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We bought a Farmhouse!

It's old and creaky, but has a whole lot of beautiful character and it feels like home! We bought an old 1890's classic farmhouse. It needs lots of updates - the wallpaper inside is dark and outdated, but we're going to lighten and brighten it with a fresh coat of paint, and make it our own! The wide plank floors, ceiling beams, and all the wood throughout make it feel so homey and cozy. We'll paint the exterior a classic farmhouse red in the spring, and whitewash the porch. It will get a new metal roof, a lot of other renovations, and Ryan is very excited to buy a tractor! Our favourite part is it has lots of land for farm animals!

Ryan Atkins Lindsay Webster bought a farmhouse

I think I’m an old lady trapped in a 30-year-old’s body. Seriously, though, my favourite toys when I was little were my easy bake oven, and playing “farm” with my stuffed animals. We had this giant stuffed horse we would ride around our basement on (I was basically a child prodigy hobby horser). I don’t know that many other people who just want to spend their entire day baking, looking after chickens and growing vegetables. Then canning the vegetables and picking berries, preserving them for winter, researching what herbs to grow they can make medicinal poultices out of and whether or not they can mill their own flour to bake their bread with.

Ryan, too… if he wasn’t a professional athlete, he would be an arborist or farmer. We just have too much energy to spend! It’s so rewarding to work outside, or watch something come flourish that you’ve put time and energy in to. It’s always been a dream of mine to have farm animals. It wasn’t until we got our chickens, and then our friend Pat started bringing us milk from his jersey cows, that I think Ryan got that bug too. My dream of having enough land for animals became a conversation we were both dreaming up together. So, we’ve been looking for a farmhouse for a while!

screen porch farmhouse front porch where I will drink my coffee every morning and watch the cows go by
The giant screen porch, where I will drink my coffee in the mornings and watch the cows go by (literally)!

The problem with where we live is, it’s too perfect. The Eastern Townships of Quebec consist of picturesque mountains overlooking rolling farmland, pastoral views, the most beautiful maple forests, and a whole lot of history. There are really no paved roads (the gravel riding is incredible!), and beautiful historical homes are everywhere you look… fieldstone houses, old log homes, and farmhouses like ours. It’s also not super expensive (yet), so you become pretty picky when house shopping for what type of home you want. Dream homes are affordable. Our list included a view, maybe a pond, trails, some maple forest so we can make maple syrup, but also open land to have animals, a house in decent shape with lots of character, and acres. Eye roll, right?! We learned pretty quickly that literally everyone in the area is searching for that same thing, so unless you have some sort of hook-up, these places usually sell within the family or before they even go on the market.

farmhouse century home front porch view of the old barn
View from the porch of the neighbour's house and old barn. To the left are beautiful pastoral views where I can watch the cows go by.

BUT, thanks to our incredible real estate agent (Jessica Brown, that’s you!), we found it! We had been looking for about two years. Then one day, she called me up and basically said, “I found your home.” What she actually said is she had a place she wanted us to come see, basically at the same moment it was listed on the market. For years, I had thrown listings her way that we were maybe interested in, but she kept telling me she was keeping an eye out for us and the right thing hadn’t come up yet. So, when I received her call and we were on our way to see the house, I told Ryan I was nervous because we were basically moving. Moving is a big deal.

farmhouse kitchen cast iron cooking stove antique wood stove
Antique cast iron cooking stove in the farmhouse kitchen

We hadn’t even seen photos, because the house was barely even listed yet, but Ryan and I fell in love right away. The land is incredible. There’s this great big spring-fed pond that’s 8 feet deep, nice and clear and swimable. Right beside it is the “love shack,” built by the previous owners’ son (actually a friend of ours!). It’s a beautiful little wood cabin with a wood stove… I’m so excited for winter hockey games on the frozen pond with friends and their kids, and then warming up our feet by the wood stove with hot cocoa! We have some maple forest, and access to a ton of trails. Bromont ski resort is ten minutes down the road, so we’ll have tons of running, skimo, downhill ski and mountain bike trails there. The cross-country ski trails are also super close by! There’s a little barn on the property, and get this – there’s even a dog run out in the yard, because the previous owners’ have a malamute, too! Fruit trees, pastoral views of our neighbour’s farmland and his cows, lots of open space for animals, and a veggie garden. It literally checked all our boxes. Needless to say, we’d put an offer within the hour, and it was accepted that evening!

spring fed pond in the backyard swimming pond with a rope swing
Spring-fed swimming pond and the "love shack"

Inside the little log cabin
Inside the "love shack" - a little log cabin the previous owners' son built

log cabin
The Love Shack is out by the pond. Can't wait for winter hockey games with friends and then hot cocoa by the wood stove in here!

