TV show themes, no bright colors, no very “girlish” or “boyish” colors, and NO sponge painting!!

But I promise it will still be warm, inviting, child-friendly, and gorgeous!

2. The Crib:

I already have a Jenny Lind crib for our nursery {it looks exactly like the crib above} — not because we were planning to have a baby now, but because I’ve always wanted a dark stained Jenny Lind crib and I recently found an amazing deal on Craigslist!

I absolutely adore the style of Jenny Lind cribs and have 4 Jenny Lind twin beds for our other guest rooms — can we say “obsessed”!!

I really love this stunning white Jenny Lind crib from Life in the Fun Lane’s Nursery — but I’m positive our dark wood crib will look amazing with white bedding {if not, I can always paint it, right?}!!


3. The “Changing Table”:

I’ve never been a huge fan of  ”changing tables”. I think they are really impractical because you can only use them for a couple of months/years…and then they serve no purpose. So I most definitely plan to use one of the shabby dressers I have and simply put a changing pad on top — like this one from The Farmer Family.

SIDE NOTE: I love the old fashion tricycle too!

4. The Comfy Rocking Chair:

I don’t like the look of glider chairs but traditional wooden rocking chairs just don’t seem like they would be comfortable enough for the amount of hours I’ll be spending in it!

Fortunately, I already know the exact chair I want from Crate and Barrel. It looks just like this chair from Holly Mathis Interiors — plus it rocks and swivels. It is kind of pricey, so I might opt for a much cheaper, non-swivel version from IKEA…who knows!

I do know that it will be slipcovered in white canvas and it will be washable!

5. Curtains:

I will most definitely continue my “all white” theme with floor length white curtains — probably with room-darkening binds underneath. But one thing I know for sure, is that I want really cool curtain rods.

I was initially thinking of using galvanized plumbing pipes, but then I came across these gorgeous “branch” curtain rods over at The Lettered Cottage …and now I’m torn! What do you think?


6. Closet:

This room originally had 2 closets, but we removed one to make our walk-in shower {seriously, the best decision ever!}

So we have one good-size closet left, and I plan to fit several shelves, a small dresser, and at least 1 clothes rod inside. I haven’t found any great pictures of the look I’m going for, but don’t worry, I’ll have plenty of pictures to share once the closet is finished!

7. Accessories:


I most definitely will NOT have a traditional toy box {big shocker there!} Instead, I have a large wooden crate that I plan to distress, whitewash, stencil, and then put caster wheels on the bottom.

It will look similar to these crates from but my crate is a little larger and its has a lid.



Our nursery should have room for a small book shelf, and after seeing many of my friend’s nurseries, I KNOW it will come in handy. It seems that children’s books are a very popular baby gift!



I already have the chandelier I was planning to use in the former “guest room” and I’m still planning to use that light in the nursery. It’s black right now, but I’ll most likely spray paint it white!


OK, so those are my ideas so far…what do you think?

By the way, this is what half our nursery looks like right now!

Yup, we have a long way to go, but I’m confident it will all be finished well before October!


Did I miss anything? What are your “must haves” for a nursery??

It’s Starting to Look Like a Bathroom!

So remember way back when we moved in — our master bathroom looked like this:

And we were NOT super excited about it.

So we tore it apart. All the way down to the studs…which was really the only way to go with this ugly of a bathroom.

And then we had the brilliant idea of knocking out part of the wall to make the bathroom bigger and create room for a walk-in shower.

We were making great progress until we got stalled by the plumber, and then we went on vacataion, and then the plumber was busy again.

So finally, the plumber came, and we soon realized that pretty much ALL our plumbing was messed up, so it took the better part of 2 weeks to get everything squared away {seriously, I’m scared to see that bill!}

However, after the plumber finished, we made rapid progress, and now our bathroom looks like this:


We now have a full 8 foot wall for our new vanity. Plus we’ll have 2 mirrors, 2 sinks, and way more electrical outlets than we did before!

So instead of looking like this:

It will hopefully look like this in a few more weeks {OK, maybe several weeks…but here’s to hoping}

OK, on with the rest of our bathroom progress…

This is what the tub area used to look like:

And this is what it looks like now:

Not only do we have room for a walk-in shower and a toilet area, we also made room for a small linen closet.

And my favorite feature of our new bathroom is the built-in wall heater that’s on a timer and a thermostat so we can have it toasty warm every morning when we wake up!

I also love the pocket door that we’ll be installing. It will give us more room to move around without an annoying door getting in the way.

Oh, and here’s a little peak inside the shower. We don’t have the light hooked up yet, so it’s kind of dark…but you get the picture.


