Five Fathom Farm

100 Year Old Farmhouse

It's been an ongoing project, researching potential real estate investments in Atlantic Canada, morphing from PEI to Nova Scotia.  The most recent find is a century old farmhouse, built by a sea captain in Weymouth North, Nova Scotia.

Five Fathom Farm

The roof was replaced fairly recently, obviously a little too late to prevent water damage to several ceilings in the upstairs bedrooms.  The plaster and lath construction of 1920 doesn't hold up too well to rainwater cascading in through roofing that has reached its best before date.

Some parts of this lovely old home that are salvageable are the floors, and most of the interior walls with gorgeous old wallpaper on. The doors are old fashioned, and look to be original, even the pocket doors between the dining room and living room.

Most of the windows will need to be replaced, with double glazing.

Five Fathom Farm, the view through the trees

The existing windows will make a gorgeous greenhouse, the one thing that seems  to be lacking.

Plumbing, including the new bathroom downstairs, electrical, and foundation work, along with fully insulating all the outside walls and the roof, will be top priority.

The trend nowadays is to have more than one bathroom, especially when there are five bedrooms, one of which is downstairs off the kitchen, presumably for the household help, who would be close to the wood burning cook stove which would have heated the entire house but would need stoking at night.

Five Fathom Farm, hiding behind a pear tree

What's The Deal With The Name?

I always give my projects a recognizable name (not like Project #5 or anything like that).  Family legend has it that my great-grandad was lost at sea coming around the Horn, so this scrap of poetry sticks in my mind;

Full Fathom Five

As well, this century old farmhouse was built by a sea captain.  The decor, naturally, will be of a nautical persuasion.


So what's a place like this worth?  There is a big difference between a tax assessment, and what someone decides their home is worth, but it's a good place to start.

Five Fathom Farm Tax Assessment

The asking price on the MLS listing is $69,900.  What does this discrepancy mean?  It means that the vendor knows that there is a lot of work to do to fix this house and make it livable again.

Here's a basic outline of the scope of work;

First Phase;

  • Foundation - consists of digging out beside the foundation on the outside, placing drain rock, Big O pipe and constructing a way to get water away from the foundation, as it's causing a river to run through the basement. Cost could be upwards of $10,000 for this kind of work.

  • If the basement floor is porous, more drain rock and cement needs to be poured. Estimated cost, around $5000.

  • Install a new three piece bathroom in the pantry off the kitchen. Total cost for this could be around $8000.

Total for Phase 1 $23,000.

Second Phase;

  • Windows - at a rough count, there are around 26 windows to replace with double glazing.  At a cost of around $600 each, this totals $16,900.  Best to do this in phases, and see if there would be a cost savings for buying in bulk.  Luckily, most of the windows are a standard size, so they shouldn't be hard to source.

  • Insulating outside walls, as there is virtually no insulation in there currently. Including the demolition, this will be expensive, conservatively around $14,000 if using spray closed cell insulation. For the lower floor, estimate $9000.

  • While the walls are demolished, take the time re-wire and re-plumb. Ballpark figure, $9000.

Third Phase;

  • Then, new drywall or paneling. Let's guess at this one, say, $8000.

  • Then, demolish the existing chimney in the corner of the dining room and living room.  $3000?

  • Refinish the floors all through - maybe there is hardwood flooring  underneath the scuffed and worn linoleum in the kitchen, bathroom upstairs, and pantry?  Wouldn't that be sweet?  Let's estimate around $4000 for that.

Phase 3, $15,000

  • A new kitchen could cost upwards of $30,000.

What's our total so far? $93,900.  Well within the range I anticipated for this overhaul. See more about construction costs here.

Each phase outlined above would take varying amounts of time. To keep it reasonable, count on at least one year each, because guaranteed there will be other projects that crop up.

The other costs would be fixing the foundation for the wrap around porch ($2000), and landscaping ($1000, then ongoing amount yearly to keep it looking lovely).

Speaking of landscaping, there are many existing trees and shrubs, and trellises with roses growing on them, so this will be part of the ongoing maintenance.

A potager garden to grow vegetables, fruit and herbs, accented with a rustic greenhouse using the salvaged windows from the house will act as a backdrop for weddings and family photos.

The decor will be nautical eclectic, with hand crafted accents and pieces, and lots of plants.  Artists on Etsy are so creative, they will be on tap for stained glass windows, glass lamps and other whimsical pieces. 

Globes, maps and all manner of sea creatures, shells, coral and ships take center stage, and turquoise, pale green and aqua accents give the shabby chic furniture a clean edge.








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