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Laundry Room Touch Up

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We have a small laundry room right off the mudroom and kitchen that has no door to close it off. There are two openings to the laundry room, two windows, a full sized sink and cabinets under and over the cabinets, a full sized top load washer and dryer, and upright freezer in the teeny tiny space. It is also where our mean old cat eats and has her litter box.

Can you tell it isn’t my favorite space?

It also gets cluttered in there because, well, we have stuff and a serious lack of storage space in this house. We knew we needed more storage in there so we looked to the only space we have, the space above the dryer. We made a plan to add shelving to make the room more functional. The photo below is a little late. Mr. Math got busy before I took any photos but this is how it looked at the beginning of the progress on our little touch up. Was always embarrassed for anyone to see it.

The first thing added is a white laminate board above the washer and dryer to keep things from falling behind the machines. Next, we added two very old, rough cut cypress barn boards from a barn in Kirbyville, Texas that we took down the day our first granddaughter was born four years ago.

The shelf brackets were made from pipe fittings.

I wanted a sort of closed storage on the shelves so large rustic tubs are filled with dog and cat supplies, extra cleaning supplies, paper goods, and laundry spot cleaners.

Mr. Math used more pipe to create a hanging clothes bar. We are tall so the space above the door is a great spot.

I still want to change the lighting in the room but I am pleased with how it looks.

This old glass washboard was my great grandmother’s. I hung it to remind myself how good I have it when I complain about the laundry that I have to do.

Another project done during our stay at home time.

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Finds From Our Week in the Woods

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We just spent a week at the Redneck Retreat. The weather was beautiful and we spent the week getting some projects done and spring cleaning. It is the perfect place to walk and enjoy nature. There are trails, creeks, a pond, flowers, and animals a plenty.

While on one of my walks I discovered an interesting dump site. The dump site was virtually all old dumped alcohol bottles. The bottles are tossed in the woods along what at one time was the main road past the land the Redneck is located on when the land was part of the Weir Long Leaf Lumber Company. The article below is from Galveston in 1922. I find it unbelievable that the town, company, railroad, swimming pool etc. was built with the expectation that it would only be there 18 years or until all the virgin timber was gone.

After the mill moved along the land was left in rough shape and the area suffered. It did have one benefit though, until Jasper county changed their laws in 2017, Newton County was a wet county while adjacent Jasper County was dry. Basically you could buy alcohol in Newton country and not Jasper. Our property is just over the county line. The landmark we use to tell people that they need to turn is County Line Liquor.

I can’t imagine why this particular road (trail really) was party central in the 1960’s ( after a little checking most of the bottles and the few cans I saw were from that time) but my guess is that it was a quick trip for more supplies if needed.

I did pull a few bottles off the top and brought them back to clean up.

I loved the green ones so I searched them online. I now know that they were Mickey’s Widemouth Bottles and that they switched from snap on lids to screw on in 1980 but were made starting in the 1950’s.

They are plentiful on ebay and Etsy.

The ones I found will be holding the wildflowers I love to pick when we are up there.

We have lots to still explore on the property and look forward to making memories there for years to come.

We are so blessed to have a place to get away to and share with our family and friends.

We love hearing from you all.

Blessings,

Karen

Kitchen Plans

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Well hello there. I don’t know about you but I seem to have a lot of time on my hands right now. I just watch the news once a day because man, it is heavy. I am working from home 2 1/2 days a week but the whole no commute thing means that I am spending a lot of time daydreaming about projects I want to get done. Poor Mr. Math.

