Project by: Tom & Mindy
Location: Santa Rosa, California
We spent much of our 30s looking at, bidding on, and losing offers on fixer farmhouse properties in Sonoma County. We were ecstatic when an offer of ours was finally accepted for a short sale property, which was supposed to close on my 40th birthday, which I thought was a very good omen! It did take a little longer than anticipated, but several months later we were the proud owners of a country fixer, with all the septic, fencing and updating problems that tend to come with these properties.
We had planned on living with some of the rooms as long as we could before we started renovating, but it quickly became apparent we spent too much time in the kitchen to not make this our first project (and the broken oven and dishwasher helped move the project to the top of the list too). We had done a lot of DIY work at our old house, and knew that doing the work ourselves, coupled with a lot of Craigslist scouring, would be necessary given our tight budget.
The room was originally half kitchen and half dining, but we wanted to make it one large farmhouse kitchen instead. We decided to do the work in two phases—focusing on making the area work as one room and installing the bottom cabinetry, appliances, and flooring for the first wave. My husband put in the wood flooring (from Simple Floor) and extended the kitchen wall so we could move the refrigerator to a spot that made more sense to us. We kept the sink, dishwasher and stove in place, however, to keep costs down. We cook a lot and had a Viking range at our old house, but knew that a new one was out of our price range. Even before the house had closed I was checking Craigslist throughout the day in hopes for a second hand one. Two months into owning our new home we found a 48 inch one that needed to be moved quickly for a kitchen remodel, so we grabbed it and kept it in the garage for months until we’d be ready to remodel our kitchen.
The cabinets were from IKEA and the walls were painted Westhighland White from Sherwin Williams. We used inexpensive countertops from IKEA too, that were then repurposed in my brother’s house and our garage when we were able to upgrade the countertop during our phase two improvements. Another Craigslist score was a kitchen island from Restoration Hardware—we used this in the center of the kitchen until we would be able to put in a zinc topped farmhouse table (and move the island into my soap making studio). We completed these projects over several months the first year we were here, and then planned on finishing the kitchen a couple years later when we had more time and money to work on it.
So for our second phase we were able to remove the dated (and enormous) brick area and wood stove and instead double the counter space with a baking area and a morning coffee area too. My husband added shiplap to the kitchen walls at this point too. We then installed marble countertop, replaced the sliding door with one found on ebay and added upper cabinets to one side of the kitchen. The Viking Hood took a lot longer for us to secure (we held out for three years when a gently used one finally appeared on Craiglist). The backsplash tiles are our latest project (purchased at Home Depot). We’d like to add more lighting, but there are always so many projects to tackle here that for now we’re really content with how our farmhouse kitchen has turned out.
Thanks, Tom & Mindy!
• Are you interested in sharing a decorating or renovating project with the Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Makeover Project Submission Form.