I know it really doesn’t look amazing yet, but if you only knew how many weeks and months it’s taken to come this far, you would be as excited as I am!

We’re still making progress on all the rest of our rooms too, but this is probably the biggest milestone so far. And hopefully I’ll have a few breathtaking  ”after” pictures to show you within the next 4-6 weeks!!

The Walls Keep Coming Down

Things aren’t LOOKING any better around our house… but we are making progress!

One of the things on our very long list of to-do’s was to knock out a few more walls. We’ve already knocked out a few partial walls, but since two of the walls we wanted to take out were load-bearing walls, we just kept putting it off and putting it off {yup, I was procrastinating!}

Wall #1: between the office and the living room.

This WAS the view from the French doors that opened out of our office onto a little deck area {see photo below for doors and deck}. The door on the right went into the hallway and then the hallway went out to the living room. It was a cramped walkway and every time I was in the office, I just felt claustrophobic.

NOTE: The ugly office furniture was left with the house…and is now gone!

So, we decided to cut a 4 ft. opening into the living room and will be closing off that doorway into the hallway.

Doesn’t it seem so much brighter and more open already?

And even on a cloudy, dreary day, look how much light is pouring in through those French doors! Our living room is much brighter now too.

Wall #2: into the hallway.

If you’re looking into our new “hole”, you’ll see another doorway to the left. That’s the doorway into our bedroom wing {2 bedrooms and a bathroom}.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any great “before” pictures — but you can kind of see how small the opening is from the picture below {only about 28 inches, which is WAY too small for a hallway entrance}

Now the opening is almost 40 inches, which makes the hallway seem less cramped — and it will make it much easier to move furniture into our rooms {I’m honestly not sure how they did it before!}

And while it might sound fun to be knocking down walls and “renovating our dream house” — just remember that we’re currently living in the mess below!

Well, to be perfectly honest, we’re actually living upstairs — in the bright purple bedroom and using the neon fish bathroom, so we are a bit removed from all the drywall dust.

But seriously, we’re having company over this weekend and do you even know how dirty my kitchen floor is!!!

A Walk-in Shower!!

It’s been awhile since I posted…but that’s only because we’ve been REAL indecisive lately.

Dave and I keep coming up with new ideas, better ideas, different ideas. We had so many good ideas that we were trapped — we didn’t know which one to go with.

Then yesterday, a light-bulb went on and we came up with THE BEST idea yet — it’s perfect.

We came up with a plan for a walk-in shower!!

So today, we knocked out a wall to put a big walk-in shower in our master bathroom!

OK, let me back up a little bit…

This is what our bathroom used to look like:

{I’m focusing on the shower area right now…but you can see the rest of the bathroom over here.}

Pretty bad huh??


Then we stared the “gutting process”

And then we just kept on going.

We’ve torn out more walls in this house — it’s kind of addicting!

The large opening on the right is going to be our new walk-in shower. And all we had to sacrifice was ONE of the closets in our guest room!

Yes, the tub will be gone.


This is the view from our guest bedroom.

This is what it used to look like before we knocked out one of the closets.

So that’s what we’ve been up to lately….

…and there’s still SOOOOOO much left to do!

Linked to Things I Love Thursday

We’re Still Working

Yes…we’re still here.

We’re still working.

We’re still ripping up, tearing out, and demolishing a third of our house.

We’re still living in a complete mess.

I just got sick of blogging about it!

But there’s good news…we’re also making progress!


1. My uncle agreed to build us this GORGEOUS bathroom vanity from Pottery Barn.

He has the plans drawn up, and priced it out to about 10% of the $2,500 Pottery Barn price tag!


2. Our bathroom sinks were safely delivered via UPS.

They are the American Standard Collection “Rattan” from Lowes – originally $168 each…

I got them for $24 each on the last-chance clearance!!!!!!!

This picture does NOT do the sinks justice. They are gorgeous! White, under-mounted, with a subtle basket-weave pattern near the top edge.

It’s a timeless design that really fits my vision for our farmhouse!


3. Our reclaimed barnwood flooring was delivered last week.

ALL 700 sq. ft are now in our living room… and they will be for the next 3 weeks while they “acclimate” to our environment.

Meanwhile, I’m hosting a party next weekend with 17-20 friends!


4. I’ve done a bunch of “stain sampling” and I think we finally decided on our favorite.

Originally I wanted Dark Walnut, but now Dave and I are both leaning towards Early American — I think I love the name just as much as the extremely warm color tones!

What do you think?


5. The windows were delivered today and one is already installed.

Our new windows are Jeldwin, Low E, double hung, with the grids on the inside — which makes them REALLY easy to clean. Plus, both the top and bottom sections flip in to make it even easier to clean. Now I have no excuses for dirty windows!

