Renovating a 1940s Farmhouse
Our current farm house on the Wild+Free Farm is from 1940s. The current house was moved on to the foundation – it isn’t the original. We are unsure what decade this occurred. Suffice to say, there was a house that fit, and here we are.
When we purchased our property, we initially had an structural engineer look at the current foundation. At that time, only one basement wall was exposed as the previous owner had already attempted to fix it. It didn’t work. There was a large crack in the foundation from top to bottom, through the entire wall. This wasn’t really good news, but it was solvable. However, we stripped out the rest of the basement walls exposing more and more cracks in various locations.
Our original plan to build a two storey building on to this questionable foundation was not something we were willing to risk. To fix the original house, it would take as much excavation work to fix as it was to start again. So, we started to dream bigger, and think a little outside the box of what we needed on the property.
Building a Bigger Dream
After piling our belonging into the various farm buildings throughout the property, and washing many weeks of farm share vegetables in our kitchen sink, it became obvious. My FitBit racked up the kilometres as we washed vegetables from the fields, carried to the house, washed & bagged in house and then carried out to the shed where the cooler was. Doug struggled on where to do carpentry projects on the cold spring & winter days outside in the snow. We needed a workshop that would allow us to wash vegetables, carry out carpentry projects, and do office work — preferably not around the same kitchen table.
So, the dream for a glorious Barndominium started to grow. Located right beside our epic garden which feeds our farm share project, and adjacent to the current house, this new building is in the smack of the heart of our farm.
The Construction So Far
Excavation, footings and foundation were started on the project in July. Since then, our DIY family team has framed the walls and installed the floor trusses. The floor trusses posed a problem for our small team as they were 30′ long and weighed about 200 lbs a piece. More than two people can just lift up 10′ in the air.
Enter innovation – a wooden crane made from scrap lumber, appliance moving rollers, and an electric winch run off a car battery to get it up there. After all the plywood was attached to the top, the whole family came up to enjoy the view – and what a view it was.
Grandpa (the retired fireman) carried each kid up the ladder to make sure they were safe.
Inspecting his favourite climbing tree from where his new bedroom will be.
The view overlooking the garden (bedrooms)
The view overlooking the back field (master bed, living area, book nook and kitchen)
- 30×50′ building with gambrel roof, 4 dormers
- Storey and a half
- Carpentry and farming workshop downstairs, including 2 – 10×9′ garage doors
- Living space and storage upstairs, including 3 bedrooms, bathroom, book nook, open concept great room
We will regale with over the next coming months with our project updates and more details of the plans. Currently, we are rushing to get the roof trusses up and the whole building shelled in before the winter hits. With snow on the forecast, we are slightly nervous!
Here’s our vision board thus far: