Projects are Always Bigger Than You Think

                Jason’s mother thought that it would be great to have the family Christmas this year at our farmhouse.  Hmmm, . . . . an old fashioned, family, farm Christmas, . . . . as I’m seeing visions of Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation!  Ha!

                We moved into this house in March of this year.  The house had not been lived in for over a decade; yes, I said a decade.  We’ve more or less been living with minimal comforts over this time, choosing instead to get the yard and garden going first.  We do have new plumbing and electric, but no finished flooring, most of the walls still need repair and painting and there are no prep surfaces in the kitchen yet.  We have made a little progress inside.  We got our pellet stove installed a few weeks ago.  It’s sitting on a half-done, newly installed pine floor that we’re planning on finishing next weekend.  And the walls in that room have been repaired and painted.


One small, finished cozy corner in the living room.


                So, on to the kitchen; since it would be crazy not to have a fully functional kitchen while hosting Christmas.  While Jason was getting a little extra much needed sleep, I decided to begin tearing out the old furnace closet.  It was in the kitchen and taking up some much needed space.  It began simply enough.  Take off the louvered folding doors, remove the trim and the frame for the door.  Quick, easy—done.  Next, I thought that we could just lay a new partial sheet of plywood in the hole where the vent was, but I discovered it wasn’t level with the floor.  So I took off the trim for that and Jason helped me get the venting box and runs out from under the house.  Those we’ll sell to the scrap yard for a little extra cash.  Next came the walls of the closet.  That wasn’t too bad and bonus—all the framing lumber was in excellent shape, so that will be repurposed into a chicken coop.  But as projects always seem to go; we had difficulty deciding just how much of the wall and attached soffit should go.  To make a long story short here; we ended up taking down the whole thing!  Now we have bought back a fair amount of useable kitchen space as well as uncovering the brick chimney.


The newly exposed brick chimney. The 'new' space is to the right.


These are the boards from the closet frame, glued up to make a new mantle.


                Even though it seemed like the endless demolition project, we are happy with the results.  The exposed brick of the chimney will add charm to the kitchen and we ended up with free lumber for the chicken coop as well as some decorative pieces that will become a mantle of sorts over the pellet stove. (A place for us to hang Christmas stockings!)  We also ended up with enough scrap metal to make a trip to the recycle center worthwhile.  All in all, not a bad day!    


7 thoughts on “Projects are Always Bigger Than You Think

  1. Oh this sounds delightful. We are in the process of upping sticks and leaving the city. Well, we are waiting for a buyer for our flat. Your post excites me for things to come! And what a gorgeous cosy little corner it is!

    • Thank you! And good luck to you. It’s hard work, but will be worth it; and actually the journey is every bit as exciting as the finished product.

      I checked out your blog–your writing is wonderful. Will be following your journey!

  2. I love this post! (Reminds me of when we built our own house from scratch here 30 years ago with barely two nickels and a quarter to rub together…) Things look like they are coming along nicely. Keep plugging and watch that one little corner expand! Winter is a great time for indoor tasks, and you can temporarily hide a lot of unfinished business with colorful bedsheets or other fabrics and then festooned the place with strung popcorn and cranberries, and add some pine boughs for a truly country Christmas. The improvisation is half the fun, your guests will appreciate the improvisation, it will all look wonderful, and nobody will mind the table saw that hides under the drapings…

    • Thanks! Wonderful ideas–we are in the process of deciding which projects can be finished and which will have to be covered with the colorful fabrics! Yes, winter is great for this kind of thing and it’s the reason we decided not to extend the season in the garden this year. Now, if we can figure out how to keep the dog out of the popcorn and cranberries!
      (And how did you know that our chop saw lives under the kitchen table??! 😉 LOL!)

  3. I adore your home…it looks wonderful and very neat considering it’s abandonment for such a long time! If it stood in Ireland it would now be covered in brambles, ivy and small trees sprouting from the chimney top!
    Sourdough recipe will be earnestly copied and added to my recipe book!
    Colx…at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

    • Thank you! HA! No brambles or trees here–we are in the middle of acres and acres of cornfields! I’m honored that you’re copying the sourdough recipe–I hope you enjoy it. I LOVE the process of making bread. It’s meditative and restorative for me, the feel of the dough in my hands, followed by the intoxicating smell as it bakes in the oven–mmmmm, . . .

      And I must say, your blog is a feast for the eyes–amazing photos–thank you for sharing!

  4. wow, exposing that lovely chimney was a bonus, when i moved into this house I took up hideous PINK SHAGPILE carpets put everywhere by the previous occupants and found absolutely gorgeous hard wood floors, the treasures make up for the mess. Well, good luck with christmas! At least you will be warm! We are in the middle of corn fields too and at this time of year .. Nothing! c

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