Our guest cottage needs a name. I believe all interesting houses need a name. As much blood sweat and tears we poured into this one sure needs to be called something. For the past seven years we have called the building The Guest Shed because well, it was way more shed than guest friendly even though we I had dreams. My husband has dubbed it Nonnie’s (My grandmother name) Playhouse but I am holding firm that we aren’t going to call it that.
I feel like this little house looks more like a little cottage than a house. It certainly looks more like a cottage than a playhouse!
I literally Googled “The difference between a house and a cottage and there is an actual site called “The Difference Between”. The difference between website says: “A House is a building or structure that serves the purpose of shelter, whereas in today’s reference a cottage is defined as a cozy dwelling, generally in the rural or semi rural areas.”
That settled it. It is a cottage!
Once it was settled that our sweet little place is a cottage, I researched names of cottages. “Choosing a cottage name is a very important endeavor, especially if you want a name to perfectly encapsulate the character of the house. It is about choosing a name that goes out ahead and represents your house properly”.
This site has a long list of names. It even has a cottage name generator. The name it first selected for me was Leafy Greens. I tried a couple more times and it didn’t get better but it was fun trying it out. Since I didn’t think Leafy Greens, Gopher Hollow, or Sage Sands worked for me, I thought about our property. We have a creek that bisects the acreage that actually has a real name you can see on Google Earth, Sand Creek. It has water in it 90% of the time, but right now there are only deep spots with any water. When it overflows we have plenty of water. The garden, the back of the property, and even the mower barn gets water.
Sand Creek Cottage it is.
We really don’t have plans for the cottage except to welcome our friends and family to come enjoy our little slice of heaven, but having it we hope it makes visitors feel like they can invite themselves to come see us and stay a bit longer.
When we decided to make the cottage a place to sleep in overnight we thought about bed sizes and I perused a lot of Air BnB suggestions on Pinterest. (They are a great resource for how to make a guest home work for guests.) We are a really tall family so that factored into the plans. We considered a Murphy bed but the largest they come in is queen and we thought a king would be our best choice. By the way, if you want a room to have lots of functions and a queen, double or twin work for you, Murphy beds are awesome. We installed one in our back bedroom it was a lot of work but we love that we have a comfortable bed or a work/craft space.
Also, I want to be able to use the cottage for more than just a place to sleep. Just this Saturday there was an impromptu dance recital performance by two of my granddaughters that required things to be moved against the wall so the room would be more open. (They were magnificent by the way!). I can see using the space for baby/wedding showers, birthdays, game nights etc. so I didn’t want a quarter of the space to be taken up all the time.
I discovered searching online that there are bed frames that can be bolted and unbolted together and there is a strap and filler made just for the purpose of making two twins a king. That sealed the deal for us. Two twin xl beds were going to be in our future.
I shopped marketplace and found two mattresses and box springs used to stage a home. The guy that bought them thought they could be returned once the house sold but they got a little scuffed on one end moving them in. They were brand new expensive mattresses. I bet he wished he had hired a stager instead of trying to work the system but his loss, our gain. The still wrapped in plastic box springs were donated to Restore. A friend gave us a king sized bed topper that will make it even better.
We now can configure the room several ways.
Daybeds in the corner (this is how it looks most of the time).
Side by side twin beds
The night stands were once a vanity table that had been left in a garage for years. I love how cutting it in two, removing the peeling veneer, and painting the body made the furniture useful again.
We are ready for company. Flushing potty, hot water, beds, and most importantly air conditioning!
My great grandmother (Katie) was twenty when she had my grandmother (Helen), my grandmother was twenty when she had my mom, and my mom was twenty four when she had me. That means my grandmother was forty four when I was born and my great grandmother was sixty four. Sounds crazy to me but I had really young grandmothers. I am saying this as a sixty year old grandmother of a three and five year old.
