Building Old Salt Farm: Month Three Update
And just like that, month three is over. I really thought at the beginning of this process that it would feel like forever, but it’s actually been the opposite of that. The time is flying by, so much so that I’m kind of starting to panic about all that we still have to do. At the same time, the light is getting brighter at the end of the tunnel, and the thought that we will be in our house by the end of the summer makes me SUPER happy! So much happened at Old Salt Farm in month three, and I can really tell how much closer we’re getting.
A little photo disclosure first…I never carry my big, nice camera out to the house, so all these photos are taken with my cell phone, and the quality isn’t always super great. But never fear, once the house is finished, you can count on much better photos!! :)
We are doing a little of the building ourselves–just some of the finish work that we want a certain way plus save a ton of money at the same time–and our list is still pretty long at this point. We still need to finish up the mudroom lockers, complete the kitchen island, build nine (!) sliding barn doors, put shiplap above the mantel all the way up to the cathedral ceiling, refinish a couple more pieces of furniture, making a few wood signs, finish the pantry shelving, build storage shelves in the basement, and build frames for the bathroom mirrors. Phew.
We’ve actually done quite a bit so far, including a couple of shiplap walls (we will do more after we move in–just don’t have time to do them all now!), built the mudroom locker, made a bunch of benches (you’ll see what they’re for soon!), nearly completed the kitchen island, and refinished several dressers and a desk. It’s good to see some progress, but we’re on a tight schedule now!
Week 9: Mudding, taping, start siding
There are some weeks where a lot happens, and others where not much happens. Sometimes it takes a week or two complete an entire job, which means not much can happen at the same time. Those weeks are hard for me, mostly because I’m impatient. But even though it didn’t seem like a lot was happening in week 9, all the drywall was being mudded and taped, which is a slow (and in my opinion, painful) process. I only say that because we’ve done it ourselves just once before, and we swore we would never do it again. The professionals make it look much easier than it actually is, and they are certainly much faster!
The siding also started going up, and in week nine they got all of the back and sides finished, plus a little of the front. They couldn’t do the front of the house until we decided what we were doing with the porch, because depending on what it is, the siding has to be installed differently.
This week my Dutch door came, plus a couple other exterior doors. Can I just say I’m in LOVE?!?!?! I’ve wanted one forever, and I’m so, so excited about it. It’s off the kitchen/dining area and will go to the patio, and I can’t wait to use it.
Front door view! The door will be painted black both inside and out with black hardware, and the sidelights will stay white.
This shows both the siding on the back of the house, and the lovely Dutch door!
I had the builder add extra 2×4’s in the porch ceiling so we could have a porch swing and it would be supported. Definitely a must on a farmhouse!
Week 10: Mudding, taping, building kitchen island
Yes, more of the same. The mudding and taping takes a long time, and because we have so many doorways, openings, and windows, it took even longer. It didn’t seem like a lot was happening, but progress was definitely being made.
I also decided on my brick for the fireplace! I went to the brickyard to select the brick, and I was immediately overwhelmed. There was A LOT of brick! Stacks and stacks, so many different kinds and colors and sizes. I did have a picture in my mind of exactly what I wanted, I just had to look hard enough and long enough to find it. And I did. Most of the stacks of brick were huge–you could tell they had quite a bit of that particular brick in stock–but my brick stack was pretty small. I grabbed one and took it up to the front to ask about it, and come to find out, I picked out the MOST expensive brick on the lot!
Why do I always do that? I was told that it was hand forged in Scotland, and that the price was pretty high, and there was very little left. I was feeling pretty defeated at first, because I hadn’t seen one other brick out there that I really loved, but I was gearing up to go back out and look again. But then…a miracle happened. After a little investigation, they discovered that there would be just enough to do my hearth and fireplace, and that because I was using so little of it, it would also fit in my budget and allowance! HAPPY DAY!!! I seriously love it. It’s over-sized and weathered on the edges, it mostly red (a true red, not an orange-y red), and has bits of black and distressed white in there too. I think it will be perfect!!
The brick I love! This is all they had…and it’s just enough.
The kitchen island is coming along, and it’s going to be beautiful. We found reclaimed barn wood from a turn of the century barn here in upstate New York, and careful honing into an island for the kitchen. It’s definitely a process, and takes a lot of work, but I know it’s going to give our white kitchen some needed contrast, depth, and richness. We still need to stain it and seal the top.
Week 11: Priming the walls, some paint drama, sub flooring, shiplap walls and mudroom lockers
This was a busy week, with a lot happening! The painter came in to prime the walls, and I also had to make my final paint decision. I knew I wanted to do all white walls, but deciding on a white is tough!! I was teased a lot about it, but I love love a crisp, white, and clean look, and there really was no other color I wanted to do. (My painter thought I was crazy for having six kids and white walls…and didn’t hesitate to tell me so!)
I researched and researched, read and read, looked at a billion swatches and pictures, and finally came to a decision…Simply White by Benjamin Moore (their 2016 Color of the Year!) I told the builder, he ordered the paint, and then in the middle of the night I sat straight up and panicked. The next morning I called the builder and the painter and told them not to do anything until I had given the go ahead. I just had to look at it one more time. It’s an absolutely beautiful paint color, so I wasn’t worried about that, just how it would look next to the trim color I chose, how the lighting would make it look in my house (since every home is different), and if it would be too creamy for me, since I wanted a truer white.
