Finally, finally, finally we have finished inside of the guest house. It was a project that we will enjoy for years to come and will increase the property value but man it was hard. I don’t recommend 60 years olds to take on this type project in the middle of a pandemic with supply chain issues and a shortage of contractors. Seriously.
We still have the porch ceiling to finish, erosion control, septic for the toilet (but it is happening this week!) and landscaping. It no longer stresses me to walk into the building knowing what we still have to do. Now I just get to enjoy being there.
I am going to link all the projects we have done here, mainly for myself, but if you haven’t followed along it might be something you want to check out. I apologize in advance for all the links!
We now have a functioning 464 square foot house that has the ability to sleep 4. We have on demand hot water, air conditioning, a six foot antique claw foot tub, a 1935 kitchen sink, hardwood floors and a peaceful front porch.
The twin xl beds can be bolted together to create a king and a very cushy topper makes it more comfy than our bed.
Thanks for following along on this year+ long journey.
We have a small laundry room right off the mudroom and kitchen that has no door to close it off. There are two openings to the laundry room, two windows, a full sized sink and cabinets under and over the cabinets, a full sized top load washer and dryer, and upright freezer in the teeny tiny space. It is also where our mean old cat eats and has her litter box.
Can you tell it isn’t my favorite space?
It also gets cluttered in there because, well, we have stuff and a serious lack of storage space in this house. We knew we needed more storage in there so we looked to the only space we have, the space above the dryer. We made a plan to add shelving to make the room more functional. The photo below is a little late. Mr. Math got busy before I took any photos but this is how it looked at the beginning of the progress on our little touch up. Was always embarrassed for anyone to see it.
The first thing added is a white laminate board above the washer and dryer to keep things from falling behind the machines. Next, we added two very old, rough cut cypress barn boards from a barn in Kirbyville, Texas that we took down the day our first granddaughter was born four years ago.
The shelf brackets were made from pipe fittings.
I wanted a sort of closed storage on the shelves so large rustic tubs are filled with dog and cat supplies, extra cleaning supplies, paper goods, and laundry spot cleaners.
Mr. Math used more pipe to create a hanging clothes bar. We are tall so the space above the door is a great spot.
I still want to change the lighting in the room but I am pleased with how it looks.
This old glass washboard was my great grandmother’s. I hung it to remind myself how good I have it when I complain about the laundry that I have to do.
Another project done during our stay at home time.
We have a cat named Chloe. She is a 17 year old, grumpy cat who works hard to make sure we all know that she is queen of the house. She only eats soft food ( extra gravy variety only) and cat treats. Chloe hisses at everyone, and she would probably smoke and drink whiskey if she could figure out how to make that happen. Her feeding time is somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. We either have to get up, give her a clean bowl, fresh water, and food or she will stand in the hallway and yowl until we do.
The picture above is the best shot I could get of her. She was making another attempt to get up on the table after I had run her off twice.
I was given a 1950’s mahogany Mersman drum table with a damaged top and today I am going to tell you the tale of the table. The photo below is not mine but is similarly to how the table looked when I got it. The only exception is that my table had a large stain on the tabletop.
By now you may be wondering what a table and our old grumpy cat have in common. Well, I named this table Chloe. Does that give you an idea how much trouble this table was?
In my quest to get my stash of unloved furniture moved along I started work on the drum table. Everything except the top of the table was in great shape. I have no idea what in the world was spilled on the table but it soaked in and the top couldn’t be saved. Even after sanding, painting ( primer then paint) and polyurethaning the top the darn stain bled through. I had to get out the serious primer to knock it down. It took two coats of primer. That was when I knew this table would be trouble.
It took three coats of paint to get the top smooth. I spray painted the feet and drawer pulls old gold so I decided to try stenciling roses on the top. Finally I added a coat of poly to seal it…again.
She turned out pretty didn’t she?
