It’s amazing how quickly a year can go by. Last spring I announced we were moving to the country and a year ago yesterday we moved all our belongings from our little apartment into a big old 1903 farmhouse in rural Ontario. I woke up on May 24th to celebrate not only my 30th birthday, but also the start of this great adventure into bringing new life into this old house. As I sit here today at 31 years old, four days overdue with our first child, I can’t believe how much has happened in the last 365 days.
We put so much love, sweat and at least a few tears into making this house into the home that we dreamed of. There is still lots of work to do, but it feels like we’ve already accomplished so much. We’re so thankfully to all the help we’ve had from our family and friends along the way too.
It all started by taking down the lattice the covered the front of the house and digging out some the crazy overgrown plants and vines in the front.
I’m still learning what we have in the gardens around the property, but it’s been exciting to see what pops up each season. This year we’re adding to it with a giant cutting flower and vegetable patch at the back of the property, which I’ll share soon once we have more shoots come up!
The biggest change we made to the house was painting the stucco and the windows. The house had great bones, but the exterior was desperately in need of some help.
As soon as we started to see that fresh while paint go up, it was like the house started to completely transform. From grey and dingy to bright and light.
It truly was a group effort, with family and friends coming over to help us scrape windows, re-caulk everything, add trim to the soffit…and paint, paint, paint.
When I look back at these pictures, I can hardly believe it’s the same house! We spent hours scraping off decades of old paint to get to the original wood frames, which were thankfully in pretty good condition for the most part.
Ahh! So much better!
To fix the crooked roof, we had professionals come in to level everything out and add new posts and a beam. They also built big wide steps to lead down to the front lawn.
Meanwhile, we built out own DIY Custom Board and Batten Shutters for most of the windows in the house. We still have two more sides to finish this summer.
I also sanded and painted an old screen door we found in the springhouse.
Speaking of the Springhouse, it’s the only original outbuilding for the dairy farm that used to be here, as the big barn burned down many years ago. It would have been used as a refrigeration system in the early 1900s, but for us it’s a great storage shed.
It got a makeover too, with new windows, fresh paint and some new boards along the roof. To the left of it is the big run and our chicken coop.
That’s the other thing that happened a year ago today…we became the proud parents of five ever so adorable baby chicks. They were a surprise 30th birthday gift from my family and we fell in love with them right away.
Now they’re four big beautiful Red Star hens and our beautiful yet boisterous rooster, Henry. We get 3-4 big brown eggs every day.
My family built the Chicken Coop (Part One and Part Two), and we made a big outdoor run around it to let them go free-range. They spend most of their days sunning on their logs, having big dust baths and happily eating our compost scraps. I’m pretty such they love it out here just as much as we do.
Back in August we hosted a Corn Roast Housewarming to let friends and family come out to see the place.
When we bought these big old farmhouse out in the country, this is exactly what we were picturing – hanging out with the people we care about, enjoying this little piece of land that we get to call our own.
And as fall came around, we fell in love with it again. Big bright trees along the skyline, cool breezes and front porch living.
That big tree is one of my favourite parts of this property. When we find old pictures of the house, you can see that it’s been huge the entire time the house has been here, and I hope it’s here for many years to come.
We’ve been very lucky that we didn’t need to do very much to the inside of the house. The previous owners did a great job repainting it and adding in this new farmhouse kitchen before they sold it. There are still plenty of things we’d like to do with the interior in the future, but I was really happy that nothing really needed to be done for us to enjoy it in the meantime.
Last summer I shared a Farmhouse Progress Tour, with some of the rooms around the house. Not much has changed yet, but slowly it is starting to look more like our style and less like a mix match of things that we’ve found to fill the house. When you move from 450 sq ft to 2000 sq ft, you have to figure out how to find things to fit. When we first moved in our furniture looked so tiny!
We celebrated our first Christmas here too this year and I loved being able to set up our tree, hang some garland and fill the house with smell of fresh baked goods!
We’ve done a few little projects here and there, like creating a pantry in the basement stairwell.
The only room that is almost finished is the nursery. I have just one or two little things I want to do after the baby gets here and then I can’t wait to share it!
This house felt like home from the first day we moved in and it’s been a wonderful year of settling in and making it feel like our own. To be a part of Cloverhill’s history and make our own family’s memories here is something that I feel so lucky to have. It’s been here for 113 years and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure it’s it’s here long after we’re gone.