A Round Peg in a Square Hole


Hello again and thanks for hopping back on the roller coaster of renovation. I decided to break up the interior into "before" and "after" posts. I don't want to overwhelm you. I mean you can only read so much when you're lifting a glass of wine up and down.

My design motto has always been about "making your house a home". This proved to be quite a test when it came to the redesign of the blueprint for our interior. The meetings with the architect were exciting as we reworked the floor plan to make sense for our family. But things don't always go like they do on Fixer Upper where getting the "open concept" floor plan is just a walk in the park.

Of course we have to start at the beginning. Just to remind you, and it's not because I think you have a touch of dementia, the home was built in 1972. We knew when we walked in the first time it would be a huge project, but one we were excited to tackle. Many said we were nuts when they saw it, and that's fair. Now, as I sit on the other side of it two and a half years after first discovering the property, I'd have to agree. We were nuts. God had big plans for us and we just listened.

Ok friends-here we go! You got in line. You gave the attendant your ticket and off we go on the Renovation Roller Coaster ride!

This picture below was the front hall. I was the only one who liked the blue brick-ish herringbone tile. I asked over and over if we could save some of it to use somewhere. I was thinking in the backsplash or an inlay in a bathroom. I was quickly shut down when the demo crew took sledge hammers to it. The doorway to the right originally went into the formal dining room, this is now a wall. The dining room became the pantry behind the kitchen. The wall across from the front door was partially removed to allow a view into the great room. The bottom half of that wall is now a railing down to the basement. Do you like my drawings? I feel so artsy.


Here is the great room before, which was probably our favorite part. It was large, had big picture windows with views of the lake and high, beamed ceilings. The room structurally didn't change much except for raising the ceiling to allow for taller exterior doors. The fireplace is now stone and the ceiling is planked. I was perfectly happy with the brick fireplace, but again, no one else saw my vision. Why would we leave the old, ugly brick? Because I love old and it wasn't ugly. So put that in your pipe and smoke it! Um, yes, I did say that to our builder, but just inside my head.


Sorry for the terrible quality of this next photo. But "picture" this... it's all gone. G-O-N-E. It was a small galley kitchen. It was closed off to the other rooms, as kitchens typically were in this era. The cabinets to the right are now french doors to the patio. The cabinets straight ahead now open to the great room. The doorway in the corner is now a wall where the kitchen begins and runs all the way through what was the dining room. The wall where the ovens are is now where the island sits. This may be a bit confusing. In fact, I am sure it is. If you are on your second glass of wine, I'm sorry for making you use your brain. See, this is why I decided to break this part up into 2 different posts. I care about y'all. Drink up friends!


This is the breakfast nook. Nook, really? It sounds so Alice in Wonderland . It's the "eating area". It's where we are supposed to eat. But to be honest, most times we eat at the island because it's hard to sit down to dinner with all 6 of us at the same time. But to stay on track, we left the footprint the same and just jazzed it up. We added new windows, planked the ceiling and next to the far right window there is now a door to the outside kitchen.


Real quick, this was the formal living room to the left of the entry. We knew we'd use it as an office for my husband. We removed the shelves, another battle I did not win. Wow, this is starting to sounds like a trend. The footprint didn't change but we added doors to shield him from the chaos...you know, the 4 kids & 3 dogs. I can't tell you how many times I get a text telling me to quiet down because he is on a call. I do the best I can. I can't control when the dogs decide it is time for WWE wrestling.


I love this photo! Here are my 2 girls in construction mode. We bumped out the back of the house where the master bedroom is to add a few feet. Mainly it was to dig an area for the basement to become a walkout. I mean our son had to have a way to sneak out. We didn't want him to have to come all the way upstairs.


Moving along in our tour folks is the "open concept" kitchen. You can see the eating area to the right. Where that row of cabinets used to be now opens to the back patio. The wall is also gone between the kitchen and the old formal dining room. It sat like this for weeks with no protection from the elements. This is truly what we called the "open concept".


Raise your hand if you've thought about a toilet in your kitchen? Really, you haven't? The area where the throne sat in this lovely picture was once the half bath. We relocated that to the other side of the house by stealing some space from the master bedroom. That toilet stayed right there throughout the entire demo, framing, electrical, plumbing and HVAC process. We wondered if maybe they were actually using it instead of the porta-a-potty outside. It was a big day when the toilet left. If it were still there, it would have faced the new refrigerator. How convenient is that?? I can't share some of the things my husband and sons came up with regarding that idea. I am certain you can imagine.


I read somewhere, maybe on Pinterest, about a "home blessing" party. You invite friends & family over before the drywall stage to write messages on the floors and framing. I put scripture in each of our kids' bedrooms and in my husband's office. Our family and friends picked various spots throughout the house to write their message. I love that we did this.



