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For five years I have written this little minnow of a blog about my husband and my adventures living a double life.  We were week-day professionals living in a city, then suburb and weekend country folk.  

Since 2013 we have both changed jobs,  sold our city home, purchased a suburban home about an hour from our city home, sold our weekend home, purchased a home in the country with acreage, sold our suburban home, and moved full time to the country where we commute in to the burbs to work.

It has been a wild ride, and frankly I am exhausted.

Some awesome things have happened to us along this blogging journey.  Both of our children have married, and are doing well, we added a rescue dog to our family, I changed jobs again, our son and daughter in law lived abroad for a year, my daughter has a new job in the city where she works, and recently we welcomed our very first grand child- sweet little Lucy has joined the family and has totally stolen our hearts.

I do not think I was emotionally prepared for the toll that starting over-twice in two years would take on me.  If you told me I would have to pack up all of our belongings again I am sure I would need medication.  And counseling. 

Living in the country is a blessing and we both know how lucky we are to be there, but it has been a rough transition for me.  The 1 1/2 hours spent in the car daily means that there is less time at home during the week for the day-to-day things like cleaning, laundry, and yard work.  Everything takes longer out in the country and is frankly a little harder to do.  Last night I went to get my hair cut.  It involved opening a cattle gate with a code on the way in and out. ( I did get a great haircut though.)

Right now at this time in my life, I need to step away from blogging.  I am burned out.

I need to focus on settling in, taking care of my relationships, taking time to adjust to the new normal.

  We need to find a church we love, spend time with our family and make Coldspring our home.  We also need to figure out our internet, find doctors, get all of our mailing addresses changed, and get a routine going.

I will be retiring in about two years, and hopefully at that time I can begin to blog again.  

It has been my pleasure to get to know so many of you.

Thank you for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

Little Lucy’s Dresser

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I am such a lucky mother in law.  I must have done something right with my own kids because they both made great choices of partners to share their lives with.  My son, Baby Boy and his wife, Sweet Amanda are expecting their first child.  More importantly, they are expecting our first grand baby, on both sides of the family, and first great grand baby on both as well.  We are beyond excited.

Sweet Amanda asked me if we would find her a crib and dresser as our gift for the baby.  I was so happy to be a part of the process.  After sharing Pinterest ideas with her and checking out what she seemed to gravitate toward, it became clear that she was looking for an eclectic mix of furnishing and color.

She seemed to keep going back to this dresser, from Project Nursery.

Painted Purple Dresser with Sea Mist Blue and Gold Knobs

The title of this post is June’s Purple, Teal and Mauve Striped Nursery.

I knew I needed to start looking for a long dresser and I was lucky enough to find this beauty at an estate sale for $40.00.

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It was in a little rough shape after being loved by another little girl but the piece was solid wood and fit the bill for what we were on the lookout for.

The only real problem was the formica top.  I researched and found out that Kilz makes a super sticky primer called Kilz Adhesion Bonding Primer.  Our Home Depot doesn’t carry it, but they did order it for me.

It got primed then painted a beautiful purple called I Heart Potion

BEHR Premium Plus Ultra 1-gal. #P100-5 I Heart Potion Satin Enamel Interior Paint

The hardware knobs got replaced with these crystal knobs, because, well a girl needs a little sparkle. The original handles were painted with Rustoleum gold spay paint.

Hickory Hardware Crystal Palace 1-3/8 in. Crysacrylic Polished Brass Cabinet Knob

It was a push to get the dresser done in time for the baby shower, but we made it.  I cannot believe we will be meeting the sweet girl in less than a month.

     
    

    
 
We are just a bit excited.  

Thank you for following along on our journey.  We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

 

Reclaimed Wood Coffee Bar

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Hello from Coldspring, Texas.  My name is Karen and I am a weekend country girl.  During the week my husband and I live and work in a Houston suburb but as soon as we can on Friday, we head out to our country home on 15 acres.  For the last six months we have been busy updating a 1980’s ranch home on our property that we call Providence Acres.  So far we have removed the carpet throughout the house, installed vinyl plank flooring, put in a mudroom wall, built a Murphy Bed that allowed for a guest bedroom to double as a craft room, and whitewashed our fireplace.

Our latest project is a coffee bar that has the added bonus of serving as a display space. My kids love coffee, hot chocolate, and hot tea.  I like it all too, but I really love the idea of having everything that our guests need set up away from the kitchen when breakfast/ evening meal prep is underway.

