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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

 

 

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Reclaimed Wood Barn Door

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This past weekend we built a barn door.  It took a little less than four hours and cost us zero dollars.

Don’t believe me?  Well here is the story:  we have a barn door in our hallway.  It is stunning.  The wood is from a hundred year old barn on my husband’s family farm.   We collected the wood before the farm sold and all of the buildings were torn down.  When we decided to sell our suburban house, the hubby made it clear that the door was coming with us to Providence Acres.  I knew that the door makes a statement in our house and will attract buyers.  The only solution for us both to be happy was  to make a replacement door.

We decided to dig into the wood pile hoard and make it.  The wood is cedar fencing that we actually picked up a block from the suburban house when the homeowners had it replaced.  We snagged it off the road before heavy trash pick up could ad it has been in a pile outside for the last three years just getting cooler, more weathered, and ancient looking.

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When I am using reclaimed cedar fencing here is what I do.

  1. Wash the wood with a jet washer setting on the hose sprayer.  Use a brush if there are dirt dobbers (for those of you who don’t live in the south they are a wasp-like bug that builds mud nests on wood), muddy spots, or anything that needs extra attention.  Clean both sides.
  2. Leave the cleaned wood to dry in the sun.  I usually lean them against a fence.  The wood has to dry several days in the sun.
  3. After it is dry, sort the wood and pick out the best pieces. What I consider the best is wood that is not split, and relatively straight.
  4. Cut off the dog-eared  top of each board and the ragged bottom of them to see what you have to work with.

I knew we would need 19 boards cut to 40 inches in order to get what I wanted.  We would also need 9 foot long trim board and a few boards for the connecting boards.

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The boards on the left are my 40 inch boards, the rest went back into the hoard for another use.

We still have a few precious 12 inch wide long cedar boards from replacing our lake house siding but our stash is dwindling.  One board was sacrifed for this project.  Hubby cut the wood into three inch widths.  That gave us four boards to use as the long side boards.

We laid out the boards on the shop floor then glued and air nailed the long boards to them. We added cut down cedar for the top and bottom sections.  I decided to use the same pattern as the gate Hubby found in one of the barns on our new place.

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The gate on the wall was inspiration for the barn door design.

The diagonal section adds strength and stability to the door.

Our method for cutting the corners was to lay the board down diagonally in the center of the corner then draw the corner on the board.  Very unscientific but it worked.

Once the front was done, we added trim boards to the back side.

There were a few places that needed a little sanding where it felt rough.  Here it is all put together.  Nine feet is tall, folks.

img_1251img_1252img_1259img_1254img_1258-1The edge of the boards were left raw.  I wanted it to look just like it would have on a barn.

It took three coats of satin polyurethane on each side to turn the wood into this beautiful color.


I love how rich it looks.

Here it is hung up in the hallway.


  
  
I love how it looks in our house.

I really do like hearing from you.

I hope your week is wonderful.

Blessings,

Karen

 

Sometimes the Answer is Not Yet

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This week Mr. Math and I went to look at the home that is for sale to be moved.  He thought it was cute too and was also excited about it.  That thrilled me.  I sometimes run ahead of myself and was worried that I was stepping out where my husband wasn’t willing to go.  He gets me and what I want to do and for that I am grateful.

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As we walked around the house, there were some issues that are going to make moving the house very hard and expensive.

  • There is a concrete foundation wall completely around the perimeter that would have to be demolished before the under the house work could begin because of the design.
  • The porch is not stable and would have to be removed in order to move the house. The porch beams are attached to a concrete porch and the chances of us successfully removing the porch intact to reattach would be slim.
  • The bathroom was added on at a later time than the house was built and would have to come off.
  • The main support beam that runs along the bedroom side of the house has dry rot and would have to be replaced.          Mr. Math checked it out top to bottom. 

All of that information was a bummer, but still potentially doable.  (We still hadn’t given up at that point.) The nail in the coffin on this house for us was that chimney.  Well not exactly the chimney, because I already knew it had a chimney that would have to come out.  It was the dummy who removed that structural wall between the two front rooms that now has the chimney stack holding up the ceiling weight.  The chimney has to go for the house to be moved and in order for the house to be stabilized enough for that to happen.  The interior work required for that to happen would be an unreasonable amount of money and would destroy the flooring in the front room.

  
The brick showing through the Sheetrock

Soooo… the house is not the house is not the one for us.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a house for us out there.  I have Craig’s List set to notify me by email everytime a home to be moved is listed.  Today this showed up.  It is cute, and new, and I love the vaulted ceiling, but it is not what I am looking for.

We have decided to “be still” and wait.  I guess my version of being still may not be everyone’s version.  My version is to focus on getting things in order to make another life change so that when the opportunity arises we will be ready.  Yep.  I know you saw this one coming a mile away.  When I tell my friends this life change, no one is surprised.  NO. ONE.  How have I been so personally unaware?

We have decided to put our suburban home on the market, hopefully this spring, if we can get the list of “to do’s” taken care of.   We will be commuters to work which I never wanted to do, but our heart is in the country.  I never, ever, thought I would say that.

