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Downsizing Realities

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We are going through the big D and I don’t mean Dallas.  While we would never consider divorcing each other (who would have us after 35 years of bad habits?)  We are decluttering.  I look at Pinterst and it appears online that decluttering, organizing, and purging are super easy.  It makes everyone feel better, can be accomplished in a weekend and then your life is golden.

Here in my Reality Land,  that has not been our experience.  We are sill figuring out the whole less is more thing.  Two years ago we had 4350 square feet of living space divided between two homes with two sets of most things.  We had two kitchens, six bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a two garages.  We had a ton of stuff we were used to having around us.

Now we have one galley style kitchen, three bedrooms (one is really a craft room), two bathrooms, no totally weather proof garage, and a total of just under 1700 square feet here at Providence Acres.  I hope you understand I am not complaining.  We know we are blessed to have a nice home and we chose to move to the country and downsize.  We longed for it.  We dreamed of it. We sacrificed to be able to make this move.

When we moved into Providence Acres we realized that in our almost 34 years of marriage we accumulated a lot of duplicates.

We actually had nine, yes 9, measuring cups.  Here are 7 of them on display. Considering I am not much of a cook, that is an impressive number.

For our two heads we had 10 hair brushes.

In my vanity there were nine sets of nail clippers.

I was too overwhelmed to count the reading glasses and sun glasses, but it is a large amount.

Looking at all that stuff,  it might seem  like thinning the heard on stuff like this would be easy but in fact it took time to decide what we kept and what we got rid of. 

We now are the proud owners of about 10% of the stuff you see in the pictures above.

The work didn’t stop in the kitchen and laundry room.

Our closet was ( is  and probably always will be) the biggest storage issue in our home.  We had an expansive 14 foot long double rack closet  with six additional single rack storage at each end, and a whole wall of built in shelving at my end in our  suburban home master bedroom. It was glorious.

I had room for things that I didn’t even like, but thought they might be good to keep.  Oh how I miss you, 14 foot closet of wonderfulness.  

My 1980’s bi-fold door closet has six feet of storage but honestly only about 5 feet is usable space. Five disfunctional feet that you can’t get to without knocking stuff off.


We haven’t gotten rid of enough clothes, shoes, scarves, and coats yet, but the back of my car was filled several times for trips to Goodwill.

Annnd I took over the guest room closet with dress clothes. Oh, and the winter coats are in the craft room closet.

When I retire I pinky promise to get rid of more, but now I need basically two wardrobes. Work and weekend.

My goal for the summer is to make hard decisions about the furniture in storage.  I am going to either fix it, paint it, reimagine it, or let it go.  There is a huge online sale in my future.

The downsizing will continue but we have made a dent in our stuff.  

Next week I will let you peek into our hoard of furniture, but not yet.  It is scary.

Thanks for following along.

Blessings,

Karen

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Creating a Mudroom 

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


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

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

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

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


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


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



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


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


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

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


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

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

Thank you all for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

Making a Coffee Bar

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My kids love coffee, hot chocolate, and hot tea.  I like it all too, but I really love the idea of having everything that our guests need set up away from the kitchen when breakfast/ evening meal prep is underway.

We have just the spot in our home for a coffee bar and we have just the materials to make a rustic coffee bar based on inspiration from The Summery Umbrella.  I purchased windows last winter at an epic garage sale for $2.00 each.  I brought our stash of reclaimed cedar planks and the storage buildings contain more random wood.

reclaimed fencing

We used the windows as the basis for the front of the cabinet.  When we laid out the windows it was obvious that they would have to go into the cabinet horizontal instead of vertical like My Summery Umbrella was able to do.  The vintage windows  are large and heavy and with them hung horizontally, the cabinet will still be slightly taller than counter height.  The length of the bar is 90 inches.  It is 12 inches wide and made from cedar we took off our old lake house, Star Hill that we have stored and moved.  We really do like our reclaimed wood.

The next step was building the skeleton.  We had enough reclaimed wood but a mistake meant we needed two new 2×4’s.

We got a new toy recently…a planer.  Oh my goodness, Mr. Math got a good deal on Craig’s List but I was skeptical.  I did not know how much I would love it.  It makes all my mismatched thicknesses of reclaimed wood play nice with each other and knocks the sanding down to just finish sanding in minutes.  We planed two 12 inch wide planks for the top and sides.

