Farmhouse Renovation: Part 1

It all began in early December of 2014. My husband was scouring the local real estate site, just kicking the tires. He did a zip code search of the area we wanted to be in so that our children could attend a specific high school. He had his list of parameters: 4 bedrooms, 3 car garage, and why not click acreage? This was funny because in a Kansas City suburban area with neighborhoods, retail and schools, where would there be acreage? Well something interesting popped up. It was in the zip code. It was also near the high school. It had 17 acres, a farmhouse built in 1972 and a barn. Best of all, it was on a large stocked pond. Now come on, this can’t be serious! So hubby clicked on the photos and we were intrigued.

We decided to swing by after church and take a look. We entered the address into our GPS and it took us to a private drive. DO NOT ENTER, PRIVATE DRIVE, NO TRESPASSING. Well, we did enter the private drive and we did trespass. We could see immediately it was abandoned. Such a beautiful property just sitting empty. It was set acres back from the road, had huge trees, a gorgeous pond and a house I knew I could sink my teeth into. We peeked in the windows and it was vacant. We walked down to the pond. This was when my husband looked at me and said, "Let's do it". We called our real estate agent, (my best friend) and asked her to get us in to see it ASAP! She did and we closed on the property 3 months later.

The whole building process took ALOT longer than we thought it would. We would meet for hours and then the architect would take 2 weeks to draw up plans. Then we'd meet again and again, I was losing my patience. I did not go "East Coast" on him, but there were plenty of opportunities for that in the next 18 months.

To say the remodel was grueling is an understatement. Everything took longer than expected. We sold our current home immediately and had to find a rental. 4 kids and 2 dogs in a townhouse is not ideal. We told the kids it would only be 6 months. Well 6 months came and went. And 9 months came and went. And a year came and went. For those of you who have built a custom home before I am sure you are giggling at me.

Our landlord could not give us any more time. We had to move out. I forgot to mention, because we REALLY like a project we had also torn down the existing barn and hubby designed the barn of his dreams. So we were living through 2 MAJOR remodels. It was a race to the finish, which project would be completed first? As luck would have it the barn was completed right around the time we had to leave our rental. "Hey kids, we are moving into the barn for a few weeks,” we shared over dinner. With 3 teenagers and a 10 year old, this was not good news. They wanted the house done. Why is it taking so long? Can't you just make them work faster? I was thinking the same thing. One day I went to check the progress and the dry wall team had invited their families over and they were down on the dock at our lake grilling burgers and listening to music. It was 3:30. I know you are wondering if I lost my cool. Yes, I did, and called the builder. He was over in 5 minutes flat.

So, we had no choice but to move into the barn. The good part was my hubby and I were there every day to check on the progress of the house, all day long. The builders loved that part…not really. As you can imagine I was also going back and forth to tile, lighting, flooring, and 1,000 other design meetings. This is where the part comes in about how it takes twice as long but, it also costs twice as much. The designers would show me what was in my allowance and point to an area. Well, I didn't want anything in "that" area, I wanted something in THAT area. And so it went, change order after change order, I really got tired of writing checks.

Finally in May of 2016, we had our move in day. A little over a year of ups and downs, trials and set backs, fun and frustration, we had our DREAM HOME. So here we go, a walk down memory lane. I plan to break the remodel up into a few posts. Today is all about the exterior.

(Disclaimer: photo quality not great. It was just me and my Iphone snapping photos along the way. I didn't know at this time I'd be blogging).


These next few photos are of the exterior before. It was a rambling, white shingled Cape Cod. Everything was original to the early 70's. Take a look at those ginormous light fixtures on either side of the front door. WOW!

The area on the far left was a 5th bedroom. This became our master closet. The window framed in brick was, and still is, my husband's office.

The photo below shows where we bumped out the small area by the hydrangeas to expand the pantry and mudroom. The area to the right is the garage, which is one of a few areas that stayed the same, as far as layout.

The large window on the left was the dining room but is now our walk~in pantry. We knew we wouldn't use a dining room and it allowed us more space for a larger kitchen. I loved the original brick but hubby wanted a stone exterior. I figured I'd concede on this one because there would be plenty other battles I'd need to "win".

This is the rear of the home. It looks pretty similar now except one area on the far right where we added our master bath and below it our son's bedroom.

This is the area we added on and dug out for a walk out. Yes, it's the perfect spot for teenagers to sneak out, but that's what security cameras are for.

The major change to the exterior was raising the slope of the roof to allow for new dormer windows on the second floor. It also provided an additional 6 feet in each of the kids bedrooms. We also removed the small front porch and our new porch runs the length of the brick area.

The dormers were added and a new tin roof was installed above the front porch. It was also time to start putting up the new siding and a new roof.

On to the back of the house. we had to "raise the roof" in the great room to allow for larger doors. My husband is 6'4" and doors from the 1970's were barley tall enough for him to walk through. We had to raise the ceiling in order to install bigger doors. All new windows were installed and we made some of them larger for a better views. You can also see to the far right the barn being built. The barn project will be another blog post, stay tuned!

And so it went, on and on through the different stages of transformation. This photo below was in the fall and the goal was to get the exterior closed up for winter.

See the blue arrow in the photo below? This was the master bath addition. You can also see our son's bedroom windows below. We were finally starting to see a glimpse of the final product. There were bottles & bottles of wine consumed at this point while we were living in the barn. We'd walk over in the evening with our "beverages" and sit on the floor in the great room and just imagine the finish line.

And here you have it. The completed exterior. It was hard to get a shot of the entire exterior. Remember I mentioned it is "rambling"? It's a difficult angle to get a complete view. But I took one for the team. I stood on a ladder, with my cocktail, and snapped some shots. Believe me when I say I really intended to "document" the whole process. Some days it was just too exhausting to give 100%

The porch shown in the fall, my favorite time of the year. Cooler weather, leaves changing colors, and college football!

Oh how I love mums! My porch swing was finally hung and I sit in awe some nights. Imagine a pregnancy. the delivery. and the best part... bringing the baby home and just staring. This pretty much sums up our home building process too.

The Kansas sunsets on the back patio are breathtaking.

The BEST housewarming gift ever (from our real estate agent/best friend) was a restored Nebraska windmill, my husband's home state. It's maybe our favorite part of the property.

And there you have it friends...the exterior renovation. Whew-I am exhausted. Looking back at all these photos gives me anxiety. Hold on while I go pour another glass of wine.'s all about managing the chaos. I'm not sure I did a award-winning job, but it's done. D-O-N-E. Isn't there a country song like this?

Continue on the journey with me---you can see a lot more of the renovation. I also share photos on Facebook (@managingthechaos) and Instagram (kcfarmhouseof6)

Thanks for joining along and don't forget to share this post with your pals.

Happy early 4th of July friends. God bless the USA!!!

Be kind & love others,

Christine xoxo