We have just the spot in our home for a coffee bar in the area where our front room and kitchen connect.  I am a girl that loves reclaimed wood.  I hoard it and try to put it to use whenever I can.  I like reclaimed wood so much that I brought our stash of reclaimed cedar planks with us when we moved and paid for a storage unit until we settled on Providence Acres. I also have a thing for old windows.  I currently have a stash of old window that I purchased last winter at an epic garage sale for $2.00 each.

vintage windows

We used two windows from our stash and let the windows determine the size of the cabinet.  We laid out the windows on the floor and built the frame around them.  The vintage windows are large and heavy and with them hung horizontally, the cabinet will still be slightly taller than counter height.  The length of the bar is 90 inches.  It is 12 inches wide and made from inch thick cedar planks out of my stash.  We really do like our reclaimed wood.

reclaimed wood

 

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The next step was building the interior skeleton for the reclaimed wood to be attached to.  We had enough reclaimed wood but a mistake in measuring meant we needed two new 2×4’s.

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We got a new “toy” recently…a planer.  Oh my goodness my husband, Mr. Math, got a good deal on Craig’s List but I was skeptical about how much we would use a planer.  I did not know how much I would love it.  It makes all my mismatched thicknesses of reclaimed wood play nice with each other and knocks the sanding down to just finish sanding in minutes.  We planed two 12 inch wide by 8 foot long planks for the top and sides. Any time you work with reclaimed wood and supplies it means you have to do a lot of trial and error.  It feels sort of like we are playing a game of Tetris when we are at the assembly stage.

We attached the windows with outdoor gate hinges and used black iron handles for a couple of reasons; the windows are stinkin’ heavy so they needed substantial hinges and I liked how the black looked against the white and reclaimed cedar.

Mr. Math figured out exactly where to put the shelf inside the cabinet so that it lines up with the horizontal bar of the window.

The cabinet was attached to the wall with L brackets in order to keep it from tipping over but the back was left open and a space was built into the top so that I could get to the electrical outlets for coffee pots, crock pots, electric kettles or whatever I want to use on the counter space.

The coffee bar is going to serve a lot of purposes when we have a crowd.  Having 90 inches of serving space that is close to, but not in the kitchen will be great.

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I am going to love this piece for years to come.  It is narrow and provides room for easy movement around the space and it provides me 7 and a half feet of additional counter surface.  An added bonus is that it looks like it belongs in our ranch house.  Be still my heart.

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The house is coming along.  I am proud of the progress we are making as we make Providence Acres which will be our forever home in a few years.  We are not lacking in projects.

Blessings,

Karen

A Fixer Upper Trip

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Hello guys.  Have you missed me as much as I have missed you, and sleep, and a clean house?  We are almost moved out of the burbs and into our forever home.  Just a few more trips I hope.  Monday night I sat on the porch and cried because my long-suffering husband asked me what to do with a box of spray paint.  I am so over it when it comes to moving that I am not even rational any longer.    In the near future I am going to tell about our experience downsizing, but not tonight because I couldn’t be a lady about it right now.

On this night, oh my gosh, do I have news for you all.  I promised you a while back I would fill you in on our trip to the Waco area and things to do when you visit and I am going to fill you in, BUT IT GETS EVEN BETTER AT THE END.

First of all, the map below shows you where Waco is in relation to Austin, Belton, Salado, and Round Top (east of Austin).

Waco to Austin

Austin, the undisputed hippest city in in Texas, is an hour and a half away from Waco.  I am not going to fill you in on Austin tonight, but if you are making a visit to Magnolia Market part of a vacation, make sure to include Austin in your trip.

On my last post I shared with you that  we recently visited Magnolia Market (The Silos) and Waco.  One question I got asked over and over again was:  was it worth the drive.  As a huge fan of JoAnna’s style, I loved the market, but the drive for us from Coldspring was over three hours there and the same back.  I enjoyed shopping in the market and had a great day, but in order to make the trip really worth while, our next trip will be a weekend adventure.  (We will drive up Thursday night, then spend Friday and Saturday exploring and head home Sunday.) wait for it friends, it is going to be good at the end. ( Skip to the end here if you want my super cool news first.)

Here is what I thought our future trip was going to include:

Thursday I thought we would be staying at a bed and breakfast- There are two I was interested in:

Friday 

  • Breakfast at the B and B then off to
  • Magnolia Market  which opens at 10:00 but we will try to get there about 9:30.  We should finish at Magnolia Market by 11:30- just in time for lunch at one of the food trucks conveniently located.
  • Harp Design Co because I want to see the shop where all those amazing tables and benches come out of and hopefully I will find something I can’t live without.  The Harps have a whole list of Waco favorites.  The two that caught my eye are Lula Jane’s if you are driving in for breakfast and Club Sandwich if you are looking for a fun food truck lunch.
  • The Findery.  How did I miss this one the first time?  It is for sure going on my list next visit.