I have been pretty spoiled selling my furniture up here. Nothing has been posted more than a day or two. The piece took a while to sell. There were two no shows, then I got sick the morning that a real live owner was coming to get it. I had to let the buyer know I would have to deliver it for them once I felt better. My son volunteered to take it to the new owner but it wouldn’t fit in the back of his car.
The final, and I do mean final straw was the delivery. The table tipped over on the way. I stopped the car and checked the paint. Thankfully there wasn’t any damage to the paint job so I continued on. When I delivered the piece to a sweet older couple, this was laying in the back of the suv.
That darn table.
Drum table 1, me 0.
I literally gave the table to the couple for free and walked away.
I have to wonder, am I ever going to be able to show you a FINISHED project? I mean one that is completely done with nothing left to do kind of done. I think as long as we are weekenders that may not happen. It takes an hour to drive to our closest Home Depot or Lowe’s, as long we are quick with our shopping and scurry back. That never happens so it really takes at least three hours to go to town and back. Often when we don’t have what we need we move on to another project just to use our time wisely.
Our latest chapter in the almost done saga is our mudroom bench. It is functional now but not finished. I would say we are about 80 % done. Grrr.
Here is the lowdown on the progress:
The beautiful two inch thick cedar slab is installed. It is gorgeous.
We installed a ledger board around the perimeter that we glued to the drywall and screwed into the studs.
It is stunning.
What more can I say about this slab? It is something we will have forever.
In order to make the mudroom functional, we installed stock cabinets that we painted white above the bench. I am not in love with how big they are (30 inches tall), but we have such a shortage of storage in the house that aesthetics had to take a back seat to practicality. They will proved Mr. Math with closed storage right inside the door for his treasures. They are missing hardware because I completely forgot to pick it up at the store. We are going to have black hardware all around. The cabinets are not “built in” yet on the edges because they still need to be adjusted a little to fix gaps but we didn’t have the washers and shims needed to get it done.
The board and battens are in, but need paint touch ups, caulk, and we didn’t have enough quarter round to finish the moulding under the bench. Once the touch up paint is done, we will be getting the coat hooks up. I remembered to get them but couldn’t get them up because the other things didn’t get done.
I really am going to love this space. It will be a functional space that has the bonus of being a pretty place to stop and hang out.
It is very rewarding to see the progress we are making and I really need to cut myself some slack about what we get done. One day I will learn to do that. One day.
Thank you for following our progress. I love hearing from you.
I have shared with you all that I would love to find an old house to be moved to our property and restore. This past week a new option opened up for me. A church.
Two different people let me know about a church for sale to be moved that is near our place in Coldspring, we have dubbed Providence Acres. One of my readers actually took the time to message me about the church. I loved that. Thank you for taking the time to connect with me the even round up the cell number of someone who could show me the church! Of course I had to see this place. Even better, thank you to my reader for coming over to meet us. Our door is always open to friends.
My Buddy, The Social Planner, did the leg work and hooked me up with the man who could show me the church, Mr. Eldridge, who grew up in the church, and lives on Eldrige Rd. Oh my goodness, the history of this community. This family has been in this area since Sam Houston lived here.
This is what the building looked like when I drove up.
Mr. Eldridge let me know that it was for sale to be moved for $2500, lock stock and barrel.
The church building, which has a cornerstone saying 1899 is just laying on the ground. A new building has been built and the old building is sitting where they need a parking lot.
The building is in amazingly good shape. Wood floors covered with carpet that appears to have protected them, wainscoting around the room is tongue and groove pine. The air conditioning system is fairly new and works great. There is some rot where the a.c. unit cover has caused the water to splash on the wood, but that was all I saw.
The building was added on to sometime in the distant past that added a front entrance/ offices and rear section that includes two small offices and restrooms.
You can see in the photo below how the thickness of the eaves change where the addition is for the front.
The back addition is wider than the front.
The rot is behind this welded unit.
In the not too distant past the windows have been changed out. I almost cried. The original windows were just laying on the ground behind the building rotting. They are too far gone to save, but I may try to get my hands on the wavy glass in the frames.