We have three properties that we have projects either currently planned or underway. We ( I ) am/are a little crazy like that. We have our home in little Coldspring, Texas where we recently replaced the flooring in and are now planning to make the laundry room more functional and cute. The big project of turning the Guest Shed into a true guest house is on hold until we can feel good about having contractors on the property. We have a house and garage apartment in Huntsville, Texas that are rental properties. We are going to be doing some landscaping work on soon particularly in the back yard for two little girls who have birthdays coming up, but mostly I have been thinking about the Redneck Retreat in what Apple Maps says is Wiergate, Texas but I think is in Sharpsville. The Redneck is a deer camp and almost exclusively a dude property from October until the end of February. It is a rustic cabin with the only running water coming from rainwater collection and there is no internet or cell service available on the property. The one room cabin sleeps eight in bunk beds and a foldout sofa. I want to start using the camp more to get away and connect with nature. I also want my girlfriends to want to come there. We are near lakes, Louisiana, and sweet little East Texas towns that need to be explored. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the Redneck kitchen while mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest after we started the process to get the kitchen up to a functional state (yay for a vent hood and working microwave!) I now have a plan of sorts for the rest of the kitchen. I say of sorts because we are still thinking about the base cabinets. We are either going to just buy stock unfinished cabinets and paint them or we are going to modify what is there and add cabinet doors/ drawers then paint. The top cabinets are all going to be white, the bottoms are going to be a sage-ish green. Our Habitat Restore has recycled paint that they sell for much less than retail paint in the following colors. I am planning on Spring.

Here is my inspiration:

A Beautiful Mess

The countertop is going to be black Ikea laminate. It will take 3 sections of the laminate to get the u-shaped kitchen completed. Of course the laminate is going to have to wait. Ikea is closed. Just for grins I looked at what it would cost to ship the laminate to us. It would be more than the cost of the laminate for it to come that way but a girl can dream.

Easter week we will be unplugging at the Redneck and will be getting the last two sections of upper cabinets in and we will be deciding what we want to do on the lower cabinets. We will be measuring, drawing and dreaming. When I look at the different counter top levels and pieces, I know whatever we do it will be an improvement.

I definitely know I want a closet to the right of the section of cabinets in the picture below for brooms, mops, cleaning supplies etc. That move will help to relocate the drinking water we have to bring with us closer to the stove and sink. I even have a great vintage door that I think would work there.

We are headed the property over the Easter holiday and I am looking forward to making progress.

We love hearing from you,

Blessings,

Karen

Updating a 1990’s Butcher Block Table

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I don’t know about you guys but I am ready for a few things to change. I am ready for a little warmer weather, to be able to have friends and family over, and for this whole stay at home thing to end.

I hasn’t all been bad around here though. We live on 15 beautiful acres of land that allows us lots of space. Another benefit is knocking out small projects that were going to get done “one day” like cleaning out storage buildings, organizing the linen closet, fixing some minor cracks in the Sheetrock, and paint touch ups. We also have a few projects coming up. Before the world slowed to a crawl we had a new washer and dryer delivered and installed (FYI- in the country you have to switch a gas dryer from natural gas to propane and that is a pain.) With the laundry upgrades, the laundry room is about to get spiffed up. I am getting excited about that one!

We also did a project that turned out beautifully and will make our main eating area much more functional. Every since we moved into the house we have had a table that was once in our formal dining room as our breakfast room table. I really do love the table and we have had it at least 35 years. It just hasn’t worked well for us in the space that we have.

This is the most recent picture of the table I had before it got moved out.

The design of our ranch house is a little unusual. The front door of the house, that is really not convenient for guests, opens directly into the space that our coffee bar and table are in. When we moved in the former owners had closed the front door off completely and had a china cabinet sitting in that space. We have installed that beautiful mahogany door and added a really large porch so the space gets lots of traffic now. The space isn’t very large and when we have a crowd over it is tight in that space.

We kept using the table there even though it wasn’t a great fit because, well, we liked the table and we already had it. The 47 inch diameter table had a leaf that extended the length when we needed more seating which was great. The final straw that forced the change (and I am glad it did) was when moving back into the house after getting the flooring replaced the leaf was damaged. It was time to go. I started looking on Facebook marketplace and found this solid wood table for $50.00. The information on the underside said it had a1998 shipping date.

It was solid wood but had some wear on the top.

My son gave us some dark walnut stain from a project they were working on and oil based poly for the tabletop. I found a mistint can of paint at our Home Depot a while back that I knew would be perfect. It is almost a dark pewter gray. My husband did an amazing job sanding and sanding the the top, staining it and then applying three coats of semigloss polyurethane to the tabletop.

