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Learning to Love the Imperfections

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Our guest house started life as a greenhouse complete with harvest gold fiberglass corrugated panels. It wasn’t designed to be lived in, insulated, air conditioned, or heated. There probably wasn’t much electricity needed so there weren’t many outlets. Because you could see all the studs inside there was no concern about how far the studs were apart. The walls weren’t insulated and their wasn’t Sheetrock.

This is what the greenhouse would have looked like. The same as our small greenhouse near the home.
During demo you could see the fiberglass corrugated panels with light shining through.

At some point the greenhouse turned into a wood shop. Water was run to the building along with to the garden and outside the shop at some point, a wooden floor (reclaimed from a high school gym) was installed, insulation and pegboard covered the walls, the corrugated fiberglass was spray painted grey to look like metal, a wood burning stove was installed, and a 48 inch wide door was built. There was an awesome wood burning stove the owner had built out of a propane tank and other assorted parts inside that took three men to get out.

Nothing about the building was plumb, square or level. In order to straighten the back wall Mr. Math pushed it with the bucket of his tractor while the roofer added support beams so it could be firmed up.

When the roof was raised the two by fours above the old roofline don’t exactly match up to the new ones.

The vertical boards above the old roofline are right, below not so much.

All of my explanation is to remind me that what has been accomplished is that much more special. The walls may not be perfect, our contractor may have done a terrible ( really, really terrible ) job on the Sheetrock and siding but in spite of everything the house is solid, the house wiring is done correctly ( the wiring to the building still needs work), the plumbing is all straightened out, and Mr. Math has spent a lot of time fixing everything from over cut outlet holes to installing a vintage door into the most crooked wall, to removing screws the Sheetrock crew put into the pocket door works.

Measure twice cut once.

What I have learned is that this cute little house isn’t going to be perfect but the quirks and imperfections are what makes it special. The slightly unlevel floor, the patches in the Sheetrock, the wonky v groove planks, the ripples, the wood floors that are patched in several places with pine boards that aren’t the same width or exact color, the concrete slab in the corner where the wood burning stove was located are all a part of the little space that make it our own.

When you come to visit us we will gladly show you the quirky things that make the little home ours.

Right now we are working on the exterior. Caulking, adding nails, patching holes, adding additional trim work. Very soon we will paint. Woo hoo!

We aren’t the fastest but we really are making steady progress.

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

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

Week 2 Update

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Y’all, I can tell you that we made real progress this week.

First of all, there are no blue tarps on the building. We now have OSB and house wrap on almost all the building. Hooray!

What a difference!

Also, there are windows installed. We have six new super cool windows that Mr. Math spotted on clearance at Home Depot. I am so happy with how they look. They are dark frames which is going to look nice with our light paint.

We got all the nasty, disgusting insulation that was filled with wasp nests, spider eggs, and just general grossness. Even better a friend gave us enough brand new insulation to do the house. Life is good.

I got busy on the sink I bought way back when for two dollars at a garage sale. I was happy to see that under all the grime, oil, and calcium deposits the sink is not in bad shape. That was a good surprise. Now to get it and the claw foot tub refinished.

The sink was cast on 05/05/1935

Finally. The electrical is getting put in. My husband wasn’t excited about what was already in place so everything got ripped out and five new circuits are getting installed.

We have to have all our part done by next Thursday because Friday our contractor starts on the siding and sheet rock. It is going to be glorious! Seriously we are excited to see the progress we have made but a crew will make it so fast.

In spite of everything going on in the building we got 1/2 the garden weeded. Mr. Math did a lot but I put in some hours too. Next week the other half.

We are loving this cool April weather!

We love hearing from you!

Blessings,

Karen

2015 San Jacinto Home Tour

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Sunday afternoon was one of those days that should be bottled and sold.  The weather was glorious in the Texas Piney Woods.  Sunny, low humidity, and temperatures in the high 60’s.  I look forward to the San Jacinto home tour every year and this year my buddy the Social Planer made it an event.

We started at her beautiful home with soup and desserts to fortify us on our adventure then off to our first stop on Happy Trails Ln.


The home was beautiful especially considering the owner had just moved back in a month ago.


  
I especially liked the 12 days of Christmas stitched pictures on the curtains and the mismatched chairs.  The bedroom is so large there is a dining table in the room.  It was too crowded for photos.

The second home was literally right up the road and belonged to the daughter of the first owner.  The home was beautiful but I especially loved the stained glass windows that the master was designed around.


  
  


There was a sweet little girl room.

Our next stop was Thee Evergreen Church.

This little country chapel was built with lumber from the site a hundred years ago.


  
  
  



Ship lap, beautiful stained glass, pews that were made on site when the chapel was constructed.  Swoon.

Our next stop, wow. A beautiful 10,000 square foot log home that is a site to behold.


  
  
The exterior was so large I literally had to take the pictures in sections.


Oiled rocking chairs on the front porch.


  
The owner is a master quilter and her work greets you at the front door.  Oh, and yes, that is a taxidermied cougar hanging out in the rafters.



The tree has to be 12 foot tall.  It is covered with a large Father Christmas topper.  It was stunning.

 The kitchen was a dream. There was a copper  sink that I loved.



My buddy, Carol, was the docent in the master bedroom.


The shoe section of the closet.  It was a site to behold.  Imagine deciding which shoes to wear.

Oh my goodness!  That back yard. 

Outdoor bar.


Separate kitchen.

Outdoor man room.



Horse shoes in the pool surround.


   

A slide in the waterfall.


We grudgingly left this beautiful home for a sweet little church in the woods.


