Coldspring, family, Texas, the guest room, vintage style

Beds in the Cottage

When we decided to make the cottage a place to sleep in overnight we thought about bed sizes and I perused a lot of Air BnB suggestions on Pinterest. (They are a great resource for how to make a guest home work for guests.) We are a really tall family so that factored into the plans. We considered a Murphy bed but the largest they come in is queen and we thought a king would be our best choice. By the way, if you want a room to have lots of functions and a queen, double or twin work for you, Murphy beds are awesome. We installed one in our back bedroom it was a lot of work but we love that we have a comfortable bed or a work/craft space.

Also, I want to be able to use the cottage for more than just a place to sleep. Just this Saturday there was an impromptu dance recital performance by two of my granddaughters that required things to be moved against the wall so the room would be more open. (They were magnificent by the way!). I can see using the space for baby/wedding showers, birthdays, game nights etc. so I didn’t want a quarter of the space to be taken up all the time.

I discovered searching online that there are bed frames that can be bolted and unbolted together and there is a strap and filler made just for the purpose of making two twins a king. That sealed the deal for us. Two twin xl beds were going to be in our future.

I shopped marketplace and found two mattresses and box springs used to stage a home. The guy that bought them thought they could be returned once the house sold but they got a little scuffed on one end moving them in. They were brand new expensive mattresses. I bet he wished he had hired a stager instead of trying to work the system but his loss, our gain. The still wrapped in plastic box springs were donated to Restore. A friend gave us a king sized bed topper that will make it even better.

We now can configure the room several ways.

Daybeds in the corner (this is how it looks most of the time).

Side by side twin beds

King bed

The night stands were once a vanity table that had been left in a garage for years. I love how cutting it in two, removing the peeling veneer, and painting the body made the furniture useful again.

We are ready for company. Flushing potty, hot water, beds, and most importantly air conditioning!

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Coldspring, DIY, guest house

Guest House Closet

I am really, really feeling like we are almost finished with the guest house. This past week we got the closet in the building built. It looks so good!

We built the closet on a concrete slab that was once where a wood burning stove sat. The closet is 4 foot by 6 foot and we decided not to add a ceiling. We knew we had to put the closet in this corner because the tankless hot water heater is there and it needs to be out out of sight!

We had a contractor do a terrible job sheet rocking the guest house so we decided we certainly couldn’t do any worse and jumped in. It looks great.

I can’t believe I didn’t get any pictures of the mudding and taping but my husband did a good job and I learned to do the screw divots. You can’t find them now!

After we finished the exterior we added shelves to the interior and remote controlled puck lights that can change colors. The add a cool glow out the top when the house is dark.

We saved a lot of money adding this closet by 1. Doing the work ourselves, 2. Buying a clearance pocket door frame that was too tall and cutting it down, 3. Using a door we bought at a garage sale and refinishing it, 4. Instead of priming walls, we used leftover latex paint before using the color we wanted.

We are so happy to have finished this project because it is the last inside project for the house. We are so close to being finished.

Thanks for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

bathroom, Coldspring, guest house, Roadside Rescue, vintage style

A Bathroom Vanity From Scraps

We are nearing the end of putting together the bathroom in the guest house! Hooray! At this point I think we have spent about $3,500 on everything that went into turning a covered porch area into a functioning bathroom. Concrete, framing, Sheetrock, electrical, plumbing, window, lighting, tile, pocket door, tub, tub refinishing, and toilet all added up. We have done most of the work ourselves, except the terrible Sheetrock job and exterior siding. I am ever so thankful for a hard working husband.

One thing we didn’t spend much money on was our bathroom vanity thanks to recycling things we already had and materials given to or collected by us. We literally only purchased paint, the water connects, and the drain pipe for this project.

In my mind I wanted a black vanity with a white top. On a trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas I saw an antique porcelain legged vanity that I loved in a restaurant bathroom. A quick look online convinced me that the option may be out of reach. I was disappointed but I had so many other things in the bathroom that I loved, an inexpensive vanity would have been fine.

With my heart set on something white and black to go with our floor meant we had to get creative. In our stash of treasures I spotted a white vanity top that my buddy The Social Planner had given me ( I have great friends) and a grooved wood cornice board from the front window of our house that would work for the skirt. I had lots of legs I thought would work, but it sort of felt like Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. They were either too damaged, too short, or the wrong style.

Deep into the stash Mr. Math spotted two newell posts that were perfect. I bought them a while back at a garage sale. I can’t even remember why I thought I needed them but they were inexpensive and oak. We already had a medicine cabinet in the guest house from the previous owner. The mirror is pretty aged and may need to be replaced eventually but I sort of think it is cool.

The posts in this picture I thought would be perfect but they were too thin and too short.

My husband cut the cornice to fit- and did an amazing job, cut the legs t length, attached the legs with giant screws and glue then even spackled the screw heads for me so I could prime then paint the vanity with a semi gloss cabinet and trim black paint. Mr Math attached leveling feet so that we could get the cabinet level.

