Love It or List It: Updating a Century Old Farmhouse

Hilary sets her sights on helping a couple -- with new baby on the way -- upgrade and update a century-old farmhouse that's part of a family legacy. Meanwhile, David tries to sell them on something new and move-in ready to suit their expanding needs. Check out the dramatic before-and-afters from Hilary's renovation.

Photo By: Anthony Collins

Great Room Revival

This now bright and welcoming living space was, prior to the renovation, drab and unspectacular. With some substantial modifications, Hilary helped the homeowners see this once distressed country home in a new light.

Country Cool in Stainless, White and Blue

New cabinets painted in muted blue, white stone countertops and updated appliances helped turn a once wince-inducing and barely functional kitchen into something special.

Dining Room, AFTER

The dining space gets a radical redress with a dark wood farm table, new chandelier and chairs upholstered in vibrant mint green.

The Hosts and Homeowners

Homeowners Marty and Shannan (on right) pose for a pic outside their country home with Love It or List It hosts Hilary Farr and David Visentin. The house is in a beautiful, wooded spot and features acreage and the old barn seen here, but the house itself was showing its age both structurally and aesthetically.

Historic Character

Music teacher Marty and his wife Shannan had been living happily in a standard new-build suburban neighborhood but, when Marty inherited this 115-year-old home from his grandmother, the couple quit their old jobs and moved to the country. The property had also been home to a family-run summer music camp and holds rich childhood memories for Marty.

Dining Room, BEFORE

Portions of the 2000-square-foot home suffered from poor insulation as well structural and floor issues. "Every room has a problem with the floors, walls or paneling," said Shannan. Flooring in the older sections of the house was slanted and uneven due to settling over time.

Dining Room, AFTER

With walls freshly painted white, new window treatments and the beige wall-to-wall carpeting replaced with hardwood flooring, the dining area now has a more stylish and contemporary appeal.

Dining Room, BEFORE

A structural engineer was brought in to assess problems with sagging and sloping floors. Concrete foundation had to be poured and steel girders added to level and stabilize the floor, which ultimately consumed about a quarter of the total renovation budget.

Dining Room, AFTER

With the structural and flooring issues resolved, a narrow hallway between the dining area and kitchen was removed, helping open up both spaces. Removal of the walls brought more light into the space and visually brightened the appearance.

Dining Room, Detail

A new metal chandelier sheds light at the dining table while providing the overall space with additional ambient lighting.

Kitchen, BEFORE

Prior to the renovation, the finish on the kitchen cabinets was one of the home's more unusual decorating choices. The wood paneled cabinets were treated with a distressed (some might call it distressing) gray paint finish with wood grain showing through.

Kitchen, AFTER

In reworking the kitchen, Hilary expanded the footprint, replaced old composite flooring with hardwood, added a generous island and replaced the dated cabinets with new ones painted in medium blue.

Kitchen, BEFORE

What's wrong with this picture? Prior to the renovation, the kitchen had no refrigerator. The sagging kitchen floor was deemed unsafe to support its weight. To prepare meals, the homeowners had to retrieve food from the fridge located outside on the porch.

Kitchen, AFTER

The kitchen is updated with dual refrigerator/freezer, stone countertops, new recessed lighting and twin pendants above the new island.

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, AFTER

Kitchen, AFTER

Kitchen, AFTER

Kitchen, Detail

Living Room/Dining Room, BEFORE

Living Room/Dining Room, AFTER

Modern styled furnishings blend nicely with the rustic setting in a colorful space that has a new air of sophistication.

Living Room, BEFORE

Living Room, AFTER

Hilary kept the original built-in bookshelves but painted them in white to brighten the space. The original fireplace, hearth and mantel were also retained. A little cleaning and refinishing helped revive the appearance of the mantel's original wood.

Living Room, BEFORE

Living Room, AFTER

Living Room, BEFORE

Living Room, AFTER

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, Detail

Downstairs Bath, BEFORE

Prior to the renovation, the old downstairs bath doubled as a laundry room. 

Downstairs Bath, AFTER

The space has been divided with a strategically placed wall and given a whole new look. There's now a working bath/powder-room that's separate from the laundry area.

Downstairs Bath, BEFORE

Downstairs Bath, AFTER

The new powder room gets a contemporary look with blue patterned wallpaper and new vanity.

Downstairs Bath, Detail

Downstairs Bath, Detail

Laundry Room, BEFORE

Laundry Room, AFTER

The dedicated laundry room has plenty of storage, a shelf with baskets for sorting laundry, clothing rod and new washer/dryer.

The Music Room, BEFORE

Marty's music room was in the older portion of the house and was poorly insulated. The walls were stripped to the studs to add much-needed insulation.

The Music Room, AFTER

In addition to new insulation, the music room's old carpet is removed and hardwood floors added as well as storage closets for musical instruments.

The Music Room, BEFORE

The Music Room, AFTER

The Music Room, Detail