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Providence

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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.

Star Hill in January

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.

  1. Could we afford such beautiful property?
  2. Could we sell Star Hill fast enough and for enough to make purchasing the home possible?
  3. 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.

  1. The couple were asking a price that was more than fair.  It appraised well over what we paid for the home.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.  

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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.

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We love hearing from you. Come visit us. 

Blessings,

Karen

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Finding My Inspiration Home

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Do you ever know what you want something to look like but you just can’t explain it to anyone?  That is how I am about our soon to be- “needs a name”- house right now.  I want the house to have a farmhouse look but with color throughout. A rustic modern farmhouse.   Mr. Math hates this word but I want the rooms to be 80% composed of neutrals with “pops” of color infused in every room.  I am afraid that some folk in my life are afraid that the house is going to look like a bag of jelly beans.  That is not what I mean when I say I want there to be color and light.

Right now all the colorful stuff that is going to be spread around the 2000 square foot house and outdoor kitchen ( which is going to be a bright and cheery kiwi and turquoise) is mushed together in one room with nothing neutral.  I can understand the concern when I show my friends this space.  If the entire house looked like the  storage bedroom does right now I would have to keep a basket of sunglasses by the front door for those brave enough to enter.

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I did find some websites that have the style I am going for in our farm house.  The first house is over the top but I love #7  which is talking about small doses of color infused  I love the white walls, wood ceiling, and bright colors.

Country Living

A little bright goes a long way, so limit the full-throttle shades to accents and put it in neutral everywhere else. Even neon (yes, neon) looks smart when used sparingly. In daughter Lia's attic bedroom, a highlighter-yellow pillow and rug feel vibrant and hip without overwhelming the space, thanks to the more muted teals and pinks. RELATED: 42 Kids' Rooms You'll Both Love

This home in Hooked on Houses is much more the look we are going for.  It is bright and playful but still an adult home.  I love the look of this hallway and the  bedroom in this house is beautiful.  I love how the homeowner has infused color in an overall vintage and neutral home.

Hooked on Houses

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (3)

Here are some of the wild colors that will be finding a home in our home.

These quilts, which were all made by my grandmothers or great grandmothers are going to be in a quilt cabinet- as soon as I find, or more likely- make one something like the one pictured below.  

   
 I will have to come up with something for the door because I don’t have any windows that size.  I love that my grandmothers loved color as much as I do.  The quilts are definitely vivid.

source:  ashleysprimatives.com

The cow print is going to be hung on a reclaimed wood “gate” made from my husband’s family barn and some hardware off their smoke house door.  The gate with the picture are going to hang/lean on our fireplace mantle.

  
The dresser is going to be our media center.

Funky Dresser

I may be changing out the red on the bottom drawer and knob but I wont know what needs to be done until I see it in the room.  We shall see.

Our bedroom will be light with an aqua headboard, coral lamps, white, mismatched, vintage night stands.  There will be milk glass vases, my vintage window , and will have wood elements through a pine bedroom dresser and chest of drawers.  I am going to love that room.  

coral, pink and blue girls room

I have the bed painted Aqua.  I am looking for bedding now.

   
   The chicken was painted by a friend and will be hanging in my kitchen.  It is so cute.  I love that she painted it for me.

  
It is so much fun dreaming of our soon to be home. I am excited that in two months we should be moving in.

Tick, tick tick.  Waiting is hard. 

Star Hill Send Off

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This past Saturday we gave Star Hill a proper send off.  There won’t be tons of pictures because I was pretty busy with our guests but we had a crowd.  There was corn hole to play, horse shoes to throw,  catfish to fry, stories to tell, and time to remember.  

It just seemed natural that we should throw one last party for friends to enjoy this place we have loved and where have welcomed family, friends and adventure.  

The weather was too windy to get the boat out, but the rain held off.  We had friends that visited for the first time, those who have visited many times, old friends, new friends, and even the soon to be owner.  Yep.  The guy who is buying our home showed up, hung out, brought his dog, daughter, and girlfriend.  True story.  He is going to love the place and has plans for what Star Hill is going to look like when he is through with her. 

   

 We are blessed.  The sale of our lake house has been quick, if not eventful, up to this point.  We had someone drive up today who wanted to make an offer on the home if you can believe it.  He insisted we take his number in case the sale falls through.  

   
      It is our prayer that our new, unnamed place is a destination for family, friends, and others who need a place to rest, relax, laugh, and unplug.  We are getting excited about the opportunity to share our home and are purposefully trying to figure out a way for more company to stay overnight.  There is a guest house, potentially we are going to have two bunk rooms, and my dream is to convert the barn into a gathering place.

