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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

Mersman Drum Table Troubles

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We have a cat named Chloe. She is a 17 year old, grumpy cat who works hard to make sure we all know that she is queen of the house. She only eats soft food ( extra gravy variety only) and cat treats. Chloe hisses at everyone, and she would probably smoke and drink whiskey if she could figure out how to make that happen. Her feeding time is somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. We either have to get up, give her a clean bowl, fresh water, and food or she will stand in the hallway and yowl until we do.

The picture above is the best shot I could get of her. She was making another attempt to get up on the table after I had run her off twice.

I was given a 1950’s mahogany Mersman drum table with a damaged top and today I am going to tell you the tale of the table. The photo below is not mine but is similarly to how the table looked when I got it. The only exception is that my table had a large stain on the tabletop.

By now you may be wondering what a table and our old grumpy cat have in common. Well, I named this table Chloe. Does that give you an idea how much trouble this table was?

In my quest to get my stash of unloved furniture moved along I started work on the drum table. Everything except the top of the table was in great shape. I have no idea what in the world was spilled on the table but it soaked in and the top couldn’t be saved. Even after sanding, painting ( primer then paint) and polyurethaning the top the darn stain bled through. I had to get out the serious primer to knock it down. It took two coats of primer. That was when I knew this table would be trouble.

It took three coats of paint to get the top smooth. I spray painted the feet and drawer pulls old gold so I decided to try stenciling roses on the top. Finally I added a coat of poly to seal it…again.

She turned out pretty didn’t she?

I have been pretty spoiled selling my furniture up here. Nothing has been posted more than a day or two. The piece took a while to sell. There were two no shows, then I got sick the morning that a real live owner was coming to get it. I had to let the buyer know I would have to deliver it for them once I felt better. My son volunteered to take it to the new owner but it wouldn’t fit in the back of his car.

The final, and I do mean final straw was the delivery. The table tipped over on the way. I stopped the car and checked the paint. Thankfully there wasn’t any damage to the paint job so I continued on. When I delivered the piece to a sweet older couple, this was laying in the back of the suv.

That darn table.

Drum table 1, me 0.

I literally gave the table to the couple for free and walked away.

Bye Chloe.

Ever have one of those projects?

I hope you week has been amazing.

Blessings,

Karen

Cedar Shutters for the Rent House

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Our Rental property has come a long way since we bought it three and a half years ago.

We bought the property in Huntsville, Texas which is a college town near where we live. It was a hot mess. The 1950 bungalow was deemed uninhabitable by the city due to electrical and gas leak problems and in general it was gross and/or really ugly. There was a garage apartment on the site as well that was rented but we couldn’t check that out too much what with the two growling pit bulls and guns inside and visible. We looked past the ugly and at the potential for two income properties. It has been quite a journey but the house is now a sweet little quirky place with hardwood flooring and surprisingly the garage apartment only needed deep cleaning, paint, a new fridge and a/c. We are even more fortunate that our son’s family rents the house so we get the bonus of getting to see our sweet granddaughters frequently. Win-win.

I really like the paint color we chose for the exterior. It is Sherwin Williams Slate Tile. The yellow door was totally not my idea but I love it. My daughter in law chose the yellow and suggested we stain the handrail you see that isn’t stained in the photo above. I was planning on painting it white until she suggested that we stain it.

The paint and new roof look great but I have always thought the house needed more pizazz. My daughter in law shared a picture of a blue house with stained wood shutters and I knew that was what it was missing.

A friend gave us some reclaimed cedar that Mr. Math cut down to 1 X 4’s then ran them through the planer and finally cut to length. He stained it with a cedar stain and I loved it. They were simple, plain, and I think a little elegant.

The results were dramatic. For the cost of screws and stain the look of the house looks more finished. We will continue to add wood accents like the stair rails as they are needed.

The photos aren’t perfect because frankly the yard is not ready for prime time. With all the rain and mild temperatures we have had it is weedy.

I still have a few projects that I want to do to the exterior. There is an exterior door that needs to be covered and I know exactly what I want it to look like. We will be possibly adding an additional driveway if we can get the permit, we will be painting and patching the porch concrete, and one the swing comes down porch railings will be going up.

What do you think of the shutters?

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Clearing out The Shop

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In order to get our flooring done in our house, I need to clear the shop so that we have a place to move our furniture. Clearing the shop means all of those ” I’ll get to it one day” projects have to either get sold as is, or finally get done. I just couldn’t let this one go as is.

