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The Surprises of Demo

We’ve all seen “Demo Day” on our favorite TV shows…it usually appears to be 1 action-packed day of smashing demolition, right? As you may expect, our demo process (a little over 3 weeks) went a little differently, and *SPOILER ALERT*, it was MUCH more exciting than I ever dreamed!

(Below) The official day (December 27, 2017) of “handing over the keys” to our renovation team from Fridley Custom Homes , Nolan & Jayme Fridley. Such an exciting moment! (Not pictured: my hubby, Ryan…he was at work. :))

(Below) Pre-demo meeting with the team from Fridley Custom Homes : Joe Fridley, Nolan Fridley, Michael Sanders, & Jayme Fridley.

We were all bundled up because, GUYS. It was SO COLD in the house that day!! But the low temps were definitely overshadowed by the excitement of the moment. Finally, work was beginning!

I can’t wait to show you some fun pics of the demo process. But. Before we dive in, I want you to know WHY. Why in the world we decided to demo the home to this degree.

Our “new to us” farmhouse was built in 1890, with new sections added in the 1960’s and early 2000’s. The original home had LAYERS upon LAYERS of wallpaper in every. single. room. There were walls that we wanted to move to create a better flow for our family, and random doorways that needed to be covered. We were concerned about the electrical, and who knows what else in a home of this age. Way back in September when we toured the place with Fridley Custom Homes, we knew we’d need to bust out the old lath & plaster walls and do new drywall. And so, on a cold & rainy December morning, we started the demo process!

(Below) Work began in the newer part of the house, while we waited for asbestos testing to be completed. The old green cabinets were removed from the kitchen, and we were on our WAY!

SURPRISE #1: Demo is incredibly EXCITING! As the old layers were cleared away, it was as if we were peeling an onion. Every day there were interesting discoveries, and with each visit to the site we learned something new about our home. Hints at how people used each space in the past, former families that left notes on the walls under wallpaper, and doorways & window openings where we never expected! Thankfully we found there to be no asbestos, and demo moved forward without a hitch.

(Below) Some notes found on the kitchen wall under layers of wallpaper.

(Below) The day an old brick chimney was uncovered in the upstairs hall…and we decided to keep it exposed! 

(Below) Ryan & I are fascinated by the nails used in the original part of the house…so neat!

(Below) Shiplap is discovered and saved for future use!

One of my favorite discoveries during demo was a homework paper from 1945, found in a wall. I plan to frame it to display in my office!


Surprise #2: Demo takes time. I mean, of course! I don’t know what I was thinking, but as I mentioned earlier, I think we get spoiled by the instant gratification we see on our favorite TV shows. The WEIRD part is, I almost didn’t want the demo phase to end! It was absolutely the most THRILLING part of my day to stop by and see the progress each day. So dramatic, so intriguing. “Demo Day” is actually more like “Demo Month,” and guess what? That was just fine with me! People kept telling us they were excited to see the next step, and I found myself thinking, “NO! This is the FUN part!!” 😉 I know. I think I’m kinda sick in that way. 🙂

(Below) It was exciting to see the “newer” wing of the house undergo demo. We decided to completely reconfigure this area, and once we started seeing walls open up, it really confirmed our decision. 


Surprise #3: Demo allows for fresh vision. Out with the old, in with the new. Even though we had an immediate vision for our home on day one, we questioned ourselves along the way. Would it turn out well? Would it be anything close to what we were hoping for? Would it completely blow the budget? What if we find something truly terrible along the way? What if there’s something scary in the walls/attic/basement? (Ok, that was just me.) I remember Nolan, our builder, saying something in the beginning: “I’ll feel a lot better once we have everything opened up and we know what we’re working with.” Well, Nolan is still smiling. So we are too.

Have there been things that have come up? Yes. Lead paint on the exterior, wiring that needs to be updated to a bigger extent than we originally thought, enormous bee hives in the walls of our son’s room, but overall, we’ve discovered a very well-built home. A home that has been cared for, well loved, and passed from one family to another. We feel honored to be the next in line to care for this place. And now that demo is complete, we’ll shine her up real nice.

So let’s get on to the fun part, some pics! I’ll show you the “before” and “after demo” view of a a few areas…ready?

(Below) Looking in from the front door, before.

(Below) During demo.

(Below) Front Windows, before. 

(Below) After demo. 

(Below) Looking from the kitchen, back to living room, before. 

