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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
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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.

The Guest Shed

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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.

 This is my idea for a guest house:

I call her the guest shed.  I have dreamed about redoing her since 2015 although the colors have changed, I still want that mid century vibe.

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. 

I picked the light and two mid century walnut framed low slung chairs up at a garage sale for $2.00 each. No lie.  $6.00 dollars total.   ( Here is the post about the finds at the garage sale.)


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. 


 This is what we are planning to use.


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. 

Quilt Ladder DIY

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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.

Blessings,

Karen

My Dream to Buy an Old Home

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I am about to share something with you all that is probably going to convince those of you who weren’t sure yet, that I am in fact totally insane.  

It has been my dream for years to buy and old home and restore it. (Old homes in Texas are not the same as old homes on the East Coast.  75 years old is an old home.) I always thought we would buy a historic home (100 year old) and bring it back to life when we retired, but providence (or Providence Acres) had other plans.  It looks like we are going to end up on 15 beautiful acres that we love with a 1980 ranch home to mess around with.

The yearning to own and restore and old home has remained even though I love our spot on JJ Lane.  My buddy, The Social Planner, knew my dream and came over with news when we arrived Friday night.  She had seen an old home that needs to be moved not too far from us.  Saturday morning she and I headed out to check the place out. 

  
The land around the house is being cleared. It appears the home was buried in the woods around it for a while.  I was smitten with the front porch.  My guess is that this home was built in the 1940’s.
  

Beadboard barrel ceiling with side lights.
   

The inside…well, let’s just say it would probably scare most folk off. (The sane ones, anyway)
 

The Sheetrock has been removed and only the shiplap is showing.
  

The front bedroom above is a nice size the windows and the hardwood flooring is still there.  All the rest of the room and the bath down the little hall have been gutted.  I saw potential.
   

The kitchen is a mess.  
  

At some point the kitchen was remodeled and a tile kitchen counter was added.  

 

The sun room on the back has beautiful beadboard and a bank of Windows across the back.
   
 

Someone has removed the wall between the two rooms in the front of the house and I am not sure how long that temporary support is going to hold.  There is also a brick chimney on top of the house that would have to go.  The pipe in the wall leads to the chimney.
   

The back bedroom has some shiplap that is 18 inches wide.  Termites ate the Sheetrock paper but didn’t seem to touch the wood.  The lines you see are termite tunnels. 
 

Someone has removed every door and the frames are stacked in the front room.
   

The front door is still there, which I love.

All that sheet rock removal helps to see the structure of the house which is solid.  The old girl is even still level with no sloping rooms.
 

I have no idea if moving this house is possible, if it is feasible, if it is financially possible, or even if this house is worth saving, but it has sparked a renewed desire to have a home to restore.  We have a lot of checking to do before we even make an offer.  My heart will not break if it doesn’t work out.

This may be an opportunity for us.  We live near where the new Houston Area Boy Scout camp is getting built.  They are anticipating 1000 boys a weekend yearly up here with at least that many for weeks during the summer.  That means lots of parents driving up.  We think that a bed and breakfast VRBO or Air BnB type home will be in demand when the Boy Scouts desend. 

Right now we are prayerfully considering adding a cottage along with The Guest Shed for guests.  This may not work out and it probably would be cheaper to build new, but I can dream. Between us and The Social Planner and her hubby I think we could manage.  Especially once I retire.  My buddy has a stash of supplies as big as mine and would enjoy the process as me.

Either way, I will let you know what we decide. 

On a happy note Mr. Math got his tractor Saturday.  He found an 8 year old tractor online with 102 hours on the engine for a great deal and he is thrilled.  

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

I love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Murphy Bed

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You know that Lowe’s commercial where the announcer says “How to install a washer and dryer with one finger” then the lady points her finger and says to the installer…” A little to the left please”? According to Mr. Math, that is how our next, if there is a next, Murphy Bed will be installed.

We are better than average woodworkers, who aren’t afraid to take on a project, but this particular project was a challenge.  It took a lot of work, a couple of “do-overs”, and challenged our following written directions skills.  Our first clue was when the instructions came in THREE separate booklets.

Mr. Math started on the project one weekend, worked on it every night for at least an hour, then finished it on Sunday afternoon of the second weekend.  All together I would guess he had about 15 hours of work involved and another two hours of watching the included video and reading the manuals.

  There was a lot of gluing and clamping then waiting involved.
    He brought everything to our week day house so he could work then moved it all back to assemble.  Everything had to have blue tape with what it was in order to get it assembled correctly.
  

The kit we ordered included all metal hardware. 
  

The plywood base for the bed was too flimsy for Mr. Math.  We ripped it out and are putting in a more rigid base.

          

Here is the cabinet assembled and the wall board ready to go.  This flat board is attached to the studs.

    

A stud using a stud finder. 😀

  

Open without hydrolic rods installed.

  

Closed.  We still need to install the handles so Me. Math installed a string that allows us to pull it down.

