“Welcome” to our new home! You’ll quickly see that what drew us to this little oasis just south of the Twin Cities was not the condition of the home, but all of the space! Room to garden, grow sweet corn and hay, to have a few animals and to let the kids roam and explore.

The quarter mile long driveway brings you to a classic little barn that we hope to use for chickens next summer.


And when you come around the next bend you see the modest white house (yes, we just switched seasons!!)


We have LOTS of plans for this house, but we’ll do them over time, we hope to be here quite awhile! The original section of the home (on the right) was built in 1941 and my dream is to restore it to that time period. My husband and I renovated our first home down to the studs and despite saying that we “would NEVER (ever) do that again”, here we are!

But the home is in good condition, and with some cosmetic updating we are comfortably living it in. We hope to do a “major” renovation in a couple of years so we’re trying not to spend too much money on things that may get torn out.

So lets go inside and you can see what it looked like the day we moved in last April…


What we really appreciated about the interior was that it already had an open floor plan, big windows and tall ceilings.

Unlike Chip Gaines, my husband Tom hates demo day. He always says that its dirty, messy and much more work than you think it will be ;) Because of that he is pretty neat and careful and I appreciate that!

Positioning the new center island…

Putting the microwave above the stove was fairly involved since the cabinet needed to be shortened. It was fund to see the color behind the old cabinet (and a little gross!)


My favorite parts of our updated kitchen:

  1. Adding the island created more storage space and the perfect spot for the kids to sit and eat or hang out while I’m working in the kitchen.
  2. The vinyl planking flooring has been incredibly durable and surprisingly stylish for the inexpensive price tag.
  3. The new faucet and extra deep sink make doing dishes even easier.
  4. Having the microwave above the stove frees up more counter space.
  5. Like our last kitchen, I don’t keep much sitting out on the counters so it is easy to tell what needs to be put away.


You can see the vinyl planking flooring that we went with in the majority of the main level. We picked it out at Menards because it was on sale for around $1.25 a square foot and we knew it wouldn’t be permanent, but couldn’t be more pleased with it. It installs like manufactured wood flooring with the grooves, but because it is a thick vinyl (like linoleum), it molds to the floor, so you don’t have hollow sections that flex like inexpensive fake wood floors.

It is also incredibly durable, there are no chips, scratches or any other blemishes in the seven months that we’ve had it. We like it so much that we’ve talked about putting it down again when we remodel instead of real hardwood floors. Its also waterproof…perfect with small kids (or pets!).

And while I love having stools for the kids to sit at (we have four age 7 and under), I don’t necessarily love these stools. But they were only $19.99 on Amazon at the time and I couldn’t find anything else that we really liked, so they will work for now.

We had a very similar island in our last house, with the exception that it had cabinets instead of drawers. I LOVE having drawers instead. Nothing gets lost in the back and it is very easy to see what is inside. Tom found all of these cabinets at our local Building Materials Outlet for a fraction of the price of a traditional retailer.

I was especially ecstatic when he found the pull out garbage and recycling cabinet. It is very functional and I like that when I’m prepping food on the island or just wiping it down after the kids eat, that I can open the garbage and just brush everything into it.

I also asked for a dishwasher and Tom was hesitant because I only used the one in our last house a handful of times when we lived there. But now with four young kids, we create ALOT of dishes throughout the day and they aren’t quite old enough to help with them yet. We found this one at Menards for only $100 because it was a display model…that sealed the deal for my husband and now I’ve used it almost every day since it has been in :)

It was fair amount of work since there had never been a dishwasher there before, new plumbing and taking out a cabinet. (Oh, and people always ask if we like our Ninja Coffee Maker, YES, IF you like strong coffee or making iced coffee (which I do)…but if you don’t like your coffee strong, it seems to have a hard time making it any other way!)

And like I mentioned before, moving the microwave freed up some valuable counter space. This also meant reconstructing a cabinet to make it fit.

You can also see the white subway tile black splash that we went with. I like the clean, classic design and it really brightened up the kitchen once it was in. And while we hope to have granite or some other solid surface counters when we renovate again, these high definition formica counters from Menards look REALLY great and were relatively inexpensive.

The outer wall of counters added up to around $150. The island we had to special order and was just under $300. For the impact that I made, I think it was a great investment.

Updating the cabinet pulls also made a big impact. We really liked this style, clean and updated, but at $6 a piece at Menards, there was NO WAY we were going to invest that. But then I found them on Amazon for $1.50 a piece…sold!!! They were easy to switch out and made a big difference!

In my opinion, a really good kitchen faucet is worth the investment. This one was almost $200, but I love the design and functionality. I also like the extra deep basins in the new sink, it makes soaking pots and pans way less messy.

Here is the view from the other direction. There was criticism from our last kitchen tour that it was a little blah. I’ve worked a little more color into this kitchen, mostly with the help of the Pioneer Woman’s line at Walmart ;) The bowl, salt & pepper shakers and creamer set are all hers. The painting in the dining area is from Hobby Lobby.

Oh! And I almost forgot this ingenious idea of my husband’s…he installed a motion sensor in place of the kitchen light switch and it is AWESOME! The switch is in an awkward spot midway down the wall so in the dark you had to run your hand along the wall until you found it.

Plus, no one can accidentally leave it on, it turns off on its own after one minute of inactivity. Great, great, great addition to our kitchen (and inexpensive, too!).

I’m VERY appreciative of ALL the hard work Tom put into our kitchen. For a fairly small space it functions incredibly well, and I like how bright and cheery it is :)

I’ll look forward to sharing more before and afters in the weeks to come! Thanks for visiting :)



1) If you would like to see more of our Minimalist Family Life, please subscribe or follow!!



2) You can see a FULL TOUR OF OUR LAST HOME Here!

3) Most Recent Video: How to Pare Down Your Kid’s Clothes in 10 Minutes (no matter how many they have!!)

…and see the full post on simplifying your children’s clothes HERE!



It looks great!! I feel like I’m reading about my own family. We are constantly looking for a big chunk of land and an old house for cheap we could fix up a little. Love your style and all the choices you made. It looks beautiful!!


Thank you! It took a few years for it to become a reality (with many disappointments during that time!), but of course, the wait was worth it now that we’re here :)


Love the changes! We’ve put off doing any work to our kitchen because I thought we’d need at least $10,000 saved up to do anything worthwhile, but love how the counters, flooring and knobs make such a big difference for not that much expense…thank you for sharing!!!


I understand! I kept telling my husband “let’s just do the BARE minimum” but he found ways to do everything we wanted and keep the cost down. The vinyl flooring and the high definition formica counter tops were probably the biggest impact for the least amount of money :)


I think I’ll always love white subway tile! :) great job (love the Pioneer Woman accents, too!!)


I was worried it might be a touch boring, but now that it is in, it is bright and adds just the right touch :)


I’m so glad you’re back! I’ve been hoping and hoping you’d blog again. Looking forward to more. :)


THANK YOU, that means alot!

Leave a Reply

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