(Below) Same view, during demo. (The framed wall in front of us will be removed.) 

(Below) The beautiful living room ceilings after demo…I’m in love!

(Below) Looking in from the back entrance to kitchen, before. 

(Below) Same view, after demo. We vaulted this area up into some unused (creepy) attic space, and can’t believe the difference it made in the room! So much more open & spacious feeling!

(Below) View from old butler’s pantry into dining room, before.

(Below) Same view, after demo, and after vault is revealed!

(Below) My office, before.

(Below) Same view, during demo.

We decided to keep the fireplace in my office because….UMMM WE HAVE TO! It’s original to the house, and was once the heart of the home.

(Below) You may remember the original master suite area, before. 

(Below) We decided to vault up into the attic space for a more spacious feeling!

(Below) From master bedroom, looking back toward laundry, etc., before.

(Below) Same view, during demo. 

I realize the demo pics are shocking. Even to us! But don’t be mad. Now that we have a clean slate, we’ll begin the process of rebuilding this old girl into a home that will stand for MANY more years, and be loved & cared for by our family. We are saving everything we can…doors, trim, brick, stair railing, banisters…and we’ll reuse as much as possible. Our heart is not to strip the house of character. Actually, quite the opposite. We hope to blend the old with the new and create a home that’s US. We are so thrilled to have you along for the adventure, and the next phase is sure to be exciting.

So here’s my question, ARE YOU IN? Are you ready for the next phase? Let the #renovationontheprairie continue!




  • January 21, 2018 - 10:06 pm

    Lisa - This is so exciting! She’s an absolute beauty and I will live vicariously through this renovation. I’ve always to breathe new life and love into an old home. Congrats on all your treasured finds! So happy you’re enjoying the process.ReplyCancel

    • January 21, 2018 - 10:11 pm

      yellowprairieint - Thank you Lisa! So happy to have you along for the fun! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 21, 2018 - 10:11 pm

    Sheila - Wow that’s amazing! I look forward to watching the process. As you said, it takes time!ReplyCancel

    • January 21, 2018 - 10:31 pm

      yellowprairieint - Thanks for joining us for the adventure!ReplyCancel

  • January 21, 2018 - 10:14 pm

    JoNell Ruddiman - I am so IN Janna, can hardly wait until the next installment!ReplyCancel

    • January 21, 2018 - 10:31 pm

      yellowprairieint - Thanks Jonell! So glad you’re here!! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 21, 2018 - 10:41 pm

    Kathy - So exciting! I love that you are sharing this journey with everyone!ReplyCancel

    • January 21, 2018 - 10:43 pm

      yellowprairieint - Thanks Kathy…we love having you along!ReplyCancel

  • January 21, 2018 - 10:45 pm

    liz - This is so very exciting – I will be following you every step of the way! We have been looking at a home built in 1900 which also needs to be gutted down to the studs, but my husband is wanting to walk away from it (he would freak out if I showed him your post), but I fell in love with it. I will admit, the idea of a total demo such as yours does seem very scary to me also, and expensive, especially living in CT. My biggest fear is that it will cause us to go over budget and I will not be able to finish the house the way I envision it.ReplyCancel

    • January 21, 2018 - 10:55 pm

      yellowprairieint - I’m sure you’ll know in your heart what the best decision is for your family. We looked at a few places before something felt right! Excited to have you along for the adventure. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 21, 2018 - 11:12 pm

    Wendy - This is SO exciting! I will most definitely be following along. Can’t wait to see every phase and of course the end result! And that fireplace in your office??!!? STOP IT!!!ReplyCancel

    • January 21, 2018 - 11:25 pm

      yellowprairieint - Thank you Wendy! And you made me smile with your fireplace comment! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 21, 2018 - 11:20 pm

    Shirley VanDenBerg - Love it and all that’s going on!ReplyCancel

    • January 21, 2018 - 11:25 pm

      yellowprairieint - Thank you Shirley! Thanks for coming along with us!ReplyCancel

  • January 21, 2018 - 11:35 pm

    Penny Johnson - Love every step! So exciting! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2018 - 12:13 am

      yellowprairieint - Thank you Penny! We love you!ReplyCancel

  • January 21, 2018 - 11:42 pm

    Dawn Scheurich - This is so exciting—I am living vicariously though you!! I am soaking all of this in and wish I could take a tour in person with you each week— I live for this stuff. Great job so far, and can’t wait to see each phase!ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2018 - 12:13 am

      yellowprairieint - Thank you so much, Dawn! It’s still hard to believe this is really happening! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 21, 2018 - 11:51 pm

    Adrienne - I’m in! Waiting with excitement to watch your new home come together and be what you dream it will be!