All our other windows will be 6-pane but this is the bathroom window so it’s a bit smaller.

I would say the new windows are a definite improvement!

Not only are the dust-free, they also don’t have huge gaps for freezing air to blow through.


6. I’ve ALMOST decided what doors to buy…almost.

We know we want solid core doors and we know we want them to be painted white to match all our trim. But I just don’t know what style I want yet…

I love the 5 panel doors on the left {obviously, they would be all white}, but I also love the 2 panel door on the right.

But then I found this REALLY cool door…and I like this too!

What one is your favorite?


7. I have the baseboard picked out.

We’re using 8″ flat baseboard and then 4″ flat trim around the doors and windows. I’m not even going to try to explain it all because I don’t have any pictures… and I know it’s going to look so great when we’re finished.

So I’ll just SHOW you then!

See, I told you we’ve been busy!

Bathroom Demolition

Even though bathroom makeovers tend to be quite pricey, Dave and I are willing to splurge for a nice bathroom. After all, we’re planning to live here for a long time and want it to be nice.

Really nice!

And for some reason, the current master bath just didn’t fit our farmhouse style…

Maybe it was the faded bluish grey carpet, or the yellowed wallpaper…

Or maybe the ridiculously small mirror, the hideous vanity, and the double bulk-head…

Or maybe it was because brown water came out of the faucet every time we turned the water on!

For those reasons and many more, we are not big fans of this bathroom.

So we gutted it!

ALL of it.

Our first order of business was to remove the bulk heads above the shower and the vanity. We were relieved to find that they weren’t covering up any plumbing or heat vents…and basically served no purpose!

Then the entire ceiling had to go.

Then we removed the vanity, linen cabinet, toilet, and walls.

Now, the only thing left to do is remove the tub and tiles — which is MUCH easier said than done.

And I suppose we should clean up the mess!

Anyone want to take a bath?

A HUGE thanks to my dad for doing the bulk of our bathroom demolition. Dave and I are super busy right now and are so thankful my dad was willing to help out.


And since I can’t leave you with these horrible pictures, I thought I’d give you a tiny little peak into what our finished bathroom might look like…

What do you think?

This vanity is from Pottery Barn, but I know someone who can custom build a cabinet to look JUST like this one for a fraction of the price!

I just need to convince him to do it…

Another Farmhouse Tour

Remember my field trip to the saw mill a week ago?

Well, I went on another field trip this past week — but this time, I only had to go about 5 miles down the road to another old farmhouse.

The Maple Ridge Farm

This 1830’s farmhouse is proudly owned by Tom and Sandy Ralya, who have completely renovated every inch — and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

Sandy contacted me a few weeks ago after finding Farmhouse Love and realizing that we lived just a few miles apart. She graciously invited me over for lunch and a tour — oh the excitement!

We had so much fun chatting, eating, and touring, that I forgot to get a picture of Sandy, but seriously, she’s an amazing lady! Not only does she have excellent taste wen it comes to home decor, she’s also an author, public speaker, and the founder of Beautiful Womanhood Ministries! And I thought I was busy 🙂

Ready for a Tour…

This is the first room I saw when I walked in the back door. It’s the mudroom/laundry room.

The cabinet doors are all reclaimed from antique stores — and can we all just take a moment to look at that adorable antique sink… it really works too!

This is the three-season sitting room on the front of the house.

So quaint and relaxing — and look at that view!

Sandy really likes the European Farmhouse style, and did an excellent job capturing that in her kitchen.

I LOVE that many of her small appliances {including the microwave} are hidden behind cabinet doors or in the center island. I also love the open plate racks and glass doors which showcase her collection of Fiesta Ware.

This is the “Formal Living Room”. They also have a huge added-on family room, but I love this room because it has the original wood floors!

I’m also a huge fan of the windows and all the gorgeous white trim.

As with any good farmhouse, the old charm doesn’t stop at the back door — it continues outside to this gorgeous garage made from old hospital windows!

Tom and Sandy scored these windows during a trip to Traverse City. The local hospital was getting all new windows and Sandy asked what they were planning to do with the old one. The construction manager gave them the windows…FOR FREE!!!

Isn’t it just stunning?

The Maple Ridge Farm is a 5 acre farm with 3 acres of fenced in horse pastures and several outbuildings — my favorite of which is this chicken coop!

Eventually, we hope to build some type of chicken coop on our property, but we have a few more important projects on our plate first!

Sandy loves gardens.

She has vegetables, herbs, berries, grapes, and TONS of flowers…and she grows many of them from seed in this greenhouse / potting shed. And yes, it really is a cute as it looks — plus it’s heated!