All that talk about my linage is because both my grandmother and great grandmother had a huge impact on me. My grandmother was a career woman, a worker bee who made her on destiny and was the bread winner for her family after my grandfather was injured on an oil rig because that was really her only option. My great grandmother lived alone for many years on the homestead of her husband’s family after my great grandfather passed away. It was 17 miles from a paved road. We would turn off the highway onto a gravel road and into the interior of Louisiana to a land grant that had been in the family since the late 1800’s. Katie was a great cook, had a quite strength, and was a hard worker.
There was no indoor bathroom or phone at Katie’s house when I was young. I think a bathroom was installed when I was in elementary school. There was an elevated cistern outside the kitchen that caught rain water so that the kitchen sink had running water. Of course there was no television. I can remember going to my great grandmother’s house when I was in elementary school with my grandmother for a week during the summer. Funny, but I don’t remember being hot. It had to be really hot there but it isn’t one of the things I remember. My grandmother didn’t learn to drive until she was 50 so heading out for a trip to Louisiana was an adventure for both of us. It was like going to pioneer camp or time traveling back 100 years. We would get up in the morning, Katie would make breakfast, milk the cow, find the eggs (free range chickens), throw leftovers to the hogs, and I can even remember churning butter in a glass butter churn. My great grandmother had a treadle sewing machine that had been converted to electric at some point that she sewed on. She loved quilting and during the week she would work on a quilt. She would either work on squares or use her stretcher to do the quilting depending on where she was in the process.
I loved being there. Even when I was so young I knew how special it was to get to spend time with those ladies. I have such happy memories of the homestead that I wanted to make my guest house feel like going to Katie’s house. I picked the colors from a quilt she made. I have no idea when Katie made the quilt, my guess is mid 1950’s because of the colors but my grandmother gave the quilt to me when I got married in 1982 and the quilt looked ancient then. The quilt colors are what I am using as the color scheme in the house.
The kitchen walls at Katie’s house had what I believe was bead board on them. I know it was slats. When I had v groove planks given to us I knew it would work for the kitchenette area. I loved it so much it became a whole wall.
Everything was functional inside and outside of Katie’s house but she managed to insert pretty things where she could. I believe that is why she loved to quilt. Bright colors and fabrics with a function.
I don’t remember a lot of purely decorative items in the house. I plan on not having a lot of purely decorative things in the space but want to have things that serve a purpose and are pretty at the same time. I plan on hanging up my grandmothers’ (both sides of the family) rolling pins. They are packed away right now but will be coming out soon. Glass and wood with many a biscuit and pie crust between them. I am getting an old map of our county framed to hang from before the lake was built. That just feels like something my grandparents would have hung up along with the feed store calendar and pictures of the family.
I was so fortunate that my daughter got to meet her great-great grandmother, Katie. I love this picture of them together.
I can’t wait to show you the progress that has been made. I also have a few funny stories to share.
Well hello there. What in the world are you doing still hanging around? The past year has been a real world wind. I will never say anything bad about my job. I love it, a lot. As I wind down to retirement one year from now though my job has been busy.
The demands for the job have meant that I haven’t had much time to do any creative work. That will be changing.
So, here is a quick update on life as a weekend country girl.
We are expecting granddaughter number two in mid June. Sweet Amanda and Baby Boy are going to be giving Lucy a sister and we are thrilled. I am getting busy on nursery preparations finally. The sweet girl may not have everything finished before her arrival.
The Southern Belle and Joe have left the city that they love and have moved to Denton, Texas for work. I now have all of my kids living in a four hour drive. I am thrilled and will be filling you in on that quirky town soon. They have bought a house and it is going to get a mini makeover before they move in this month.
We bought an RV. We have taken it out on the maiden voyage and love it. We have plans for a lot of trips in the future.
This week we will start an exterior makeover of our house. I am so excited! We are getting an enlarged front porch, a carport, and exterior paint on the bricks.
I hope you are all doing well. I promise that I will be doing a better job of keeping you up to date from now on.
Thanks for hanging in there. I appreciate you all more than you know.
Y’all, I had the best weekend last week. I got to spend the weekend in the season 1, episode 1 Fixer Upper home. While that was an awesome experience, sleeping for two nights with all of my kids and my sweet granddaughter under one roof along with our dear friends was the BEST part of the weekend.
