It’s show-and-tell day and I’m raising my hand high, ready to get up in class and SHOW YOU MY FARM UPDATE. We have officially passed through the hardest stage – the stage that feels slow, expensive, visually boring to look at, and yet stressful. While I’m incredibly grateful to be in the position to renovate, like a lot of you who have been through it know – it’s also very challenging, even if you’ve been through it before. Remember how Anne (founding designer of ARCIFORM) wrote about the emotional renovation rollercoaster? Well, we are back up top for now! We’ve entered a new arena of hope, where I get a serotonin burst just visiting.
The ARCIFORM team – Jamie, Adam, Tourin, Taylor, Adam, and Alex have been very busy behind the scenes the last few months doing things that aren’t particularly visually interesting, but obviously extremely important to make the house sound and safe (and to city code, etc). THANK YOU, YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE WHO DESERVE FREE PIZZA FRIDAY EVERY FRIDAY FROM NOW ON. Per our engineering plans, they put in all the new support beams, reframed many roofs/ceilings, framed for all the windows and skylights (but still covered in plywood so it’s hard to really get a sense).
I also want to say thank you to you all for your patience. This stage is all about making all the final decisions for every single permanent fixture for every single room and it’s a domino effect. So you think you have time to say, choose a paint color, but if it’s going on the cabinets then it has to be chosen now while they are in production. Everything has crazy long lead times now, so me taking 3 days off to pull together a “how to do an electrical plan for your whole house” post would literally set us too far behind on the actual house (plus we need to finalize the electrical plan to even help come up with the tips that make sense and that are actually important to know). Same with choosing tile and lighting for the whole house. I have to actually have firm decisions before I can look at it and think “ok, this is how I did it”. There are some decisions that I made once and never changed, but there are so many that I waffled on, or once we saw in a rendering we were all like “uh, no” (like the mosaic tile floor in the sunroom – I designed that MONTHS ago and was SURE it was perfect until it absolutely was not). I’m just so lucky to have ARCIFORM as creative partners to bounce ideas off of and also keep us on track, help call out red flags that I might not have noticed, and just lean on in every creative way. Anne and Stephyn have been truly incredible.
The foundation had to be poured for both the 8′ extension and the new writing/sunroom. All important stuff!!! The house was in OK condition but some walls still needed extra support (for seismic) and the original foundation needed some help. But while the windows are being framed, ready for the arrival of the product, the openings are still boarded up and no drywall in between rooms – so it’s really hard to see what is happening. But it’s now in hyperdrive. The rain let up enough for them to finish the foundation of the writing/sunroom, they finished framing out the new addition with real walls, they finished all foundation upgrades, etc and then BOOM the windows arrived.
THE FRAMING IS (Almost) DONE
Jamie and his crew are killing it. While it just looks like wood, they are master carpenters and are making this house STRONG, accurate, and as we saw the windows going in you could see how important it is to know what you are doing, have experience and be able to execute a plan.
THE WINDOWS ARE GOING IN
And OMG they are so pretty – just so pretty. We worked with Sierra Pacific to do white oak interior and aluminum clad exterior and customized some with a diamond pattern. More to come on that – I can’t wait to show you. We knew they were big (natural light y’all) but the scale of them is magical. Again, more to come!
Check out the diamond pattern we created to join the upstairs original windows with the more simple grid pattern we used downstairs – I LOVE IT. This is the entry 🙂
Gah, the new window against the old siding is HARD to handle and it makes me so excited to get the new siding up so everything looks fresh and the design is more seamless.
O and hello kitchen windows!!!!!!
THE M.E.P.S ARE ABOUT TO START: (MECHANICAL, ELECTRICAL, AND PLUMBING)
So every sconce height, every pendant location, every light switch, outlet, and register is accounted for. I will walk you through all of these things in the new year as we are honestly just so busy meeting the deadlines, making decisions, and ordering everything as to not stall the construction. I’m once again learning SO MUCH and feeling frustrated with myself that I don’t know any of these programs to help with the renderings, but generally excited about all the decisions. I’ll be happy to not talk about HVAC and insulation decisions anymore!!
It’s all the stuff that is SO IMPORTANT and mistakes are extremely expensive to change, but it’s just not my strength. I am excited that we are going to be as electrified as possible – I’m working with Rheem on a lot of that content to walk you through what that even means and what the pros and cons are.