Down with hydrolics installed and mattress in place. 

Am I sorry we did this ourselves? No.  It is quality construction that will last us a lifetime.  We now have a room that can serve more that one use. It cost us more that I anticipated (all in it was about $600.)  This is not a project for beginners. It required some skill and lots of tools.

   
   
Next step will be painting the room, painting the cabinet. installing the rest of the floor, decorating, and gettin leaves done for the expand-o- matic.  This will end up being my favorite room in the house.  

After Christmas we will get busy on the details.

Thanks for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

Recessed Lighting in a Ranch House

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I am so very excited to show you guys the recessed lighting in our home.  When we bought the home there were a few non-negotiable items that would be changed for me before I was willing to sign on the dotted line.

  1.  We needed a mud room.   We need a spot for the messy stuff to stop and hang out before it wanders into the living space and makes me cranky.  Right now we are about 75% complete with the mud room.  The wall is up, the lights are moved, holes in the ceiling are patched,and the trim is done.  We still need to add the bench, the back wall cabinets and the coat hooks.  I am guessing that most will be done this spring.  If it stops raining on the weekends.  I cannot wait for you to see it.  It is glorious.
  2. The kitchen needs a makeover.  Right now that is on hold until summer except we are getting the propane hooked up and a gas stove soon.
  3. New flooring.  The carpet had to go.  This one is DONE!
  4. Recessed lighting in all the main rooms of the home. All. Of. Them.  The 1980’s ranch home has 8 foot ceilings, which are fine unless you have lived in homes for the last 20 years with high ceilings like we have.  The previous owners installed energy saving windows which are great, except they are tinted and the filtered light is not as bright as I would have wished.  There are fewer windows than our last home had.  There were no overhead lights in the main rooms of the home.   The home is situated on the lot with the main room on the west side of the house which should provide lots of afternoon light but we have huge trees in our back yard that I love but they block the light to the family room. Finally, adding the mudroom meant blocking the main rooms of half the windows.  Add it all up and the home felt dark and dreary to me.  I dreaded winter coming because the home was going to be so dark during the rainy, cloudy winters we have in the Texas Piney Woods.

Before you all get started looking at the pictures, I took all of them using my iPad and at roughly the same time of day because I wanted you to see the difference in the lighting.

    IMG_0406

    The photo above shows the two windows that are now blocked by the mudroom wall and the area that is now our dining room along with the only two ceiling lights we had when we moved in.  You can also see the last of the cream colored carpet and what a zoo it is at our humble abode.

    IMG_0577

    Why yes that is a huge, ugly ceiling fan in the kitchen.

    IMG_0954

    No overhead lighting in the family room.

    IMG_0953

    The door was sheet-rocked over in order to have this dining room.  The one ceiling light was over the table in the center of the room that makes no sense now that we have a functioning front door.

    IMG_0952

    More views with no lights.  Oh and the

    Enter recessed lighting.  I knew for certain that I wanted recessed lights in the house.  Mr. Math was not so sold on the lighting because I am pretty sure he is at least 1/4 vampire but I stood firm on this issue.  I must have light.  I believe I am part plant.

    He really panicked when I let him know how many lights I was thinking about.  25 recessed lights spread out over our kitchen, front entry, mud room, dining room, and family room.   The roof is pretty low and the wiring was suspect in the house so we hired this one out.

    The first step was to figure out where all the lights would go.  This involved a pole with rolled up blue tape on it to stick everywhere I thought a light would go.  I had been to this awesome site: recessedlighting.com  They tell you everything you need to know about how many, where, what kind to buy… the whole ball of wax.

    I had my buddy, The Social Planner over for backup because I knew when showed Mr. Math (A.K.A. Count Dracula) how many lights were going up he would be less than excited.

     

    Once the placement was made, we had the electrician come to give us an estimate for the cost and time frame.  After he came and let us know what to get it was time for to purchase the lights.  All 23 of them (we re-used two lights for the mudroom.)  The retrofit led recessed lights were close to $30.00 each.

    The next step was to have the electrician come and start the install process.  It took three Saturdays to get all the holes cut, wires run, light installed in the ceilings,switches installed in the walls along with bringing our attic wiring up to code, removing  the kitchen ceiling fan box and installing two outlets.  The difference in the rooms is amazing.  The lights make the rooms feel bright and cheery without overpowering the space, they seem  to make the rooms look more up to date as well.

     

    We just had our first rainy-all-weekend trip after the lights and I can tell you it would be impossible for me to be more thrilled.  They are amazing.

    The lights are 3 inches and are hardly noticeable when off. The photo above is before the ceiling touch ups.

    Here is a photo of the moved light and the beginning of the ceiling repair.


    Above you can see the recessed lights with the ceiling lights off and on.

    We added lights over the dining table too, but the Edison bulbs didn’t photograph well so they are off.  The wire hanging down is straightening out.

    Thanks for taking the time to follow along on our journey.

    Blessings,

    Karen

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