The painter was really very sweet about it, and catered to my craziness. He double-rolled a section in three different rooms of my house, then put a roll of trim color next to it so I could see what it looked like. I came out to the house in the evening, morning, and afternoon so I could check the light. In the end, as much as I still liked the color, it just wasn’t the right fit for my house. So…I changed my mind to my second choice originally, Decorator White by Benjamin Moore, and I LOVE it. It was the right choice for me! (P.S. If any of you live in upstate New York and want to buy 26 gallons of Simply White paint at a steal, let me know!!!)
The house and trim painted in Decorator White. The trim is laying out there to dry, but it looks like a shiplap floor to me!
The subfloors went in for the tile–in the master bath, mud room, guest bath, and both of the kids’ bathrooms. Stacks of tile showed up in my garage, plus the hardwood floor! It’s even more beautiful than I remembered…5 inch distressed planks, in a dark walnut color. Can’t wait!
My husband is a really talented woodworker, and has been since high school. I can do it if I have to, since he’s so good at it and loves it so much, he handles most the building. I do all of the design and finish work, which I love best. Together we make a great team, and we build pretty much everything in our house. We knew our list was really long though, and so Rick’s awesome brother, also a very talented woodworker, came out to help us get a bunch done. And we did! Those two did such a fantastic job, worked straight for four days, and accomplished a huge amount. We are so grateful to him–it would have taken the two of us so much longer.
They put up shiplap in my mudroom and pantries, plus built the lockers in the mudroom. I’m totally in love with all of it!
The shiplap in the two kitchen pantries is one of my favorite things. I LOVE it! It will be painted white like the walls, but I’m doing stained wood shelving instead. I’ve always and such a hard time with white shelves getting so dirty and scuffed that I decided to avoid it altogether.
The mudroom wall…shiplap up and primer on, ready for the lockers to be installed!
The lockers are mostly finished–we will add a stained wood bench along the entire wall once the house gets closer to being finished, plus dividers underneath each locker. They’ll also be painted white, with double hooks (one above, one below) in each locker. Again, I’m going with a stained wood here instead of painted white–I have learned the hard way how quickly white benches get dirty and scuffed, especially in the mudroom/laundry room!
Week 12: Painting, tile flooring, septic tank, cabinets
Week 12 was a doozy. It kind of felt a little slow the last couple of weeks before that, because it was mostly the mudding, taping, and priming of the walls. I went out to the farm on Monday and it looked one way, then I didn’t go back again until the weekend, and I was so surprised–so much had happened!
They dug the septic tank this week, and this was the view from our driveway on the way in. I think I just wanted to take a picture, because I love all the green so much. And those aren’t just really tall trees be him our house, they’re actually on a ridge that slopes up from the back of the property.
A much less exciting, but closer up picture of the septic tank.
We walked in to walls and walls of trim, all painted and ready to go in after the flooring is installed. I wanted a very simple, clean look, so I went with plain 1×6’s for the baseboards, and 1×4’s around the windows and doors.
The siding was completely finished this week! It looks amazing—I love white. If you hadn’t noticed. :)
They finished up the painting, and while the entire house is white, there is one grey room–my oldest son chose it. Okay, so I helped. But he wanted grey, and I didn’t want it to feel like a bat cave, so we worked together to find a good one, and we both love it! It’s Storm by Benjamin Moore–dark enough, but not too dark, and the crisp white trim is going to look amazing with it. I’m also using our old sliding barn door from our last house as his headboard, and I think it will be perfect for him.
Tile, tile, tile! Almost all the tile went in this week. I chose a gray wood tile for the mudroom, and I loved it so much, I ended up putting it in the guest bath and both of the kids’ bathrooms too. It’s perfect, and with a dark grey grout, it will show little to no dirt. I adore that it looks like wood, but it’s low maintenance. I’m not a tile girl, but I fell in love with this right away.
I went with a vintage style tile in our master bathroom, and it’s even more gorgeous in person. I can’t even tell you much I love and adore it! It will also go on the shower floor, with white subway tiles on the shower walls.
Cabinets also started being installed in Week 12, which was super exciting. I wanted as many drawers as possible, because I like them so much more than cabinets. Since we chose a double oven, our range has three large drawers underneath it, and I am really looking forward to that. I’ve started brainstorming where I want to put everything…
And one of the best surprises of the month? We discovered an apple orchard in the woods at the back of our property! It’s grown over, but with a little love and TLC, I think we can get it back in shape. I didn’t think I could love Old Salt Farm anymore than I already did, but that proved me wrong. I’ve always wanted an orchard, and now I’ve got one! Totally lucky!
Several months ago I started scouring the Habitat Restores in our area for furniture we needed–mostly dressers, but a desk and some nightstands too. I found the most amazing pieces, including an old cabinet put together with wood pegs. This week I refinished three of the pieces (still have several to go), but I LOVE LOVE them all. This one is going in Caroline’s room, and it will be perfect with how I’m going to decorate it. It still needs knobs, but it’s close. It’s so fun to finally be decorating again!
Whew. There was a lot to write about this month! Just five weeks left, and it should be finished! We will have a couple of weeks on the backend for closing, but by the end of August, we will be moving in. Wahoo!!
Kierste Wade is a published author, blogger, and mom to six. With more than 20 years DIY and project experience, she has been sharing ideas on her blog since 2009. Focusing on simple and doable projects, she loves to share attainable ideas for all things home, holidays, and family. Kierste has been featured on Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV, American Farmhouse Magazine (print and online) Taste of Home, Country Living, and more.