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Our New Farmhouse in Germany

Our New Farmhouse in Germany

Votes: 19
Site: Our New Farmhouse in Germany
Project: Remodeling 1834 Timberframe Farmhouse
Medium: Blog
About: Another young couple, another old home. This time the story comes from afar - Germany, to be exact. Follow along as this industrious couple introduces you to renovations with foreign flare. In addition to the normal challenges an old structure poses, they also run into contractor issues, material supply issues and old German architectural complications. They’ve monopolized the trash bin market and should really consider buying shares at the rate they’ve been filling them up.

The Plan

Their new farmhouse in Germany is actually an old farmstead that was built in 1834. Renovation plans for the farm include building out the attic and making it into a master bedroom, creating a new kitchen from the existing dining room and the former workshop, adding a second bathroom upstairs, building a climbing wall, sanding and lacquering hardwood floors and stairs, converting the existing kitchen into a home office, building a greenhouse, turning the chicken coop into a covered patio, painting the interior and the exterior…. These were pretty extensive and ambitious plans for a young couple with minimal renovating or remodeling experience. Add to this the normal trials and tribulations that come along with doing any type of work on an older home and it could be a recipe for disaster. Find out how these two stand up to the rigors of new home ownership, unexpected delays with progress and materials, difficult trades people and suppliers, and the crunch to get things done before their move-in date.

Let the Clean Up Begin

The previous owner was a collector of anything and everything and a pack rat to boot. Before they could begin any type of renovation, they had to clean out what had been left behind. It was a crazy amount of stuff! The rooms in the house and the barn were literally filled to the rafters with old furniture, cleaning products, appliances, building materials and numerous craft projects in various stages of completion. With the help of friends they cleaned out, sorted and trashed massive amounts of junk, clearing the way for the renovations to come.

Let the Dust Fall Where it May

They must have been itching to start making change. What started out as a simple mission of discovery in the bathroom turned into an all out war. Curious to see if wood beams were hidden in the ceiling, a little removal operation began. And as is so often the case, that little removal operation snowballed until there wasn’t a single tile left on the ceiling or the four walls. Demolition is highly addictive once started and it takes very little encouragement to go farther and farther. Opting to brave the outhouse for the few times they figured they’d need to, they carried on and trashed the toilet and sink as well. With the exception of the very unique avocado-green tiled tub, they basically destroyed their only bathroom and were left standing in a cloud of dust and debris. After purchasing the supplies to refinish the ceiling and walls, and shortly into the replastering process, they decided that they were maybe in a little over their heads. Coincidentally, the next blog post was about contractors coming to bid on some of the jobs that needed done around the house. The contractor they connected with and ultimately hired came highly recommended by a work colleague.

Doing it German Style

Between November 28 and December 1, contractors made big holes for two tall windows and a set of doors in the kitchen. With walls that are approximately 12” thick, making the openings was no easy feat. Those gaping holes remained open until December 19 when the windows and doors were finally installed.

Before the floors in the kitchen/dining areas could be tiled, they had to be insulated. In Germany, floors are insulated with estrich or screed – a mixture that has much the same consistency of concrete, but has larger stone particles and contains insulation properties. It is spread over a thick Styrofoam dampener then packed down and flattened with large trowels until it is smooth. .

The original kitchen was to be converted into a home office. When they gutted the space they discovered water damage on several areas of the floor, so decided to take it up and replace it. Much to their surprise, they found that the area beneath the floorboards was completely filled with sand. In olden days (1834) sand was used to fill in around floor beams to increase stability and provide insulation.

A Very Cool Gadget

A lot has happened since purchasing their farm in August 2006. Many projects are finished and there are still many to be started. They’ve modified the layout of their blog and added a cool gadget called a Project Tracker. It lists their current projects and displays the progress to date. Keep your eye on the tracker so you can see how they’re getting along and what lies ahead.

I have built a house in the country side and I can't finish the bathroom, and I think of buying a portable toilet
Great site
Great site

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