It is an Ethan Allen end table probably from the 80’s. A friend called to let me know she had a bunch of small tables that a renter left behind.

This beauty was just waiting to find her way back. She was just waiting for a facelift. I found the perfect gray color in the oops bin at Home Depot for $8.00. You may see this particular color again. I have two more end tables needing love.

First I scraped and sanded the roughest spots and spray painted with metal paint the hardware a soft gold. The first coat of paint was was rough.

I was worried but she turned out beautiful. She sold on marketplace in 12 minutes. I am so happy to see her go to someone who is excited to have her in her home.

It feels good to have my paint clothes back on.

Happy January!

I would love hear from you.

Karen

Setting up an RV on the Cheap

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While I was away from blogging, we took the plunge and bought a recreational vehicle. We have our own rv, baby.

We bought it on Craig’s List for a great deal after the first owners took it out twice then changed their mind about it. They took excellent care of it and the best part was that they had already bought all that boring but expensive stuff that you need for the rv to function. You know what I am talking about. If you don’t check out Pinterest or this site HERE for what every rv needs. I am not your girl when it comes to meters, levels, hoses…

While the rv was new and full of gadgets and has a great layout, the rv didn’t have much color. Everything was brown on brown on brown. Here is the before picture of the rv.

I plan on doing something with hat less than awesome backsplash in the future but it can wait. We do 90 % of our cooking outdoors.

I did my part to make the interior bright and fun on the cheap without making it too girly for Mr. Math. I shopped first from what we already had then Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Aldi, Burke’s, and Walmart for the things I didn’t already have duplicates of hanging around. We had a lot already.

Because I shopped in the spring there seemed to be a lot of teal, turquoise, aqua, lime, and blue out there. I found this quilt set for less than thirty dollars at Walmart and knew that I could use this as my color pallet to make those colors work together in our space.

The dishes and glasses all came from Dollar Tree along with the tubs and baskets.

The paper goods all came from Aldi along with the sheets and my pots and pans. I love Aldi.

All in I have about two hundred dollars in getting the camper ready to use. Everything we bought is washable, light weight, compact, and will travel well. We have enjoyed camping in our RV. So far we have taken a trip to Martin Dies Jr. State Park, Garner State Park, Denton, Texas, and Copperas Creek on Lake Proctor. We are planning some longer trips in the near future.

Thanks for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

Handmade Presents are Best

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We love being outside. If the weather is nice, or even if it is only tolerable, you will find us outdoors. My buddy The Social Planner and her husband have an epic year. The have a firing range for target practice, a zip line, web swing, a golf practice area with a 25 yard, 50 yard, and 75 yard posts to aim for along with a tee box out in the back area of their property.

Closer to their house they have more games. Washers, outdoor games, a trampoline, playhouse, and playground.

Close to the house there is a pool and hot tub along with an awesome outdoor porch.

This year we were excited to find out they didn’t have, but wanted something we know how to make! It made Christmas so much easier for us.

They borrowed our corn hole set for a party and said that it was a hit and wanted to get a set. We made our own set six years ago after learning about it from our son in law. You can see the post with instructions here. We use our set a lot. It is possible to make two sets of corn hole boards out of one full sheet of plywood. Your local Lowe’s or Home Depot they can even cut it into two foot by four foot pieces.

I wanted it to be special for our buddies so I decided to paint the name of their property on the corn hole set. (Our set is pretty plain Jane with stripes that took me all of an hour to paint.) They call their property The Rockin’ F after a branding iron they bought long before they ever thought about moving to the country. I was so excited to notice that they had a sign at the entrance to their driveway that would work.

I covertly took several photos of the sign and then went totally old school and teacher-y on it. I printed best of the photos then traced it onto a transparency. I bought an overhead projector at a school auction years ago and I still use it. I am not ashamed. Any teachers out there who ever went into a store with green, blue or red Vis a Vis marker on their arm after school? Seriously, I don’t have a vinyl cutter and need to learn to use one. It took several days, and several coats of paint but I am pretty proud of how they turned out.

We were a little late but happy to be able to give them to our buddies as Christmas presents this year. We were happy to be able to give them something made with love that they will use.

Did anyone else make homemade Christmas presents this year?