If you look at the picture below, you will see that the metal roof on the tallest part has a newer part on the front. Until recently there was a steeple and a bell but the bell was moved to the new church building and the steeple came down with the bell. I wonder why they made the addition roof lower than the original building?
I would love to have this church. It would make a beautiful wedding venue with a little love. The ceiling would need to be opened to the rafters, the rear section would need to come off and be rebuilt so that it would meet ADA requirements, the steeple would have to go back on, and I would love to see a beautiful window in the end of the building looking over our pond and barn.
The building would fit perfectly right here.
The hand built podium and tables are so cool.
The problem is that the building is 30 feet high. 3-0.
It would cost a fortune to have to have our electric company temporarily move the 19 electric lines that cross our highway and the 5 that cross JJ Lane.
I would love to save this piece of local history but my pockets just aren’t deep enough. My guess is that it would cost $15,000 just to move the building before electric, water, etc was set up. Then the remodeling would begin. I have dreamed about it, driven by it several times, and even counted the number of electric lines down FM 945 between the little community of Evergreen and JJ Lane. In my mind’s eye I can see exactly how it would look, and what an awesome venue it could become. It just isn’t in the cards. Sad days.
Mr. Eldrige let me know about a house that his family had that he thought could be moved. It was his grandmother’s house.
The house wasn’t in shape to be moved, and full of varmits, but I did buy an awesome screen door that I have plans for from this house.
It is going to be cool. I hope promise.
So, the journey continues. We are about to get busy getting our suburban home to sell so most of my upcoming posts will include decluttering, updating, home staging and landscaping. We are also VERY close to finishing the mudroom at Providence Acres. I hope, hope, hope we can get it finished this coming weekend. The live edge cedar seat is done, it is just a matter of getting the board and batten up, buying the cabinets and getting them installed, hanging hooks on the board and batten and getting the seat installed.
Thank you all for following along on our journey to turn our weekend spot into our forever home. I love hearing from you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New flooring. The carpet had to go. This one is DONE!
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.
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.
Why yes that is a huge, ugly ceiling fan in the kitchen.
No overhead lighting in the family room.
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.
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.
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.
The one room that has been totally neglected since we moved in to our suburban home is my office. It has been our dumping ground, a storage space, and an all around under used space in our home.
I know what you are thinking, and you are right. What a mess!
When I changed jobs recently the need for a home office became critical. I am currently sharing a really small office at work and I need a quiet place to get some of my tasks done.
As the closing on our property has been slow Mr. Math and I came up with a plan to deal with one of the things that have piled up in the office, paint. I just can’t pass up samples of paint in the oops bin. I also love spray paint and sometimes forget I have a color so I buy more. We decided to use a 6 1/2 inch space behind the door to Store all of the spray paints and samples that I have. I think that having them all in one place may stop me from buying more than I need…I hope anyway.
Mr. Math installed white brackets from Home Depot that were under $2.00 each and bought the plastic coated shelving. He did have to notch around the door trim.
I am getting a ton of storage out of unused space here.
While the shelving unit went up, I sorted though my closet and made it more organized. I donated a few loose items, and cleared the trash. Believe me folks, this is organized in my world.
A new rolling cart from Aldi will be where I keep the things currently. Getting worked on. Check out the Wednesday ads for Aldi, folks. They have some cool things that randomly pop up. My vinyl cutter also now has a home that makes sense.
The best part about the makeover were the curtains. $29.99 for a pair of 96 inch long lined curtains from Homegoods. I had to buy two sets but for $60.00 total they pack a punch.
Everything else in the room came from around the house.
I added in some of my favorite sayings and an old drop leaf pine table tat can will be pulled out for projects and I rearranged. All in this quick makeover was just over $100.00.
I have more “S’s” but this weekend I couldn’t seem to put my finger on them. They will be added to the wall as they turn up.
A friend made this awesome sign doing a particularly tough time this last year and I love that I can see it when I walk in from the laundry room.