It’s been quite an effort, but at last, I’ve got part two of our farmhouse tour together. Last time I was talking about our farmhouse renovation, I got as far as showing you the outside, explaining our design concept, and giving you a tour of the main open plan living room. Today, I’m heading into the smaller areas. The bedrooms, study nook, bathroom, mudroom, pantry and linen press. When I list them like that, I can tell it’s going to be a mega post, so strap yourself in.
Leading out of the main living area we have turned the old kitchen into a hallway with a built in study nook. We have installed a shelf above the built in desk, but we still need to get some built in cupboards made and installed. We want somewhere for the printer to sit out of sight so that I can put my laptop on the desk as well. You can see our charging station is also set up there. All phones etc are left there overnight, and even Toby’s remote control car can plug right into a USB port there. Our two way radio and internet both connect on the shelf above from large antennas on the roof, and once we have got some cabinets sorted we can finish sorting out the wires and cords.
I have ordered a new wooden filing cabinet with three drawers to replace the old one drawer cabinet (and cardboard boxes) you can see. Between the farm business, and our own paper work, we need a better filing system, and I am determined to have the paper work easy to access, file and keep on top of. Fingers crossed it actually works once it arrives.
At the end of the study nook, the hall goes right to the linen press, mudroom, laundry, guest room, and back door. Straight ahead is Toby and Meg’s bedroom, while to the left is the bathroom, Hannah’s bedroom, and our bedroom, as well as the old front door.
We recarpeted, and painted this hall that leads to the bedrooms, and then installed these bookcases ourselves. They are just Billy bookcases from Ikea, with the option of doors on the front. I really wanted the doors to protect the books from dust, and they have the added benefit of hiding our not so pretty books etc. I got onto restoration online (where we have got quite a few fixtures and fittings) and bought some replica library cupboard handles to make the book cases look a little more “classic” and less mass produced. Every time I walk down the hall, I just stare at the bookcases. They fit perfectly and look built in.
Also, I’m in love with the old red chairs that I found in the furniture store in one of the farm sheds. I gave this one a scrub, and although it’s a little rickety it makes a perfect spot for the old phone (we still get black outs regularly so need a phone that doesn’t need electricity to work).
The Master Bedroom
Our bedroom was the original lounge room in the farmhouse, though we used it as a playroom. The new deck on the south side has cut some of the light to the room, but as it is a room that we don’t really spend much time awake in, we don’t really mind. As you can see, the 1970’s air conditioner is still there, and we are waiting until we install a split system in the main room to remove the old one – that way if it gets too hot, we can at least all sit in our bedroom to cool down.
We installed the cupboard ourselves (Ikea again), and after having a tiny wobbly wardrobe, having enough space feels like a luxury. Neither CB nor I have masses of clothes, so there is plenty of room in the cupboards for suitcases and other miscellaneous things. The one downside of the cupboard is that it has meant that the bed is off centre with the window. It’s not ideal (I’m a big fan of balance and symmetry), but as it is not a room we spend a lot of time in, I’m coping ok!
Because this room used to be the lounge room, it has some great features such as the old fireplace with its mantle piece, a ceiling rose and ornate cornices. We have installed ceiling fans in all the bedrooms to assist with air circulation. They do detract slightly from the ceiling, but their practicality is more important. The fireplace has been closed up for years and doesn’t work, so I’m keen to paint the inside myself – though I’m told it needs a special type of paint for some reason. I will need to do some more investigation.
I bought the quilt cover long before the renovation when our bedroom was a green colour. With the walls now Antique White USA (our whole house was done in that colour), and the brown mantel piece and wooden furniture, the whole room feels a bit “brown’ to me at the moment. In the longer term, removing the air conditioner and changing the quilt cover might bring a bit more colour balance to the room. Having said that, new carpet, a working cupboard, and less furniture (our old bedroom also had our filing cabinet and some other bits and pieces) makes the room so much better, and so I can wait for a while yet.
The doors and windows are all the originals as is the hardware on them. They look so much fresher now that they have been painted white!
