And Then I Bought a House

No. Not property to build my Hillside Cottage on, but an actual house. A 150 year old brick farmhouse, to be exact. With one bigass barn, a falling-down garage, and another perfect little barn for some donkeys.

Did you just fall out of your chair? Because I did.

I’d like to tell you what just happened here, but I’m not even sure myself. I woke up 24 hours ago with the intention of meeting with a guy about some property to build my cottage on. Which I did, realizing it wouldn’t work out almost immediately. And then, since I was out and about I did a little more driving around and found an old brick farm-house up for auction with 6 acres of property (the perfect amount) and all kinds of barns.

Like this one…

And this one…

And this monster…

And here’s what happened: I drove into the driveway, and I felt like I was home.

I’ve probably spent 7 hours a week for the last month driving around in my car trying to find “the place.” The place I was supposed to build my garage from scratch, and later build my house. There’s actually a post in my drafts folder right now called “Feels like home?” with pictures of the dozens of properties I’ve looked at and rejected that I could never quite bring myself to post.

And then on a whim I ended up here:

At a house that was 5 hours away from being sold at an online auction. MY house.

So, after two hours of intense bidding (thank you, Katy from the Turtle House for being my text-buddy through the whole ordeal), I’m officially the high bidder on this house.

And I haven’t even been inside it. How’s that for crazy?

I have no idea how the next week is going to play out with financing and finding out all the fun things that are wrong with this place, but I have to tell you that right now, I don’t care. I found my home. If I have to rebuild the damn thing brick for brick, right now I feel like I made the right decision. And you never know… the inside might be so bad that I have to build the Hillside Cottage in the back while I renovate all 3000 square feet of house.

Or I may just live in one of my extraordinary barns for a while.

Either way, it’s going to be an adventure.

UPDATED: I can’t even begin to tell you the miles of red tape I’m going to need to untangle in the next forty-eight hours to actually be in a position to close on this house, but it’s going to be epic. EPIC. If you have any good-house vibes to spare, send them this way!

72 Responses

  1. Holy wow. I’ve been following along for a while, and I definitely did not see this coming.

    I appreciate your approach though. I know “they” say not to get emotionally involved in these big money transactions, but give me a break – this is your home we’re talking about. Of course that emotional side will play a major role in your mental calculus.

    I had a similar feeling with the last place my wife and I bought. We pulled up the drive and just felt it. Minutes later I was imagining bringing my someday-grandkids (you know, the ones I might have like 30 years from now) to the property for a weekend of fun with their grandparents. I’m always the “good cop” at the negotiating table. “Details-schmetails; I love it, where do I sign?”

    This place you got is super cool. I love all the out-buildings on the property. And I have to agree, 6 acres is pretty perfect. Just big enough to be pretty big, but not so big that you don’t really know all of it.

    1. You and me both! Totally shocker. And I’m with you, sometimes you can just “see” yourself in a place. This one definitely called out to me. My hypothetical-grandkids are going to love it! (In 40+ years, or so…)

  2. I LOVE that house and the property! It’s just perfect for you. Sometimes, you just *know* when something is right. Kudos to you for goin with yuor gut on this one. Can’t wait to see the interior.

    1. I might not have actually stepped inside the place, but I did spend a lot of time peeking through the windows. Cant wait to show it to you!

  3. I LOVE IT!!! You don’t know me but I found your blog a couple weeks ago and have been meaning to send you an email about how you and I live in these wierd parallel worlds… Right down to the donkeys!
    I LOVE the house – its exactly something I would have done! And then spend the next upteen years making it livable! I love, love, love it!! So congratulations!! It will be the adventure of a lifetime to fix it up and I am so excited to watch you make it happen.
    BTW – We are too much alike to ignore, and I will be sending you an email about that soon!!

  4. Oh yeah, and I forgot to say – You’re Crazy!! Which is what everyone always tells me when I buy yet another house to fix up!

