Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Renovation gets serious

Ian and I are having a lot of fun renovating the farmhouse we bought at the beginning of the month. This two-story, three-bedroom, 1 bathroom house built in 1895 sits in 10 acres near Cambridge, Minnesota. When we are done with our renovation and addition it will have four bedrooms, three bathrooms, an eat-in kitchen, formal dining room, a study, living room, wrap-around three-season porch and an attached three-car garage. If all goes as planned this should all be done by this time next year.

Ian is taking down the plastered meringue-looking plastered ceiling. It was whipped up onto drywall, set in stiff peaks and now comes off in heavy chunks. We are removing this ceiling from almost every ceiling in the house except the living room.

Ian spent most of the day last Saturday dismantling a two and a half story chimney that was no longer being used. He began taking it apart brick-by-brick in the attic, then in the bedroom and, finally, in the main floor kitchen where he uncovered an old bird’s nest! Having this chimney gone will give us flat useable wall space in both the bedroom and kitchen.

Son Richard came to help us on Sunday. He and Ian made short work of getting the huge pile of refuse out from the living room and into the hired dumpster sitting in the front yard (its dimensions are 10 long x 2 wide x 2 deep yards).

I wrestled with an oak wood doorframe that was winning until I got a good foothold. Wisely Ian stood well out of the way so he’s not on the receiving end of all that momentum!

The house will be ready for us to live in around mid-January 2006. We will have the new kitchen installed and working, the upstairs bedrooms livable and have a full bathroom installed on the upper level. We are spending every weekend doing the work we can. I think paid help will come to join our ranks in a week or so when we begin to put things back together, e.g., re-wiring the house, roughing in plumbing for three bathrooms, installing insulation and drywall.

Even though we are not there fulltime until after the holidays, we are beginning to receive mail there. It's smart to do this as far in advance as possible because some magazines take a long time to do change of addresses.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Work begins

We've begun ripping out things at the farm in Stanchfield. It's a lot more fun than I expected ... using a crowbar is very cathartic! We're spending the next several 3-day weekends (Friday-Sunday) to get the place livable. The pile of garbage (about 4 feet high and 10 feet across) is from two rooms and there are three more to go. We will have a large trash container delivered this week and begin getting the old stuff out of the house. There is a scary nest of wires that is the fuse box!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


On November 1, 2005, Ian and I bought a 10-acre farm. Built in 1895, the 3-bedroom farmhouse needs updating so we won't move from our rented apartment in Minneapolis until February 2006. The farm is an hour's drive north of Minneapolis (55 miles) and is located near the village of Stanchfield, just north of Cambridge, Minnesota. The farm has two barns and a detached double-car garage, 2 acres of lawn and garden with eight acres of fenced pasture (no horses yet). In Spring 2006 we plan to build an addition (family room, dining room, study) with a breezeway to an attached garage.