I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to share my weekend with you along with a few tips in case you head to Waco yourselves.
First of all,
This my friends is the house we stayed in.
It is a beautiful home.
Come on in, I will show you around.
The three stories of stairs are so pretty. They were quite a challenge for our 18 month old granddaughter to navigate. She could not get enough of them.
The first shiplap room on HGTV. Joanna made her mark convincing Charmaine to leave the walls open to reveal the shiplap that traditionally was covered with a “finished” wall in this one small room.
There are the requisite French doors. I just loved this little space.
The kitchen is my favorite room in the home.
I loved the beams, the tile, the vent hood, the lighting, and he countertops. That island, made by Clint Harp from reclaimed shiplap made me swoon.
Something I wasn’t prepared for was the industrial elements. The paper towel dispensers, the exit lights, the pump hand sanitizers on the wall. Charmaine said that at one point she planned a child care center here.
Oh, and Joanna would never approve of the shelves that are in the corners.
The family room was very comfortable.
The front porch was amazing.
You just have to be comfortable sharing it with all the Fixer Upper fans who drive by, stop by, jump out of their cars for pictures, even coming up on the porch, and even the one extremely brave man who asked if he could come in… in case you are wondering the answer was no. I enjoyed it and waved like a fool at all of them until they drove off… except that one.
Also, the neighborhood is rough. It is definitely the best house in the worst neighborhood now.
The house sleeps more than 12, has four full and one half baths. It is close to Magnolia Market, and the homeowner is the same person who was on the show. She checked in on us, brought a Keureg when he one there didn’t work, and was a pleasure to work with.
The home can be rented HERE, if you are interested.
The quality of the construction was apparent, the home was beautiful, and it was a great weekend for us.
This week I am going to show you you our visit to Magnolia Market.
One of the reasons we bought this beautiful property we live on is so that we can share it with our families and friends. We have done what we could with our home to allow for more overnight guests. We have a sleeper sofa, a Murphy bed in the craft room, a queen bed and a a crib in the guest room. The house holds a lot of folks. More than once it has held 20 + young men. (We stayed with friends those weekends… that was too much of a good thing.)
As our family and friends have come to visit we have realized that we need a separate space for visitors. I even see us heading out to the guest house when our friends with a lot of kids or when both of our kids come with their families because we are early risers and noisy. We also have an early riser dog. She is noisier than we are.
The previous owner used this space as his woodworking shop and “man cave”. He installed a sink, hardwood flooring reclaimed from a gymnasium, and cabinets. He also built a wood burning stove that is the craziest looking thing ever.
It needs a good coat of high heat paint. ( Can you tell he was a welder? )
We are going to add a bathroom to the space, move the sink location, set up a kitchenette. More on the bathroom later.
The vibe is going to be mid century-kitsch. The walls are going to be a really pale turquoise, there will be plenty of red and white. Think light, bright and airy.
I have collected some fun mid century furniture and a mint condition chrome UFO light. The light was still in the original box, unopened. I am smitten. When it is on the pin holes look like UFO lights- yay for mid century atomic. That bulb thing on the light is a pulley to adjust the height of the light. There is a frosted glass light diffuser that attaches to the bottom of the light.
At that same garage sale I got a porcelain cast iron sink to use in the kitchen. ($5.00). The sink is stained and there are a few worn places but overall it is in great shape. It is getting a coat or three of epoxy.
I also have picked up a vintage kitchen upper cabinet set that are getting painted white.
Before I can get started we need to replace the shop board along the back wall that is all full of holes for tools and paint the walls then install a drop ceiling.
After the dropped ceiling is in, I am going to use the same stuff we used on our garage apartment to restore the floor without making it look brand new.
I have a double modified to be a queen sized iron bed going in along with the funky dresser and a chrome 1950’s table and chairs that are currently kicking my hiney. Mr. Math did a much better job than me, but the back of them still isn’t done. Soon I will share what we learned from this process. There were lessons learned!
