FFFU Day 4 – Be Our Guest

Ironically, this room is probably one of my favorite spaces in the house. A little odd because it’s really not a room I spend much time in. Not that I couldn’t…I just don’t have much of a reason to.

Originally the master bedroom, this space got a major overhaul. I only have a couple of “before” shots, but they are more than enough to get the point across.

This is looking through the doorway into the bedroom from the hall.

Here you can see the very edge of the door into the room where we were standing in the first picture (far left edge of the frame) as well as a door to the bathroom and a door to the closet. Looking back through these “before” photos, I think if I was Chipper Gaines I would call this place “The house of doors!”

Again with the orange-flecked carpet, red curtains and brass fixtures. 1979 certainly had some interesting design character, but hey, no judgement here! (Although brass is coming back in and I am not totally mad about it.)

In the second picture, you can see two doors on the sidewall and there’s one more just outside the frame of the photo. The far left door (not in the picture) went to the hallway, the middle door went to the bathroom and the door on the right lead to a reaaaaly deep, narrow closet. As with the other bedroom, we moved the closet and closed up two of those doors to open up the wall space. The original master closet actually became part of the bathroom to make it a little bigger.

Now if you came to visit and I took you to the guest quarters you would walk through the door and see this:

Grab a seat and a good book. Take a sun-basked, mid-day snooze. The possibilities here are endless!

Instead of doors on doors on doors we now have plants on plants on plants. The air quality in this room is legit!

For reference, the wall that the bed is now on was the wall that had all of the doors:

So much open wall space with all of the doors gone!

And here’s a pano shot that let’s you see the room as a whole:

Such a fun space! And can we talk about those wall planters in the back corner for a second?! L-O-V-E.

This has been such a fun space to put together and I love having a place for our out-of-town friends to say when they visit. (Hint, hint to all of our friends who haven’t make the trip yet!)

And again, here’s a little video and commentary for your viewing pleasure!

 

We are now accepting bookings for fall 2017, so give us a call!! 🙂

FFFU Day 3 – Little Lexi Rae’s Room

Today’s “reveal” is pretty short and definitely sweet. I honestly consider this to be Lexi’s first room that is truly just hers. In my mind (and I’m the mama, here) the room she had in our Illinois farmhouse was always one she shared with Emmy. It was designed and decorated as a labor of love for two baby girls. When we came home from the hospital without Emmy, that room became a very hard place for my heart to be. It was a daily reminder of of what we’d lost, and it was honestly a place I went to grieve my baby. In the 6 months between when the girls were born and we moved to Kansas, Lexi hardly slept there at all. It was a space that never really got to be “hers”.

While Emmy is still very much a part of this home, in my heart this bedroom can belong to just Lexi. There is a level of separation between what is and what was.

This end of the house kept the same general footprint with two bedrooms and a bathroom in between them. We did resize the bedrooms to be more equal, because one was quite large (originally the master) and the other was pretty darn small. Right now, one room is Lexi’s and the other is a guest room.

Here’s a look at the whole bedroom/bathroom area before and after:

Doors on doors on doors.

I closed the bathroom door so you couldn’t peek at that early, but you can see what a huge difference there is between the before and after!

As you can see, there were LOTS of doors in the “before” (five if you’re counting). There was a door to each bedroom, a door to the bathroom, a linen closet door and a door that lead to the basement. Yikes. We removed two of those doors by moving the linen closet into the bathroom and taking out the door to the basement by making the front side a half wall.

So. Much. Better.

These before pictures are average at best, so bear with me (and read the photo captions for more details). 

This is looking into the bedroom from the hallway. You can see the edge of the old linen closet there to the right. That was removed and incorporated into the bathroom.

To put yourself in this picture, imagine you walked just inside the bedroom door and made a quarter turn to the right. That door on the opposite side of the room lead to the closet, which was removed and you’ll see in the after photos we added a window on that exterior wall.