My Burb Home

Once our suburban house is sold, we will make the big move to the country.  We will be “one home” owners for the first time in 10 years.    Frankly, that scares me a little lot.  We currently furnish over 4800 square feet.  We have six bedrooms, two living rooms, two dining rooms, four bathrooms, and an office.  Paring down to 2200 square feet means that we will be getting rid of a lot of things and will have decide what stays and what goes.  I am committed to making the hard decisions as we go and letting go of things I do not need or does not have a spot in my home no matter how much I love it.  Things like my beloved mudroom bench, my funky bedroom furniture, and one of my media center dressers.

Finished Mudroom Bench

Hold me to that, friends.

I slept all night for the first time in weeks after thinking this all through and getting this post written.

Thank you all for following along on our mid life journey. 

 In the next six months we will have our first grandchild, put our house on the market and will hopefully make the move to our forever home.  There are plenty of projects ahead for me to keep busy.

Blessings,

Karen

 

The Expand-O-Matic Facelift

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This past spring I bought this beauty at a community garage sale for $20.00.  I had no ideas what it was, but I thought it was cool the way that the front slid out and turned in to a table.

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A little research, and checking out the drawers for a label, taught me all about the mid century Expand-O-Matic.

It was designed at a time when we Ameicans were moving off the farms and into the city.  Space was tight in apartments so furniture had to do double or triple duty.  Here is a a 1960’s advertisement after they tried to update the name by calling in EXPANDWAY.  I like the 1940’s/ 1950’s version- Expand-O-Matic.

expand advertisement

I find it ironic that I bought it because I am moving to the country not the city.    My plan is for the desk/table to move into the back guest room.  I plan on us making a Murphy bed for the room along with the desk.  It will be able to convert between office space and bedroom as needed.

The room looks like this right now: 
As you see above, the room needs love. 

The room is going to be kiwi ( a little richer than lime but bright green), cream and teal.  The top and legs were stained with a Minwax gel stain  called special walnut.  I am so excited to have my own space inside he house to paint, sew or just piddle as my mom calls it.  It will be a fun, bright, creative space with my awesome painted chair which will have cream legs when we move in, this super cool desk/ worktable, and a kiwi colored cabinet with a Murphy bed in it.  I am thinking I will be painting a rug to go in the space in case of disasters that occur when I craft.

lime green legs

Here is the inspiration room:  

 
Of course my room will have a little more of a rustic vibe.

The hardwood runners that allow the table to expand to 6 feet are all cleaned, waxed, and now move easily between open and closed.  We still need to fabricate the leaves, but  the body is painted (Behr Real Teal) the drawers are a mis-tint sample I picked up for fifty cents.  The mis-tint is darker than my go to “sea salt” cream, but still an off white color.  I tried to stain the drawers but they were too far gone to save.  I was able to save the top and legs even though ther is an ink stain on the top.  (I wonder what happened there?)

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Ink stain

stained drawers

The drawers above were sanded until I almost sanded through the veneer but they still were not going to look right.

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I tried to polish up the hardware but in the end, I had to spray paint them with metallic spray paint.  (Rustoelium Soft Iron).

Wouldn’t this piece be great in a mini house?

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I found these awesome curtain panels for $5.99 each too!  The color is a perfect match to the teal color on the Expand-O-Matic.  There are three windows in the office so getting the curtains for under $40.00 is amazing.

 
I hope you have a wonderful day.

I love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Karen

My Soon to be Workspace 

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It was all over for me when this building opened.  We had just found out that the property across the street from our buds at the Rockin F was soon to be on the market. We took the side-by-side over to check it out.

The house… let’s just say I saw potential.

the house house

The barn was cool.  I was thrilled with the locally milled wood flooring and the potential of turning it into a a gathering space.  I also love that it has a pond out front.

barn and pond

The workshop was awesome.  It wouldn’t work as a shop for me and my big projects but I saw it immediately as a guest house.

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The current workshop is going be a 400 square foot guest house that is decorated with an industrial, mid century modern vibe.  I have the coolest stuff saved up for this spot and it is going to be great.  There will be a bathroom, small kitchenette space, and a queen sized Murphy bed.  My goal is to have it functional by Christmas when the kids come home. tick, tick, tick.

Back to the garage/workshop…

The three bay work space made me swoon.  Bay number 1 was full of an amazing classic car, but I saw a paint booth.  Bay two was full of lawn equipment but I believe it will be the big tool space.  Table saw, chop saw, drill press, table sander will go here.

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The third bay will be my creative space.  It has a wood burning stove, a a tool storage (complete with French door that will need to be changed so I don’t break it,) and room for me to work even in our wet winters/summers/springs.  (It has been a super wet year.)  We will be putting a door between the bays so that we can get between the spaces.  We will be also putting in a door to the deck at the rear so we can have access to water and a cooler shaded space in the summer.  The back deck is going to be our outdoor kitchen.

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the workshop

See the three sets of doors in the long metal building?  That is the garage/workshop.

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Who doesn’t love a wood burning stove in the workshop?

We are going to have a great space to work and create.  Currently the third bay is a welding shop.  Oh, how I wish I could weld.

