Creating the Right Design Plan

by Cedar & Sage Farm | Sep 18, 2017 | Farmhouse


Turning our dated farmhouse into the home of our dreams isn’t all breaking through walls and picking out pretty things. There is a lot of thought and planning that has to go into the design of a home.


I look back on some of the first renovation projects we tackled and how our goals and thought process has changed over time. To be fair, there is a difference when you are buying and selling a property for investment purposes. The first and most important rule in investment real estate purchasing and flipping is to take the emotion out of it! Now, this seems like a logical and simple thing to do but, if you are passionate about houses and design, it is very easy to let the “makeover” be all about you and your loves.


So, with this lesson in hand when we started renovating our own home, I assumed that I could push that rule aside and do what we wanted to do because we were living there and we could therefore do what we wanted. And I was right, but only to a point. Knowing your end game is critical when you decide to invest the time and money into a property. Sure, you may live there now. But, do you intend to stay there forever? Have you considered what other properties in your area have done as far as improvements? What are buyers looking for in your area? What is the maximum square footage price that someone has sold for in your area?


Doing your research before you swing a hammer or hire a contractor is key in making sure that you will be making improvements to your home that not only will be just what you are looking for but, also what future buyers will be looking for when you move on.


So with that said, one of the reasons we decided to purchase this specific property was because its location and land size kept our options wide open for what we could do to the property without out-pricing ourselves in the market. In essence, what I am saying is that we bought the ugly duckling in a sea of swans. We made sure that the land itself had all of the things on our checklist and that the house had the bones to become what we one day envisioned. It is way easier to reconfigure the layout of a home than it is to wait for trees to grow or to create a mountain view that doesn’t exist.  For us, we wanted enough land to raise a couple of horses and make a happy spot for our hobby farm dream. Trees were a must! We wanted tree swings, and windbreaks, shelter and privacy and mature trees were our answer to this. Also on our list was a mountain view and a barn/shop big enough to house all of our future projects, Andrew’s growing collection of things with wheels, and my soon-to-be zoo.


We found all of our must haves as far as land and barn were concerned when we looked at our place, but it took some serious vision to see the house falling into shape. But, a few (or five) return trips back to look at the house and we could envision how it could be transformed. We are so glad we took a chance on this 1980’s bungalow.


Starting demolition was exciting. There is a reason that Chip’s favorite day is Demo Day! It is so fun to tear down the old to make new space for what is to come. I’ll be honest, this time we did the demo first and let the space sit with us in its raw and open forum before we settled on a design plan.


It was harder with this one because we don’t see ourselves leaving any time soon, so building in all the unique features that are perfect for our family seem tempting, but being realistic about what appeals to others down the road regarding layout, won. And now that our plan is set, I am confident that we made the right decisions.


As much as I want the house to look and feel inviting, making sure the design is functional for a family of five living on a farm comes first.


Currently, our washer and dryer are located at the back door in a narrow hallway. This, needless to say, is not a well thought out plan! We need a laundry room! So we have found a perfect space next to our bedrooms that has natural light from a large window to create a laundry room that I keep telling myself will make me excited to do laundry. I know this is a romantic pipe dream, but it will gift me with a space to put a laundry basket and I won’t have to climb over the washer door to add clothes to the dryer. I’ll take that as a win.

The kids are getting older and looking for more privacy, so the boys will be leaving their upstairs bedrooms for the basement, and we will happily be converting one of the bedrooms into an office. It too has a beautiful view of the sparkling lights of the city that sits just the right distance away.

The other boy’s bedroom will be replaced with the laundry room and a walk-in closet for Andrew and I. This affords us the luxury to create the spacious ensuite that we have been yearning for. Currently, we are sharing a postage-sized bathroom from the 1980’s in the basement with two teens and a preteen girl. God help me make it to completion.

So the design plan is set, the initial demo is complete, and we are off to break down the walls to our new vision, scrape some more ceilings… You get the idea.  

I can’t wait to show you the “after” pictures!








Meet Ashleigh

I have somehow been blessed beyond measure; I am married to a wonderful guy who shares in the great joy of raising our three amazing children. We recently picked up and left the city to follow our hearts, with the intention for a more simple and natural lifestyle. Both my husband and I are native Calgarians who have always been awed with the wonder of looking out at the Rocky Mountains. For us, transplanting into the foothills just made sense and we couldn’t wait to get here. It wasn’t until I was removed from the hurry of the city; that I was able to settle into my purpose and accept and celebrate the things that make me happy. Combining my love for bringing life into a neglected space, and filling it with a marriage of old and new, has enabled me to take on the challenge of rebirthing this 1980’s farmhouse. Being able to do this from home, while tackling the daily chores of caring for our farm animals is pure bliss and sits comfortably in my heart. I am chomping at the bit (along with our horses…) to continue to watch the evolution of our space take shape… And I can’t wait to fill this home with love, memories and the smell of Sunday dinners for years to come. I believe that the greatest gift in life is family, and I have been placed amongst a beautiful tribe (my late grandfather’s endearing term for our extended family). I yearn to give my children and their friends a place to melt away from the hustle; in a comfortable and pretty space, which I hope can be a refuge from a complicated and sometimes messy world. Although this move and new direction was not written down in my master plan (and I am a list and plan girl through and through), I am thrilled that the happenings which brought us here have unraveled just the way they did. I have dedicated this year to being grateful for our many gifts while also accepting my limitations with grace and courage. In addition to my home and family, I love camping, iced tea, Volkswagens and a good book… in no particular order. I hope you can find inspiration, relatability or even just a good laugh by following my blog posts as I figure out just what will unfold next.