So from the last picture facing the closet, if you did another quarter turn to the right you would be facing back OUT of the bedroom door toward the hallway. So…in this photo you are looking out of the bedroom and that door beyond was to the stairway (that is no longer there). With the resized rooms, the bedroom doors are now directly across from one another.

And here is Lexi’s bedroom now:

This is looking in through the bedroom door from the hallway (same perspective as the before picture above).

This is looking back toward the North wall where the closet door originally was. We moved the closet and added an exterior window to mirror the other bedroom.

Here you can get a feel for the whole room with the exception of the closet, which is to the left of that dresser in the right-hand corner of the photo.

Lexi’s room has so many sweet little details woven into it. That wooden rocking horse was her very first Christmas present from her Nana & Papa, the Teepee was custom built by Katie of E&E Teepees for her 1st birthday, the little bookshelf below the window was my mom’s growing up, and the tall chest of drawers was my dad’s. We love filling our home with things that aren’t just “things” and this room is proof of how special that is.

I am going to enjoy these years where I get to take the lead on the design and decor of my daughters room, because I know a day will come where she will not want my opinion. I do try my best to make it her and not me, but, inevitable there is a touch of me in it.

Here’s the video of this space to give you a little better feel…

Meet me here tomorrow to check out our guest room! Trust me, after seeing it you will want to come for a sleepover 🙂

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

FFFU Day 2 – The 3 for 1 Deal

So it’s day two of FFFU Week and you’re getting a 3-for-1 deal. This is for sure the most dramatic reveal, and if I knew anything about anything I would save it for last. But, the dominant left side of my brain tells me this is the logical place to start, so…come take a peek inside our front door!

(Sorry in advance for the picture overload…this space is just so worth sharing!)

What I’m showing you today is the family room / dining room / kitchen combo. There is just no possible way to show any one of these rooms without the others. This space was previously divided by a wall running right down the center between the kitchen and living space. When we did our initial walk through, we knew that was the first things that had to go. Now we have a big, open living area which is where we spend 99% of our “home time” if we’re not outside, in the pig barn or sleeping 🙂

So, before when you walked through the front door this was the view:

Looking from the front door into the dining room.

A slight turn to the left from the front door puts you in the family room area.

Helllooo giant wall. Straight ahead in the first photo you can see the dining room. If you turned at little to the left (second photo), you would be standing in the family room.  You can see a glimpse of the stone wall in that second picture, but here it is in all of it’s glory:

This photo shows both the rock accent wall as well as the wall dividing the kitchen from the main living area. These were two major non-negotialbes when it came to the changes we wanted to make to this house.

(The white line running through the middle of this picture was the wall dividing the family room from the kitchen.)

Really cool for the fact that my grandparents actually gathered all of those stones and my grandma laid them out for the builder how she wanted them placed on the wall. However, not logical to keep in the long run because of allll the limiting factors (primarily the non-functioning fireplace). It just tied our hands in too many other design decisions. Side note: We did salvage as much of the stone as we could for other projects!

And just for reference, here’s the family room looking back toward the front door:

This view is standing near the dining room looking back toward the front door.

Now from the dining room (you know you want that light fixture), a turn to the left puts you in the kitchen. Again, for us, one of the first things that had to go was that wall. Yes, we lost a TON of storage. But it had. to. go.

That light fixture would have been over the dining room table, then directly adjacent to the dining area is the kitchen.

Here is a full view of the kitchen. You can see the dividing wall on the left edge of this picture.

This is standing in the kitchen actually looking at the wall we tore down. It had the cabinetry / office area as well as the pantry, which we moved to the mudroom area.

Ok, now for the fun part. If you were to drive to Kansas and knock on our front door, this is what you’d see (behind my smiling face) when it opened…

Our front door looking in, y’all.

I honestly don’t even know where to start, so I’m just going to try to follow the same flow through the house as above. Turn to the left, and where there was super-70s orange-flecked carpet and a big rock wall with built-ins and a brass fireplace is this:

Where the rock wall was we now have our TV and some built-in bookcases. Having some place we could burn wood was really important to us, and after considering cost, location and design we settled on the wood-burning stove in the corner. It’s one of our favorite features!

