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My Guest House Inspiration

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My great grandmother (Katie) was twenty when she had my grandmother (Helen), my grandmother was twenty when she had my mom, and my mom was twenty four when she had me. That means my grandmother was forty four when I was born and my great grandmother was sixty four. Sounds crazy to me but I had really young grandmothers. I am saying this as a sixty year old grandmother of a three and five year old.

Katie standing by her board and batten house in 1959, three years before I was born. She always worked outside in a bonnet. I love that the wood stove metal shovel is hanging in the background.

All that talk about my linage is because both my grandmother and great grandmother had a huge impact on me. My grandmother was a career woman, a worker bee who made her on destiny and was the bread winner for her family after my grandfather was injured on an oil rig because that was really her only option. My great grandmother lived alone for many years on the homestead of her husband’s family after my great grandfather passed away. It was 17 miles from a paved road. We would turn off the highway onto a gravel road and into the interior of Louisiana to a land grant that had been in the family since the late 1800’s. Katie was a great cook, had a quite strength, and was a hard worker.

There was no indoor bathroom or phone at Katie’s house when I was young. I think a bathroom was installed when I was in elementary school. There was an elevated cistern outside the kitchen that caught rain water so that the kitchen sink had running water. Of course there was no television. I can remember going to my great grandmother’s house when I was in elementary school with my grandmother for a week during the summer. Funny, but I don’t remember being hot. It had to be really hot there but it isn’t one of the things I remember. My grandmother didn’t learn to drive until she was 50 so heading out for a trip to Louisiana was an adventure for both of us. It was like going to pioneer camp or time traveling back 100 years. We would get up in the morning, Katie would make breakfast, milk the cow, find the eggs (free range chickens), throw leftovers to the hogs, and I can even remember churning butter in a glass butter churn. My great grandmother had a treadle sewing machine that had been converted to electric at some point that she sewed on. She loved quilting and during the week she would work on a quilt. She would either work on squares or use her stretcher to do the quilting depending on where she was in the process.

I loved being there. Even when I was so young I knew how special it was to get to spend time with those ladies. I have such happy memories of the homestead that I wanted to make my guest house feel like going to Katie’s house. I picked the colors from a quilt she made. I have no idea when Katie made the quilt, my guess is mid 1950’s because of the colors but my grandmother gave the quilt to me when I got married in 1982 and the quilt looked ancient then. The quilt colors are what I am using as the color scheme in the house.

The kitchen walls at Katie’s house had what I believe was bead board on them. I know it was slats. When I had v groove planks given to us I knew it would work for the kitchenette area. I loved it so much it became a whole wall.

Everything was functional inside and outside of Katie’s house but she managed to insert pretty things where she could. I believe that is why she loved to quilt. Bright colors and fabrics with a function.

I don’t remember a lot of purely decorative items in the house. I plan on not having a lot of purely decorative things in the space but want to have things that serve a purpose and are pretty at the same time. I plan on hanging up my grandmothers’ (both sides of the family) rolling pins. They are packed away right now but will be coming out soon. Glass and wood with many a biscuit and pie crust between them. I am getting an old map of our county framed to hang from before the lake was built. That just feels like something my grandparents would have hung up along with the feed store calendar and pictures of the family.

I was so fortunate that my daughter got to meet her great-great grandmother, Katie. I love this picture of them together.

I can’t wait to show you the progress that has been made. I also have a few funny stories to share.

Have a wonderful weekend.

We love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Progress (Sort of)

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We are making slow but steady progress on the guest shed and I have to keep reminding myself that. We. Are. Making. Progress.

Mr. Math, in true Mr. M fashion wants to do as much as he absolutely can on his own. He removed the foam insulation panels, the acoustic tiles, the hardboard wall panels, a ton of wasp nests, roach poop, and the cabinet with a sink in it. The man has had days where he limped from spending the day on a ladder but he didn’t quit. He is such a hard worker. After contacting several contractors- two never showed up- and another was backed up with Texas freeze work, we did hire someone to put the new roof on and had it scheduled to begin this past Monday. Sunday was stressful. We dodged rain and high winds to get the corrugated metal roofing off and our great neighbor helped get the last of the heavy furniture out and tarped the building.

Monday came, the sky was clear, and the weather was perfect to work on the building. The builders didn’t show. They didn’t answer texts or calls. It was radio silence. I cried a bit. Finally in the evening we got a text saying they went out of town and were very sorry but would be there first thing in the morning. First thing in the morning meant they arrived at 2:06 p.m. By that time the weather was changing with rain expected so Mr. Math didn’t want the tarp removed only to have to put it up again in an hour or so. The lumber got dropped off and that was that.