Any time you work with reclaimed wood and supplies it means you have to do a lot of trial and error.  It feels sort of like we are playing a game of Tetris.

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

The display area will be filled with my pitchers, milk glass, and vintage cookware.  I didn’t have everything  up at the house but I put what I had in for you to get an idea.

We already used it as a serving counter on New Year’s Eve.

The coffee bar is going to serve a lot of purposes when we have a crowd.  Having 90 inches of serving space away from the kitchen counters will be great.

Let’s face it, most of the time it is going to be a drink station.

Left overs from New Year’s Eve.

An all sorts of drinks station. (You have no idea how hard I had to look to scrounge up the drinks above!)

Mainly it will be a coffee/ tea bar, because that is who we are.

  


Here it is in our daily life.  It will be a cluttered mess so my kitchen doesn’t have to be full of stuff.   I am going to love this piece.  It is narrow and provides room for the front door to open, it provides me 7 and a half feet of additional counter surface, and it looks like it belongs in our house.  Be still my heart.

The house is coming along.  I am proud of the progress we are making as we make Providence Acres our forever home.

Mr. Math and I are both thrilled to share our journey with you as we go.  Thank you for the kind words you share. 

Blessings,

Karen

Craft/ Guest Room Update

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Over the holidays we got a little done on the craft/ guest room.  We aren’t finished with the room, but I am excited with how it is turning out.  I love that this room really will have two functions.

The Guest Room

It is a guest room when the Murphy Bed is down and the Expando-Matic is closed.



See my zinc mirror?  It found a great home after I changed offices and lost space at work.

I am planning an accent wall inside the Murphy Bed.


The quilt 0n top was made by my great grandmother.  I just picked up the turquoise suitcase for fifty cents at a resale shop.  I had to show it off.


The shelves that hold my globes collected over the years are made from left over plywood from the Murphy Bed build and brackets from Lowe’s.  The yellow clock has a story.  My dad was getting rid of the clock frame so I snagged it.   The shutter was out of my stash.  It got a coat of paint and will be my idea board.

The Craft Room

When the Murphy Bed is up and the Expando-Matic is pulled out I have six glorious feet of craft space.  The most unfinished function of the room is the craft part.  I need the leaves for the epansion built, some things installed, and the closet redesigned.

It is going to be awesome.





I am a lucky girl.

Here are some closer shots of the walls.  The Texas map was rescued from the trash.  Someone used permanent marker on it, the frame was broken and the bottom was messed up.  It was perfect for me.  I got the market off with hairspray in case you didn’t know that trick.


  
  
The room is coming together.

Thanks for following our journey to make our ranch into our forever home.

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.

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    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.

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

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    No overhead lighting in the family room.

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    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.

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    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

    Scrap Wood Accent Wall

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    This past weekend I was sick.  I mean seriously, down for the count, don’t want to move, kind of sick.  Even though I was sick my sweet husband did get one of my projects done.

    We had a bunch of leftover bits and pieces of v groove pine that was left over from our still not finished whitewashed mudroom wall. (No pictures yet because it is going to be stinkin awesome.)

    It was my plan to get all the trim primed and painted on the wall and get the bathroom walls painted, but no such luck.

    Mr. Math had planned to replace the toilet already.  We are seriously tall folks and that was one low potty.  While it was out, I wanted to put in an accent wall from those leftovers.  

    He cut the 27 rows to length based on the scraps and installed them.

    He was a champ, because that really wasn’t his plan for the day.

       
     
    It all got a good coat of walnut stain.  No pictures of that. I would have had to crawl.

    The wall tuned out great.  For those, like me,who think that the potty space is nasty, you will note that shine on the boards.  The wall got three coats of satin polyurethane.  I want to be able to clean that wall.

       
     
    The trim is a 1X2.  

    Here it is with the new toilet installed.

       
       
    The walls are going to be painted Behr Pacific Mist which is a light bluish green.

    Doesn’t the floor look awesome in there?  A little better than carpet…

    I plan on adding white shelves to the wall once the paining is all done.  

    Progress is progress, even if it isn’t what I thought we would get done.

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