I am so excited about this fun, funky, kitschy, bright space we plan on working on this summer. It is going to make me happy to just walk in. As soon as it is all finished I think we are thinking putting it on air bnb when we don’t need it for guests. With the huge Houston area Boy Scouts camp going in down the road I think there will be a need for parents who want to stay nearby.
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).
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 Ithought we would be staying at a bed and breakfast- There are two I was interested in:
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.
Junque in the Trunk Waco- I could only find a Facebook page, but with 70K follwers, they must be doing pretty well.
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.
Another fun place to visit is Megregor General Store.
I got this cool sign there.
Friday evening will be up for grabs. Lake Waco looks beautiful.
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,
This past weekend I made my version of a quilt ladder so that I could hang my grandmother and great grandmother’s quilts out for display. I am lucky enough to have a collection of quilts from these amazing women.
I used several sites to get an idea what to do but in the end, I did my own thing.
The tricky part for me was figuring out how to cut an angle so that the board leaned against the wall and still was flat on the bottom. I over-thought the whole process. Mr. Math just took the board and leaned it so that it stuck out against the wall 18 inches. He then took a straight edge and drew a line where it touched in both places. No pictures because he was done before I got there it was so fast.
I cut the ladder rungs out of 1X4 board. They were 20 inches long.
I am crazy about the laser light on our saw.
Once the boards were cut I clamped them all together and trimmed the edge to make sure they were exactly equal.
I hate wood that is printed on. It just adds to the sanding. The bottom angle of the boards are showing here.
I stained everything before assembly. It was the smartest thing I have done in a while. I was able to get an even coat on everything that way.
Mr.Math measured and predrilled the holes for the rungs on one board. He then clamped the two long boards together and drove the screws in so that they put a hole on the other board.
He is a genius! That made sure the rings were level.
We started the top rung 3 inches down from the top then down every 12 inches.
I really didn’t expect to get it finished so quickly so I did not have all of my quilts for the rack. It is going to be awesome to have those memories around me.
Thanks for following on our journey to turn our 1980’s home into our forever home.
Knowing company is coming can motivate a person to get busy on their home. Knowing several of those guests are active elementary and junior high students really motivates me to get the house de cluttered and ready for the crowd.
Here is the weekend progress:
1. The Guest Room is now presentable. There are still areas that need touch ups.
The walls got painted.
A set of donated shuttered got painted and hung on the wall.
Art, a mirror, and a window got hung.
New curtain rod.
2. This awesome light now hangs where the light I lovingly called the pool table light was over the bar.
The awesome after.
3. A section of the bathroom now is under way. The mirror will be framed with rustic wood and the bathroom cabinets will be painted white. The rest of the bathroom needs to be painted still. The color is a pale bluish green. Never judge a color until the old paint is out of the way. Look at them together… yuck.
During… did you notice the name of the bathroom hardware? I did not until I edited the picture.
You have to wait to see the bathroom. Sorry. I want you to see the full effect once it is done.
We also did some really boring but necessary things like mow, organize closets, and unpack boxes.
Then… the fun started.
5 kids and their parents showed up. They played, they explored, they fished, they ate s’mores, they went tubing, jet skiing, they threw the frisbee for the dog, they played nines, the ate… A Lot. Those kids can flat eat.
We were sad to see them go.
This week I am going to give you our tricks for feeding a crowd and a few hints for Christmas presents if you have outdoor space.
Happy belated Labor Day to all of us who get up every day and go to work.
Dictionary.com has this as one definition for providence: 3. a manifestation of divine care or direction.
Right now I believe Mr. Math and I are in the big middle of providence.
I feel like I need to share a little about our journey selling our lake house and buying our new place. Please indulge me as I share a little about our journey. It has been quite a ride since early spring when we started this trip.
We had not planned on selling Star Hill.
We loved that quirky kit house, warts and all. It was our weekend home for over eight years. Star Hill was finally to the point that the work that needed doing was maintenance. It would need a roof, and it was time for a new central air conditioner but nothing super labor intensive for us. We would have hired that work out. The only reason we would have ever considered selling the place was if a place came up for sale we couldn’t pass up near where our friends retired. It happened.