The Findery - Waco, TX, United States

  • Junque in the Trunk Waco- I could only find a Facebook page, but with 70K follwers, they must be doing pretty well.

Junque in the Trunk - Waco, TX, United States

I have a feeling the guys would rather hang out at one of the restaurants or diners on LaSalle while we shop.

  • Head on to McGregor, Texas.  The Magnolia House and the Carraige house just on the show is there and it is worth a visit.

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Another fun place to visit is Megregor General Store.

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I got this cool sign there.

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  • Friday evening will be up for grabs.  Lake Waco looks beautiful.

Saturday

We will head out to Salado, Texas.  I love this place so much that we visit every chance we get.  Here is a blog post I wrote about that cool little town a few years ago.

Sunday we will head home slowly.  Eating Kolaches, stopping at fun shops, and enjoying central Texas.

Okay.  Here is the big news. (It is big news to me anyway!) After I already started this post and was all set on going back, I saw on Country Living that two houses that were on Fixer Upper are now rentals in addition to Magnolia Home.  One of them was my absolute favorite from season 1.  The Gorman Story.  On a whim I decided to look it up just to see if we could rent it and guess what?  They had an opening in October Friday and Saturday night.  I am so excited to get to check it out, spend time with my sweet family in the home, and visit Waco again in the fall.  Woo Hoo.

We are going to get to take Lucy, Sweet Amanda, Baby Boy, The Southern Belle, Big Cat, and our buddies The Social Planner and Larry on the trip with us.  It will be fun.  I have a feeling the guys will find something other than shopping to do all day Saturday, but we are going to enjoy our trip.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my posts.  I love hearing from you,

Blessings,

Karen

A Trip to Magnolia Market

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As a Fixer Upper fan, I have wanted to go to Magnolia Market since it opened. We made a trip to Waco on Good Friday. My buddy, The Social Planner, her husband, and Mr. Math all agreed to head out early ( 6:00 am) to be at Magnolia Market when it opened. We actually arrived about 15 minutes after opening because we made two stops on the way… Buc-ee’s and Woody’s Smoke House in Centerville. We just can’t seem to pass up those spots.

Because we went on a holiday, I can’t tell you if the crowd was normal, heavy or light. What I can tell you is that there were a lot of people in this space, but it wasn’t overwhelming.

The photo above is the room that you walk into from the front door. The morning light was amazing in the space.

Connected to the front room is a large back space that is really cool. I get the feeling that this space is going to be expanded as the shop evolves. The walls are super cool ship lap temporary walls that can be moved as they expand.

I did tell you that there were a lot of folks there, right?

I loved the way that items were displayed in the shop. You can really see Jo Anna Gaines’ hand in the design.

I am in love with that green glass. It was a little out of my comfort zone price wise, but I will be looking for some green glass.

I loved the faux fireplace and the book wall as you enter the shop. It was so cool. “Be a Blessing.”

Oh my goodness, that zinc sink. This working sink is part of the display to sell their line of soap products. They smelled so good.

I am definitely going to have to copy the hanging shelf idea for my potting shed that will be done this summer.

Who remembers macramé? I sure do.

Tulips were the silk flower of the day. They had the stems in four colors.

The exterior of the market is fun, but I could tell it was still a work in progress.

The Astro Turf lawn was packed with kiddos. There was corn hole, soccer (with flip flop goals) and cartwheels all taking place at one time.

The Silos are huge and rustic but not in use yet. I heard that the plan is to open them for local vendors inside once they are finished up on the inside. That will be so cool.

There is a stage right off the silos that will be getting a lot of use, I guess as they bring in performers.

The sign is cool.

There is a garden spot with what I guess is going to be a plant and outdoor shop opening soon. The garden is fun to walk through. I like the wooden teepee frame with mushrooms made out of logs. I can’t wait to see what all they do in this spot. World Hunger Relief is getting featured.

The food trucks that line the perimeter are a bonus, too. Our buddies got a pizza, we shared a crepe (blackberry cream cheese yumminess).

They pump out a lot of crepes from that teeny tiny trailer.

We are SOOO going to build our own picnic tables and benches I loved how sturdy they were and comfortable.

The dog biscuits on the bench cracked me up when I was going through the photos. I don’t even remember a dog being there, I was so focused on the benches.

All in all, we had a fun time, beautiful weather, and a great adventure.