  

Those beautiful green windows cast a beautiful glow.



Lights are original to when the building was electrified.


A church member commissioned the painting in the 1950’s.



Original wavy glass.



The tour was fun.  Another chance to see how beautiful our community is.

Thanks for following along with us.

Blessings,

Karen

San Jacinto County Christmas Home Tour Part 3

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I will bet a few of you are ready for the home tour to be done. I’m known as a bit of an over-sharer so, my apologies. I just love our little Weekend country community and I am always amazed at the homes tucked into the woods an hour from Houston.  Come visit!

Today you get to see the last four homes. I am not slighting them, I promise. One of the houses was the inspiration for the green color we painted our lake house. I literally knocked on their door and asked them what color their house was painted. They were gracious, and didn’t act like they thought I was insane. By the way, the color of their house was baked on the Hardee plank, so I had to guess on our color.

The Green House

This house is located right by the Aggie House.  It was one of the first built on the cemetery circle.  I love the craftsman style of the home.  I could not believe I didn’t get a picture of the outside of the house.  I will go take one and add it next week.

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The green house has a nautical vibe.  Did you know that Lake Livingston has sailboats?  It is the second largest lake in Texas.

 

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I really liked the bedrooms.  The colors were very soothing.  I think someone was naughty getting the house ready to show.

 

The Brown House

This house is right next door to the green house.  The owners are friends and they have even put in a walkway between the two homes.  The brown house could not be any more different from they Green House though.  The brown house has a more formal look on the inside.  The owner is a quilter with her own room.

 

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The Mediterranean Home

This house is in a neighborhood that is around the corner from ours.  The neighborhood has a marina and an RV park along with a very active neighborhood group.  They have a pot luck every Thursday night.

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The Last Home… Woopsie.

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I honestly have no idea what happened to the rest of the last house pictures.  I will keep looking.

I loved the back covered porch and the feeling of this home.

 

I hope you enjoyed the Christmas tour.  All the funds for this tour go to scholarships for the kids of San Jacinto County.  What a great cause.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

 

Blessings,

 

Karen

San Jacinto County Christmas Open House

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For the fifth year my buddy, the social planner, and I got to go on our annual snoop visit of beautiful homes located in San Jacinto county. The home tour is a scholarship fundraiser for students in San Jacinto county.

Home tour sign

Three years ago, our Farkle group started going with us. Each year is a different group of homes, usually geographically grouped. San Jacinto county is the smallest county in the great state of Texas so the location is never more than 30 minutes from our home, Star Hill. The first unofficial stop this year was a trip to the social planner’s house. We met up, toured her home and loaded up for the tour after yummy chili and chicken noodle soup.

We have such a tiny speck of a home in San Jacinto County that I tend to forget there are million dollar homes around us. I really enjoyed the tour this year. All the homes were in Cape Royale, a gated neighborhood about four miles from our near the lake house.

Stop number one-  I was so excited to get started I did not get a photo of the outside.  This is the only one I missed.

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There were four trees in this house. I have pictures of two of them. I liked this one because it was so different.
laundry room decorated
I really liked how they used the cabinet doors in the laundry room for Christmas card display.
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Even the dog got into the act.
scrapbooking room
The home owners are weekenders, like us… well not exactly like us… their home is huge. The owner has her own scrapbooking room at the house. She had some of her scrapbooks out for us to see.
angel tree

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I liked how they took all the dishes out of the china cabinet and put in a village.

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The second home on the tour was huge. We were greeted by a gigantic flagpole turned into a light tree. Oh, and four bronze life-sized horses.

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Here is the front of the house.

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I really liked the burlap wreaths in all the windows. I have the pictures from inside too.

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I wasn’t the only one taking photos.

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What a great idea to wrap burlap around the bottom of vase.

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I love the dining room here.
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There is a saying up at the lake that if you are lucky enough to live by the lake, you are lucky enough. I agree.

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My Christmas cactus is blooming too. I love how they decorated around their cactus.

House Three
On our way to house three we spotted these deer.
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The front of house three.

front of house three
I really liked this house.
Christmas door
The front door was beautiful.

house three tree
The owners are not even weekenders. They come when the kids and grandkids can hang out. They traveled all over the world with Exxon before retiring. The owner was a CPA with the oil company. I had no idea a CPA could make this kind of money.

house three back porch
The owners have a view of Pine Island out their back. One day I will have to take you all there.

pine island house three

metal joy sign
This JOY sign is the perfect mix of rustic and modern.

wreath in kitchen
Above the kitchen vent.

copper sink
I would love to have this kitchen sink. In my real-life, every day home.

master bedroom

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beautiful door

house three pool
I love the pool looking out on the lake.

workout room sink
This was the sink in the workout room bath. wow.

outdoor fire pit
This fire pit looks like fun. I hope it gets used.

House Four
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This was my favorite home.

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Here is our group. The owner took our photo.

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village in bookcase

house four living room
What a peaceful room.

Christmas bedspread
I loved this vintage bedspread.

house four tree

christmas dining room
I liked the dining room.
House five
house five outside
You finally made it to house five. Almost done.

front porch
I really liked this home owner. They are getting ready to retire here, but still weekenders.

black and green christmas
What a pretty table setting.

table up close

tree in wagon
This wagon was her father’s. He used it to take the grandkids on rides. What a special way to honor him.

vintage aluminum tree
This is a real vintage aluminum tree. Did you grow up with this type tree?

ready for company
This house is designed to hold a ton of folks.

ginger bread house
The owner even made a gingerbread house.

Thanks for coming on the tour with us. The houses were beautiful.