Building A Farmhouse: Our Old Farmhouse Build Update 1- October 2021

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We have recently sold our farmhouse in town and traded it for building a farmhouse in the country, while starting our homestead. Today I want to share the first update on our old farmhouse build.

Building a farmhouse-update 1

I wrote the first post about building a farmhouse back in August but so much has changed since then so I wanted to do an update. And as things usually go, our plans have changed so many times so I am planning to start doing a monthly update to show exactly what we are doing, how it is going, how we are doing it and what goes right and wrong.

I mainly wanted to share this for two reasons. The first is that I want to document what we are doing so that we can look back at how far we have come and how it started. I love having the before and after photos of our old home and want to do that with our new house as well. Second, I want to share because I want others who are inspired to build their own home to see how we did it.

Keith and I are not professionals, builders or carpenters. We have very little experience and most of what we do is trial and error and working with the help of our parents who are more experienced. When we first set out with this idea, I felt very overwhelmed with all that this would include for two people who do not do this professionally but I really do believe you can figure most anything out if you just set your mind to it. 

Our Previous Farmhouse in Town

If you did not see the previous post about our plans, I wanted to give a little back story. 

Keith and I purchased a little fixer upper house in the middle of town back in the Summer of 2018. It was our first house and it was quite frankly, all that we could afford. It had orange, red, purple, bright blue and even black walls. Every room was a different color. It had original hardwood floors that were damaged by previous pets in the home and it had a very funky smell. But between the original kitchen cabinetry, built in cabinets and quaint feeling of a little cottage, it had so much character and you could tell it had a story. 

Once we moved in we found a lot of evidence of the previous owners using this place as a little homestead. We found areas that had signs there had once been a very large garden, old tools in the house showing that they had done a lot of things from scratch and by hand. The house just had a cottage/farmhouse feeling to it and we soon learned from some neighbors that is just how it was with the original owners. The house had only been owned by one couple who built it and then once they passed, it was left to family who rented it for a few months. This is where the damage came from. But we set out to restore this home to what it was. 

Now I will say the house was not large or fancy with classic victorian features. It was a simple, straight line basic home. I actually do have a post showing the nursery in that home and I also have a page on the blog about our old home. I do not believe I have any photos of it on that page but I will work on getting some up. Anyway, we painted the walls white (as they were with the original owner), redid the flooring to match the original color of the hardwoods and left as much of the old charm as we could while making it functional, clean and beautiful. 

After two years and a baby in that home, the market picked up for sellers and we decided it was time to grow our space and move. We would probably not be able to get the profit off of our house like this for a very long while and we knew we would want to move within the next 5 years so it just made sense. 

Why We Decided to Move

We decided to move for a few reasons actually. Like I said above, the market was good and this was the time for us to make the most money on our home if we wanted to move anytime soon. 

We also had been wanting to get out into the country, with some land for space for our baby to eventually be able to go play and to start homesteading. We just wanted more space and privacy for our growing family and plans. 

Another factor was that we wanted to be closer to family.

One of the biggest factors was that we have been working really hard on our debt free journey. We have paid off over $80,000. All we had left at this point was 1 student loan and our home. Our original plan was to pay off the student loan then decide what to do for our home but with the market where it was at, we knew that if we sold our home and used some of the money we have saved, we could figure something out to find a new home for cash. No mortgage. That left us with one student loan and with no other debt, we can hopefully get that knocked out really quick. 

Why We Decided On Building A Farmhouse

I love old farmhouses. I could sit on realtor.com or pinterest all day and just flip through pictures of old farmhouses. The floor plans, the architectural details, the properties of old farms. I love it all. I would love to find an old farmhouse on several acres and restore it. But in our area, there is just not a high supply of these just sitting around. They are either already restored or renovated and far too pricey and not what I would want or they are so run down that we would basically be rebuilding them completely, losing most of the appeal of an old home. Both of these options are also usually on less than an acre int he middle of town. 

Keith also has wanted to build. He did not enjoy the upkeep on the last older home we had and said that if he is going to work on something, he would rather it be something we built. Who can blame him. Both of our parents have land and offered for us to build on it. So this also met the being closer to family factor. 

