Our First Love

I sort of don't know how to begin this post. Or finish it either. But, there's a part of me that just needs to acknowledge our first home. To be completely honest, it's hard not to let my thoughts go directly to  the bad memories. The trauma of the storm. But I wouldn't be doing it justice by only remembering the end. There's so much more to the story. So much good.

The search leading up to the purchase of our first home was much like the one that led us to our farmhouse. Countless drives and internet searches looking for The One. In the Fall of 2010, we took a day trip to visit my parents in Cullman, AL. We passed a small for sale sign in the front yard of a home I'd recognized since childhood. Considering we'd been looking up real estate daily for so long and this home hadn't popped up in our searches, I assumed the worst... it must be WAY out of our budget. We immediately contacted our realtor and the listing agent and tried to look it up online. We wanted it & we hadn't even seen the inside. 

We were so excited when the listing agent said we could view the home immediately and even meet the sellers. AND IT WAS WITHIN OUR BUDGET. Naturally, we ran headed straight over! Long story short (and I do mean long) we fell in love and purchased the home. It was fate.

We poured ourselves into the home even though we only lived there for three months. Even from the beginning, we were committed. All in. The home was in excellent condition, but considering it was nearly 100 years old we were concerned about our home inspection. Brett provided all the labor for free so that our mortgage approval would go seamlessly. He even hand built replica garage doors that matched the originals on the home. It was a passion project for sure but we had no doubt it was worth it. We had every intention of it being our forever home.

I wish I had better photographs of the home, but they're all I have so they're very special to me. After the storm we tried to salvage every.single.piece we could. Doors, hardware, brick. Everything. At one point I was literally standing on a pile of rubble that was once my living room. I just felt protective. It's a hard emotion to articulate. I just wanted to save it all. In my eyes, I couldn't imagine our home in that state. It was our beautiful home. Just the way it was before the storm. That's how I chose to see it then and that's how I try so hard to remember it now. 

We still have the scrolls that are seen displayed on the desk in this photo. They are the original floor plans of the house. Incredibly special. I would love to have these framed and displayed somewhere at the farm.

This building was the original "Maid's Quarters" and still had the original fixtures inside. (Clawfoot tub, etc.) It was one of my favorite unique things about the property. Amazing. 

During a discussion one day Brett expressed to me that although we were there for a short amount of time, he felt like we'd made so many memories there. More than any other home we'd lived in. I totally agreed. It was like a lifetime wrapped up into three short amazing months. I miss it. We miss it. 

A church bulletin I found in our bedroom while cleaning up after the storm. I keep it in my bedside table now. 

So here it is. An ode to a home I can never truly do justice to on paper or via this blog post, but I one that I needed to put out into the universe. I can only hope that we can continue to make a lifetime of memories here at the farmhouse and maybe even give a nod to Our First Love by utilizing the amazing pieces we salvaged from the one that got away. 

XO - Lauren


A Big Wild Thank You!

Let The Wild Rumpus Begin!

I started planning and making things for our little guy's 1st birthday months before we knew we'd be moving. I had a moment of panic when I realized that closing weekend was just a few days before Baker's big day, but it was the perfect occasion to invite our beloved family and friends over for an inaugural farm visit and to celebrate our King of All Wild Things!


Let's Get Acclimated..

There's nothing I love more than a good Before & After reveal. As in, I'm typically so impatient that I will fast forward entire shows just to see the end result. Just ask my husband. He loves that about me. (HONEY! I SAW THIS THING ON PINTEREST/TV/BLOGWORLD AND I NEED IT RIGHT.THIS.SECOND!) Ha! Unfortunately, unless you have an endless amount of free time, a massive budget and/or the resources of a hollywood production crew, the term "quick renovation" is an oxymoron. It's a good thing my better half is pretty amazing at this whole construction thing. With his building expertise and my design eye, I think we'll make a pretty good team.

We're going to be taking this renovation slow. We want to do it right and we'll be doing 90% of the labor ourselves, meaning we'll be working in our spare time. "Transformation Tuesday" will be taking on a whole new meaning for us now, but be patient as we slowly restore this incredible home. It's lasted 109 years thus far. We want to ensure that it lasts 109 more!

I thought this would be a good time to introduce you to the home as it sits now. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. As you can imagine, there are some super cool features like a total of SIX fireplaces (two were covered at some point) and an abundance of original hardware and fixtures. But, we're also dealing with 100+ years of piecemeal electrical and not-so-fabulous "updates" like 4685368 brass fixtures, wallpaper galore and emerald green carpeting. 