Above is what my older brother wrote. This is so my brother and it just cracks me up. "Remember, wherever you are, you know you will be there!" He wrote this between the kitchen and the great room. We spend a lot of time walking under this message, and now we know "we are there". Thanks, Greg!

The picture below was by far the most drastic change in the entire renovation. A view from the front door into the great room was now possible. We also removed a little loft that was above the front hall to vault the entrance. This was so dramatic when it happened. Now it's hard to picture it the way it was. The builder explained that they planned to "float" the staircase. That sounded very scary to me. I probably asked 5 times if they were certain the stairs would not collapse. Making this all happen is what I refer to as "fitting a round peg in a square hole".


Here's a look at the great room where we "raised the roof" and added a much larger exterior door. The picture window on the rear wall makes me so happy. This change made my husband happy too because he can walk out the doors without ducking. He's 6'4".


This post is getting longer and longer. I promise I am almost done. Funny story, a bit long though. I wanted unique doors for my husband's office. I may have spent the most time on this project. I have a lot of sources. As you know, I love antiques, flea markets, estate sales, Craigslist, ebay and so on. I found some doors on Craigslist that looked perfect.

They were about 2 hours away. We negotiated and the seller measured for me. I asked my builder if they could work. His answer was "We can make anything work for the right price". I can't tell you the number of times I heard that. So back to the strange part, wait for it...they were from a funeral home. You still have wine left I hope?

Hubby and I drove to pick them up. He was not 100% sure about the idea, but that was the case with a lot of my "ideas". We got there and the seller took me down to the basement under the funeral home. Yes, this is a true story. My husband was finishing up a call in the truck. I was so happy when he actually showed me the doors and not anything else. So I whipped out my cash and headed back up the very narrow, steep stairs to get to my husband to load them up. Long story short, wait until you see them installed- so worth it!


I'm gonna move quick here to finish up. The ceiling in the great room is getting close to completion.


The million dollar question, did I use shiplap? Well, duh, it's a farmhouse. It was the builder's first time using it and I think I taught him a thing or two.


We love our front doors. They are surrounded by all the white shiplap so I wanted the interior of the doors stained the same as the nearby "funeral home" doors. And so we did!


Yep, that's my shoe. I stood there for hours. The floor guys kept telling me they didn't mind trying different recipes. Who doesn't like to sample food at Costco? This was just like that only with 1,ooo times the stress. We, ok mostly me, decided to bevel the planks. We chose 4", 6" and 8" planks that were run through a machine to bevel the edges so they don't fit together perfectly. This is the older, rustic and "non-perfect" look I like. It also cost double, took twice as long and now collects every crumb, dog hair or piece of broken glass that often hits these "non-perfect" floors.


We did very few "additions". Mostly it was a little bump out here and there. Remember the exterior where I showed you the section closest to the barn where we added the master bath and my son's kingdom below? This is the rear wall of the new master bathroom looking in from the bedroom. Since it was new space we were able to vault it. On each side of the fun shiplap wall, we added an entrance to the shower. In front of it sits my beautiful, cast iron claw foot tub. Believe me, it was money well spent.


Oh, the paint selections. I thought I had it all figured out long before construction even began. But I still had to go to Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, and so on until I was driving around with no less than 30 color chips. I become friends with the guys at the paint stores and would bring them coffee in the morning. And guess what? I went with my original choices and could not be happier. The whole house is SW Amazing Grey and the bedrooms are all SW Functional Grey.


So, so, so many tile choices. Everything I liked was an upgrade. I decided to make it easy. My girls' bathrooms match and so do the boys. But there were still the kitchen, laundry rooms & master bath to choose. My husband refused to come to these appointments with me. This was where my ADD reared it's ugly head. Oh my sweet tile salesperson, she was so very patient with me.


Ladies and gentlemen, your ride is coming to an end. Stay seated until we come to a complete stop...in the kitchen. After months of contemplation, I chose white perimeter cabinetry and a stained center island. My granite on the perimeter is similar to a soapstone and my island granite is just like a marble. Both are much more durable with same look. I am VERY happy with these choices. YAY ME!


Of course there's lots more to show but this would become the world's longest blog post. I hope you have a general idea of where my head was during the process. If you do, let me know. I'm still not sure that I've found it. It could be at the plumbing showroom?

Let's meet back here in a few days for the "after". Until then, go visit me on Instagram @kcfarmhouseof6 and on Facebook @managingthechaos2.

As always, please SHARE my blog posts. It has been so fun to hear from people who have done a similar project or are just thinking about it. When you share, it opens up a whole new world of peeps that can join us in the chaos. What fun... just tell them to BYOB.

Be kind & love others,

Christine xoxo


IMG_8833.jpg