  5. I’ve been lurking around your site for some time, mostly in profound appreciation of your general kick-assery. Don’t second guess yourself on this, no matter what. I did the same thing with my house. I walked in the front door and said, “Oh, yes. This is it.” The real estate agent thought I’d gone ’round the bend (and I probably had), but it ended up being the place I signed for. Wish you the best in your unexpected adventure!

    1. The Unexpected Adventure — Laura, you just named the next 3 years (okay, 5 years) of my life. I love it.

      Sometimes you just have to go with your gut!

  6. Oh wow. It’s beautiful. The porch and the arched windows give it so much appeal, no wonder you felt at home immediately.

    I myself are since about half a year the owner of a farmhouse here in the Netherlands. It’s great, but still houses here have a totally different appeal than the ones in the US. You’re lucky to have bought it, it will contribute to your life quality, I know mine did ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ve been following your blog for a few weeks now and am pretty interested to see where this project is going ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. OMG Kit!!! You never cease to amaze me. That home looks lovely from the outside at least and the barns + land is perfect. I know that feeling you are talking about we had it with our home which is why we came back and put in a second offer on our house 4 months later. This is going to be good! *sits down with a bag of popcorn*

    1. I’m telling you Robin, my rule in the auction process was that I wouldn’t bid more than I would be willing to pay for just the GORGEOUS property and the barns. As far as I’m concerned, the house was free!

      I hope you’re right… this is going to be good.

      1. I think that was a great rule! Though living in a barn doesn’t sound any better than living in a garage. I’m sure you’ll figure something out though.

        Is it in the location you were looking for or did you have to widen your search?

  8. Congratulations (and respect!). She has good bones and inside won’t be anything you can’t handle. Can’t wait too see more. Good luck!

  9. Congratulations! It’s beautiful! I’m very jealous.
    Of course you’re crazy. DIYers are all crazy. I’ve been in the house I’m trying to buy once. It’s impossible not to get an emotional connection about your home. We had also viewed a few homes and drove by many more, only to pull into the drive way and have that same “a-ha!” feeling. We’re about in the same position, process wise, it sounds. Ours even has three outbuildings too! Good luck! Keep us updated.

  10. Oh my gosh YEA! I was super surprised to see this but now I’m SO excited to see the inside & then see what you come up with to do with it! I’m so excited that I can’t even think of how excited you must be! ๐Ÿ™‚ It looks like a lovely property even if you have to tear the whole thing down. Love the many outbuildings. Great job going with your gut… it’s always the right move.

  11. You. Are. KIDDING. Holy crap, Kit! This is so awesome. I literally just dropped my breakfast reading this. haha I can’t believe you’ve never been inside, but I’m so excited for you. It looks absolutely gorgeous. Nothing compares to that feeling of just being HOME. So congratulations!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ How far away is the house from family? Keep us updated when you can – I know the next couple of days… weeks are going to just be crazy.

  12. I absolutely love the house!!! The outbuildings are perfect and the property looks great. I feel as if I’ve seen this house before and thought it was pretty. I hope the red tape moves along as smoothly as possible.
    Good Luck!!

  13. I cannot wait to see pictures of the interior! So frickin’ excited to be on this journey – love living vicariously through you – wishing I had the balls to be as brave :-)!!!

  14. 150 years old!

    wow, there might be some timberframing in there!

    Cant wait to see the interior pictures and any future demo pics showing what the framing is like. The house looks fantastic.

  15. Holy crap what a fantastic house! Can’t wait until you can show us the inside. I’ve found your blog awhile ago…and I’m fascinated. I was even more delighted to find out that you live in the Ann Arbor area (I’m from GR). Your blog has definitely inspired me.

  16. Do power tools help cutting red tape? If so then it should be clear sailing for the next 48 hours!

    I love the arched windows – can’t wait to see the inside.

  17. welcome home! and good luck with all that paperworky stuff. It sounds overwhelming, but a worthwhile adventure for sure. I can’t wait to get the tour of this place. The house looks charming.

  18. Hahaha, I kid you not, I woke up this morning thinking “I CAN’T WAIT to see what Kit posts about this!” Et voila, you are so on the ball. Apparently you did not sleep last night.

