If you haven’t taken the time to read my about page (tisk tisk) then you might not realize that Ryan and I made a major decision almost two years ago to move from the city out to the country.
(cue banjo music)
Now we aren’t living on a farm raising animals and living off the land….baby steps, baby steps people. However, we do only have three lights in our town, one grocery store, and two major fast food chains representin’ There are more trucks than cars and I read that the population is around 1,400. So just sayin….. It’s country for this girl from Syracuse, New York and Ryan from Boston, Massachusetts.
If you asked me four years ago would I consider moving out to the country I would have emphatically said “NO…not for us!” How I need to stop saying definite “no’s” to anything. Those are the exact words I end up eating for a meal in the future. God has a beautiful sense of humor and timing.
Three years ago Ryan and I began to discuss who we were and who we weren’t; where are we going and what are we willing to leave behind. Our marriage was finally on healthy and level ground, our last baby was born, financially we were the most stable we had ever been and we saw our hearts were longing for more…much more.
We knew we didn’t want the “American Dream” of accumulating “stuff” and “wealth”. We wanted simple, we wanted financial freedom, and we wanted space to open up our home to others as a place of rest. It simply wasn’t happening at our little bungalow in the city. As cute as she was, she was small and it was noisy, and our kids had 1/10 of an acre to play on. There is nothing wrong with this, we LOVED living there but somehow we didn’t want it any more.
Isn’t she darlin?
And so two springs ago we started looking not knowing exactly what we wanted but as I mentioned before, I just know it in my gut when I see it. For many months it was a series of dead ends. In fact I wouldn’t even allow myself to look in the county we currently live in. Seemed “too rural”. One day after a frustrating run down on the MLS I decided to pop in a few zip codes I hadn’t searched when I found our house. I didn’t know it at the time only that I LOVED how rustic it looked, 2.5 acres of private land and decent square footage.
We thought this house was in the woods when in actuality it is on a random one street neighborhood. It’s random because out here you don’t find many neighborhoods, everyone is spread out. There are only about 15 houses on our street but everyone has a few acres so you don’t really see each other. The benefit of both worlds. Consequently, it is my running joke that my kids are neither “country smart, nor city smart” because we live in some hybrid world.
When we hit our beautiful driveway I got emotional. Driving up to the house is beautiful with this winding LONG driveway with gorgeous pines everywhere that opens up to our home. I checked the listing again, WHY IS THIS IN OUR PRICE RANGE???? This neighborhood is way too nice for us to afford and the land???? What was going on?
As soon as we entered the home and were punched in the face with smoke and pet urine I was keenly aware that this house had been trashed before the bank got it. It was DISGUSTING, filthy, reeking, and run down. The bank did a courtesy paint job to “neutralize” the walls but nothing and I mean nothing could cover up the foul sites and smells. Only a handful of people ever got to experience the house in it’s raw state. The history on this house is there were 5 dogs, multiple cats, 8 ppl (most of whom smoked) and somehow in two years they ran this house into the ground.
You know what…I didn’t care, I just knew this was our house and it was going to take SOOOOO MUCH work but we could shine this piece of poo into a pearl with the help of many around us. If anyone has purchased a foreclosure then you realize it is a mighty battle of jumping through hoops, ups and downs, and twists and turns. It was so stressful but when our family stood in the back yard of the house after we put our offer in and we held hands and prayed and asked God to make a way for all this to happen….we prayed believing.
THat post is for another day of ALLLLLLLL God did to get us to close on this house on June 20, 2011. We had 10 days to make it livable before we were moving our family in. This required all hands on deck pulling 12+ hour days painting every square inch we could, having the hardwoods refinished, ripping out the foulest urine carpet you can imagine, sealing subfloors, and cleaning every surface area.
I’m going to start out showing you a few rooms and faces of people that made this transformation possible. WE COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT ALONE. I don’t have pictures of everyone that showed up and dedicated countless hours and talent to our home. People who babysat, hauled supplies, moved us on a cloudless 98 degree July day, ect… YOU GUYS we were humbled to tears that we are loved so well by our community. How do people do it alone?
So here she is the day we called her “ours”. You can hardly see her because of the big trees in front and one is literally laying on the roof split down the middle. Dad and his chainsaw to the rescue.
Look at that huge wrap around porch!!! My favorite. All the awesome men in our small group painstakingly ripped out those huge boxwoods, tilled up all 160 sq feet around the porch and mulched and planted landscaping last spring. SO MUCH WORK!!! They were beasts.