This room was originally the master, and we intended to keep it when we moved back. The double aspect windows make it light and bright, and it is a lovely room. In the end, we decided to put Hannah in there. Our reasoning was that she needs somewhere to hang out and do homework and have her own space. The lighter room just seemed a good idea, compared to what is now our room which can be dark at times. We built another wardrobe for her, and also made a coat hook rack for her to hang her bags etc on. Everything else in her room we already had. This is the first time she has had her own room since Meg was born, and she is relishing it. She takes good care of all her things, and heaven help anyone who leaves something of hers in the wrong spot! Her room was one of only two rooms in the entire house that didn’t have any alterations made (besides new carpet, new wiring, a fan, and paint).
Meg and Toby’s Room
The little two are sharing the room that all three kids used to have before our renovation. During the renovation, the door was moved so that the bathroom could be made bigger (more on that in a moment). Although the room has the exact same dimensions, we moved the cupboard to a different wall, and it feels somewhat smaller now. Perhaps it is also because of the furniture in there. The double bunk and bookcases, together with the cupboard are all quite tall. New paint and carpet, a ceiling fan, and another coat hook rack have refreshed the room, and the kids love to display their artworks (we use small butterfly clips to hang them from picture hangers – no blutac on these new walls thankyou!).
I picked up two spice racks which we have painted and turned into book shelves next to each of the beds. Since taking these photos, I’ve already had a bit of a go through their stuff in an attempt to bring a little more order to the room. We still need to work out where to hang towels etc, which is why the kids towels are currently hanging on the end of their bed.
All three bedrooms need blinds or curtains before summer comes. Unlike the new parts of the house, these windows are single glazed and the insulation is not as good, so they will get quite warm in summer.
The bathroom sits between Hannah and the little two’s bedrooms. During the renovation, we pulled out the old linen press and extended the room so that a toilet could be added. After spending up big in some other areas, the bathroom was an area we economised in. The floor tiles are a basic grey, while the walls are white with a slight ripple effect. Incidentally, they are identical to the tiles in our previous house in Sydney. The rest of the fittings are also fairly basic. My main specification for the toilet was one that went all the way to the wall, as there is nothing more disgusting than having to wipe behind the toilet (I’m easily pleased). When I was looking at vanity units, I kept falling in love with ones that were $3000 – eeeek. In the end, I chose a basic model with in the allowance the builder had provided. If in ten years the vanity needs replacing and I’ve got money to burn, I’ll look at getting a fancier one. Having said that, the vanity has plenty of storage space and it is easy to clean.
We still need to workout towel racks etc, but we are taking our time so that we don’t put holes in the wrong spots. The kids are hanging their towels in their rooms at the moment, and that may well continue.
After 6 years of having old wall paper on the wall, and no floor waste, having a shiny new bathroom (with extra toilet), however basic, is very exciting!
The Linen Press
When we started planning our renovation, the question of how to best make use of the old kitchen came up. With four doors, it was always going to be difficult to make into a useful space, so when the suggestion of a walk in linen press came up, I was in like Flynn! The builder reused one of the doors from the old kitchen so it matches the rest of the doors in the hallway.
Inside we have lined it floor to ceiling with shelves. We bought the shelving from Ikea (there’s a bit of a pattern emerging here – Yes we used Ikea for a lot of the basics, and have customised them to our needs), and used the Algot system. The shelves on the right of the door are 580mm deep, while the shelves on the back wall are 380mm deep. We purposely fitted them tightly up to each other to help maximise storage space. There is just enough space for the ironing board next to the door, while the rolls of paper sit in a container in the space made at the other end of the shelf. We also keep the blue step stool in here to make reaching those high shelves easy.
Despite being called the linen press, we actually don’t have that much linen (I have just 2 sets of towels and 2 sets of sheets per bed), so the rest of the linen press has all our board games and jigsaw puzzles, my teaching resources that are not at work at the moment, our dress up box (for school plays/parties etc), vases a few boxes of our memorabilia, as well as other bits and pieces we need regularly such as a box of extension cords, and our cooler bags. It is not meant to be a pretty room but it really is great to have a place for all those bits and pieces. I just love having a place for everything!
