FFFU Day 9 – It’s the Little Things

Home is not a place…it’s a feeling.

I don’t know who wrote that, but I’m all in. Today I wanted to share some of the little things that make this house our home. That give it feeling. That make it more than just a roof over our heads. For us, and hopefully for everyone who walks through our doors.

The Exterior:

I looked through probably 1,000 different teal paint samples for our front door and finally landed on this one. It might not be perfect, and I might end up changing my mind about it one of these days…but to me when I look at that door I remember the process. The trips to the paint store, holding up swatches in the sunlight outside of our house to see how they looked, going BACK to the paint store for more swatches. I see so much more than a teal door. I see the LOVE that went into picking that specific color. And I know that door welcomes me home.

Mint reminds me of my mama. She started growing it a few years ago, and I just fell in love with the idea through her. I don’t have the time/energy to do a full-blown garden at this point in my life, but these little buckets of mint and lavender in front of our garage are just enough to put a smile on my face.

The Family Room:

Shelves of any kind are an open invitation to make a space your own. You can fill them with “things” that make up various memories and elements of your life. On these shelves we have a plant that belonged to Kade’s mom, some books from our pre-parenting antiquing adventures, our favorite family photo from when Kade judged in San Antonio, a photo of my oldest niece and me back when I was proudly a “childless aunt” and fresh-cut Zinnias from my Aunt Susie’s garden which are a staple in our house during the summer.

On these shelves we have a whole shelf dedicated to Emmy (yes, including her ashes), a family picture from her memorial, and an old camera Kade and I  bought on the road trip we took for our first anniversary. While some of the things I put on our shelves are just to be pretty, most of them are the things that make up the essence of our lives. They are more than just trinkets – they are reminders of the past.

This doesn’t necessarily carry the same sentimental value as the shelves, but it’s a fun, personalized space in our dining room. And the coffee canister did belong to my grandma, so that’s pretty darn cool.

This shelf is above the coffee station in our dining room. That large b/w photograph is of my Papa when he was raising pigs for one of his 4-H projects. My mom had it made into a canvas from a pictures in his record book. There are also pictures of Kade’s grandma and my dad. The rest is just pretty stuff!

This is Lexi’s play area in our family room. Really it’s just special because it’s where we make so many of our memories with her. Stacking blocks, doing puzzles (ok…dumping all the puzzle pieces out on the floor then leaving them for dad!)… it’s a place I hope she associates with getting to enjoy her parents.

Lexi got this kitchen for her 2nd birthday and it too has been such a memory maker! Nothing like “cooking pancakes” with her on a Saturday morning! And the little green apron hanging on the side was a gift she got from my mom for her birthday. My grandma made it for my mom when she was little, so now Lexi get’s to wear her Nana’s apron while playing in her kitchen. 

Lexi’s Room:

Those wings were a gift from the pastor who baptized me when I was a baby, and then did Emmy’s memorial service for us one year after she passed. They hang above Lexi’s crib as a daily reminder that she has the sweetest little guardian angel there is. 

I have this thing about getting / giving gifts that have meaning and will be around for years. That’s why when my parents were searching for a gift for Lexi’s first Christmas, I suggested a wooden rocking horse. She LOVES it now, and down the road it can become a keepsake. I hope one day she gets to watch her babies and grand babies ride it just like she has so many times.

These photos were hung in our stairwell shortly after we got home from the hospital. They were one of the few things we actually unpacked and put up at my parent’s place when we were living there. And they were one of the first things to go up in this house. Because she is and always will be a part of this family.

The Guest Room:

This area makes me happy. I wanted a place in this room where our guests would feel like they could just sit down and relax. Sometimes when you’re visiting someone you just need a few to yourself (coming from an experienced, life-long introvert). I hope this little corner can be that retreat. Bonus: that sweet buffalo photo was taken by a local artist. His work is incredible.

I just have a sweet spot for these little wall planters. They are the absolute cutest!

The Master Bedroom:

I talked a little bit about this door in yesterday’s post. It’s just such a unique piece of this room. Our contractor looked at me a little funny when I told him I wanted to use this as a functioning door, but I think he understood why once we got it hung!

Kade’s nightstand stacked with his current reads and a sweet photo of him and Lex. She loves to run in, look at this picture and scream, “I kissing daddy!!” And that makes it that much sweeter.

My night stand is a similar story. One of my favorite pictures of Lexi and I plus my current reading material. These are the little details that tell you about the humans living in a home.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking this journey with me the past week and a half! It has been a true joy for me to look back on this process, and also to share it with those who were interested. I have truly loved every minute, and am so thankful for all of the kind texts and comments I have received!

I have one more special post to share, but it might be just a few days.

Until then,

The FFFU Mama


FFFU Day 8 – The Sweet Suite

A week ago today, I shared this picture of our contractor’s first day at the FFFU.

Breaking ground!! After months and months of demolition, this was a very happy day at the FFFU!

