i'm not going to whine.
happy christmas, happy birthday, happy new year.

almost a no-go, but not all the way.

remember when i found a house online with 20 acres and a barn? well, we saw it yesterday. spent an hour going through the house, the pole barn, the barn barn, the chicken coop (i know, right?? chickens!! heaven!). while our love for the land and outbuildings was deep and strong, the house brought us back to reality.

here's what we'd be up against:

we drove up to the house, and the first thing i noticed was the garage door. it looks ... dead. house = not a good first impression.

but wait ... then we walked out into the yard ...

are you kidding me? look at the trees! the space!!

then we walked over to the pole barn. the space was H.U.G.E. and the potential was definitely there. along with all the flotsam left over from an estate sale ...

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(homemade apple wine, older than we are. letters from 1918. paper dolls from 1955. an old boat. an old metal desk. a barrel full of clothes made from fabric of colors not found in nature.)

we could definitely envision it divided into marc's space and my space ... with an exterior wall of windows, painted concrete floors, a small bathroom and kitchenette area, an enclosed server room ... even though it would need a ton of work to get it to that point.

then we headed over to check out the barn barn.

the barn barn seemed solid, as did the loft (apartment for guests? henry when he's in college??).

we walked over to check out the chicken coop and admire the view from the back yard ...

(noticed the neighbor has horses! sqeeee!!)

then we headed back to see the house, where reality came crashing in on us.


first we passed all nature of strange things in the yard ...

then we saw the wasp nest growing next to the garage ...

then we walked in the house.

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the place has been vacant for 17 years. on the market for the past 18 months, but who knows how many times it's been on and off before that. the remnants of an estate sale linger, and the disclosure states the owner passed away in '93. looking around the house, none of that information was a shocker.

the fireplace and beamed ceilings have potential for being so very cool ...


but the fact that every window was covered with frost on the inside was so NOT cool. contrary to the science of the heat value of frost.

but still ... there's that view! of the land!!


we looked at the bedrooms and saw some atrociously bad wallpaper ...

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then we walked toward the bathroom. or, bathroomS. as they were literally right next to each other. and which was worse? well, you tell me:

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yes. that's a sink full of mouse crap. and a cup of soap with mousy bite marks.


wanna see the kitchen?

IMG_0610 the pantry ... directly off the second bathroom.

well played, person who put up the shelves.

you can't even open the door from the bathroom all the way.


kind of like the 4" opening into the kitchen from the pantry.

maybe if the fridge was scooched all the way over to the counter. that might help.



one more random discovery ... a linen closet full of linens. still.

and then we headed to the basement. i'll let the photos speak for themselves ...

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and speaking of carpet, look at this vision of vintage loveliness, along with some quality built-ins:

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after poking around the house for awhile and discussing all the possibilities and potential, the amount of work and money and questions we had also had to be brought up.

the price for the property is so good, and given the state of the house and how long it's been hanging around the neck of the family, we could probably get it for an even better deal. however, the house is a gut job at best, a tear down at worst. who knows what the state of the well and septic are after being unused for nearly two decades. the questions of where would we live during a reno, how much would it cost, how much would it cost to reno the outbuildings and get water and electrical to them, and how long it would take to do that and our get our offices up and running, etc., are big, big questions.

we haven't totally written off the idea, but as we discussed it last night, we realized that for essentially the same price or less, we could carry through with our original plan to build the house we want on the lot we want and get work spaces in the house. suddenly, our first option is the cheaper and more logical option.

smittenness aside, this is going to be an expensive endeavor whichever way we choose to go. and we have to keep practicality in mind. and at this point, this place is not the practical, cost-effective option.

but that barn and land will haunt my dreams ...


Ann Marie

My 2 cents...Go with the new house..I'm worried about what challenges you will uncover with the gut/tear down. You could keep this place in mind for photo shoots?? :P I'll go antque hunting with you to replace all those possible treasures you could have owned..(love that blue trike..but no handlebars?)

emily pitts

oh the possibilities and land make me swoon. can i ask where in MN this is? :) makes me want to move back.


Seriously, how much would they take do you think? How much do you think you need to just raize the house and start from scratch? I'm thinking... if you can figure out the finances, just make 'em an offer - what you can afford, based on how much it will cost to make the house livable (as in new). Then go for it. All they can do is say no, and all you can do is NOT have regret for trying.


My first reaction would be to wonder why it's been vacant for so long. What has kept this from selling? The land is fabulous. Everything fabulous. There are some good points to the house, it just needs a lot of work, so it depends on what you are able to do yourself. As for frost on the inside of the windows? I have a few of those, and it isn't a deal breaker. Windows are easy to change. I'd be wondering about construction (is it 2x4) and then would go from there. But it has a lot of potential. And my wish for you is a winning Powerball ticket, but if you win, slush a few bucks my way so I can finish my casa as well, lol.


Wow, certainly does look like a lot of work! Well, whatever you decide, I know it will be beautiful! Looks like you both know what you want, and that is awesome!

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