Home renovation – all the before photos of our 1950s farmhouse

In January of 2019, we purchased our 1950s farmhouse in rural North Carolina and embarked on our home renovation journey. Moving from a brand new house in the city, we knew this new house would be a huge undertaking. With good bones and a beautiful 2-acre parcel in a nice community, we knew we could build our dream home together.

The first time I saw the house on Zillow, I knew we had to go see it. Not only was it the perfect fixer-upper, but it was in an area that we had been wanting to move to for a while. Do you know when you see a house on Zillow and fall in love with it immediately? That’s what happened to me. I convinced Braden to go with me to see the house that very week.

We pulled up to the house on a lovely sunny afternoon and immediately felt drawn to the property. There’s a huge oak tree right next to the house, and horses across the street. The bright red door can really draw you in and a lot of people mention how nice the house looks from the road.

The field & oak tree on the property

Pictures aren’t always what they seem

Up close, however, was a different story. Stepping through the door, we could see everything that didn’t translate in the photos. That beautiful red door? Poorly spray-painted and banged up. The nice-looking brand new floors? Cheap vinyl flooring. We could tell pretty quickly that this house would need a little more work than we thought from the photos.

Living room before home renovation
Doesn’t this look like a nice room? The living room before home renovation

There were lots of good things in our initial walk-through, however. The most important thing when viewing a house is seeing it for its potential. This house has a lot of it. Walking around upstairs, we felt that the floor was extremely solid. That was probably the first time viewing an old house where there weren’t structural issues upstairs. Structural issues can really bulk out the budget of a home renovation project.

The home renovation walkthrough

Without further ado, here are the pictures of our house and a little bit about each room and what the goals are for each.

Living room

We loved the way this room looked in the photos. In real life, however, we found that this room was fairly small. The fireplace that looked so nice in pictures was weirdly too large for the one wall and had boarded up an existing fireplace. The room felt really boxed in and interrupted the flow of the house. One thing we do love about this room and the house, in general, is the amount of beautiful natural sunlight we get. This room has a ton of it!

What we’re going to do with this room: we already knocked out the wall where the fireplace is (new post about this coming soon). We will be knocking out the remaining interior walls to create a more seamless and open-concept plan. After knocking out the fireplace wall, the home already feels so much less boxy and maze-like, making it more inviting.

The kitchen

If there ever was such a thing as quintessential farmhouse kitchen, this is it (minus the farmhouse sink, naturally). High cabinets with scalloped trim, old windows, and a simple floor plan all come with this kitchen. Unfortunately, this kitchen isn’t utilizing space as well as modern homes do. Where do we put the fridge, the stove, and an island? We don’t know, and we have yet to find out.

What we’re planning on doing with this kitchen is improving the layout and making it more space-efficient. Right now, we can’t reach the upper cabinets and it looks cluttered. We’re going to keep the farmhouse aesthetic and just update this quaint space for modern conveniences, a simple airy design, and room for an actual stove. (Oh, and a real farmhouse sink 🙂 )

The bathroom

Oh, the bathroom. The bathroom. Where to start with these before pictures? I think all I have to say is that I have lived in many horrible rental homes filled with all sorts of nastiness and this is one of the worst bathrooms of all time. The shower, for example, was so disgusting that we had to put bamboo mats in so we could shower in somewhat comfort.

This room is actually halfway through a remodel right now! It was the first room we renovated. Having a nice bathroom makes remodeling the rest of the house easier. With this room, we have knocked out the closet in the bedroom to make more room in the bathroom. We ripped it up to the subfloor and found that many of the floor joists & beams were rotten. We’ve replaced the rotten beams, subfloor, and completely rebuilt the bathroom from there. Y’all are going to love the “after” photos – coming soon.

The bedrooms

The downstairs bedrooms have a ton of natural light and are of decent size. They don’t really need a ton of work. The carpets look nice in the pictures, but they’re kind of awful. We will be pulling the carpets and the flooring and replacing the flooring throughout the house. We will need to add closets to both rooms.

The front bedroom has an open wall into what I called the “weird closet” upon moving in. The previous owners had put up a janky wall between the front entrance and the front room. The front room had previously been the porch and has wonderful lighting. By putting up the wall, the previous tenants were using this room as a sort of open closet. Upon moving in, we knocked down the wall and will be building a wall to divide this room from the bedroom.


The upstairs has endless possibilities. As mentioned before, it’s pretty solid. It has storage all the way around it and is all open. There is so much potential in this room. This will be our future master bedroom. We have also considered making a master bathroom up here as well. This will probably be the most fun room in our home renovation journey!

I’ve already painted (almost) all of the wood paneling white, ripped up the ugly brown carpet, and painted grey porch paint on the floor as a temporary fix for an ugly space. There’s a post coming for this transformation as well, and of course, we will be sharing more changes with this room in the future. Updates also include new stairs and an actual door.

The meadow

A few wildflowers in the meadow from last summer

We have so much property – it would be such a shame to let it go to waste. This spring, we’re building a huge vegetable garden. Last year, I tried to plant a wildflower meadow but didn’t set it out correctly for success. This year, I’ll be doing the meadow again and hopefully get it right. In the treeline, we will be growing mushrooms and berries as well. We already have a ton of wild strawberries and are excited to use our land for fun.

We would also like to create more curb appeal and a privacy fence between us and our neighbors. A special project I want to work on to get better with carpentry is a “viewing deck” on the far end of the property. Here, I’d like to set up a nice place to relax, have a fire in a fire pit, and look at the stars.

Bonus – rental potential

The property also came with a bonus structure that drew us to it. On the western side of the property, there’s an old RV with a shed built into it. It actually used to be a church. The structure itself isn’t particularly spectacular. In fact, it’s pretty run down. The structure had us thinking about using the property to build more structures to rent out for Airbnb.

The community we live in is a bit of a destination for weekend getaways, weddings, concerts, etc. Not only is it a delight to live in, but it offers great opportunities to earn additional income through tourism. This is also a really wonderful thing to consider when purchasing a home. Having that extra rental income could be a huge plus for us.

Join us for more home renovations!

We are so excited to share this home renovation journey with you. The rewards we’ve had in just a few of the updates we’ve done to our home and property have been amazing! We love this DIY adventure and hope you want to follow us on this journey.

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