Today we got busy packing.  Four truck loads of stuff was taken to storage. 

By the way, the secret to Mr. Math’s amazing catfish… Yellow mustard in the batter. 

  
I hope your weekend was restful.  Come see us if you are in the area.

Blessings,

Karen

Updating A Ranch Home

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Here is what the home we are looking to buy currently looks like on the exterior.

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Okay, be honest, what are your thoughts when you see it?

What I see is brick that is not a pleasing color, an undersized porch that by the way is not functional, the door is sheet rocked over inside. True story,  A porch to nowhere.

If and when we are able to purchase the home the following will be part of the three year plan for the home update.

Add a long metal porch. Look at the porch added to this home on Fixer Upper (Click Here to See all the photos from the episode). We will be adding cedar posts with rock bases the length of the porch.

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Before

french country

After ( Do you see the porch addition and the painted brick?  Look past the French country because that is not my style.)

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I love this porch roof from Gem Homes. I like how it attaches to the shingled roof.

We also want to make the gable the appropriate size to match the scale of the house and add a walkway with a new door. Oh, and make the door functional.

We will paint the brick. Yep, paint that brick. I have done the research and feel confident that we can correctly paint the brick so that it lasts as long as any other painted surface. The reaction I get when I mention painting brick is a little funny to me. Painted brick is not something new. Most brick from before 1870 was painted because it sealed the porous surface and extended the life of the brick.

My daughter and son in law live in a painted brick home that I think is stunning.

rachel's home

I wish, wish, wish I had the software and skills to redo this home virtually, but I already see it in my head. White trim and a darker gray tone paint, shutters, and posts out of cedar, with a metal roof and a carport at the end of the home that is part of the roof line, not a $600 pre-fab job.

I am hoping it will look something like this:

HOUZZ

painted brick

posts

This Old House

It will make me smile every time I drive up if this happens.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the color I should use.

Blessings,

Karen

Selling Star Hill

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Well, we are taking the plunge.  Star Hill, our near the lake cabin in Coldspring, Texas is going on the market. We planned to meet with a Realtor Sunday to discuss selling our near the lake house, Star Hill. She actually could not come because she broke her leg, but we will be putting the house on the market very soon. I decided to do all the research I could in her absence to make sure we are ready to sell this place and buy the property we are dreaming about near our lake house.

Having someone you don’t know walk through a place you poured blood, sweat, tears and time into when selling your home is hard. Being judged on your effort is hard. Loving the place and wanting whoever buys the house to love it, too is our hope.

After doing the research on getting a home sold quickly and trusting my gut I have composed a to do list.

Exterior:

Get concrete work completed on porch.

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Paint porch rails. ( The dog is not for sale.  Every time I get out the camera she manages to jump into the shot. )

Clean out flower bed, trim bushes, get leaves up.

Fix deck boards and popped nails then paint deck with sprayer.

Star Hill in January

Garagemahal:

Clear porch of items except patio set.

Move cedar from my cedar windfall to boat storage.

Finish outstanding projects. I have three that need to get knocked out on the first dry-warmish day.

Clean, clean, clean.

inside the garagemahal

Interior:

Continue to declutter. It will probably mean moving some furniture to storage. The cedar cabinet provides great storage but it makes the guest room feel small. The Western Dresser can go to storage, one of the night stands in the front bedroom. The shelving unit in the back closet along with the skis can go.

We have a large list but can get it knocked out if motivated-and we are motivated.

We plan to list the home with a realtor the first of March but we honestly hope it sells sooner by owner.

I would love your input on the list and suggestions from those of you who have sold second homes.

Here are some shots of the house this weekend.

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Master Bedroom

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Exterior

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Front Room

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Blessings,

Karen

Adding a Corrugated Tin Wall

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We got a good start on the want to finish projects before putting our beloved Star Hill on the market over the holiday break.

This is what the wall in our main room has looked like since we moved in.

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We recently got a new-ish wood burning stove off Craig’s List for our near the lake house, Star Hill. ($200 for a stove used one season. It is still for sale at Tractor Supply for over $600. That was a score.) It has a glass door and an electric blower, the two things that the old stove in the house did not have. We can now heat the whole house with it when we want and get to see the flames. We are already enjoying it. We knew that we would want a metal wall behind the stove and had planned for it to be put in for the seven years we have owned the place. Stuff always gets in the way of projects. Stuff like rescuing roadside furniture.

A cold, wet, weekend after Christmas was the perfect time to knock this particular project out. Hubby figured out how much tin to buy. It comes to about fifty cents a square foot. You can buy it in up to 12 foot lengths.