Acreage, across the street from our friends, on a creek, with a pond, and s-e-v-e-n out buildings for all of my treasures came up for sale by owner. My buddy, The Social Planner, let us and several other folks who she thought might be interested know it would be going on the market. Immediately I started preparing Mr. Math not to get his hopes up. I begged him not to fall in love with the idea until we had all the facts.
Could we afford such beautiful property?
Could we sell Star Hill fast enough and for enough to make purchasing the home possible?
Was something seriously wrong with the place? Why were they selling so suddenly?
After meeting with the couple and getting a tour of the place we just knew. This place was meant to be ours. I can’t explain it still. It was nothing like I thought we would buy as we prepare for retirement. I always thought we would get a historic home in Huntsville, Texas and restore it. A small lot, near downtown, where we could enjoy living in a college town. We had even looked at some homes, but none of them moved us like this property did.
The couple were asking a price that was more than fair. It appraised well over what we paid for the home.
We were able to sell Star Hill rather quickly and were able to get what we needed to make the purchase not only possible, but well within our means.
We had the home and property inspected by the toughest inspector we could find. This guy wore us out at Star Hill. He went over the home and property with a fine toothed comb and provided us with a pretty lengthy punch list, but nothing unexpected for a home built in the 1980’s. Septic is fine, well is fine, home is solid, roof and central air still has life in them. I honestly still don’t know why the couple put this place on the market.
I just told you all this not to brag, because we honestly don’t feel we had anything to do with this purchase, but to tell you that I am 100% positive that it was providence that we were able to purchase this property. At every turn we have seen God’s hand in our owning this particular home. We wake up smiling every morning we are there and we drop into bed, exhausted. At this point we have painted about half the interior, moved in, put up a wall, taken down wallpaper border, installed curtains, and removed carpet.
Don’t be fooled by this post, I am still scared. The home is far from perfect, and we know we are going to have our work cut out for ourselves. On top of keeping up with 15 acres, we will have a ton of work on the house and buildings.
As we have been on this journey we have had some amazing things happen. Here are a few of the things that have just happened this summer.
Our brand new suburban neighbors, who we just met, came over to let us know that they were buying a trailer. They didn’t even know we were buying a place. They wanted to let us know we could use it whenever we needed it. The trailer is awesome. We have really used it to get all of our stuff moved.
The foundation expert we brought in, from the same company who looked at the property eight years ago, did not recommend and foundation work be done. He feels that the house has stablized and while it will always move on the type soil we have, we need a foundation sprinkler system, not foundation work. We had set aside a huge chunk of our budget to fix the foundation based on information from the previous homeowners. We are thrilled to say a foundation sprinkler system is in our future.
The Social planner needed the carpet we were ripping out and helped us remove it. Not putting all of that carpet into a landfill made me feel so much better.
A family member offered us a huge riding lawn mower, with 16 hours use on it along with a leaf sweeper. It needs a little repair but wow, it is going to be awesome. It is going to save us so much mowing time with two riding mowers running.
Another family member is selling their home and gave us a ton of stuff for our home including a like-new king sized mattress, box spring, and frame from their guest room.
Behr paint went on sale, $10.00 a gallon off, the very week we went to buy paint. That is the first time it has been marked down so much. Usually th sale is $5.00 off.
It has seriously felt like everything I start worrying about gets fixed as soon as it comes to my mind. I am the worrier of the two of us.
We are committed to opening our home to family and friends. We have been blessed by this home and want it to be a get away for others who are looking for a place of peace, recharging, and refuge. Our doors will be open often.
So far we have hosted a ton of family and friends and right now, as I write my son has 20 or more college students at the house for a retreat. Even with raw concrete floors, and walls under construction, we knew we could not say no when asked.
Thank you all for following along on our journey. Each and every one of you will be welcomed into our home if you ever want to visit. Oh, and help us name the place. We are struggling to give it a name.
Here are some recent outside photos of the property. I am waiting until we are a little further along to show you what the inside is looking like.
We drove up last night to find our wonderful neighbors letting their grandson fish in our pond. He caught the first fish since our purchase! I am just sad we missed it.