    • January 22, 2018 - 12:14 am

      yellowprairieint - Aww, thank you Adrienne! So happy to have you along!ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2018 - 2:04 am

    Anne - Janna, It is so much fun to follow along with you! With when the home was built, I was wondering if one of Oregon’s pioneers who helped found the state built it?ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2018 - 4:20 am

      yellowprairieint - Yes! We know it was built by an Oregon Trail Pioneer, and we’re currently trying to do some further research on him. Pretty fun!ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2018 - 2:31 am

    Diane Walters - I’m in…let the party begin and thanks for letting me come along!ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2018 - 4:21 am

      yellowprairieint - So glad to have you along for the adventure, Diane!ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2018 - 3:36 am

    Mackenzie - Oh, I’m in love with the ceilings already! So spacious and amazing! I am absolutely loving watching these posts come about! It’s so much fun to see what is happening! ♥️♥️ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2018 - 4:21 am

      yellowprairieint - Thanks for following along, Mackenzie! Glad you’re here!ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2018 - 3:38 am

    Nancy Edmonds - I’m in! and so happy for you!!
    I did not get the pictures after the kitchen photo of ‘no more green cupboards.’ All the writing of what I was missing was there, but no photos. I’m still in, but I would enjoy the photos.
    Good luck on your adventure, and I’m looking forward to the next phase.ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2018 - 4:23 am

      yellowprairieint - Oh no! I just double checked the pics on my phone and on my desktop, and everything seems to be there…hopefully the pics will pop up for you. Glad to have you along for the fun, Nancy!ReplyCancel

      • January 23, 2018 - 12:21 am

        Nancy Edmonds - YAY! Your wonderful photos came through on my phone!ReplyCancel

        • January 23, 2018 - 12:59 am

          yellowprairieint - Oh yay!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2018 - 3:04 pm

    Pat - Thanks for showing all the details. It’s hard to envision the final picture when everything is totally finished.ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2018 - 4:39 pm

      yellowprairieint - Yes! Opening up the walls really helps, doesn’t it? Thanks for joining us for the adventure!ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2018 - 7:31 pm

    Beth - Did you salvage any of the wallpaper, if you did what will you do with it? BethReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2018 - 7:35 pm

      yellowprairieint - Yes! I saved a bit of wallpaper from each room. I’m still not sure what I’ll do with it, but I’d love to create some sort of memory frame to preserve the history of the house. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2018 - 11:42 pm

    Fiona - Your beautiful farm had a life as a happy family home with the surprises you’ve found. Now it’s going to be a beautiful family family home for you and your family when it’s all done. I live in Brisbane Australia and many old farms are demolished and subdivided into estates for houses. I 😍 what you are doing and look forward to seeing it finished. Have a great day.ReplyCancel

    • January 23, 2018 - 1:01 am

      yellowprairieint - Thank you so much, Fiona! We are happy to have you along for the journey!ReplyCancel

  • January 23, 2018 - 7:23 pm

    Ruth - Loving this tho, I must confess, I’m so pleased it’s u rather than me. Have experienced several renos but always to a house I’m already living in. Not fun! Can’t wait to see the next installments. Thanx for sharing,ReplyCancel

    • January 23, 2018 - 11:20 pm

      yellowprairieint - Glad you’re here, Ruth! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • February 6, 2018 - 7:10 am

    Ready Assembled Wardrobe - This is lovely. Thanks for sharing these exciting details. Nice post.ReplyCancel

  • May 7, 2018 - 11:38 pm

    The joy of putting this beauty back together! » Yellow Prairie Interiors - […] catch up! We’ve shared the demo process here on the blog (you can find it here!), but now let’s talk about what’s been happening since then…the joy-filled […]ReplyCancel

  • June 30, 2018 - 3:07 pm

    Kerri - Love reading all the details of each room. I have gotten alot of inspiration for our big remodel. Thanks for sharing !ReplyCancel

  • June 30, 2018 - 3:09 pm

    Lauren Sunderland - Absolutely a delight to sit down with my coffee and oggle while my children watch television. You’ve done a wonderful job sharing! I can’t wait to click on your sources, just to explore. Well done on all accounts!ReplyCancel