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How nice of Home Depot to provide gloves.

First we cleared the wall and found the studs. I love projects where we will cover the wall because we get to write directly on the wall.

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Next, attach this wooden support stuff to the studs.

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The tricky part here was making sure curves lined up vertically. Hubby chopped off the ends to make sure they all started out the same way then made sure they lined up with each other at the start of the wall. Our roofing nailer attached the wood to the wall.

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Our wall slopes up so that adds a level of difficulty to the project that we wouldn’t have had to deal with on a plain flat ceiling.

Using the very scary grinder, Hubby (AKA Mr. Math) cut the angles on the tin along with the vent cover and electrical outlet using rise over run math.

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If you plan on doing this project you will need these special screws, gloves (or a box of Band Aids- that tin is sharp), something to cut the tin (if a grinder is too scary for you too, they make a metal cutting blade for a jigsaw) a level, a stud finder, tin, and wooden corrugated strips.
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Plan on this project taking a whole day. Cutting around vents and outlets slows the process. Full disclosure here; it took us two days and a trip to three hardware stores. If we planned better and didn’t have to drive all over creation looking for supplies we forgot to bring, we could have finished in one day.

We decided to use some of our natural edge cedar for a shelf on the wall. The brackets were garage sale finds that we used for years with a funky swirl on the bottom. The grinder took care of the swirl. I love the industrial, rustic feel that the wall gives the cabin.

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The wall looks great. It is exactly what I hoped. We have it set up with our free or almost free furniture, but I also wanted you to see it with more modern furniture and fabric.  It would be a great wall for a modern wall.   I really like the look.

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Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope it inspires you to tackle your own projects.

Wishing, Hoping, Praying and Dreaming

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This year I become eligible for retirement. Wow! How in the world did that happen? Time has flown by. I will not be retiring this year, but the realization that I could retire is causing my husband and me to give some serious thought to our future. We are both healthy, active, and still full of dreams and plans. There are places we want to visit, things we want to learn, and goals we want to accomplish.

Our biggest decision for the past few years is where to live. We decided two years ago to move to a new school district and community. We know for sure that was a great decision, but at the same time we don’t plan on living in that community after retirement.

My husband and I met in college, and we weren’t from the same part of Texas. Neither of us feels a strong pull to our home towns. We both have friends where we grew up, I have family still in the city I grew up in, but it feels like I am visiting when we go back.

A lot of prayer and self reflection on our parts has helped us to know that our adopted weekend community is home for us.

I am positive that our sweet “near the lake” house, Star Hill, is not our forever home. A week or two is about as long as I can be confined here in the winter. I need a studio and workshop. My creative side cries out for a space to have projects out, to experiment, to think. I also would like to sell more furniture in my retirement. Hubby wants a tractor, a garden, woods to walk in, a pond and outdoor projects.

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A Busy Weekend at Star HillStar Hill in Spring

Star Hill

Cutting Down Trees at Star Hill

The Garagemahal

We believe we may have found just the place. 15 acres, with a workshop, a creek, a barn, wooded trails, very near our friends, a garden plot, a greenhouse, a small pond, and several other outbuildings that I would really enjoy doing some neat things with. I am not crazy about the house, but it is solid. well cared for   and has a ton of potential. It will take work and money but it can become the house I see in my mind’s eye.

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The barn and the pond.

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The side yard.  The garden plot is in the back of this cleared plot of land.  Water is run to the garden area.

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My favorite area.  The shop is the small building and the outbuildings here will make a perfect paint and furniture area.  both have wood burning stoves in them.

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The house.  The greenhouse is visible behind the house.

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The outbuildings.  There are some very interesting buildings that I could really have fun with.

The property will come on the market this spring. In order to purchase this property we will have to sell Star Hill. That means we will have to focus on getting all of those “one day” projects done. We will be making sure that this place we love is ready for her close up. We are already praying that a family will buy the place who can love this place as much as we do and will create new memories in this home.

Look for lots of projects that are focused on the house and the property in the next few months. We have things to learn like concrete work and more of Hubby’s favorite: plumbing. (Ha!)

We plan on keeping our home in the burbs for several more years until we both retire so even this new spot will be our weekend home for a while.

I have a few projects in the Garagemahal I have already either sold or promised to someone. Other than that we will be keeping furniture projects to a minimum as we focus on clearing out, fixing up, and moving forward.

We ask you to pray with us that if this property is meant to be ours, everything will work out. If not, that we will have peace and direction in our journey.

Thank you all for continuing with us on another chapter of our journey.

I hope you have a wonderful new year. I would love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Karen

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