(Current porch/house shots in a few weeks when spring hits a little harder here)
BEFORE SHOTS OF LIVING ROOM/DINING ROOM FLOORS
The floors were stained with cat pee, dirt, soot from a kitchen fire and just plain sticky and nasty. I had no idea if they could even be saved!
After refinishing but before staining. I CRIED!!! They looked BRAND NEW!!!
A few faces that helped make the living room, sitting room, and dining room possible!!!
My wonderful neighbors. With only a handful of houses, what are the odds you know your neighbors and that they went to your church? Only Jesus. They were selflessly there every day helping.
Ryan and Todd being all tough.
OK…now the fun part. BEFORE AND AFTERS
This is the Living Room Before (before floors refinished)
Before you say anything about how clean it is or organized…please know I have the exposure up so you don’t see the gray stains on the carpet, finger prints on the windows, layer of dust on the furniture, and I put all the random stuff laying around in the room adjacent. Let’s get real. I wish my house stayed picked up, clean and nothing was stained. Not reality!
Basically, everything in that room is second hand/consignment, from Craigslist, hand me down, or from the Habitat from Humanity. That is how I roll with decorating. Hodge Podge of crazy deals smashed together. Wall color is MoonShine by Behr. My dad built the paneled wall behind the couch last Christmas for me, we spray painted the brass fireplace black, painted the interior door chartreuse, changed fan/light and that’s about it for that room besides decorating.
Because I love hearing about deals and steals here is how this room plays out. Couch is IKEA but we got it used off Craigslist for $400 (sold some of my old furniture to pay for it), coffee table $30 from Craigslist, comfy chaise bought off a friend for $50, Orange wing backs straight from my grandmas house 1970’s Ethan Allen, Huge cream shag rug was $1000 originally but we got for $100 from Habitat for Humanity, hutch/desk- Craigslist $25 I painted it and put Anthro knobs on. Toy Chest- hand me down from Ryan’s parents, TV stand $15 from Fred’s Junk Store (I painted it and Anthro knobs), Big Clock- Big Lots, huge Candlesticks are banister scraps from a salvage yard. Painted with Annie Sloan. Old Filing Cabinet (our DVD holder) $75 consignment, chartreuse velvet desk chair- $20 consignment, shelves up staircase are scrap molding I found at a salvage yard and painted, apple crate top- yard sale, old Vanity Fair “Men of the Day” prints- salvage yard. Curtains are from Pier One. Pillows are from all over. Wish list- wood panel or detailing over fireplace.
The Dining room has gone through two transformations. I just recently neutralized it. I LOVE CHARTREUSE. I love this room in the day time but at night it just made skin and food look nasty and it bothered me. Sorry…may seem petty but for $20 I can change a room with paint! This is the only shot I could find of it chartreuse.
BEFORE- Gotta love that sweet 80’s light
AFTER take one
AFTER take two
BEFORE- kitchen in to dining room
The bottom gray looks blue in these pictures but its just two levels darker than the Moonshine on top.
Steals and Deals in this room are: That giant burlap/iron light is from Decorating Outlet in Richmond (Shades of Light discount store) Originally $1000 we got for $100!!!! Made the room! Table from IKEA, chairs from consignment store $125 for 6. Still haven’t decided what to paint them. Sadly one broke a few weeks ago, I have the bruise to prove it. Tin trays and old gate on wall from salvage yard. Yellow vintage highchair from antique store $20, yellow table planter- consignment $8, rug I dragged back from Kazakstan in 2001. Mucho sentimental and great colors! Curtains from Lowes.
Last room is a little sitting/mudroom area. This room is the bane of my existance. It’s so hard to stage. We tried it as the dining room first, then an office and its just morphed into a sitting, dumping ground of sorts. Ideally, I would like to do built ins all around the sides and top of window and built in bench under the window to have proper storage that is more hidden and organized. But for now…this is it.
QUASI BEFORE- had already painted, floors still unfinished.
Steals and Deals for this room: Linen drum shade a whopping $119 at Decorating Outlet marked down to $19 (YES PLEASE), Coat rack- Free just painted it, End table-$15 bought off friend, Curtains- IKEA, Gorgeous leather chair snagged at Ryan’s work at Moore and Giles at a ware house sale. Originally over $1000 got it for $75. It’s so buttery and beautiful.
So that is a few of the before and afters of our home. A robber would probably be disappointed upon arrival but we sure love it. It is comfortable, lived in, colorful and US!! About once a month I move furniture around and swap out pillows from one room to the next so you never know how things will look a few weeks from now. Thats how I avoid spending money by just rearranging what I already have!
Last photo of how little the kids look when we moved in.
Hope you enjoyed the tour.