Just as I was thinking about purchasing a faucet the hubs surprised me with yet another treasure that I honestly have no idea when or where it came from. He found a chrome faucet in the stash with porcelain handles! It was chrome but had was filthy. A good cleaning and tightening all the parts made it exactly what I needed to finish off the sink.

I really like how it is all coming together.

The mirror looks more distressed in photos than it does in person but we may be getting another mirror cut to fit down the road.

Next up we will be installing the faucet, shower ring and drain in the claw foot tub.

I. Can’t. Wait.

Thank you all for following us on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

Coldspring, guest house, vintage style

Hanging up the Quilt

Recently I shared the inspiration for the color scheme of the guest house was a fun quilt my great grandmother made. I just love those little houses. I always knew it would be hung on the north wall above the beds. I just didn’t have a plan for hanging it.

Thank goodness I have a problem solving hubby.

We laid out the quilt and decided to display 9 squares in a 3 x 3 pattern.

Mr. Math designed a quilt hanger using two sections of 1 x 6 painted boards and four bolts to basically hold the quilt in place by squeezing the folded quilt in place.

Slipping the folded quilt in was tricky but the idea worked!

Mr. Math cut off the bolts then we hung the quilt with some small brackets that held up the wood part without touching the quilt.

It looked good the first try but a little too low. I could just see it getting pulled down.

The second try was much better.

I am so glad to have a place for the quilt. The frames next to the quilt hold two framed prints of quilts that we bought in the early 90’s and a piece of tatting my grandmother made. Still working on getting something cohesive for the pillows on the beds when using them as daybeds.

It is so nice to have another project done.

Thanks for following along with us on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

Coldspring, Country Style, Decorating, DIY Furniture, guest house, Painted Furniture, painting

Paint Changes Things

I bought this piece of Ethan Allen cabinetry at a resale shop years ago. It would have been part of an entertainment center. It hung out in storage then had legs added and moved into my principal office as a printer cabinet after it was painted a vivid turquoise. It served me well until I moved to another position where I couldn’t bring my furniture.

It was moved with us and ironically ended up stored in almost the same spot where it now is in the guest house for years.

When we got all the furniture out I thought it would work with the color scheme but the two 1950’s chair cushions were too much for the space.

Of course the solution was to change the color. The only color I could see it as was red. I also wanted some of the turquoise to come through because even though it is bright, I like it. Believe it or not there is a bit of a paint shortage in our area. Apparently it is the time of the year that students paint their parking space and red was hard to find. It took three stores. I would have loved that… back in the day’

I brushed a few areas with paint thinner, painted the cabinet classic red, then sanded over places to let it look a little distressed.

It is amazing how it changed the look. Of the piece.

Not sure the folks at Ethan Allen would approve but we like it. We have installed a television so the cabinet is going to hold dvds etc.

The paint thinner made the wrinkles you see in the corner.

Still plugging along on the exterior but soon there will be paint.

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

bathroom, Coldspring, vintage style

Why We Hired a Pro for the Tub

If you know us, you know that we do as much work as we can on our projects unless we don’t have the strength or skills to do the work. We definitely did not not have the skill or experience to refinish our tub and sink so we hired it out. This post is not knocking someone who refinished their own tub or sink. If you were able to successfully do it I applaud you. I just know our limits. Together Mr. Math and I can do basic construction, plumbing, electrical, tile, and paint but haven’t had experience with bathtub refinishing.

We have hung on to the old farm sink since March of 2015. I paid a whole $2.00 for the sink and moved it with us here to Providence Acres. I loved it at first sight and would have been so disappointed if I messed it up trying to DIY refinish it.

It looked rough when we got it but the dark stain was just a moldy hard water spot.

The sink looked much better once I used CLR and toilet bowl cleaner to clear it up but it still wasn’t good enough to use as a kitchen sink.

Once it was cleaned there were rust stains and chips I hadn’t seen before.

The 5 1/2 foot long claw foot tub that we bought on Facebook marketplace for $200.00 was painted lime green on the base when we picked it up. I thought the porcelain looked to be in good shape but once the professional got started on it, I could see the pits and dings all over it.

A pro has access to the chemicals I don’t have and knows how to use them safely. Jesus came with exhaust fans, respirator mask, and a truck load of chemicals. I think his vehicle should have a hazmat warning sticker on it.

Muriatic acid, epoxy bonding agents, super thick oil based primer, and two part epoxy all smelled bad and took gloves and a mask along with a special fine mist sprayer, sander and porcelain bondo meant I would have never been able to have done this job as well as someone who does this for a living.

Jesus showed up at 11:00 with a helper and worked non stop until after 5:00 and then returned the following week to buff out some rough spots after the enamel had cured. We are just thrilled with how both turned out. So clean and shiny!

The finished project is beautiful.

I can’t wait to get the bathroom tiled, septic in and everything installed. We are getting closer.

Thank you for following along on our journey.