This is perhaps my fave room. OK not really, but I do love having a mudroom – such a functional addition for a farmhouse. I sent our builder a couple of pics from Pinterest of mudrooms that I liked, and one day I arrived to find he had built the perfect mudroom seat for us. Each family member has their own cubby space with a hook for their coat (Toby’s is lower so he can reach it), a shelf for their hat, and a nook underneath for their shoes. Most of the time Toby’s nook resembles a sandpit, but it is easy to sweep up, and saves that sand from being spread throughout the house. I’m on the hunt for baskets that will fit on the shelves and contain sunglasses, hats, goggles and the like.
The old veranda timbers have been recycled to make the wooden seat, and I love both the look of it, and the fact that we have incorporated some of the old house into the new.
For those who ask, the colour of the lockers is duck egg blue by Dulux.
Aside from the lockers, the rest of the room is pretty plain. It has four doors and is really only used as a thoroughfare. One door leads to the back guest room, another to the laundry (which is totally unrenovated), while the remaining two lead outside and back into the main house. We have kept one coat hook rack to hang extras on, such as CB’s driza-bone.
I still need to get a clock for in here, and would also like to hand some pictures. All in good time!
The Guest Room
The guest room was the only other completely untouched room of the renovation. It has been painted and new carpet and a new light fitting were put in at the same time. We also got rid of some of the furniture that was in here (and replaced it with C’s drum kit). The white quilt covers come from Ikea, and no longer really suit the room (too pale), and the whole room is a bit tight, but it is meant only as a guest room at the moment, and it is nice to have fresh look in there (and I realise curtains still need to go up). I also need to get some pictures on the walls.
At some point in the future, we would like to replace the louvred windows which let in so much cold air during winter, with an air tight version. One day…
The laundry is yet to be touched. When we had our plans drawn up it included some changes to the laundry but at this stage, we have left that for later. It’s still green with several different floorings, a rotting window, an awkward layout, and a few other dodgy additions. At some point, we plan to get in and do it ourselves, however, right now, it’s not a priority.
At the other end of the house, the pantry sits behind the kitchen (through the door to the left of the fridge). I didn’t include it in my last post because the post was already huge. When we first thought about the pantry, we wanted to build a passive cooling system to help keep the room cool and keep our produce fresh for longer. After some investigation, we ended up canning the idea, as we couldn’t make it work on our site. We did, however, make sure that the whole room was super well insulated to help keep it cool all year round. So far, we notice the difference between the warmth of the living room and cool pantry (providing the kids remember to close the door that is…).
The bench is made of the same caesar stone as the main kitchen (seafoam – 30mm thick). We managed to save a little money by having a join in the stone, but we hardly notice it. The bench also has a sink in it. So far the sink is the perfect place to wash hands or drain vegetables when the main sink is in use, so I’m super glad we have it.
The cupboards under and over the sink are made to match the kitchen, but the rest of the drawers are open to allow air to circulate. The first bank of drawers are similar to traditional drawers, only they don’t have fronts on them. So far we keep those foods that we use all the time (spreads and snacks) in the top drawer where the access is quick and easy. The remaining three banks of drawers are all wire baskets. At the moment they are full of regular packages, but they will eventually be used to store some of our produce, so having wire racks allows for lots of air flow. All the drawers are telescopic (i.e. they extend all the way out) and have soft close features on them.
During the initial build, we decided to put off getting the shelves above the bench built. Our main reason for this was the cost. We weren’t sure how the budget would go. In hind sight (always a great thing) we should have just got them built at the same time. In the total build, they would not have cost that much more. Now that we are in the house, we need to prioritise getting these shelves built so that we can the jars etc off the floor and the pantry organised. At this stage, I’m thinking we will get the people who made the rest of the kitchen to make them so that they fit in properly.
So there you go, almost 6 years in the making, and we have our very own dream home. And it really is only the beginning! We love a project, and there are so many little things to do next. I love that I get to look around the house and say “we did this”. We designed it (with our architect’s guidance) for our life now and into the future, and now we get to live in this wonderful place. Of course, we know that really it’s not how big the house is, but how happy the home is that counts. We want this farmhouse to be our forever home!
What do you think? Have you ever undertaken a big project like this?