I love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

A Charging Station in the Ranch House

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Hello friends,  I promise you won’t be hearing from me every day but this is a project I am really enjoying already and I realized that I haven’t shared with you. Do you have a good place to get all your stuff charged? If you do, I would love to see where and how you charge all of your stuff.  Until recently we did not. It stunk. There were some things plugged in on the counter by my stove, some plugged in in our bedroom, and even the bathroom. One thing that I have discovered about an open concept home is that in order to have all that open space, you give some things up.  Things like walls to hang art on, hall closets, and other storage areas.  I love having a big open room when we are having company.  We enjoy the ability to have a pretty large group in our home for meals and entertaining so the trade off is worth it to us most of the time.

Because there isn’t much storage space, we have struggled with a place to charge everything.  We have two laptops, an iPad, an Apple watch, two phones, a Bluetooth speaker, and wireless headphones.  All of the stuff has different cords and a a tangle of wiring. I hate it. It looks awful and is always in the way. There is just something about seeing a bunch of cords and cables that wears on me. Am I alone in my neuroses? I even had my husband wrap white tap around the foot of cord that connects our television and Dish because it drove me crazy. I started looking for charging station options. (Like these here) but they just wouldn’t work for us. They just aren’t big enough for the two laptops, iPad, phones…

I also do not enjoy things being out on our counter top in our kitchen. It is a constant struggle to keep the counters cleared. Constant. Never ending.

Fortunately we had a weird space in our house that always bugged me. Always. Like since the moment we walked into the house to look at purchasing the home. There was this little niche/shelving/cabinet thing with two bottom cabinet doors, a counter then glass shelves that were adjustable. They were the problem. The peg things were slightly off from each other- like a quarter inch. That meant the shelves were all crooked, and glass, with brass brackets. It was just enough to bug me. I don’t think I have any photos of he offending shelves because I don’t generally take pictures of things that bug me.

Mr. Math fixed both problems for me with one solution. A charging station with closed cabinet doors. The doors hide all the cords, we now know where everything is- or should be- and I can actually charge every stinkin’ thing at one time now thanks to some ingenuity from the hubby.

First we ripped everything out.

It was glorious to get those shelves down and metal (uneven) brackets out. It was so glorious that I didn’t stop to take a picture for fear of losing momentum.  Once everything was down filled all the holes, and spackled the walls.

We were lucky in that there was an outlet in the kitchen that hubby could use to run electricity into our new charging station.

He installed an outlet with two usb outlets. Genius.  I have no idea how to explain electricity but here is a blog that explains how to add an outlet.  Once all the wall work was done we painted the interior with our go-to paint color Behr Moth Gray.

The next step was to add wooden, level shelves. They are basic 3/4 inch plywood cut to fit with veneer on the front.  He attached them on little rails across the back and sides. He cut a little square on the back side of the lowest shelf so that we had access to electricity on two shelves.

shelf hole

The shelves all in and the little square cut out, we bought this great surge protector.  It was a little pricey but each outlet can move around to make room if things don’t fit on the strip and it also included two usb outlets.

charging station close up

I know what you are thinking when you look at the picture above… what a mess.  You are right, it does look like a mess but all that mess is in one location and I can shut the doors! When people come over I don’t have to rush into the kitchen and grab up cords and devices.

charging station1

 

We now have a place for DVD’s and cookbooks (yep we still have DVD’s -don’t judge).

closed charging station

The result isn’t beautiful but it is contained and covered with cabinet doors that Mr. Math built to match our kitchen cabinet doors.  He had to make them super tall to fit the space, but I like the look.  He is so talented.

It makes me happy to know we solved one of our points of contention.  Now on to the next project.

I hope you have a great day.  I love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

New Year, New Start

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Happy New Year to you all. As of December 31st I am officially and totally retired from public education. My last day of work was a while back but yesterday was my last real day. Mr. Math retired in May so we are settling in to being together 24/7.

The last two years were a blur of work, commuting, and more work. I loved what I did for a living and will forever be grateful for the opportunities that I have been given but it didn’t leave a lot of time for anything creative. The added complication to the past two years is that that my parents’ home of 55 years flooded during Harvey then again with Imelda. I cannot tell you how tough it has been on my parents (and the rest of our family) as they lost virtually everything twice. As a result, blogging went out the window, repurposing furniture didn’t happen and a lot of projects at the house were minimal.

We have big plans for this year and I am going to begin blogging again. Our first big project is going to be getting the flooring changed in our house. We put in the flooring we have now four years ago and it hasn’t held up.

I am so disappointed with our floor that we are making it a priority and will be changing every square inch after we get the floor professionally leveled. I am researching now for something that hold up to water, dogs, high traffic, dirt,and granddaughters. I welcome any suggestions. We are thinking about AquaGuard.