Their first project was digging a crawl space and pouring the foundation for what would become our master suite. Since there’s not really a “before” space to share, I will take you through the progression from digging a giant hole in the ground to the finishing touches on this special space in our home.

There are tons of photos for this one, so I’m going to let them do most of the talking (see details for each one in the captions).

Starting with the FOUDATION…

This is standing at the Southwest corner of the house, where the addition was built.

Another view of the addition. That small window on the original part of the house is above the kitchen sink.

This is standing near the Northwest corner of the house looking South. So just about in the middle of the photo, you can see the steps and the opening where the sliding door is that goes into the kitchen / dining room.

On to the FRAMING…

This is standing just inside the door from the garage into the back entry. Straight ahead is the door to the master suite. Just to the right of that you can see the closet that is in the office space. 

This is standing in the master bedroom looking into the master bathroom. (That window though…)

This is just a wider view from the same spot as the photo above. So the opening in front of the big window goes into the bathroom, and the door to the right that sits on an angle goes into the master closet.

From this photo, the master bathroom and closet are to the left. Those two windows frame the bed, and the door leads to the back where we will **someday** have a patio.

And finally, the FINISHED PRODUCT…

This is looking into the master bedroom from the back entry area.

Talk about a dreamy place to catch some zzzz’s!

Just showing off this feature wall. That tin and the barn wood that frames it all came from my Papa’s barns. I am so grateful that Kade obliged when I asked him to pull some of it down, and that our contractor happily helped me execute this idea.

As you walk into the room and turn to the right, we have our “false” French doors (only one is a working door) and sitting area (where I write my blog posts).

Here’s a better look at the sitting area side of the room.

Opposite of the wall with the French doors is the door to the closet and the entry into the master bathroom. Fun fact, that antique door on our closet came from Jordy Nelson’s in-laws. It was taken out of the old rock home his MIL grew up in!

This is (maybe obviously) standing right in front of the opening from the master bedroom to the master bathroom. I have big dreams for antique French sliding doors to separate these two spaces. (Coming soon…)

This tub. This view. It’s what a mommy’s alone-time dreams are made of.

Loooove our oversized glass shower. It keeps the space opened up and shows off the beautiful tile work!

This is now looking into the mater bathroom from the laundry room.

Another view of the tub and shower (and the commode right there to the left, ha!)

We mimicked the two-tone look of the kitchen cabinets and island with the rustic alder vanities flanked by the white shaker style cabinets. I love how it blends a clean, more modern look with an older country style. Countertops are the same quarts used in the kitchen and guest bathroom. I fell in love with it and used it eveeeryywhere!

And coming full circle, this is looking back into the master bedroom from the master bath. I love the split-side vanities, and I am convinced that separate bathroom spaces is the secret to a happy marriage!

So there you have it — the mater suite. Kade and I love this area of our home, and loved making it our own with some sweet little details.

Since it’s technically two spaces, I do have two videos to share.


I will be back tomorrow with some detail shots I took throughout the house. I truly believe it’s the little elements and personal style that make a house a home, and those are some of the things I want to share as we wrap up our tour of the FFFU.

FFFU Day 7 – Wash, Dry, Fold, Repeat

We’re going back to the brick! And this time it’s in a stunning herringbone pattern (insert heart eyes). Here’s a sneak-peek I shared on IG last November when the laundry room floors were being installed…

I gave this sneak-peak of the floors on IG last November when they were being installed. As you can see, the trim wasn’t even done yet! This is one of those features that makes my design-loving heart go pitter-patter!!

While this space was designed to be beautiful, it had to be functional as well. This is the “buffer” room between the back entry and our master bathroom. It’s where dirty clothes get dumped and grubby hands get scrubbed after a long day working in the barn (or garden or just the farm in general). It is the ultimate blend of fashion and function.

Here’s a peak at the laundry room BEFORE:

The original laundry room had a West-facing window, but because of the master suite addition it had to be removed. Were the window was there is now a doorway into our master bathroom.

There was no lack of storage or function in the original laundry room, it just needed a little love!!

And here’s the AFTER:

This is standing right inside the door into the house from the garage. When you step inside and turn to the left, you are at the laundry room entrance.

Because we eliminated the West window, we made a last-minute decision to add a window on the Southern exterior wall. I am SO GLAD we did because that natural light makes all the difference in the world!! Also, putting a utility sink in a farmhouse laundry room is a must, must, must!!

This is looking into the laundry room from our master bathroom. So the main entry from the mudroom area would be to the left. That door to the right is an extra closet for brooms, cleaning supplies, a vacuum, etc.

And here’s another look at the gorgeous brick flooring. The guy who did our tile work said he had never laid anything like this. It was a challenge, but totally worth the end result!

Although you don’t have to have a pretty space to do laundry — it sure doesn’t hurt!! Especially when you live on a farm and laundry is a part of the daily grind.

Per the FFFU tradition, here’s a quick video of the laundry room space. Tomorrow will be the final reveal featuring the the master suite addition. So excited to show you that space!