So, without further introduction.. Let me show you what I'm workin' with..

(Warning! Photo Heavy!)


Foyer/Staircase. Stairs need some TLC. We'd like to open up the wall on the left. There's potential here!

First bedroom to the right of the foyer. 14 ft. ceilings, hardwoods & original fixture! One of the covered fireplaces is in this room.

Bath off BR #1. Gorgeous. (Sarcasm) Hello, Wallpaper!

Formal living room to the left of the Foyer. Original door leads into formal dining room.

Bay Window in the formal living room.

Formal dining. Opens up to formal living room and kitchen.

Original double doors leading to kitchen from dining room.

Kitchen. Yikes. It's going to need an overhaul..

Informal Dining/Eat-In area. That wall has to go. We'd love to open it up to enjoy a big open kitchen/LR space!

Informal living room. This area was an addition at some point as is not original to the home. It does offer quite a bit of square footage, but it's certainly outdated. We think we'll be able to raise the ceiling height here which will really open up the space, as well!

Informal view from master bedroom. We Love those corner windows! They offer a stunning view of the lake and is something we take advantage of daily. 

Laundry & Bathroom #2

Master Bedroom 

Master Bedroom

Upstairs Bedroom #3 

Upstairs Bedroom #3 

Upstairs Bedroom #4

After carpet removal! Goodbye, Green shag! 

 Upstairs Bath #3. Yikes. But, at least there is a third bath!


Front Door. We've already removed a large metal storm door,  removed all the window screens and pressure washed, so this area has already gotten a minor makeover.

Front porch 

Corn Crib. Needs some TLC and rehab, but it's such a cool space to work with! It's also full of some awesome weathered scrap materials that I CANNOT wait to get my hands on! 

Pole Barn. It's Huge. Did I mention? HUGE. Also needs a little TLC. But *wow* at the potential!

So, here she is in all her glory. We love her. All her her curves and all her edges. All her perfect imperfections. Ha! But, sincerely. The imperfections are what make this home authentic and unique and comfortable. I'll be back soon with more updates!


Our First Week

We've been on the farm for six days! Times flies when you're having fun working hard. Truth be told, we are having a lot of fun. But, there's a lot of work that goes into moving. Especially since we have so much property to maintain now. I post regularly on Instagram, so if you'd like a peek into our daily life you can follow me there!

(I spy a shipping container!)
Currently, we have a large 40 ft. shipping container on the property that we're temporarily using for storage and as a garage-of-sorts. (If you see the giant tan thing in the picture backgrounds, here is your explanation!) We thought it would be beneficial to have on-site storage and it will allow us to eliminate the hassle of moving our non-essential things several times while we renovate.

Our strategy this week was to divide and conquer. While our dogs and son were away for the first few days I took over the interior situation and Brett started working outside. The home is actually quite large at around 3200 SF. I'm guessing the back portion of the home was updated in the last 15 years or so. Esthetically, it's my least favorite area, but it's certainly "live-able". The plan is to have comfortable quarters for living, sleeping, eating and bathing. The rest can remain empty until we decide where our renovation plans will start.

View toward the farmhouse from the back side of the lake.

Brett hit the jackpot on Tuesday when all his farm equipment arrived! I think he died and went to man Heaven. We knew we'd have to begin property maintanance immediately so we invested in a tractor, lawn mower and small UTV right away. The exterior short-list for week one included mowing, trimming, pressure washing, installing the underground dog fence and bush hogging the back acreage. With some help from his dad, Brett was able to get so much accomplished.. and fast! I will never underestimate the value of good equipment ever again! :) Baker has spent the last few days  watching Brett come & go working out of the back of the house.  He loves to sit by the back windows waving and calling "DaDa" and "Truck-Truck". It melts my heart!

It's TRACTOR day! We were all excited!

Boys and their toys!
So, right now we're "functional". We have a clean and comfortable living space and we're loving it out here. We have endless projects to work on, but a lifetime to finish them. (Thank goodness!) I love that our children will grow up knowing what hard work looks like and hopefully an appreciation for the lifestyle we're trying to provide for our family.

Watching daddy work in the rain from his favorite spot by the window. Work ethic training! ;)

We are just so thankful to be here. So, so thankful.