Next we are going to finally get our Guest Shed done. Woo Hoo! This project has been on the back burner since we moved in but we need space for family and friends to stay in when they come. We don’t want anyone to not feel like they can stay with us.

We will be raising the roof and changing the roofline, removing the stovepipe, changing the siding, adding a bathroom and a kitchenette. I. Am. So. Excited! I have been planning this for a long time and have a ton of stuff already for the space. This weekend we picked up a claw foot bathtub and some furniture that is going to find it’s way into the space.

I hope that this new year finds you healthy, wealthy and wise. Thank you for hanging in here with me. It is great to be back. I would love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Progress on the House

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Right now, Mr. Math is on summer break from teaching so that means it is house renovation time at Providence Acres.

This is the third summer we have been in the house and we have made some real headway into turning the 1982 ranch house into our vision of a warm and welcoming space for us, our family, and friends to enjoy.

Our first year we ripped up the carpet, installed vinyl plank flooring, painted most of the house, and put in a mudroom, and added recessed lighting throughout the main rooms.

Last summer it was a kitchen makeover that I love, love, love. We now have bright white cabinets, a quartz counter top, and a beautiful farmhouse sink. In order to have the kitchen out of commission, Mr. Math had to put in an outdoor sink, cabinets and a slate tile counter top. Add in electrical and a grill and we had an outdoor kitchen This chick will never do dishes in the bathtub again. He did all the work himself last year except installing the quartz counter top. It was rough.

This year we took on a new challenge, adding a carport, metal roof, and enlarging our front porch. It has already changed the look of home. Mr. Math started the process moving the attach aluminum carport. I promise that one day I will tell you about that process. We did something we rarely do, we hired a contractor to do the work.

First they had to remove the existing concrete.

Removing concrete

They had to extend the pad to match the width of the house.

The construction has gone quickly.

The metal went on quickly. There was one small issue, they didn’t order enough metal for the porch.

The color is Mueller Charcoal

Adding a metal roof to a carport

Mueller metal roof

The progress on the underside is moving along. The cedar roof piece is done, electrical is run, cedar clad on the beams, and Hardy panels on the ceiling of the carport.

Cedar clad beams

Hardy board carport ceiling

I am loving the underside of the front porch. Bead board is being installed and will be stained and sealed.

Bead board

The progress is amazing. I am crazy about the improvement to the look of the home. It is going to be great. We already have our first party scheduled. It is going to be a 50th anniversary for our buddies on the SJ River Ranch.

Thanks for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

Bead board ceiling

Ranch House Exterior Update

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For the past 3 1/2 years every time I pulled up to our house this is what I saw.

The sad news is that I consider this the pretty end of the house. I don’t take pictures of the other end with the ugly carport.

An aluminum carport jammed onto the end of the house, an undersized front porch with outdated iron posts, flesh colored bricks, and that ugly roof. While we have worked hard on the interior adding vinyl plank flooring, a mudroom, recessed lighting, updated bathroom, a Murphy bed, a wood wall, and updated kitchen on the interior, we spend a ton of time outside… looking at this exterior.

We have a beautiful 15 acre piece of property. It is our favorite thing about where we live. That and our awesome neighbors!

The ugly house started changing this week.

The carport got moved. No fear friends it isn’t in the front yard any longer but moving it is a story in itself. Mr. Math is all about saving a buck but moving something that wasn’t designed to move included yelling, problem solving, and calling in reinforcements.

Here are the plans:

We are adding an actual built on, with a concrete slab, carport. It is going to be the width of the house, have giant cedar beam posts, and electrical for lights.

Having a math teacher as a husband means that everything gets drawn out for the contractor. Apparently we will have a 672 square foot carport.

When I arrived after day one it was clear that we needed a sidewalk to connect the front porch to the carport. A quick call to the contractor meant they rushed to frame up a sidewalk before the cement truck arrived.

The front porch is going to double in size, it will be taller to fit the scale of the house and open at the end to allow for air flow.

I took pictures before the guys showed up this morning. Here is the progress. It amazes me that all of the construction work will be done in thee weeks. We won’t be done because we are going to be removing the vinyl siding, painting the brick, and we are taking on the back porch ourselves but it will look so much better and be more functional.

We are looking forward to having close to 1000 square feet of shaded and covered outdoor space for us to entertain, hang out, park vehicles

The work is progressing.

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