The color is closest to this picture. For some reason the other photos look greenish.

This table is going to work so much better for us. When we have a party we will be able to move the table against the wall as additional serving space. The 32 inch width gives almost another foot of walking space through the area. It feels good to make progress on the house during this time of such uncertainty and sad news. We have decided to use this time to turn lemons into lemonade on our little corner of the world and get projects we can do without bringing others onto our property.

I hope this week finds you and your family safe and healthy. We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

New Flooring

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Mr. Math and I joke that our motto is: We don’t do easy at our house. Getting new flooring was no exception to that statement. After only five years the flooring we put in was failing. Part of the problem was ours because we didn’t have the floor leveled prior to installing and our ice maker leaked on the kitchen floor for about a week while we were gone and the drain line in the laundry backed up several time before we could get the problem resolved but a quick check online told us that we weren’t the only ones having problems with the product we used. Whatever the issue, the floor had to go. When Mr. Math and I talked about what we both wanted, here was our list:

  • Waterproof
  • More rigid flooring
  • Flooring leveled first
  • Mr. Math DID NOT want to do it ourselves again.

We selected NuCore from Floor and Decor for all of the house except the mudroom, laundry, kitchen, and baths and are in love with the look and feel of the floor. Even though NuCore has a lifetime guarantee, my last experience made me a little skittish. All the rooms that have plumbing along with the room where muddy and/or wet shoes and clothes land got an outdoor slate-look porcelain tile. It was important to me to find something that made the new flooring and the gray kitchen countertop make sense. We will be putting the flooring on an odd little step we have going into the house too soon.

NuCore Driftwood Oak

The flooring going in.

The not easy part for us was moving everything on the floor out of the house. We literally boxed up, packed up and moved out anything that touched the floor and moved into our rv with a dog and cat. The other not easy part of the process was that I unexpectedly returned to work 2 1/2 days a week just as the process started an oh, we had four day of rain out of the six days our furniture was displaced all over our property including on the front porch and carport under tarps. It was terrible.

Mr. Math sort of got his wish about not doing the physical work… sort of. We did have the floor leveled, and 90% of the flooring installed. We had awesome friends who helped us get the old flooring up and saved us a ton of money. Mr. Math hired a young man and recruited neighbors to help him move the furniture out and flooring into the house. He had to unload 78 boxes of NuCore and 25 boxes of tile. He also had to redo a few areas we weren’t thrilled with how the installers did the work, and had to install all the shoe moulding and caulking. He spent several days on his knees but the results were amazing. We ordered a new washer and dryer but are waiting on the part to connect the dryer to propane gas so that room is a mess still and you can see the mess from the kitchen and mudroom. Those pictures will be added once we settle in.

We are so grateful that we got the flooring finished before all that is going on. We are in a beautiful home, not trapped in a rv for an extended time.

I hope you are all healthy and taking this time to spend with your family.

Karen

Open Live Edge Shelving

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The absolute ugliest bank of cabinets at the Redneck Retreat were to the left of the sink.  They sagged, one of them had the Formica peeled off, and they were huge.

I couldn’t live with them in the kitchen.  They were nasty.  Since this was the week we were already going to be replacing the vent hood to nowhere and adding three new cabinets, it was time for them to go too.

Out in our shop we had some cedar that I knew would be perfect for live edge shelving.

If it didn’t rain all week while we were at the Redneck Retreat this would have been a snap to get done.   The only problems we had with this project was getting polyurethane to dry and not getting matching paint for the wall after the cabinets came down.  The paint situation meant that the whole kitchen got a new coat and soon the rest of the cabin will get the same treatment.

The cedar planks were all about a foot wide and ended up getting cut to about 60 inches in length. I had to drag them into to house to get the polyurethaning done.

They are so pretty. Mr. Math ran them through the planer and a simple sanding made the wood grain really stand out.

I am excited to get the rest of the kitchen done. We have more uppers to add, counter tops to install, bottom cabinets to do something with, and a broom closet but this is progress.

This whole project, including paint, poly, and shelf brackets was just over $50.00.  I think it makes a good look for the rustic look of the cabin.