Here are the treasures we picked up at Magnolia Market:

I bought this beautiful table cloth. It is made of rough cotton and has the feel of a feed sack.

I got this mail organizer, too. We did not have a good place for all of our incoming mail and for bills to hang out until paid. Now we do.

My buddy, The Social Planner, got these awesome pieces.

This pitcher was her first selection. Only the pitcher and not the bowl behind it. She collects enamelware.

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These awesome candlesticks were are great purchase. They are turned metal.

This double galvanized bucket that will be used for utensils and napkins.

These salt and pepper shakers. I love the beaded glass for the shakers.

Her table is beautiful this spring.

I tweeted this photo to @magnoliamarket and @chippergaines while we were at the market. Chip retweeted it.

The staff was very helpful. In fact this fellow wanted us to know it was the last galvanized pedestal stand before he put it on the last one table.

The question I have been asked several times if it was worth the trip. My answer is: if you are going to drive several hours to Magnolia Market, and that is all you will do in Waco, the answer is no. Not yet, at least. There just isn’t enough there yet to justify a trip over there and back. I will be giving you some options for other things to do in the area if you are going. It is a beautiful part of Texas with some fun things to do. The couple we met in line for the restroom drove 16 hours to get there but they had several days mapped out.

We loved getting away for the day from selling a house, moving into a house, work, and everything else that is going on and I can’t wait to share with you my suggestions for other things to do in the Waco area if you are a Fixer Upper type person.

I hope you all had a great weekend. Thank you for taking the time to follow along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

Selling a Home

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I am not an expert in a lot of areas.  Never ask me to knit, crochet, sew, or bake a soufflé.  I can’t grow anything that is is the least bit tricky (this month alone I have killed an orchid and it appears one of my succulents are dying), and car repair of any sort is not my thing.

What I have learned a little about in 34 years of marriage is how to sell a house.  As of now we have sold 4 homes, each one sold in less than a month, most in about a week.  House number 5 is currently under contract after being on the market for less than 5 days. You can see the home here.

I am pretty proud of our track record selling homes, but my guess is that my kids wished we did things a little differently when they were growing up.  My daughter commented once that we never finished any projects until we were putting the house on the market.  Guilty as charged.

Here is what we do, when we are selling a home:

  1. ” IZE “ your home.  You know what I am going to say here already:
    • Neutralize– Appeal to the masses.  Nothing that would be too taste specific.  Not the time for a purple wall or leopard print carpet.
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    • Depersonalize-You must detach from the home.  You are breaking up with this house anyway, so start moving on in your head.  Family photos, ribbons, medals, and shopping lists on the fridge must go.
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    • Minimize- Go ahead and get a start on moving out.  Have a garage sale, donate to Goodwill, and store anything that is not essential, in pristine condition, or that is too overpowering.  My green hutch and all of the milkglass got moved out.  This is not the best shot of my beloved hutch, but it was all I could find.  I will have an awesome picture of it when it moves in to my craft room.  Promise.
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    • Sanitize- I am not saying you are dirty people, really I am not.  What I am saying is it needs to be cleaner than the way we, at our house, live on a daily basis.  We washed the windows inside and out, had the carpet professionally cleaned, weeded the flower beds, and scrubbed the grout in the bathrooms, organized the linen closets, and power washed the sidewalk, porches, and driveway.  The bathroom counters got emptied and cleaned.  I am sad to say that a lot of that only happens when we have a house on the market.
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  2. Upgrade your home.  It takes money, and/or elbow grease to make money.  In our case a little of both.  Mostly on the back of Mr. Math.
    • Lighting– This is honestly one of the areas that I do not understand why more people don’t take care of before putting their house on the market.  If your house is more than 5 years old, or is a builder basic, you probably have at least one light fixture that needs updating.  If you shop around, you can find some great lights for not a lot of money.  Mr. Math replaced the very builder basic light on the front porch and in the entry way.  I stood on the ground and begged him not to die.  Not all lighting is this challenging to change out.
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    • Flooring– Go with what is selling in your area.  I checked out the two recent sales in our neighborhood.  See what they both had?
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      • Both had hardwood flooring in the family room.   We had carpet so we knew we were going to have to up our game.  We shopped for the best deal on neutral engineered hardwood flooring and had it installed. We spent some serious money on the flooring, but we knew that it would not get any traffic if we weren’t on par with the other homes on the market.  It is really nice, but I probably would have gone a lot more rustic if I was purchasing for me and not the masses.
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  3. Make your home memorable.  I know I said neutralize, so why would I also say to make it memorable?  What I mean is make your home stand out from the rest in the minds of buyers- in a good way.  Keep the walls neutral but try to have at least three rooms with something in them that will be remembered by the buyers.
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    • We added this barn door and buyers can see it as soon as they walk in.
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    • Our neighbor had this awesome turquoise buffet in the entry way.
    • I love my teal dresser that we use as an entertainment center.
    • Oh that bathroom.  I am going to miss that beauty.  The dresser, the antique vanity, the fence board shelving unit and the light are all neutral but very memorable.
    • The faux shiplap wall is getting a lot of traffic right now on Pinterest.  It is easy, and makes quite a statement.
  4. Hire the realtor in your area that is actually selling homes and then listen to the realtor.  The person who is selling homes quickly in your area probably has potential clients already lined up.  The realtor we used sold the home next door quickly and for above listing a month before ours went on the market.  She had a list of people who are currently looking to move into our neighborhood from her last sale.  She also set the price for the house which was higher than I thought we should go.  She was right.  If she had told us our house was not worth what we believed, we would have had an opportunity to fix the problems before moving on or not list, but I would never list higher than the realtor believes it will sell for.  I would either need a different realtor or realistic expectations.  Our realtor walked through the house prior to listing to make sure we had everything done that would help the house sell.  She was honest and helped us see things that we had not considered with furniture placement.