    Your house is soooo beautiful! Your! House! Eee! I am DYING to see the inside. Email me if you want the info for our (local) lenders – we love them and they do tons of construction/ag loans – they might be a good resource for you. xo, K

    1. I finally went to bed at 2:30 and then was wide awake and reading through my purchase agreement for the umteenth time at 5:00. But guess what, GOING TO WALK THROUGH THE HOUSE IN AN HOUR!

      As long as it’s not missing a furnace, we’re going to be good to go.

  19. congrats and good luck to you!

    the property, house, barns… all look beautiful. i cannot wait to see more pictures! someday i really want to convert an old barn in to a house, so it’s been fun to follow along on your current adventure.

    and sometimes you do just know. i (still to this day) cannot believe that we bought an all pink interior, in need of a complete reno, 100 year old, house almost 4 years ago.

  20. I can’t wait to see the inside too! How exciting! I can just imagine it’s full of character. I think it’s perfect for you already! Your industrial chic furniture is going to look great in there. So many options!

    I second all the opinions about just knowing it when you see the house. We’d been searching for the perfect acreage and when we drove in to our now driveway and saw the house I knew. I wanted to make an offer over the phone after peering in the windows, but luckily we were able to go in first. The smell of pee, holes in the walls, water damage and lack of any landscaping were no deterrent (it was a foreclosure) and it’s become my dream home since then.

    Good luck today! Post oodles of pictures!

  21. I am beyond excited for you and also for us, your readers, to see what’s in store in this “Unexpected Adventure”!! Good house vibes from the East Coast.

  22. I woke up thinking about your house last night too!! The donkey are gonna love it! And I am so jealous!

    Don’t let a missing furnace sway you! There are a lot of good new HVAC options out there if you tap the right people to help you through that part. By its nature its gonna be a cold, drafty house, but you will make it warm and cozy!! Kathy Campbell

  23. What a stunning house and property.I know the red tape is a hassle but it will be so worthwhile when you get to wake up every morning and look out the window at your property (even if you’re looking out of the barn window for a few years). Good luck with your project and I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  24. Holy crap!! I love everything the house! Sending massive amounts of house vibes over the internet that you get it. I am dying to see the inside. It looks amazing.

  25. Fingers crossed (and eagerly awaiting pics!). I love these sheriff’s sales – it’s a lot of stress in the short term but sooooo much better than a drawn out hem/haw process. And then you get to renovate ๐Ÿ˜‰

  26. Oh Yeah!!! This is awesome!I am super estatic for you and your new adventure. I look forward to following your facebook, twitter, and pinterest pages to see progress and ideas (I am not promising that I won’t take some ideas and put them in a folder labeled “When I own my next home in Austin, TX inspirations from a true DIY) Keep us updated I am so happy for you. Best of luck on it all. What a fun fun way to start your Hillside Cottage, even if it isn’t just add on a full wrap around porch and a porch swing and I think you would be able to classify it as a Hillside Cottage!

  27. Un. Effing. Believable. You really don’t know wtf you want, do you? Kind of like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Maybe this will give you the focus you need to get it together. Good luck.

    1. Ha! Yes, James, but I’m a train wreck of AWESOME. And, let’s be honest here, it would be way less entertaining if I wasn’t.

  28. It’s a beautiful house on the outside. Whatever it looks like on the inside will I’m sure look fabulous once you get your hands on it. Congratulations.

  29. The house is freaking awesome! I love old farmhouses! Look forward to the next few years of DIY with you! Your patience payed off in a wonderful way.

  30. So very happy for you. Love your blog. If anyone can tackle such a big beautiful house and bring out it’s charm and character it has to be you!

  31. Funny how this works. This just happened to me. I was supposed to travel the country full time in my RV, and suddenly I pulled up in front of this 1890s farmhouse for sale on 1.3 acres and I bought it. Never mind that the 20% down cleaned me out, or that I need to eat ramen noodles for a few months to scrape up closing costs. But when it’s right, it’s right.

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