The Rejected House, The Before Pics

Jan 15, 2018 | Door County, French Farmhouse Design, Full Time Family, Parisienne Farmhouse Design | 20 comments

If you missed it, you’ll want to go back and get up to snuff because I’d love to share with you now the before photos of this French Farmhouse Makeover and why I rejected this house for TWO years!

I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to actually have something to SAY again. Thank you for staying with me these last couple years as I struggled to find inspiring content for this little blog.

I had poured every ounce of my creative soul into From France to the Farm and I literally felt as though I had exhausted my creativity in every aspect of my life. Half-Way Farm had gone from dumpy rental to charming little farm. Every family recipe I loved had been styled and photographed. Life had come to a head:

All I wanted was a house of my own again and it felt like all I ended up doing was lamenting that fact every time I signed on this blog.

Gorgeous coffee table books, Pinterest…. everything left me frustrated and so, I’d sit almost every day on my phone scrolling through Realtor dot com searching for a fresh palette.

A few times this got us into trouble. Over the last year, we’ve fallen in love with a handful of places only to have our hopes crushed here and there. And late this summer, after falling in love with an AMAZING barn rehab project only to conclude there was no way we could bankroll such a to-do list, I about had a meltdown.

I even abandoned my Door County dream and began looking in Tennessee and Kentucky, Virginia, the  Carolina’s… ANYWHERE I could for inspiration.

Finally, one day I found a smart little yellow farmhouse just outside Sister Bay. It was very much out of our budget but the owners were open to a land contract which would allow us some flexibility. There was a problem though. It was TOO smart. It had beautiful bookcases, shiny hardwood floors, an immaculate, granite kitchen. In my heart, I knew it was TOO nice for me, however, in a moment of total desperation I told Joel, “Just get it. Make it happen. I need to get out of here!”

I was warned by my nine-year-old daughter, Don’t do it, mom. It’s not what you want.

We sent our realtor to check it out for us and he followed up with a phone call. Joel put him on speaker.

I’ve got to tell you, Joel, I think the house is a tad overpriced and honestly, I don’t think it’s your style.  I’ve got another one in mind I think you should look at. It’s a really good size and I think it would be perfect for your family. I’ll send over the link.

I was standing on the other side of the room with my arms crossed. I knew he was right. Even though it was a charming little farmhouse, the house was NOT my style. If I couldn’t have my crazy sprawling barn rehab project then I needed something symmetrical, something that could have an “estate” feels when I was done with it.

I wanted something that could look like Barton Cottage when I was done with it.

Joel read the address aloud to me as the link came through and I responded with a big, giant eye-roll. Ugh, I’ve seen that one a million times. I know exactly which one that is. It’s not a farm. It only has two bedrooms. It’s got some amazing features but the front is so ugly. It’s like a wall of windows.  

But the heavens opened and I said, Bring it over here. I’ll look at it again.

And there it was. This property that I had rejected from my search list a million times was staring back at me and just like that, I knew it. I had hated this property over and over again and suddenly my heart totally softened to it. This was the one. The next day we packed up the kids and drove up the four-plus hours to see it.

Door County is stunning every day of the year but that particular September day held it’s own court. I don’t know if it was the reality of what we were doing but as we drove down this crazy long driveway for the first time, I revelled in its beauty.

How was I loving this veritable forest when this whole time I had been pining for a farm?

We giggled and oohed and ahhed as we beheld all birch trees, pine trees and crumbling rock walls and then we came around the final curve and there it was. The house.

I was floored at how imposing it was on its three stories and following the sun I could see the front of the home had perfect south/west exposure and the perfect Giverny-esque Potager. Our realtor gave us a tour of the home and by the time we got to the front porch I said, Well Craig, you’ve certainly got our number.

Am I that easy to read? LOL.

The house just kept going and going. It has a third story attic for goodness sake. Room after room and yet there was still a definite cosiness to it, even with it’s outdated staged decor.

This house holds three porches, two bathrooms (and a giant one yet to be finished), two bedrooms, a huge kitchen, two living rooms and more beams than you can count. Nothing at all like our 1500 square foot Half-Way farmhouse. How this house had sat on the market for two years was beyond us. Clearly, it wasn’t beyond God. He softened my heart to this house I had scoffed at every time it came up in my realtor search.

I had to have it. We immediately put in an offer.



It’s been four weeks today. And even with all the back and forth moving trips, the makeover has begun. It’s going to take a few years for sure and to totally appreciate where we’re headed, you have to see where we’ve been.

I present to you, the house, as it looked when we bought it. (Photos from

French Farmhouse Makeover

French Farmhouse Makeover

French Farmhouse Makeover

A boot room and laundry big enough for an eight-person family!!!  And we bought that gorgeous old cabinet with the house.

French Farmhouse Makeover

Butcher block countertops, I can work with that!

French Farmhouse Makeover

Dull hardwood floors! Nothing shiny to ruin my “old French farmhouse” look.

French Farmhouse Makeover

Gorgeous local stone fireplace hiding behind all that distraction!

First floor greenhouse porch.

First-floor greenhouse porch.

French Farmhouse Makeover

We bought this table with the house.