FFFU Day 6 – Office / Mudroom

Today’s transformation is of the back entryway / mudroom and office area. We again maintained most of the original footprint of the house with just a few modifications.

This space is a little harder to show a wall-for-wall transformation mostly because of the layout. So you’ll have to use your imagination a bit 🙂

Here’s a before looking from the far south end of the house (the laundry room is to the left) toward the north end (the kitchen would be through that farthest opening):

This was taken standing on the farthest wall south looking through the hallway to where my Papa had his office. The door with the trash bag hanging on it was (and still is) the door to the garage. The first door on the left going down the hallway is the bathroom we took out to gain some space in the back entry.

And here’s an after shot looking from the opposite direction (north to the south) standing in the opening from the kitchen to the mudroom / office area (from this direction, the laundry room is through that next opening):

This photo is looking in the opposite direction of the photo above. Stepping through that opening, what we call my office area is to the right. Just beyond those old wooden crates is a church pew that is our family “landing area” for the back entry from the garage – think shoes, coats, bags, etc.

So the laundry room remained on the far south end of the house, which we’ll take a look at tomorrow.

Here are a few pictures of the office area BEFORE:

This was an extra closet my Papa had in his office for work coats, boots, etc. He also had some built-in shelving, then his desk sat on that back wall (see next photo).

Here you can again see the shelves from the previous photo and where the desk would have sat under the window. That exterior window is now gone due to the master suite addition.

This shot was taken standing in the exact same place as the picture above, just turned around to the opposite wall. So my Papa actually used both of those closets as pantries. We took out the one on the left with the removal of the wall dividing the kitchen from the living area. We then widened the door on the closet to the right and that is now our pantry.

When you opened the door into the house from the garage, this bathroom was right inside. We removed it to make the mudroom and office area larger. Now when you come in the door from the garage, it opens up into the back entry area with access to the laundry room and master suite.

Again, it’s a little harder to get a grasp on these areas partly because of the layout, but also because of the perspectives from which we took the before and after pictures.

The one major change we made was eliminating a bathroom that was right inside the door from the garage to the house. We needed the space, and since we added a bathroom with the master suite addition we decided we’d be ok taking this one out.

Here is how the space looks now:

The door to the right of the church pew is the door to the garage. The pantry door lies just to the left of the old wooden crates (see the very first “after” photo above for another perspective).

This is a a close-up shot of my desk that sits in a little office “nook” in the mudroom. There are some ugly old filing cabinets to the left, but I left them out of the picture. You can see them in the video below to get a better feel for the office space.

I know this doesn’t show you much, but the video will give you a little better perspective of the space as a whole. As you’ll also see, this is the area that still needs the most love as far as decor goes. One thing at a time 🙂


Same time, same place tomorrow for the laundry room reveal!



FFFU Day 5 – The Pretty Privy

Just because it’s one of the more utilitarian rooms in the house doesn’t mean it has to lack style – and this space certainly doesn’t. I really wanted to do something bold in this bathroom, because I feel like you can play with design a little more in a stand-alone space. I truly love the way it turned out.

Here’s a look at the BEFORE:

Just a plain-jane, late-70s model bathroom. And honestly, not sure how long the space had gone without a mirror…but it definitely wasn’t there when we started demo.

This bathroom originally had a stand-up shower which we swapped out for a tub shower because babies.

And here’s another shot from the living/dining room area where you can clearly see that no room was spared from the orange carpet…not even the bathroom. 

We’ve seen all of these doors before, but just for a refresher starting at the left we have the bathroom, the old master bedroom and the door that lead to the basement stairwell.

Along with a major cosmetic overhaul, we did do a little adjusting to the footprint making it a little narrower to add space to the bedrooms, but a little deeper by extending it back through what was originally the master closet. Probably a wash on overall square footage.

I studied bathroom layouts probably more than any other area of the house, because I feel like you have to get the most bang for your buck when you’re working with smaller spaces. After many, many sketch variations on where to put what, we ended up placing the shower in the back with the vanity and toilet on the side. I am really happy with the set-up and functionality of the space.

We decided to use the same cabinet color, style and countertop as the kitchen. It provides some continuity from room to room, and the all-white kept things clean to ensure that the statement piece of this room really stood out — the brick flooring. I love, love, love these floors. They are a reclaimed brick we bought from a Chicago-based company. It took lots of searching and saying “no” to flooring options that just weren’t right, but our persistence and vision paid off.

Here is the AFTER:

We tried to keep the design here pretty clean to let the floors make a statement. The brick was somewhat difficult to find, and definitly our most expensive flooring choice. But in such a small space, you can splurge a little more than in larger rooms and not break the budget.

It really did turn out beautiful, and is just the right size for kids and guests. We almost went with the same tile that you will see in the mater bath, but I’m so glad we did something different to make this space it’s own.

Thanks again for joining me each day for these reveals! It’s so much fun for me to look back and realize how far we’ve come since this time last year.