But the real show-stopper is their massive barn that they currently use to board horses.

They have used this barn for all sorts of gatherings, including anniversaries, birthdays, rehearsal dinners, and weddings {the picture below is an actual wedding in their barn!!!}

My dream was always to have an early Fall wedding with the reception in a barn. Then I married a teacher who only got the summer off!

Pretty amazing isn’t it?

Oh, and did I mention — this farm is for sale!!!

See more details of the beautifully renovated Maple Ridge Farmhouse here.

Thanks to Sandy for being a gracious host, an amazing cook, and for answering all my MANY renovation questions! What a fun tour!

One Word: Insulation!

One of the main issues we KNEW we would run into with our 120 year old farmhouse was insulation — or rather the lack of insulation!

We were hopeful that the previous owners took the time to insulate the house during their many renovations — but they didn’t 🙁

So, since we’re in the middle of gutting several rooms, we figured now would be the best time to install a bunch of insulation — which is a great investment considering how cold West Michigan winters can be!

And believe it or not, the first place we put insulation was under the floors. We have 2 different crawl spaces in our basement and both are REALLY cold because they don’t have any heat flowing through them and they extend all the way to the outside walls.

So, all that freezing cold air was right under our bedroom and bathroom — which made the floors just a bit chili {like so cold you couldn’t walk on them without socks and slippers!}

Here’s the first crawl space:

The opening in the basement was too small to fit through {no we’re not fat, the opening was just really small} so we had to cut a hole in the floor of the master bedroom to get down there!

This is looking down into the hole — it’s only one or two feet deep the whole way across!

I’m so claustrophobic I don’t even like thinking about it; so thankfully, my dad was willing to get down there and install the insulation.  Thanks dad!

And this is looking a little further down through the crawl space. It runs under our master bedroom, bathroom, and guest bedroom so it took a while to install all the insulation…and my dad was down there the entire time!

My dad said there were a few times when he got “wedged in” and started to feel claustrophobic so he just relaxed, closed his eyes, and took a deep breath…then kept going. Seriously, I probably would be dead right now if I had to do that!

Oh, and that black plastic is a vapor barrier the previous homeowners put over the dirt floor to keep any moisture out of the crawl space — let’s hope it works!

And Here’s Crawl Space #2

This opening was actually big enough to fit through {barely}…and it was almost 3 feet tall so we could crawl around a little easier. {Notice the really cool old basement walls!}

I stayed outside and fed insulation through the hole to my dad who was inside.

This crawl space covered a lot less area {and we cleaned all that junk out} so it wasn’t nearly as bad as the other crawl space — but I still wouldn’t get inside!

It took 2 longs days but thanks to my un-claustrophobic dad, our floors are now insulated, and we’re ready to get started on the rest of our renovations!

Next up — windows.

My Field Trip… to the Saw Mill!

I went on a field trip this past week!

Yup, I drove over 90 minutes one way {and I hate driving} to look at wood floors — but not just ANY wood floors — these are floors made from old, reclaimed barn wood.

Floors that looked like this…

Aren’t They Fantastic!

These floors are the product of Creation Woodworks in Hubardson, MI. They are hand-crafted by husband and wife team, Ken and Ruth Gee, who’s woodshop and sawmill is literally ”over the river and through the woods”.

Their driveway is almost a mile long on a beautiful piece of property over-looking a river…

…hidden back behind acres and acres of trees…

…and “guarded” by their 2 cute dogs!

Ever been inside a woodshop before?

If not, you’re missing out!

The process required to turn old, OLD wood beams and other barn wood into beautiful wide-plank wood flooring is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen!

The day I visited, Ken and his son just finished doing some rough mill work {see the pile below}.

The shop was really organized with different types and sizes of wood on different shelves.

And the equipment needed to turn a piece of rough barn timber into a beautifully smooth piece of tongue and groove flooring is pretty amazing. You can read about the entire process here.

Ken and Ruth  are two of the nicest people! They showed me around their home and their shop for over an hour, answering all my questions and giving me helpful hints so I could choose the best flooring for our farmhouse.

So what did I decide?

After my tour, I decided on 7″ yellow pine boards for our floors. Ruth gave me a few pieces of yellow pine so I could try different colors of stains and polyurethane to assure our floor will look spectacular.

I’m currently leaning towards Minwax’s Dark Walnut 2716 or Jacobean 2750 stain {see bottom row below} with a satin or semi-gloss polyurethane.

That combination will hopefully produce a floor that looks similar to this one below {minus the rug!}

What do you think?

Pretty cool huh! Now we just need to learn how to install it!

What color would you choose? Dark Walnut or Jacobean?