THE HOUSE, though. It has so much character!

People will think we’re crazy, because Ryan and I’s current house is new, beautiful, and perfectly functional. We’re trading it in for an 1890’s farmhouse that needs a ton of work! Our current house is indeed amazing, but we find it’s just not “us.” It was built by some yogis about 12 years ago, has all sorts of neat architectural lines and is entirely centered around the beautiful mountain view. It’s super well insulated, clean, and has really no issues. But, we’ve always found it a bit sterile. As far as styles, it’s not a farmhouse, it’s not a cabin… we suppose it would have been classified as very modern 12 years ago when it was built. Ryan and I’s first home together was this tiny cabin by a river in the woods, and it had it’s fair share of problems. We’re no strangers to a home that needs work! It had lots of wood, was super cozy, and all those things plus the little issues just made it really feel like home. So, our current home is up for sale, and we’ll move to the farmhouse as soon as it sells!

The farmhouse has these beautiful original wide-plank floors. It has an old cast iron cooking stove in the kitchen, big ceiling beams, and all sorts of wonderful creaks. This is our style J One thing I’m actually randomly really excited about is the basement. Most homes this old have basements that aren’t high enough to stand in, but this one has nice tall ceilings. And so much wood throughout! There’s also a giant screen porch, where we can sit and drink our coffee in the mornings and watch the cows go by (actually, though).

farmhouse dining room with wide plank floors, needs fresh paint and renovations to get rid of that dark wallpaper
Dining room, with wide plank floors and the ceiling beams that you can't really see in this photo

ANIMALS! We’ve been wanting a cow for a while, since Pat started bringing us milk. A jersey cow will produce 5 gallons of milk a day. It took Ryan and I a week to go through the 5-gallon bucket pat brought us, and that was with making cheese, butter and yogurt from it. Solution? MINI COW! Google them, they’re basically the cutest things on the planet. Cows are super friendly… minis are just a half-sized cow, that eats half as much (less expense), produces half as much milk (manageable for us!), needs half the land, and poops half the amount. We’re bringing our 12 chickens with us… I’m thinking about getting a rooster in the spring! The hens are nearing the end of their egg-laying years (they only lay for about 2-3 years). A rooster would allow us to hatch some chicks, and raise some new laying hens. I’ve always wanted sheep, and Ryan has put in a serious request for a mini horse… he has a great love for them and finds them really funny. Oh, and there will be ducks!

farmhouse screen porch

So, the saga of our renovations will continue. This house was built in 1890, and doesn’t come without a ton of things that need to be done. Big ticket items are new insulation in the attic upstairs, a new metal roof (it’s the original lol!), and new windows… the windows in the kitchen still have the beautiful old bubbled and warped glass. I’m actually torn as to whether I even want to replace them, they’re so special and add to the character! But, insulation is also nice during super cold Canadian winters haha! Then there’s some plumbing, electrical, new bathrooms because they’re super outdated, and just brightening up the space in general. I love wood and really want to keep a lot of it as-is, to keep the original character of the house. Those wide plank floors or ceiling beams aren’t going anywhere! But I’d definitely like to brighten it up inside, as a lot of the wallpaper and paint is pretty dark. I can’t wait to put a big farmhouse sink in the kitchen, and we’re going to get one of those giant egg-shaped bathtubs (maybe one that looks like a clawfoot tub, to keep the aesthetic). We’re going to put another gigantic wood stove in the basement that we can feed whole logs in to, which will keep the whole house cozy warm and dry… we’re going to miss the radiant floor heating of our current house haha! We’ll also have to build a chicken coop, we’d like to eventually build a big barn/garage, and we’ll have to fence in the animal pastures. Good thing Ryan and I really enjoy doing renovations together! Ryan is extremely excited for the excuse to buy a tractor.

eastern townships quebec old farmhouse

Our current plan of attack goes:

- Sauna pad and electrical, because our sauna at our current house will be coming with!

- Chicken coop built before the ground freezes

- Insulate the attic

- Giant wood stove in the basement


- For Ryan, well, he used to be an engineer, so he gets stuck with the tasks of fixing whatever we find wrong in the house. Plumbing, electrical, and bathroom demolition

- For me, I get the “fun stuff.” Removing wallpaper and stucco, painting, tiling the bathrooms and basically making them come alive and look pretty once ryan puts the bones in place

Spring will involve:

- Ducks and maybe a rooster J Mini cow, if we can find the right breeder.

- Build the big barn

- New metal roof

- Paint the exterior of the house a classic farmhouse red

Let the fun begin!

spring fed pond
Our sauna will go next to the spring fed pond, so we can jump in to cool off!


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