So all of these factors worked out to bring us to building a home. I want an authentic inspired home and this can be done by building. 

Previous Plans

We have gone through so many plans when deciding to build. Originally, we set out to build a little cottage on family property with cash to live in for a while until we were ready to build our main house. We discussed building one from scratch which is kind of what we are doing now but we also had decided for a while to fix up a structure already on the property for this. Honestly it was just an old shed that had the basic frame that I wanted. We could use it as a guest house or anything else later. But with the cost of materials right now, it just did not make sense so this idea of a little cottage may be something we do later. 

Then we decided we would go ahead and build our final house on a separate piece of land connected to my parents property. We even started clearing this section of land and that is what I talk about in the first post. We ended up choosing to move where we will build a little further down with more privacy for everyone after looking at a few other options of what to do. Our land first looked like this:

Building a farmhouse- update 1

After clearing:

Building a farmhouse- update 1

Final Plans

So alas, it has been a journey already and we are barely even starting. If you have followed along this far, wow. We have a somewhat set plan now. I hesitate to even say that because there are so many factors when building that we are still hovering with where we want our house built versus what can actually physically be done and I will talk about that in a minute. But at this point in time, we are planning to build our home in two phases. The first phase will be a one story basic gable with a bonus loft in the attic. It will just be around 1000-ish square feet, maybe a little more depending on cost and anything else that comes up. It will have the basics, a living room, kitchen, bathroom and 1-2 bedrooms. 

Once we get this done, we have set up the floor plan to be able to add on and grow our home while leaving everything as it is, while still keeping the authentic and historic floor plan style. We will not be moving plumbing, kitchens, bathrooms or anything. We will simply add on a two story addition to the front with a master suite and new living room on the first floor. The old living area will become a formal dining. Upstairs we will add a few bedrooms in and possibly a bathroom. 

This makes it where we can pay cash now and decide to wait and save for the rest of the house at a later point or do it quickly with a loan that we can pay off quickly. 

Where We Are At Now

Honestly we have not gotten very far from my last post. It is hard to find people to do work right now and the ones you can find are still backed up for weeks or months. Alongside that, the weather has not worked with us at all. When we have needed it to rain, we have not had any for weeks. Once that ended with some rain we needed it to dry up just a bit and we have had nothing but downpours, severe storms and flood risks. I am not shocked by this at all but it is still frustrating. 

Building a farmhouse- update 1

So far we have cleared a part of the property that we want to build on. We cleared just enough to get our place built. The land is 7 acres of woods and we want as many trees as possible so we plan to assess and clear more as and if we need it. 

We have a general plan for the home that makes sense with the land and any future plans we have. I called and we have our address as well, which is pretty exciting!

Most recently, we had septic testing. The guy has come out and dug several holes for testing and laid out the septic system plan. We are now waiting on the testing and system plan approval paperwork. They estimated for this to come to us by mid November and then we will move forward.

And Next…

After the testing comes back, we will start the foundation and framing. Once this starts, we will have the septic and laterals put in. We will also be running any water lines. We have hired out the septic and water lines but we will be doing our own foundation and framing work so we are looking at this taking a bit, especially trying to do this in the coldest part of the year. Once we get passed this point, we will look forward but one step at a time is my motto with this project. I tend to overplan things because I get excited and then I have to change everything because I work too far ahead. So for now, we just wait to determine the exact location of everything and then we will move forward with the next step. 

I know all of that sounded a bit chaotic but this is just where we are at and I wanted to share that for anyone else either in our position or considering doing something similar.

This is a new undertaking for us and it is something we have never done so every update will probably sound just as chaotic haha. But it has been very eye opening into the world of building and honestly why professionals charge what they charge. There are a lot of balls to juggle and messing one up can throw off the entire plan. 

Thanks for joining me in this update and I plan to share monthly where we are at in the process!

Recap

Our steps so far have been…

  1. Find land
  2. Clear land
  3. Get Address
  4. Hire someone to dig the septic holes and prep for septic
  5. Plan a rough floor plan, size, square footage, etc.
  6. Schedule for septic testing and install