French Farmhouse Makeover

We bought that display table too.

French Farmhouse Makeover

French Farmhouse Makeover

Second story greenhouse porch.

French Farmhouse Makeover

French Farmhouse Makeover

French Farmhouse Makeover

Third story attic!!!! And I insisted I buy that painters easel!

French Farmhouse Makeover

HUGE unfinished master bath!

Can you see this house, despite its mass amounts of windows, is screaming with potential?

And you know what? We’re learning all about those windows and the whole set up of this unique “envelope home”. I’ll be taking you on a video tour soon to show you how it all works, but for now, I’ve got little ones to school and more wallpaper to remove!


(For daily updates and live videos make sure you’re following on Instagram! @Parisiennefarmgirl )

Thank you for reading! Angela



  1. Nita Hiltner

    I know you will do it but I have NO idea how you are going to change the front of the house to look 1700s French. I can’t wait to see it!!!!!

    • Cenepk10

      She’ll add working shutter in a French Blue, posts to the thing over the front door and lots of pots of lavender

    • Cenepk10

      She’ll add working shutters in a French Blue, posts to the thing over the front door and lots of pots of lavender

  2. Nita Hiltner

    I also wanted to add that that house waited for you, Angela. It was meant.

    I am a frustrated architect. I have drawn about 10,000 house plans for houses I wanted to build, like my dad. But that never worked out, and me, who always has searched for my own dream home as never found it. The house i loved we had to leave and the house I am in now fits out needs but it is not what I dreamed of. At this age, I have no hope to ever find that dream. I am sure glad someone like you did, and I will enjoy every bit of your experience as if it is my own.

  3. Coleen

    I feel like I should burst out in something French but I’m still learning so I don’t know the words, and I can’t come up with any in english either, so I’m speechless in two languages. I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE WHAT YOU DO WITH THIS PLACE! I love the parts of Wisconsin that I’ve seen (Walworth county) and I think I would love this part, too. Oh my. Welp, I’m off to read more of your blog. Au revoir!

  4. Katherine

    So much potential! I’d have a dorm room for my boys in an attic like that! 🙂

  5. Donna

    The potential, the potential! You needed a blank canvas, and God knew it, he saved it for you till you could see the potential. I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  6. Cenepk10

    Angela: That house looks EXACTLY like you. So excited for you !!!! It’s FAB U LOUS !!! ENJOY it in good health !!!!

  7. Sharon Morrison

    You must put a cicada on the front door jam for good luck. Tradition in France. I bought mine from Corey Amaro. I was lucky enough to shop with her when I was in France. Ready to go back.

  8. Cenepk10

    Angela- Can not get over that stunner of a house. The Lord really has blessed you. You could even soften that front facade with a fast growing clematis-Autumn Sweet & gloroius roses. Cool shutters – that slide on barn door hardware would be cool. Can not wait to see what you do with the place. So psyched for you. Too many windows ? The better to see your fabulous gardens, my dear !!!!

  9. Cenepk10

    Can’t stop obsessing on that fabulous house ! The Lord has truly blessed you – & with His blessings- there’s no sorrow. So psyched to see what you’ll do & can’t wait !!!! You can soften the facade with clematis Autumn Sweet & of course- glorious roses & working shutters on barn door hardware could be very cool. Too many windows? The better to see your glorious gardens, dear …..

  10. Annette

    I did the same think with my house. Only I hated the name of my street. Finally, I went to see the house and three steps in, I said this is my house. Still working on my house after 7 years. And still love my house.

  11. Catherine

    Beams! Windows! Light!!!! Wood floors!! Multiple porches!!! Potential? Hell yes! You go, girl.

  12. Debbie D

    The house is fabulous! So happy for you and your family. Great to be finally home!

  13. Gaylin

    Yay! The spirt and joy is back even in your writing!
    So excited to follow the journey!

  14. Joanie McLaughlin

    The house is quite nice even in its current state, in my humble opinion. I think it has a lot of character. I know you will still make wonderful improvements! Can’t wait to see all your future blog posts. Have fun!! I’m so happy for you and your family.

  15. Brenda

    So many exciting days (years!) ahead…it’s going to be so much fun to watch you create a little French paradise in Door County!

  16. janet hurley

    Congratulations!! I love all the light coming in! First thing I do every morning is open all the blinds/curtains. Great wood, rock, and porches! Excited to see what you will do=)

  17. holly

    It’s beautiful and I am jealous. But, how are you fitting in 6 kids and 2 adults with only 2 bedrooms?

    And I have to say……I so want your garden!!!!!!!

  18. CK

    I’ve only just found this old(er) blog post and let me tell ya….it’s amazing what God does!

    We looked off and on for most of our 43 years of marriage for the perfect little acreage. Like you, we’d get close only to have our hopes dashed.

    But last fall our dreams were answered with the lovliest (or would be!) 2 acres that includes an orchard and a vineyard and a stone faced 2-story cottage that’s actually an earth sheltered home.

    Our dream is coming true too as we renovate and rejuvenate this house and grounds to fit our French farmhouse dream too!

    Happy to have found this original blog post to your lovely home! (I follow your FB page now.)


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search Posts

Blog Categories

Archives by Date