Here’s a different look at the family room area.

And from the other side of the room looking back toward the front door:

This is standing in the doorway opening from the kitchen to the mudroom looking back toward the front door. So it gives you and idea of where I was standing taking the first “after” photo.

FYI, this space also serves as Lexi’s play room. That has come with its own set of challenges, but we have worked hard to find a balance between fashion and function not just for her – but for our whole family.

Lexi’s sweet little kitchen. Just too cute not so share.

So, walking straight forward through the front door lands you in our dining room:

I love our dining room space. We honestly don’t actually eat at the table very often (like, only when we have company), but I think it will become a hub as our family continues to grow and our kids get out of the high-chair stage. Right now it’s just easier to pull a barstool up to the counter!

Which sits adjacent to our kitchen:

Pretty much everything stayed in the same location, including that sliding door. Eventually, that will lead to the covered back patio area I mentioned in yesterday’s post of the exterior.

Truly love, love, love our kitchen. That island is huuuuge. We originally wanted concrete countertops, but after running into several dead-ends (no one in our area really did them) we went with a while quartz and we LOVE it.

Open shelving and a farmhouse sink were two “must haves” on my kitchen wish list. And I use that term in quotations because, really, “must” is a strong word. And that light above the sink… We pulled that from one of my Papa’s barns. It’s one of my favorite details of this space, for sure.

So truly, it’s the exactly same “layout” as before…just a little more opened up and updated 🙂

Here’s a flashback to BEFORE (sorry, I should have taken a before pano!)

Hey there, 1979.

And now, standing in the exact same location, AFTER:

And just for good measure, I have a little video tour for you as well. Enjoy, and hopefully we’ll see you tomorrow!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Family Farmstead Fixer Upper Week!

Whew. When did August get here?! I guess the obvious answer is…today. It’s like it was May, then I blinked and three whole months were gone. Just like that.

So, here were are, August. And at our house that means we are celebrating a birthday! One year ago today, we handed over our completely demolished family farmstead fixer upper to our contractor in hopes he could help us transform it into our dream home. (Spoiler alert: he totally did.)

Breaking ground for the addition August 1, 2016.

In celebration, I have FINALLY (yes, we moved in January) taken some “after” photos to share with you! Over the course of the next week, I will be sharing the
“before & afters” a room at a time to show you just how we transformed this 1979 model family farmhouse into a beautiful, functional home for our family. I thought I’d start by sharing a little background on the FFFU.

The house was built on the farmstead where my mom grew up, but it wasn’t the house she actually grew up in. It was built her senior year of high school. The original farmhouse, which stood about 20 yards away, was moved to another location and my uncle actually still lives in that house today. My mom is the youngest of her siblings, so she’s the only one who actually lived in the “new” house.

The FFFU is a ranch style home with an unfinished basement (that is still unfinished). We decided tackling the main floor was a good place to start. It was originally a two bedroom, two bath, then we added on a master suite so there are now three bedrooms.

Along with the house, we bought the “homestead” acreage that includes a good sized machine shed (aka junk collector), some old grain bins and the original barns my Papa ran his dairy out of. This fall, we actually plan to convert the old milk barn into a chip barn for baby pigs. But…more on that later.

For today, I have just a few shots of the exterior of the house. Besides the addition, we just gave it a little facelift with some new paint and updated landscaping. But, a little facelift can go a long way if you ask me 🙂

Staining the house!

What a difference a little paint can make!! Dark cedar siding is definitely not my favorite exterior look, BUT, replacing it right away was not an option financially and It would have been near impossible to go over the stained cedar with a lighter color (i.e., white). So, we decided that for the time being, we would just do a fresh coat of stain to bring things back to life a bit. It really did make a huge difference!

This is the front of the house in it’s original state. There were some overgrown trees and shrubs out front and the cedar siding had seen better days. We knew we couldn’t reside the entire house (yet) but we saw a lot of room for improvement!