Wednesday …well Wednesday it rained followed by near gale force winds. Here the building sits. So frustrating because had it been started on time it would be totally dried in and we wouldn’t be worried about the rains.

I have to remind myself that we have made progress on the project. The front wall has been reworked, the door frame resized and moved, the wall over the area that will be the kitchenette resized and a new window installed, the window space cut in the bathroom wall, the bathroom has been framed up and covered with a house wrap. Mr. Math also got all rotted wood replaced and has everything firmed up. I can’t wait for the tarps to be off to show you the front wall.

We did take a shopping trip to pick out metal roof color, windows which was ordered and picked up Wednesday morning before the rain came, we also picked up 2 pocket door kits, an exterior door kit, and I found a 24 inch vintage door on marketplace for the closet. I have cleaned the antique kitchen cupboard, and removed the loose paint. As soon as it is dryer I will get it outside so it can be safely sanded (lead paint) then get it all painted.

I have also got three coats of Spar varnish on the front door. I am keeping it dry in the greenhouse. I love this door. I still need to do some work on it but it is going to be so pretty when it is in place.

As I work on my attitude about things I can’t control, I have to add that I channeled some of my frustration into painting the master bathroom which was the last room in the house that was the peachy-beige. I don’t love the almond colored counter and shower but I am going to make it work. I do plan on stripping the paint off the vanity and staining it weathered oak. The wall color is called historic gray. It is a green-gray that goes with the yellow tones well.

We have so much to be grateful for and I guess I needed a few days to work on my attitude.

This morning the sun is up and we are hopeful.

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Progress on the House

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Right now, Mr. Math is on summer break from teaching so that means it is house renovation time at Providence Acres.

This is the third summer we have been in the house and we have made some real headway into turning the 1982 ranch house into our vision of a warm and welcoming space for us, our family, and friends to enjoy.

Our first year we ripped up the carpet, installed vinyl plank flooring, painted most of the house, and put in a mudroom, and added recessed lighting throughout the main rooms.

Last summer it was a kitchen makeover that I love, love, love. We now have bright white cabinets, a quartz counter top, and a beautiful farmhouse sink. In order to have the kitchen out of commission, Mr. Math had to put in an outdoor sink, cabinets and a slate tile counter top. Add in electrical and a grill and we had an outdoor kitchen This chick will never do dishes in the bathtub again. He did all the work himself last year except installing the quartz counter top. It was rough.

This year we took on a new challenge, adding a carport, metal roof, and enlarging our front porch. It has already changed the look of home. Mr. Math started the process moving the attach aluminum carport. I promise that one day I will tell you about that process. We did something we rarely do, we hired a contractor to do the work.

First they had to remove the existing concrete.

Removing concrete

They had to extend the pad to match the width of the house.

The construction has gone quickly.

The metal went on quickly. There was one small issue, they didn’t order enough metal for the porch.

The color is Mueller Charcoal

Adding a metal roof to a carport

Mueller metal roof

The progress on the underside is moving along. The cedar roof piece is done, electrical is run, cedar clad on the beams, and Hardy panels on the ceiling of the carport.

Cedar clad beams

Hardy board carport ceiling

I am loving the underside of the front porch. Bead board is being installed and will be stained and sealed.

Bead board

The progress is amazing. I am crazy about the improvement to the look of the home. It is going to be great. We already have our first party scheduled. It is going to be a 50th anniversary for our buddies on the SJ River Ranch.

Thanks for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

Bead board ceiling

An Update

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Well hello there. What in the world are you doing still hanging around? The past year has been a real world wind. I will never say anything bad about my job. I love it, a lot. As I wind down to retirement one year from now though my job has been busy.

The demands for the job have meant that I haven’t had much time to do any creative work. That will be changing.

So, here is a quick update on life as a weekend country girl.

  • We are expecting granddaughter number two in mid June. Sweet Amanda and Baby Boy are going to be giving Lucy a sister and we are thrilled. I am getting busy on nursery preparations finally. The sweet girl may not have everything finished before her arrival.
  • The Southern Belle and Joe have left the city that they love and have moved to Denton, Texas for work. I now have all of my kids living in a four hour drive. I am thrilled and will be filling you in on that quirky town soon. They have bought a house and it is going to get a mini makeover before they move in this month.
  • We bought an RV. We have taken it out on the maiden voyage and love it. We have plans for a lot of trips in the future.
  • This week we will start an exterior makeover of our house. I am so excited! We are getting an enlarged front porch, a carport, and exterior paint on the bricks.

I hope you are all doing well. I promise that I will be doing a better job of keeping you up to date from now on.

Thanks for hanging in there. I appreciate you all more than you know.

Blessings,

Karen

The Almost Finished Kitchen

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Another epic project is almost finished. We are just lacking the pantry doors, adding a shelf, and painting behind the fridge way from calling this project done.