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That space is going to be where we can assemble things, touch up paint, and finish off a project.  I am so excited to have a place where the sawdust and mess will be away from the finish work.

I know for most of you this doesn’t look like your dream space but it sure does for me.  I cannot wait to have a dedicated space to work and create.  I know that some of you are looking at those photos thinking… “What are they thinking?”, but we see this place as it will be for us, not as it is now.

We are blessed.

I hope you have a wonderful day.

Thank you for following along on our journey.  I would love to hear from you.

Karen

Weekend Finds

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Saturday, before I found out that The sale of our near the lake house fell through, I took off in search of treasures for the home we hope to purchase.  (It is funny how attached I am to that place.  If it doesn’t work out I expect sympathy cards 😊) My buddy, the social planner, and I took off in search of treasures mainly for the Guest Shed and the outdoor kitchen.  

Our first spot was my honey hole.  A church thrift store where a ton of my treasures came from. 

At the honey hole I spotted these two mid century pieces.  

An iconic pink swan planter.  I picked up this one in perfect condition for 50 cents.  A succulent is going in it out in the guest shed.  What a fun piece.

   

A vintage bamboo planter. Shawnee Pottery is very popular. I like the subtle color of green.  I especially liked it for 25 cents.  I am planning to put some sort of succulent in it, too.  

   

 

My final purchase at this stop was a small white pitcher.  I collect them.  I don’t know why, but I just can’t seem to pass them up. It was 50 cents.  

  

Our next stop was new to me but I loved it and will be going back. 

Two etched glass mirrors.  The rectangular one will be going in the guest shed bathroom and one will be part of a mirror wall going in the guest bathroom in the main house. ( I have a mirror problem.) I hope it looks something like this photo I found on Pinterest.

  

The link to the picture is broken or I would provide the source.

 I picked these two beauties up for 3 dollars each.  I know what you are thinking.  I absolutely take the worst photos of mirrors.

   

   

The social planner spotted this cream and sugar set in the most amazing teal color for me. I got them for another 3 bucks.  

  

The social planner found stuff at the first stop too, then found a teapot to match her dishes and a salt glaze cow pitcher.  Her stuff was a little pricey but was a steal for what she was getting.  At check out she found out it was a cash only spot. We pooled resources to get her treasures.  After she checked out she spied an awesome walnut mid century side table for me.  It was marked 20 dollars but the owner offered it to me for 15.  We reminded her that we didn’t have another  15 dollars between us.  She asked if we could scrape up 10 and we were able to cobble it together. I love having a buddy who enjoys shopping at the same places I do.  I also love that she and I are good enough friends that we are able to share resources. 

   

   

     

By the time I got pictures of her treasures she already had them working. 

The clean lines on the table will be perfect in the guest shed just as it is with a little waxing.  I am getting excited about the treasures I am collecting for this space.

   

 

Our next stop was a church garage sale.  We picked up 4 gallon sized glass jars for 50 cents each.  They are going to be squirrle feeders.  Our hubbies are going to make the four of them. One for each of our houses and one eac for gifts.  I am thinking my grand dog needs one so she can have squirrels to chase in her yard.

Finally, we stopped at a church bazaar where we literally had to collect coins in order to buy two old colanders for an upcoming craft night.

All in all it was a great time shopping.

On the way home the social planner got busy looking up what we purchased.  Here is what we would have paid online for the items:

I guess if this whole selling the house thing falls through, I can start selling my treasures!

   

          

  

  

I hope you all have a wonderful week.

If you are new to my site, welcome.  I hope you enjoy the ride.

Blessings,

Karen 

When Furniture Finds Its Way Home

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A sweet couple that used to live across the street from us moved to Hawkins, Texas- population 1278.  When they moved they sold me their farmhouse table.   They just did not think that they had room for the long table in their new dining room.   I really only bought it for the legs because the top was not solid wood.  The table hung out in the Garagemahal for months, and I do mean months.  It was heavy and had to be moved any time that I was working on a project so I started to think I just needed to get rid of it.  I decided just to paint it all out and sell it.  I mentioned on Facebook to my friends that I was going to be selling the table and guess who responded that she wanted it?  The original owner!  As soon as I started on the table, a friend gave me two chairs and a bench that I knew would be joining the table.  They we’re a mess, but wood.

I also had four other chairs hanging out in the Garagemahal that I bought for a song at Canton.

Do you like mixing and matching chairs around a table as much as I do?  I love painting mixed chairs the same color.    All in my friend ended up with a table that seats 8 for her dining room.  The fabric on the chairs is young and fresh, just like my friends.

  

I love the Behr sea salt bottom and the revival mahogany together on the table but next year when our life is a little slower I would like to change out the top for a stained solid wood top.

  

My buddy waited a long time to get her table and chairs (like since November)  but this past Saturday I got the chance to go and visit their little bit of heaven.

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I love the dark mustard walls with the upholstery.

They call their home the Crooked T Ranch, I think it is charming.  I am smitten with her sunroom/craft room and her bathroom has an original fireplace and chandelier in it.

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