Another find in storage was the glass pendant light. Several years ago I paid $10.00 for it on clearance at Home Depot.

The kitchen is coming along.

Thanks for following our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

 

Kitchen Work at the Redneck Retreat

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I bet some of you are wondering just how full of stuff was the guest shed since the last four posts were about stuff I am getting moved out of there.  Well, it was really, really full.  So full in fact that I forgot all about some of the things in there, even things that we could use right now if only we remembered that we had them.

In the great shed clean out of 2020  I forgot I had three kitchen upper cabinets that our neighbors in our suburban house gave us five or so years ago.  They are your basic oak front cabinets with particle board on everything except the front oak part. We were gifted one over the stove cabinet, and two 30 inch upper cabinets.

As soon as we unearthed them, I  knew immediately where those puppies needed to go.  They were destined for Redneck Retreat- our little cabin that sits on 130 acres in Newton County, Texas.  Most of the time this property is just the domain of dudes.  From September until January it is filled with hunters who really don’t care what the place looks like as long as the deer stands are wasp and rat free they are happy. The Redneck is a one room cabin with three sets of bunk beds, a queen fold out couch, bathroom, and kitchen… well sort of a kitchen.

The photo above is a picture of the kitchen after my buddy The Social Planner and I cleaned it.  There are no photos of the kitchen before cleaning to protect the innocent. The builder of the cabin was a building contractor. He used materials that others were taking out of their homes and offices to build the cabin. It is an eclectic mix of brass, Formica, scrap wood, cut glass light fixtures along with donated appliances. The building is solid, level and has air conditioning and a wood burning stove so the problems are all related to how it looks.

The outlet and switch covers above are all three on one wall in the kitchen and within three feet of each other. The stove, fridge, and sink work so I guess technically it is a functioning kitchen.  The cabinets, counter tops, appliances, and walls… not so much. I especially like the vent hood that goes nowhere.

With the three found cabinets and an awesome microwave oven my parents gave us that was almost new because of a Hurricane Harvey flood and a total kitchen remodel two years ago.  It was also hanging out in the shed just waiting for a home. We had some time so we headed to the woods to do some work.

Our plan was to

  • Take down the back wall two cabinets and vent hood
  • Take down the cabinets to the left of the sink.
  • Prime and paint the found cabinets
  • Polyurethane three cedar live edge boards for shelves
  • Install the microwave and vent it outdoors to reduce moisture in the cabin
  • Install the cabinets
  • Install cedar shelves

The weather forecast was two days of rain free days followed by three days of rain.   We planned on getting all of the painting and polyurethane done out in our tarp covered space before the rain set in. The weather folks missed the mark.  We got there in the rain, it rained all day, then the next, and the next. We had to get creative to get things dry.  Everything had to be brought inside with heaters on and ceiling fans running in order to get the paint dry enough.

The former doctor office cabinets came down pretty easily.  We filled the front porch with particle board cabinets then moved on to the install of the upper cabinet above the microwave and the microwave that is vented to the outdoors.  It was important that this part get installed first because the other two cabinets would have to be installed around it.  I am ever so thankful for a “Mathy” husband when it came to installing the microwave and cabinet, cutting the holes in the bottom and back then  figuring out the height, then the microwave and venting it through the outside wall all without the template that would have come with the microwave if it were new.

Working and living in a one room cabin was rough folks. Don’t judge the clutter. It was driving me crazy moving stuff around so that we could work. Getting the venting to go outside was a scary.  Mr. Math only missed on the outlet hole and that was because we both forgot to get it cut until we were just about to install the cabinet.  It was a rush job that even though it works, looks a little rough.  Everything else looks perfect in a really imperfect cabinet.

The difference in the wall after the upper cabinets were installed makes me so happy!

img_2990-1

We still have bottom cabinet issues to address like ugly mismatched counter heights, and lack of actual cabinets below really bad Formica counter tops that are pieced together. but wow, it looks so much better on the top half.  I will focus on that for now.

It was a productive week at the Redneck.

I can’t wait to show you the cedar shelves.

I hope you all have had a great weekend.

Blessings,

Karen

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