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little boy with eye protection working in farmhouse bathroom demolition cedar rapids iowa

Farm Note 20: Farmhouse Remodel, part 1

Farm Note 20: Human Barn Remodel, part 1

After spending the last few weeks getting the garden put to bed and finalizing everything to help the animals survive the winter, we are finally in farm maintenance mode. The extent of my daily chores is filling waterers and feeders, watching the weather so I know when to let everyone outside to roam, and- my favorite- gathering eggs!

This is what greets me every morning:

With the majority of the farm chores on hold until warmer weather, we’ve finally turned our attention to the human barn!

Though we’ve done a lot of minor projects over the last year, the majority of our focus has been cleaning and playing catch-up. The house was majorly neglected before we bought it, so we had lots of boring things to do. Things like fix leaky faucets, replace light bulbs, remove pee-stained carpeting (Who puts carpeting in a basement, anyway? Eeeew.), and wash smoke stains from the walls. GROSS!

But now, we’re starting with the fun projects. The list is miles long, and includes fresh paint, new flooring, and gutting all three main-floor bathrooms. It’s going to be a huge undertaking. I’m not foolish enough to think it will all get done before the weather warms and we’ll need to head back outside for daily farm work. I am hopeful we’ll get a good chunk crossed off the list.

Bathroom #1 was slated for demolition this weekend. Let me give you a mental image of this bathroom:

A toilet with a handle that broke off the first time I tried to flush it after closing on the sale.

A vanity with two drawers painted shut, and two others that were drawer faces glued into place to hide the fact that the drawers are missing.

A formerly pink bathtub, coated with white ceramic coating that’s wearing off.

A bathtub faucet that leaks so badly that we can’t stop it. We ended up turning the water off at the source and foregoing use of the tub.

Walls painted white with the lovely yellow glow of wallpaper glue showing through.

A mirror with the foil separating from the glass so your reflection is more like that of a warty gnome than a human.

Vinyl tile that’s loose and slides around the floor like one of those games where there’s a square grid of moving tiles that slide into place to complete a picture. Only, there’s no picture and no completion. Just tiles that perpetually move.

And this was the NICE bathroom in the house.

collage of old farmhouse bathroom photos before remodel vanhoveln fammily farm cedar rapids iowa

As you can imagine, taking a hammer to the bathtub and surrounding tile was the highlight of my week. I let Ash help, and he loved that he could finally “hit the walls with a hammer” and not get in trouble for it. I was not shocked to find both water damage (from the showerhead pipe leaking) and smoke damage (from the fire that apparently occurred in the 80s) behind the drywall. At least there were no bodies, mouse or otherwise. Yet.

If you need me in the next few weeks, you can find me here at the house, frantically googling things like “what is this plastic behind my drywall” and “how to remove wallpaper glue” and maybe even “how to burn down my house without getting caught.” Let’s hope it doesn’t get that bad!

little boy with eye protection working in farmhouse bathroom demolition cedar rapids iowa

For all the news on VanHoveln Farm, follow us on Instagram and Facebook, or if you’re in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Corridor area of Iowa, stop on in. I’ll have a sledgehammer waiting for you!

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