my newest client ::

“I can do anything for two years.”  I uttered those words to my husband eight years ago this month when we talked about moving to the one bathroom, two bedroom, almost-100 year old farm house where we currently live.  It’s not that I dislike farm houses, I actually find them quite charming.  When we ran across this property for sale, we could see past the overgrown trees desperately in need of a trim, the chain link fence that encompassed the perimeter of the home with the “Beware of Dog” sign secured to its gate, and even the owl that hung from one of the termite infested barns {upon a closer glance we later found the owl to be plastic, and learned that hanging an owl was a common practice of “country folk” to deter mice …. I’m not convinced that it worked!}.  Our friend / realtor who let us in the front door {early on a Saturday morning, in her sweats, no make-up, and with coffee in hand} said, “Nicole, I’m even too much of a princess to live in this place!”.  The walls were covered in rose floral print paper, and royal blue shag carpet led to the upstairs, which boasted a kelly green carpet in one of the bedrooms ….. and kelly green sponge painting!  {I’ll be sure to post “before” photos another time – they were taken in the days before digital.}  Luckily, both my husband and I are trained to look past what exists in a house and visualize what it could be.

Here’s the irony of the story.  My husband is a custom home builder {owner of L & L Custom Builders, Inc.}, and although he builds beautiful, wonderful quality homes for younger families, he is well known in our area for building amazing, high-end dream homes.  A stained glass, backlit dining room ceiling; copper lined portico over a driveway; indoor, hardwood-floored sports court adjoining a gorgeous new home; a backlit onyx panel above a modern fireplace … he’s incorporated them all in his custom homes.

Willett 10{home by L & L Custom Builders, Inc.}

SONY DSC{home by L & L Custom Builders, Inc.}

So we had a plan … purchase the property, live in the existing home, and build our new home there in two years.  Sounds good, right?  Oh, but we were young and naive!  One thing that was a must is that the house needed to be remodeled to the extent that it was livable for a few years.  The process began …. new flooring, new cabinetry {the old cabinets literally crumbled as my husband took them out the door}, new carpet, but all with the mindset that it was temporary.  We didn’t invest in what we really wanted in our home because we knew {or thought} that it would only be used for a few years.  So rather than the cabinetry that I had my eye on, I found some that “would do” in the section of our cabinet store that housed cabinetry that had a little defect or damage …. ours just happened to have been misordered for a new construction job in a nearby city, and there were enough “mistakes” to outfit our whole kitchen.

But during all of our mini-remodeling projects, we learned more about the home and discovered its charming character!  We learned stories of how a tree fell through the kitchen ceiling of the home during a massive snowstorm the year we were married, we met an 80+ year old man who stopped by the summer before last when we were in the garden and shared that he was born in the kitchen and lived in the home as a child, and a few years back I invited the previous owner and many of her friends over for Christmas Tea and sat back to listen as they recalled so many memories they had of the “farm”.

So that brings me to today … and the title of this post, “my newest client”.  After 8 years of “temporary” living, I’ve decided to embrace my cozy farm house and go through it room by room to help it fulfill its intended potential.  Yes, it’s small and you have to close the dishwasher in order to walk through the door that leads to the bathroom {a new addition when we moved in – I asked the prior owner how washed all of the dishes in the 30+ years she lived there.  With a smile, she replied “I had two children”}.  No, it doesn’t have great closet space {this was a luxury in the early 1900’s when the home was built}, but it is so full of history and stories.  So my newest client has a special request … create a stylish, yet comfortable space in which family and friends can create special memories to last their lifetimes.  Easy, right?

I would love to have you join me on this little journey, and hear your opinions as I undertake this task.  I promise to post more photos through the process {I need to get all of my old photos of our early days in the farm house scanned in so they are more computer-friendly}, and will give tips and techniques for recreating your space!  So enjoy as I begin one of my biggest projects …. making a farm house a farm home!


5 thoughts on “my newest client ::

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