Here is the front of the house with allll of that overgrowth removed. Already a huge difference! (P.S. What happened to my BABY?!?!)

And here is the front of the house with a fresh coat of stain and new landscaping (and a not so little baby any more!) Side note: Watching Lexi grow over the course of the “before and afters” is almost as much fun as seeing the actual house transformation. SO. MUCH. CHANGE.

I took this photo tonight just to show how far we’ve come even since we put in the landscaping. Things have definitely filled out a bit and the new grass has grown in quite nicely!

This is just the “before” view of the NE side of the house.

And here is the “after” side view. Along with the stain and landscaping, you’ll notice we added a window on the right side to match the original window on the left.

Here is the beginning of the addition on the SW side of the house. Hard to believe what started as just a big hole and a slab of concrete turned into an incredible master suite!

Here’s an in-progress shot of the addition.

And this is how the back looks with the completed addition and landscaping. We have big dreams for this area that include a covered porch, some raised garden beds and a rock pathway out to a fire pit area. Gotta keep grinding to reach those #housegoals.

So here’s a flashback to BEFORE:

And AFTER:

This is a current (like taken tonight) view of the whole house from the NE corner.

And HERE is the view from our front yard:

All the heart eyes for that hay that just got put up this week. One of my favorite things.

I’m looking forward to giving you all a look inside of our home the next few days! A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into it (the blood and sweat mostly my husbands…I’ll take credit for the tears). But seriously…we could not ask for a more perfect place to plant our family’s roots and build our babies future.

Until next time,

Jen

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

On being #blessed…

Yesterday morning, you might have seen this post on my Facebook page:

Written in response to this article [click here to read it]:

And after 24 hours of letting what I read really settle into my heart, here is what I have to say.

To the author. I am not here to wage a mommy war. And I am not here to compare your hard thing to my hard thing. We are not walking the same path, so why wast time comparing. And mama, I’m sure raising those babies has pushed you to limits you didn’t know you had… and then some. I can empathize as a mom, but not a twin mom. That opportunity was taken from me. And because of that – because of my particular experience and perspective – there’s one thing I do know. Even on the hardest days… you are #blessed.

To every #twinmom I know. You are superhuman. Seriously. Whether your twins were your first born or fourth (and fifth). Whether they came “naturally” or after months (even years) of calculated and painful intervention. Whether they are boys, girls, babies, toddlers or Tweens. There is no one in the world stronger than the mom of multiples. I watch you from afar with admiration (and, if we’re gut-wrenchingly honest, the slightest bit of jealousy). You are on a beautiful, complicated, messy, incredible journey. And you are #blessed.

Fun fact: I am directly connected with 15 women who had twins within a year or two before or after me. Yeah. FIFTEEN.

To the mama with an aching heart. Those words I wrote just moments after reading that article were for you. The mama who has lost – through infertility, miscarriage or child loss. They spilled out of my heart and onto my screen in hopes they would reach you – to let you know you’re not alone. To let you know, I know. I know that reading those words (even if said in sarcasm) felt like someone reaching into your chest and ripping your heart right out of it. Because you can’t imagine a mama complaining about the burden of a child…or two. Carrying on that, somehow, she is NOT blessed by her motherhood because it is “Hard AF”. Yeah, motherhood is hard – in all of it’s forms. In the waiting. In the wishing. In the wondering. Sometimes the words people say hurt. Let them hurt, but don’t let them linger. In our own ways, we are each #blessed.

To myself. It’s ok, mama. It’s ok that it still hurts. It’s ok that a strangers words can pierce your soul and put a fire in your heart. It’s ok that every picture, every post, every mention of twins makes you catch your breath just a little. All these things… they are a reminder that you are human. That you can’t carry it on your own. That you need Jesus to continue living and loving. The kind of loss you suffered can rob you of everything if you let it. Don’t. Call on Jesus. You are #blessed.

Always, always with grace.

Jen