1846 Homestead Renovation

My husband served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years. We moved around a lot and by the time we celebrated 32 years of marriage, we had lived in 28 houses in two foreign countries and seven states. It was time to talk about a forever house. Call us crazy...everyone else already has, but our 1846 Texas homestead renovation was the route we decided to go in order to create our dream home. When we decided to turn a dilapidated dog-trot home into our dream home, most folks thought we were out of our minds. They were right. It was falling down. The last cousin who lived there was a hoarder and a recluse who hadn't taken care of the house in several decades. Sheetrock was falling from the ceilings and everything that the rats hadn't chewed up was rotten. However, the house was the oldest structure in Hill County, Texas and had been in my family since 1852. It was worth it, we said. We are saving history, we said. And then the rattlesnakes appeared along with the rats. Add in all the rotten wood and countless other issues that come with a 170+ year-old house and you get an idea of what our lives are like. From climbing on the roof to crawling under the house, we have done things we never dreamed we would have to do. Call us crazy...everyone else already has, but our 1846 Texas homestead renovation is a labor of love that is already paying off!

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    Master Bathroom Barnyard Accent Wall

    Vision I am 53 years old and I need to go to the eye doctor.  It used to be that I had trouble with distance vision.  Now, I can’t see at a distance.  I can’t see up close, and I benefit from lenses that help me see at the mid-range distance.  It is an enormously frustrating part of getting older. Unfortunately, I can see well enough to know that there are huge stacks of lumber in our backyard.  I can clearly see that the mess is horrendous.  And I can see all of the possibilities and those endless possibilities prohibit me from burning everything in one big pile. 20/20 Vision…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    Turning Trash and Scraps into a Keepsake

    I May Hurt Someone’s Feelings Someone, probably someone in my family, gave me the picture frame above.  It had a white background and the cute little wire with clips you see above.  I opened it up and placed photos in it several times.  I knew that there should be a theme…there were four clips, we have four children.  Baby pictures?  Didn’t resonate.  And then I thought, “well, how about pictures of a specific location, like a family home that isn’t there any more?”  I didn’t have four pictures of any of the houses that were no longer standing. I was at a loss, but, like so many times before, I…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation,  The Art of Beautiful Living

    The Most Interesting Room in the World…Seriously

    I have a friend in Virginia who painted her laundry room a bright orange color that she loves in order to inspire her to keep up with the most thankless household chore.  This is our 29th house in our almost 34 years of marriage.  I have had laundry rooms that were windowless, located behind bi-fold doors in a hallway, in a dark and cold basement, and even out in a detached garage space.  I have had to go upstairs, downstairs, and outside to wash clothes.  When we lived in an apartment right after we got married, I even got to go to a laundromat located inside the complex. I guess…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation,  In the Garden,  Let's Eat,  The Art of Beautiful Living

    1st World Problems at the Homestead

      Ha!  It makes me laugh when my “worlds” collide.  Back in Virginia, I kinda got on a subsistence life-style kick.  I learned how to make wine, can vegetables from our garden.  We even had goats so I could milk them and make cheese.  It was fun and it was a lot of work.  I loved the forced routine.  When it was time to milk the goats…it was TIME.  When the vegetables needed picking, we were out gathering.  I loved the routine and the order it brought to my life.  I had things that absolutely had to be done and it was fun to pretend that there weren’t grocery stores. …

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    A Coat Rack for the Mudroom

    Nowhere to Hide Anything People come into a farmhouse with muddy shoes or with jackets…it is unavoidable.  We purposely built a mudroom so that all that mess could be dumped by the door.  Heck, the washer and dryer are only a few steps past this room in case things are really bad.  Up until this week, the mudroom has been a full on storage closet.  We stored all of the old doors (to include the red screen doors from the old house) here, while they patiently await their turn to be useful again.  We dumped tools, shoes, ladders…you name it here.  There is even a 10’X10′ tent stored in here.…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    A Home for Nana’s Rolling Pin Collection

    My Grandmother, Carrie Jean Ferguson My Nana was a collector.  She collected family history, friends, flower seeds, and rolling pins.  The rolling pin thing stemmed from her love of family and family history.  The pins that she collected belonged to family members.  I think that nobody wanted rolling pins when they were breaking up a home after someone died.  I mean, they are just rolling pins after all.  I never asked her why she asked for rolling pins, but knowing Nana, I am willing to bet that it was because of their lack of value and importance. The rolling pins she collected seem very valuable to me because they are…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    Black Walnut Kitchen Shelves

    What do weather, history, and being a pack rat have in common?  Evidently, my kitchen.  It didn’t really start out that way.  I mean, when the tornado hit, my first thought wasn’t “kitchen shelves!”.  However, when you get lemons, you do better when you start at least thinking about making lemonade.  This week, we made lemonade from seven year old lemons.  Let me explain.  The lemons are really 2″ thick black walnut planks that we made into kitchen shelves after hauling the wood around for seven years.  Sometimes lemonade takes a while… The Kitchen Design We designed the kitchen to have open shelving on either side of the range.  Ronny…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    A Mantle for the Fireplace

    Good Things Come to Those Who Wait (or Procrastinate) The fireplace in the addition was completed in January of 2019.  We thought that the fireplaces (we have three total) would be finished in late summer/early fall, but that didn’t happen.  The stone mason who we had spoken with had some health issues and some family issues as well (he worked with his brothers).  When it was all said and done, we had to call another stone mason and that pushed back the fireplace in the addition to a January project.  At that point, we were busy finishing up all sort of little tasks and then moving in.  The mantle was…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    A Little Dinner Party with Strangers

    A Plan Was Concocted I am a member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Ft. Graham Chapter.  I am a proud member, not because I’m proud to have the membership, but because is a lovely way to honor the countless people who came before us.  If you are interested in membership, please contact me and I will help you in any way that I can.  It is a sweet group of ladies who log in community service hours, fund scholarships for local students, and generally try to keep history alive.  Yesterday was our Christmas Tea and we had a guest speaker, Denise Bennett.  Denise assumes the identity…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    Bigger is Better, Right?

    All About Scale Long before we took on this house renovation/building project, Jerry and I looked at spaces and discussed what we loved and didn’t love about them.  Consistently, scale was something that always made an impression on us.  This could be due to the years we spent in tiny military housing or perhaps it stemmed from visits to castles and cathedrals in Europe.  We were drawn to the open spaces, soaring ceilings, the grandness of what happens when something is, well…grand.  Jerry and I aren’t grand people as anyone who knows us will confirm.  We don’t live in a cathedral or castle, but we do live in Texas and…