The quartz counter top is Zodiaq Concrete.

The farmhouse sink has not disappointed.

We ordered it from Wayfair and it is amazing.

The faucet was ordered online, too. I️ cannot remember where it was from.

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e sage green wall, and the cabinet makeover. The hardware was already here, and it is fine.

The plate was my great grandmother’s. It is just the right color.

I️ love our ceiling fan. Yep, it is a small fan and it helps in this climate. Here are a few more shots. I️ am so happy to be finishing up.

Thanks for following along on our journey.

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

 

Creating a Ship Lap Wall for the Mudroom

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Eight years ago the second owners of Providence Acres, our weekend home, took in the garage of our rambling ranch.  The end result was that there was more room inside the home, space for a dining room and more usable space.

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See the beam  in the photo above?  That is where the garage wall used to be.  The garage space is what they used as their living space, as you can tell from the photo.  They largely ignored the space around the fireplace that we use.

The downside to the former homeowner’s room configuration was that entrance to the house most used did not have a place to drop muddy shoes, coats, bags, and other assorted items. That door at the end of the room is the most used door in the home.

My solution was to build a wall at the end of the garage addition.  Although it was my solution, Mr. Math did all the work to build the wall with a doorway connecting it to the main room.

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Wow we have come a long way.  No more concrete floor.
The great thing about  the location of the mudroom is that we will be able to enter the house go directly into the laundry room and kitchen.

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Before the wall was even up, I knew it would be covered in ship lap siding.  I could not imagine the wall looking any other way.  Oh, and it needs a barn door.  An X style  barn door.  With black hardware…wait.  I digress.  We are not there yet.

Back to the ship lap.  This time we went back to a product we used eight years ago.  V Groove pine planks.  We used them to fix the ceiling at Star Hill when we realized that the ceiling needed insulation

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You can see the ceiling in the photo above.  We installed it and allowed the wood to naturally darken over the years.

The wood comes in packages of six eight foot boards and is reasonable.  Like less than $11.00 a package. All in, to cover two sides of a fifteen foot by eight foot tall wall it was right at $200.00.  We added 1X4 pine boards as trim for the door, ceilings, and baseboards for another $50.00.    Mr. Math put it up with the air nailer after he located the studs and marked them so that they could be quickly nailed.

We picked one crazy weekend to get the wall up.  A tropical storm blew in.  It rained. Buckets.

Insert Coldspring into the red band north of the 13.40

The wind blew. Hard.  Our dog was totally freaked out by the  air compressor being in the house. She got out and  ran to hide at our neighbor’s house.  She wouldn’t come home. Even in the rain.  Fun times.  Add to that a dead battery in the truck Sunday and you can imagine how grumpy we were.

We started by laying a plank on the floor and using it as a spacer.  Be warned about this wood.  You have to look at every single package.  This is not first quality wood.  I personally like the look of cracked boards, a bit of bark showing through and knot holes.  Mr. Math…not so much.  Neither one of us liked the warped boards that we had to convince to lay flat on the wall with a block and hammer.

In spite of everything, the wall got finished,the nail holes spackled, everything put away by dark Sunday.

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I love the look.  The texture is exactly what I wanted in the house.  I plan on adding this treatment to the other end of the room eventually and our bedroom wall.  But first, we need to get the mudroom done.

It was my plan to prime and paint the wall, like this room done by House of Smiths

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but Mr. Math, the wood lover, has asked me to at least try whitewashing the wall.lie our suburban master bedroom.

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He even agreed to sand the walls where I spackled. I am going to give it a shot, even though I see it painted white in my head.  We shall see.


After the wall is taken care of, I will be sanding a beautiful two inch thick live edge cedar plank that is going to be our bench and the wall behind the bench needs to have some simple wainscoting and cabinets installed.

cedar natural edge

After the bench we get to build the barn door.

Thank you all for following along on our journey to turn this home into a place that reflects our rustic, easy care, dog friendly, family and friends welcome, home.

I love hearing from you.  What are your thoughts? Painted ship lap or whitewashed?

Blessings,

Karen

Whitewashing a Dated Fireplace 

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This was our fireplace at Providence Acres when we bought the place.  The photo is from our first walk-through of the house so the furnishings are not mine.  I found I did not have another picture… probably because I did not like the look of the fireplace very much.

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I have one word to describe the fireplace.  Dated.  Dark stained trim around the fireplace, reddish brick, and brass blower vents.

I decided that while Mr. Math was busy getting the flooring down, I should get busy whitewashing the fireplace.

Inspiration for whitewashing the fireplace came from a friend of my daughter who updated her fireplace and totally changed the look of her room.  I knew it would be the fix for the hulking giant in our family room.