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It made me proud of our hard work that we had more than one family want the home, and that the new buyers wanted to buy some of the furnishings as well.

We love hearing from you.  Thank you for following along on our journey as we move into our forever home.

Blessings,

Karen

 

 

Creating a Mudroom 

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Well, after 6 months, we have 99% completed our mudroom.


We started with one large room that at one time was a two car garage.  The room was great, but in a home that is on a dirt road, in the country on 15 acres, in an area that gets a lot of rain, with muddy shoes, and a large dog (get the picture?) I needed a place for messy stuff to stop before making it all the way into our main living area.

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The photo above shows the room without the wall and the previous owner’s stuff inside.

Before we even started, we installed vinyl plank flooring.  I still love it and do not regret the decision.  We also added recessed lighting and a cute little schoolhouse light above the door.

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The first step was adding a wall to define the space.  I am crazy about our tounge and groove pine walls that are whitewashed.


The next step was to add a bench.  We hit the jackpot when my dad gave us a 2 inch slab of live edge cedar that is almost 18 inches wide and 90 inches long.  It was the perfect bench seat.  It is installed into the   studs with cleats underneath.  I cannot stop staring at it every time I walk in.


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We need storage in this home.  Desperately.  So instead of cute open storage that I could fill with accessories, it was closed 30 inch stock cabinets painted white that are filled with bbq equipment, marshmallow roasting devices, tools, light bulbs and other not cute items.  Our thought was that we would put things we keep inside but use outside in the space.  The knobs are plain Jane and functional, but I like them.



We also added board and batten walls with a tall ledger board for coat hooks.  I bought a multipack of hooks at Lowe’s for the space.  I like how rounded they are in case one of the giant men who come in our house should connect their head with a hook.


 Because there was a large open wall space and I hadn’t come up with a plan for a mirror or umbrella storage, we moved a very narrow hall tree that was a gift from my buddy, The Social Planner. It has a place for umbrellas at the bottom, a cool round mirror and additional hooks that will hold caps.


  
 I painted all but the wood detail with chalkboard paint.  I wanted the piece to go along with the large chalkboard on the other side of the door and the oak table.  Don’t hate me for painting wood.   I like a mix of wood and color.   It was in rough shape at the bottom after years of mopping around it, and the metal umbrella holder needed to have the dents fixed.  It will proudly serve us well for years to come.
 The other side of the mudroom connects with our laundry room.  We plan on adding a broom closet in the corner that currently holds all the dog toys. ( Just keeping it real, folks.)   It will have a cool screen door when it is my closet!
 We are also planning to add a pocket door to the laundry room so that the current 36 inch door is out of the way.

As soon as the suburban home sells I will be moving the galvanized tubs from the laundry room under the bench.  I did bring one so I could make sure it will work.  It does.  I will be adding felt bumpers to the bottom of the tubs to protect the floors.


We have not been able to find the right ceiling white to touch up the ceiling. I really do not want to paint the entire ceiling right now so we will keep searching and the patch from the lighting will stay unpainted.   We may have to take out a section of ceiling to color match if we can’t find it soon.  (I have done that before, because I hate to paint ceilings.)

I am calling this room done enough that it doesn’t bug me and can move on to other projects once the ceiling is done.  Our next step is to get the barn door in between the mudroom and dining area and enlarge our master closet.  Slow and steady progress.

Thank you all for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

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