THE SUNROOM/WRITING ROOM IS ALMOST BUILT
I can’t wait till this…
THE EPIC UPSTAIRS SKYLIGHT IS FRAMED OUT
I go back and forth between a lot of emotions A. Needing more help and wishing I had more skills, B. So excited/grateful, and C. Feeling underwater as a mom and content creator during the holidays – even without the farm renovation it just feels BUSY. And that’s ok, and I know I’m not alone. My team has been incredible holding down the blog while I’ve sat on daily 3-4 hour Zoom or in-person meetings for the design of the farm. I feel so behind in life right now, but also having SO MUCH FUN actually shopping in person again and doing it with Brian who is so involved. I think my favorite thing about doing this job is how much you learn every single day. I had a 2-hour conversation about canned lighting and why we can’t put the gimbal recessed in our kitchen like I wanted – truly my brain hurt, but now I know and can walk into the next historic remodel understanding the height limitations if you are vaulting a ceiling.
I’d seriously LOVE to know what posts you want. As soon as we have time to interview and onboard a local assistant up here we’ll be planning consistent farmhouse content, produced far better than this one because hopefully, we’ll have someone who can visually help me tell the story on social and the blog that makes it the easiest to understand. Here is on my list so far that we are going to start prepping:
- The kitchen design plan reveal – We are still finishing up some decisions (hardware, paint color, shelf height, but SO CLOSE) and I can’t wait to show you what we’ve cooked up with Unique Kitchen & Baths (cabinetry).
- Bathroom/mudroom, etc design plans – These will be showing you the finishing choices and layout, and walking you through the design and decision-making process.
- How to lay wood flooring throughout your house (orientation and transition is always a fun challenge) – We have the most beautiful white oak from Zena which is harvested sustainably right here in Oregon. I’m SO EXCITED.
- How to choose paint colors based on the mood you want to create (revealing ours) – I hope you guys are ready for some moody and happy Sherwin-Williams recommendations.
- Our walk-in pantry layout – (I’m SO EXCITED).
- THE EXTERIOR PLAN – Omg. I can’t wait to share the most important architectural details you can NOT skip if you are restoring a historic home. I learned so much from ARCIFORM.
- The landscape plan (ish) – This has been back burner for obvious reasons but the yard is a 100% mud pit so while we wanted to put this off, we ultimately have to do something around the house and we’ve booked our crew for March so it’s time to finalize plants and hardscapes, etc. We are working with Yardzen around the house and a local landscape Architect, Studio Campo, for the greater homestead property. It’s a lot but I’m so excited.
- How we designed a custom mosaic tile floor (with all the iterations its been the last few months) – Pratt + Larson has been once again a dream to work with for this customization and while this is the room that we could have absolutely skipped doing altogether, we see it as a year-round patio (like our LA patio). I was desperate for a fun pattern to bring that to life.
- How to execute period-appropriate molding and casings in a modern way
- How to design new windows that work with your original vintage windows – This was SO FUN and I’m so proud of the designs we came up with.
- Room by room window plan – How we came up with the design, function and scale with some tips on all of that.
And we haven’t even gotten into decorating yet. I think we found our media room sectional (this one – we freaked out when we sat on it) and of course I’m using a lot of what we already have. But I haven’t pulled many triggers on the stuff that we need, mostly because I want crazy expensive vintage pieces from Sweden that we can’t do. So I just stare and stare at this unattainable furniture and try to figure out what it is about them I love, and how I can get those elements in a way that is affordable and makes sense for my family. Its very fun, but it’s a slow process that I’m trying to enjoy and not rush.
Oh and timing-wise, our lease is up at the rental in May so we are hoping to be living in part of the house by then, knowing that there will definitely be construction both in and outside for months. We are hoping to finish decorating in the fall and shoot as rooms are ready. I’m trying to be a REALLY REALLY good client to ARCIFORM and not rush them or put undue stress on them (being on the other side I know how frustrating it can be when clients just think it can happen overnight). We have to be patient, knowing that a lot is happening behind the scenes but also help bring that sense of urgency and problem-solving solutions in hopes of catching any of the potential delays far in advance. I can’t thank the ARCIFORM team enough, seriously, it’s been amazing working with them.
But please tell me what parts of the design process you want a deep dive into. A lot of the organic content happens in the field as we realize something is a challenge – like how to panel an awkward vaulted ceiling, how to paint stairs so they never chip (possible?). But again, would love to know what you guys would love to learn/see and have me not skip (like do you really want to know all our roofing options or why we are choosing cement stairs outside?). And THANK YOU again for your patience. Getting our new life (kinda) set up in Oregon was overwhelming in and of itself with the kids back in school Then jumping into this project while running the blog and producing partnership content left zero time to hire someone and that’s the missing piece here. So as soon as I can get help to document and manage visual materials, prep blog posts, we’ll be able to turn around process posts so much faster. PERMANENT DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE SO NOW THE FUN STUFF IS HAPPENING SOOOOOOOON!!!! YAYAYAYAY
Photos of Brian and I by Suraya Barbee