I went to the source of all things home related for instructions- Pinterest- and found a ton of sites that explained how to get it done.

Farm Fresh Vintage

The Yellow Cape Cod

Heap of Love

I believe that there are two reasons that whitewashing a fireplace is so common on Pinterest:

  • There is not a lot of skill that goes into whitewashing.
  • The change in the look of the fireplace is quick and dramatic.

The process is very labor intensive, but there is not much skill required.

To quote The Yellow Cape Cod  “I apologize if you were waiting for a long, drawn out, step by step tutorial.  This project is too simple and easy for me to complicate.  If you are a fan of intimidating, stressful, complicated, multi-step, time-consuming, DIY projects that require a ton of special supplies and mad skills, this isn’t the project for you.”

Remove what you can before you start then cover everything with drop cloths and or blue tape that you don’t want painted.

Collect a bunch of cotton rags, a paint brush you do not love, and disposable gloves then get busy.

Mix one part water to one part latex paint.  Paint the watered down paint on in small sections then use a damp cotton cloth to blot the excess paint from the bricks until you get the desired effect.

One blogger said she did this in three hours.  I am not saying she didn’t, I am just saying that I worked as hard and fast as I could and it took me a little over 6 total hours and an Epsom salt soak for soreness to get mine done.  An additional hour to paint the trim and vent covers.

It is scary to start.  The contrast made me think I had lost my mind.

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Once I got going, I really liked the look.

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    The top is whitewashed the bottom is not.  The drips were a pain to clean up.  Drop cloths would have helped as I worked down the fireplace.
 FYI.  I painted the vent covers with Rustoleum White Heat Resistant Spray Paint.  No worries about the fireplace ruining the paint.

I love the look.

 The screws are now painted, but I lost the light before taking another shot.  We need lighting in that room!
The mantle decor for fall is not something I am crazy about but I am working with what I have this year.

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Lumi loves her bed in front of the fireplace.

I would love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Reclaimed Wood Signs

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I love the look of reclaimed wood and I have been smitten with reclaimed wood signs for a while.  This week it was my turn to do the craft project for our ladies craft night so of course I planned a reclaimed wood sign project.  We picked up  a ton of cedar fence pickets off the side of the road a while back and have been putting them to good use.  We have used them to cover my office wall, our bedroom wall at the lake, and I covered the top and drawers of a dresser with the wood.

reclaimed fencing washed

This week we cut the wood to length for 8 signs and I glued and nailed two thin strips of scrap to the back of each set in order to make a canvas for our signs.

I used the vinyl cutter to cut out some sayings, brought a set of stencils, paints, painter’s tape, brushes, sanding block, sander, and anything else I thought we might use.

Each lady chose a canvas and set off on their project.

First, several of us whitewashed our boards.

The steps are easy.  Remove the letters from the vinyl and keep the part that you removed the letters from.  Lay the vinyl on the wood, make sure to press it all down really well.

     

 Lightly apply paint  to the spaces.

   
     

Allow the paint to set for a little bit the gently peel off the vinyl. You will end up with a picture or saying.

   
          

One of our friends decided to paint a picture on her canvas.  Wow! 

   

 

It was a fun, rainy night.  You will see my “Kiss me” picture in our new place.  It still needs some work to be done,

It was a fun night.

The Workshop

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We have had a setback on the sale of the house.  I am still expecting that Star Hill will sell in time for us to buy our dream property so I thought I would show you guys the space we will be using as our paint booth, workshop, and carpentry shop.

There is a three stall corrugated tin building on the property that will be perfect for our workspace.

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See the long building next to what will be the Guest Shed?

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It doesn’t look like much from the outside but looks can be deceiving.

We plan on turning the end bay into a paint booth. That means I will be able to paint and poly furniture inside out of the weather, away from bugs, dust and wind.  It will increase the number of days I can work on furniture.  After this very wet winter, that is exciting to me.  I did not get any pictures of the paint booth.  It is large and empty right now.

The center bay will be our carpentry shop or large tool shop.  The table saw, air compressor, compound miter saw, drill press, table sander, and scroll saw will be in this space.  This will be where the building and repairing takes place.  At Star Hill we only have one space and we are constantly having to wait for the cutting to be done before I can get out tools for assembly,  sanding,  or staining.  There is a glass French door in in the space with a separate storage space.  I am sure that the glass door will need to go but I like having a space that can be closed off.

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The end space that is now a welding shop will be the workshop space.  There is even a wood burning stove for my cold, wet, winters.

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We are so hoping that it works out.  It would be a dream come true for us to have this amazing space to put our own stamp on. Think happy thoughts for us.  Fingers crossed.

I hope you have a wonderful day.

Blessings,

Karen

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