We love to hear from you.

Karen

Coldspring, guest house

Learning to Love the Imperfections

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

Coldspring, family, Style, using bright colors

My Guest House Inspiration

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

Building a Home, Coldspring, guest house, mid-life

The Struggle is Real. Remodeling a Home is Hard Right Now.

Well hello there everyone. Sorry I didn’t update you on our progress last week.

Last week was a bit of a challenge. Well actually this whole project has seemed a little rougher than anything else we have done. That is saying a lot for a couple of serial DIY-ers. It seems we, along with the rest of the country, are in a home improvement boom. According to these articles by NPR, and CNBC the pandemic is only partially responsible. The data below is from the two articles linked and a Forbes article on the rising cost of lumber.

  • Deck construction is up 275% ( We built a deck so I guess we were part of the crowd.)
  • Fence construction installation is at 144% compared to 2019
  • Home Depot, sales for the second quarter of 2020 were $38.1 billion, up 23.4%
  • Lowe’s reported $27.3 billion in sales for the second quarter, compared with $21.0 billion for the same period in 2019
  • Houzz, an online home remodeling platform, reported a 58% annual increase in project leads for home professionals in June.
  • Kitchen and bath remodels saw a 40% jump in demand in June compared with a year ago.
  • The Lone Star State added nearly 374,000 residents between July 1, 2019 and the same day in 2020, according to the Census Bureau’s December 22, 2020 report
  • Conroe, our nearest large city, has consistently been one of the top ten fastest growing cities in Texas since 2017. People are moving here. Conroe’s population has doubled since 2000 and continues to grow at record speed.
  • Lumber prices have increased 171% since COVID started.

All that information plus the great Texas freeze means finding construction materials and manpower in our neck of the woods is harder and more expensive than a year ago. It makes the whole building process more complicated and stressful. There have been times on this project where we looked more like Building Alaska than the happy couple on Fixer Upper. We scoured every barn on our property for left over lumber and removed nails and reused lumber removed during the remodel, checked all storage areas for screws, nuts, lock rings… all because getting materials for construction is like shopping Black Friday or looking for bottled water or generators before a hurricane.

All that said, and that is a lot, we are making big progress. Most of the insulation is up, all the interior wiring is done, all the hot and cold water Pex pipe is in along with the drain pipes, and we have cleaned around the house.

We have found a contractor that we really like and his crew is working hard in spite of the electricity to the building going out and rain. I am so grateful for their good attitude and work ethic. Because we have help we now have most of the house covered in siding. They have also started planking the eaves of the main house.

We have had about nine inches of rain in a week, a blowout on our trailer, our washing machine line stopped up, and a friend had to help Mr. Math replace the underground electric line to the shop and guest house. I have to wonder what lessons I am supposed to be learning!

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In spite of all our little problems, we have so very much to be grateful for. We are healthy, we have friends and family that love us, and in spite of everything, we are still moving forward.

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Building a Home, Coldspring, JJ Lane, Providence Acres, Ranch House Overhaul

Why I Changed my Mind About Board and Batten

When we started the Guest House I was dead set on board and batten siding. You can see my vision board below.

It is a very popular look right now and liked it because it is a clean look and is something that is commonly seen on old farm cottages around our area. But I won’t be using it for our guest house. While I love the look, and think it would be beautiful, it isn’t for us because of red wasps. Yep, a bug is changing my mind. They love, love, love our guest house which is conveniently located next to our garden where they have a food source- all those bugs that want to eat our hard work.

The view from the guest house looking at the garden.

Every open space in the walls, and there were a lot- like a whole lot- has either wasp nests or spider eggs jammed in. I cannot describe the condition and won’t bore or disgust you with the details, but the picture below is a wasp apartment complex we found included five connected nests. We found over fifty nests in the corrugated exterior.

Now I know this sounds crazy, but I don’t want all wasps eliminated from our property, in fact I am glad to see them in our garden where we don’t use pesticides, I just don’t want them living with us. They are aggressive when protecting the nest and they sting. I want them to keep eating the aphids and other bugs that eat our garden, but living in the wooded area behind the garden so we need to make it more difficult for them to move in.

Board and batten leaves a void between every board that is covered by a smaller board called a batten, and that will be difficult to totally seal up. Those wasps find the tiniest little crack to get in so I want something more solid.

We are going with our contractor Thursday to look at options. It is going to be something that is a solid panel that can be caulked and sealed. I want it to look like 12 inch planks and he assures me there are options I will like. Fingers crossed.

Also I learned a term from our daughter and used that term this last week. Project creep. It is the “While you are here, could you also…” sentence that apparently happens a lot.

We are adding on the aluminum siding removal around our house and adding new siding to the eaves and soffits. We started the project with the carport, deck and porches but this will finish off the house. I am so excited! We could do it ourselves but it would mean days on a ladder.

Woo hoo! I am so excited to get this projects done. They will be painting the house and guest house too which has me giddy.

Great things are ahead.

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen