Category Archives: The Farmhouse

New Deck Aftermath

Back Deck Before and After from Farmhouse38How’s about we call this a ‘soft after’.  I can’t truly call the deck finished until I’ve decorated the living daylights out of it.  But I figured I’d go ahead and share the befores and afters of the structure itself.  Keep in mind that there are still a lot of loose ends: endless debris clean-up, touch-up painting, trampled garden resuscitation, molested sprinkler line repair, etc, etc, etc.

Remember the sad white dog who lost her deck?

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

So, so sad.

She’s okay with it now:

New Deck at Farmhouse38

So, so happeeeee.

A look at the deck profile:

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38


New Deck at Farmhouse38

After. We’re still missing some custom lattice work that will cover the guts of the stairs, as well as the whole lower wall on this side.  Don’t need anyone falling off the stairs onto the lower patio.  I am living proof that this is possible. Oh, and the white dog is MIA because she had squirrels to chase during this shot.  Dog priorities.

New Deck at Farmhouse38

She’s back now. A nice close-up of the hardware-cloth (chicken wire) railing panels.

New Deck at Farmhouse38

A shot looking west across the new deck. We’ve promised our neighbors we’re hanging outdoor privacy curtains along the west ‘wall’. It’s a little awkward to make eye-contact with them through their bathroom window.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

Remember this ‘before’ shot of the yard (taken before we actually owned the house five years ago)?

Here’s two images that show that same view now:

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

You can see that same lovely grapefruit tree, and make out my car parked where the 2400 cinderblocks that came with the house used to be.  This is also a great example of why we chose to do the chicken wire railing panels–they still allow a nice view of the yard.

New Back Deck at Farmhouse38

The west end of that same view. You can see how nicely the crepe myrtle trees we planted have helped to block the neighbors to the rear.

New Back Deck Pergola from Farmhouse38

The pergola was an absolute must. One day it will be totally covered in vines just like the one on the front deck, which will keep the south (and most brutally hot) wall of the house nice and shaded in the summer.

New Back Deck at Farmhouse38

Another view of the whole new structure.  The square footage went from about 140 sq ft to over 300.  In Southern California, this counts as a whole new room.  Imagine breezy curtains, twinkly lights, an enormous outdoor dining table, and a brand new grill.  And cocktails….lots of cocktails.

One last little detail:

New Deck from Farmhouse38

Had to do it. Yes, that is carved into the top of the new decking.  I’m not sorry.

Now onto the fun part: decorating.  It may be awhile, though, because…..guess what?  We broke.

A Fond Farewell to the Deck of Death

Back Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38I am emotionally scarred by distinctly remember when we walked through our house for the very first time (before we even had any remote interest in buying this hot mess), the Texan and I stepped out onto its rickety old deck.  After the requisite brief moment of panic that it was about to collapse under us, we were able to somehow, through our mortal terror, imagine that it could be a pretty sweet spot if you weren’t busy worrying for your life.  Some might even venture so far as to say that the vision of what that back deck could be was the very thing that sold us on the house.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

This was the scene that we saw on that fateful first walk-thru….charming, isn’t it?

That was five years ago.  We have trudged through all the other, more important, renovations, and the deck has sat at the bottom of the list, collecting cobwebs and dropping mystery screws all the while.  We would stare forlornly out at it from the safety of our house.  We would forbid the dogs from walking on it (because there was nothing more terrifying than seeing the way that thing shook and swayed from just one dog ambling across it).  We would scream “NOOOOO!” in true horror film fashion when an unsuspecting guest would let themselves out onto it.  I have become truly gifted at photographing around it so that it never really showed up in my blog posts.  It has been our dirty little secret.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

I was hoping, through this photo, to be able to convey the spectacular sagging slope of what should be a flat deck.  This photo doesn’t do it any justice.  It was seriously slanted.

Deck Remodel from Farmhouse38

Despite our best efforts, this truly was the dogs’ favorite sunning spot.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

I will, however, miss the weathered, beaten decking–it moonlighted as a background to my photographs frequently.  Never fear–all that scrap wood will be put to good use.  Never.  You.  Fear.

We always knew we would get to it eventually, but we just never really knew when.  Then suddenly, about a month ago, from out of nowhere, the stars aligned.  We pulled the trigger.  I still can hardly believe it.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

Millie and Eloise join me as I stare, overwhelmed, at the lumber that I have to sand, paint, and stain for the rest of my life.  The tears are happy tears.  I swear.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

My view every single day for a month. You like my work boots?

Deck Remodel from Farmhouse38

Chance stays cool as he helps me paint (by soaking up paint dribbles).

Deck Remodel from Farmhouse38

The Texan single-handedly demo-ed the deck.  I have never seen such enthusiasm; he was up there hopping around, tearing things apart like a deranged orangutan. And laughing. There was a lot of really disturbing laughing.

When the white dog came around the corner and discovered that her beloved deck was gone, she was sad….so, so sad….

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

So sad.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

Chance hides in the plants to avoid doing any actual work.

Deck Remodel from Farmhouse38

The white dog anchors the dirt pile for us.  You know….in case of a freak windstorm.

The morning after demo, this was my view out the kitchen screen door:

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

What’s more dangerous than a wobbly deck? No deck. Sketchy.  Even Millie-bird is concerned.

Fortunately, the new deck started going up immediately.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

The inaugural piece of white header board goes up.  Dang, I really need to paint the trim on those downstairs doors and windows so they match the upstairs….the old deck was such an eyesore that it distracted from my procrastination.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

Abbie and Chance test the new concrete stair landing for dryness.  It was dry.  No dog (or chicken) tracks in this pad, despite their best efforts.

Deck Remodel from Farmhouse38

The main posts go in. Did I mention that the new deck is going to have a pergola over it just like the front deck? Thus the mega-tall posts.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

Millie and Chance take a break in the shade.

Deck Remodel from Farmhouse38

The end of the first build day.

My view from the kitchen screen door the next morning:

Deck Remodel from Farmhouse38

A little better….but still sketchy.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

By the end of work day two-ish, we had decking down….I would have to walk a little further than the kitchen door to plummet to my death.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

The pergola structure goes up….this was terrifying to watch, I’m not going to lie. Those beams were not light. Not even remotely.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

Once the decking was up, the dogs were strictly forbidden from being on it until we had railings. A certain yellow dog lives by his own rules, apparently.

Deck Remodel at Farmhosue38

The Texan and the white dog survey the scene.  You can see where our ‘no dogs on the deck until there is railing’ policy probably went wrong.

It probably goes without saying….but, despite what it seems in these photos, when the actual demo and construction was going on, our animals were all locked safely out of harm’s way.  Please don’t let your pets stand under you when you are demo-ing your deck.  Also–learn from my mistakes….don’t wear flip-flops in a construction zone.  Trust me.

Also, though we did a large portion of the work ourselves, we did it under the guidance of a licensed contractor (and dear friend–THANK YOU does not cut it to him and to his family for all their help–YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!  You are the very best!).  Thank yous also go out to our neighbors, who came to assist with the myriad heavy lifting and painting, and who put up with a lot of racket for several weeks.  It truly takes a village (says the village idiot).

For now, this is all I’m going to show so that I can do a grand reveal (soon!) of the finished deck.  Is it finished?  As of this morning, I have about a dozen screw holes to patch, sand, and paint, and then, YES–the deck is finished.

The Deck of Death is finally the Deck of Destiny.  True story.

Close-Enough-to-Finished Master Bedroom Makeover

After of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38Well, it’s finally pretty darn done.  I can barely believe it.

Let’s do the before and after tour, shall we?

Before Shot of Master Bedroom from Farmhouse38

Master entry hallway, before.

Master Bedroom After Makeover from Farmhouse38

Entry hallway, after. Closet curtains are still there….the closet deserves its very own makeover post when our bank account recovers from this one.

Hallway Frame Wall from Farmhouse38

A close-up of our hallway photo wall. It is my intention to fill this whole wall, but all things in due time!

Before Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

Remember this? The main bedroom, before.

After of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

The main bedroom, after. Love that plank feature wall. Love it.

After of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

A great shot of the ‘starfish wall’ (tutorial coming soon!).

Before Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

The opposite wall, before.

After of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

The opposite wall, after. Those collage photo frames? I was never really in love with them. But I had to use them somehow! See how I hacked them into this ‘stained-glass window’ wall decor in an upcoming tutorial post.

Before Shots of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

Remember this before?….the all-important dog bed and cluttered nightstand.

After of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

Same view, after. It wouldn’t be fair if Chance didn’t get a dog bed makeover, now would it? Those are the same ole Ikea Hemnes nightstands, with a bit of a color and distressed-finish upgrade.

DIY Weathered Wood Headboard from Farmhouse38

Here’s a good shot of our DIY weathered wood headboard (tutorial coming soon!). It’s nice to have an actual headboard….such grown-ups, we are!

Master Bedroom Nightstand Vignette from Farmhouse38

Here’s a little close up of the vignette on my nightstand. I heart pink peonies in a blue mason jar. I just heart them.

Before Shot of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

Remember how the wall opposite the bed looked before? Abbie does.

After Shot of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

After. It’s amazing what a little bold color and crisp white trim will do to a wall, eh?  Although, it feels like something is missing….

After of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

Ah. There we go.  Now we can move on.

After Shot of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

Tree branches: no master bedroom is complete without.

After Shot of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

The french door leading out onto what will soon be a lovely pergola-covered back deck. Right now, it is the deck of death; old and rickety and consummately terrifying.  We don’t go out there.  We don’t look at it.  We don’t even speak of it.

Before Shots of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

Before: the view back down the hall towards the living room–aka, the escape route.

After of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

Alas, the unfinished closets still require our attention, as does the attic hatch in the ceiling. Such is why this post is called ‘Close-Enough-to-Finished’. Close enough, it’s close enough.

That’s about the gist of it!

A few random notes here:  after doing our master bathroom makeover, and slapping that dark, dark, dark grey on the walls in such a small space, I arrived at two decisions.  The first is that I love dark walls with white trim–I adore the contrastiness of it (I like to make up words).  The second is that since the master bedroom is also a small and innately dark room, we should just own it and go dark on the walls there, too.  If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.  Of course, we tempered the darkness a bit by making the plank wall, as well as a lot of the linens, white.  That always helps.  So do pops of cheerful color.  I think part of the reason I drug my feet on this room for so long was that the voices in my head were at odds with each other over painting the walls some light, gentle color (as logic would dictate you do in a small, dark room).

We were also on the fence about whether we wanted to swap out the existing blue glass pendants for something else.  And when I say ‘we’, well, you probably know what I mean.  Functionally, the pendants are completely awesome–it is brilliant to not have a lamp to knock over on the nightstand (I may or may not flail my arms when I am asleep).  I personally love them, but I’m not 100% sure that they are 100% what I am looking for in those spots.  But do I ever need to be 100% sure about any design choice?  Nope.  I’d say pulling the decision trigger at a respectable 85% is fine.  So the pendants stay; I like the color, I like the transparency (they do, after all, hang in front of those windows), and I like the price tag (ie: already bought).  Works for me!

It is abundantly satisfying to be sleeping in a ‘finished’ room.  The bare drywall edged windows, primed walls, and mish-mashed furniture were great and all, but….change is good.

After of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

The Start of the Finish of the Master Bedroom

Original Master Bedroom of Farmhouse38

For those of you who have been keeping tabs on us, you know we’ve been through a pretty serious top to bottom renovation of our 105-year-old house.  After five years of of these shenanigans, we have finally gotten to the master bedroom, and as we put the finishing touches on it, I thought I would regale you with a series of ‘before’ shots to really get you in the mood.

The photo above shows the original master bedroom of the house when we bought it….I didn’t take many photos because we ripped into that part of the house so fast the ink was hardly dry on our escrow papers.  This isn’t a totally fair ‘before’ shot, either; you see, we didn’t even make this the master, or even a bedroom.  But you can see the master bath there, leering at you from the right-hand door….that awful, awful bathroom–we let that stay where it was, but did some pretty major tweaking to it (see that makeover here).  We chose to put the actual bedroom on the other side of the bathroom, in a room that was….well, we don’t even know what it was.  And strangely, I took no photos of it until we started ripping down ‘walls’ (I use quotes because what we found was that most of the walls in this house were actually 1×12 boards nailed up and covered with wallpaper.  The structure of the house defied physics and basic common sense).

Before Shots of Master Bedroom from Farmhouse38

As you can see, we started a touch of demo when I snapped this picture.

Here’s a photo of the original master bedroom once we had started our gleeful destruction:

Before Shot of Master Bedroom from Farmhouse38

Here, you can see where we are opening up the hallway that will lead to the new master bedroom.  You can also see the shards of ‘wall’ that are coming down.  Good times.

So eventually, we got some legitimate structural walls put up, you know….since this is a house with a roof and all, and arrived at a master bedroom that was finished but not finished.  You feel me?

For five years, the master has looked like this:

During Shot of Master Bedroom from Farmhouse38

The entrance hallway: to the immediate right is the master bath, and to the left is a series of curtained closets. Curtained closets are for people who can’t afford closet doors.

During Shot of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

I give you….the bedroom. In all it’s primed-wall, trimless, paintless glory.

During Shot of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

A hodge-podge of cast-off furniture completes a very sophisticated college-dorm look. Dang, this place really needs some black-light posters. The white dog would look pretty epic in black-light.   I digress.

During Shots of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

The all-important dog bed and cluttered nightstand.

During Shots of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

Looking back towards the hallway and closets.

During Shots of Master Bedroom Makeover from Farmhouse38

The escape route back to the living room.

I hate to do this to you, but this is it for now.  I just wanted to set the scene and show you how we’ve been living for the past several years.  The Texan is constantly baffled by my lack of initiative with this room and how I have let it stay like this for so long.  It’s very unlike me.  But I only just found my inspiration….so stay tuned, because the ‘After’ post is coming soon!  I swear.  Really, it is.

The Barmoire

This is not just a tale of re-purposed furniture.  This is the story of how a husky, dysfunctional, 90’s vintage TV cabinet almost ruined, then subsequently saved a marriage.  I’m not saying it’s mine, I’m just saying a marriage….My husband and I have lived through two house renovations, six moves, and countless DIYDS (do-it-your-damned-self) projects.  Yet it was this single, ugly, unfathomably heavy piece of furniture that turned us on each other.

This beast of an armoire sat in my childhood bedroom and housed my very first TV (and sadly, I never got any ‘before’ photos of it), and despite it’s then honey-oak stain and cheesy-country vibe, it was state-of-the-art with a pivoting, telescoping lazy-susan, two (TWO!!) VHS tape-storage drawers, and niches for a VCR and a cable box.  It was no joke.  It moved out of that room with me and into my two college apartments, then back home, and into every.single.subsequent. living arrangement that followed.  Why?  Because I was broke and it was a useful piece of furniture that stored a lot of crap.  When my husband and I moved into our first place together, even he admired the capacity it had for crap-storage.  One could only marvel.  It was at this time when we also acquired our first flat-screen TV, effectively rendering the armoire’s most basic utility completely useless.  So it was that when we moved from there, the debate began: why in the world were we lugging that awful, heavy, awkward thing along with us?  Why, indeed.  I had no answer.  I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it was meant for something bigger than being left on the curb to wallow.

Does anyone else hear angels singing?  Anyone?

So, yes, it continued to move everywhere with us, and with each hoist of it’s massive girth, the Texan grew more vocal in his threats that “This is the last time I’m moving this *$^@#&^ thing!”

Behold the riches….

It finally arrived in the farmhouse and was dumped into one of the downstairs bedrooms for safe-keeping.  Out of sight, out of mind.  The less the Texan saw it, the less likely he was to wax un-poetic about it.  It went through several failed reincarnations: first as craft-storage, then a wardrobe, then finally a linen closet.  But it always handled these occupations awkwardly, and every time I changed it’s job title, it inevitably needed a clothes bar hung in it, or a clothes bar removed from it, or a new coat of paint, or some tweak or another that required it to be moved outside to be worked on, then back inside yet again.  There was a lot of arguing over that thing.  Thankfully, there were always cocktails over that thing, too.  Cocktails have a way of making a stalemate feel like a win for both sides.  But finally, inevitably, we reached armoire-redo super-saturation.  My normally patient husband was fit to be tied, and there was a moment when he crossed his arms and gave me a look and I knew–I knew–my sweet old TV cabinet only had one more move left….and that was going to be to the curb.  And the Texan was going to be very jolly doing it.

Even I had to admit it was time.  But I didn’t have to like it.  There was some brooding that evening.  I brooded into my cocktail over the imminent loss of my armoire, and the Texan brooded into his cocktail over the fact that it was difficult to make said brooding cocktails due to the fact that we had no bar storage.  We had renovated the daylights out of our kitchen and great room and neglected the single most important element: the bar.  We had no bar storage.  That fateful evening, we locked eyes over the rims of our brooding cocktails and a mutual light bulb (albeit a very dim one) went off.  The solution to all of our marital problems had been staring us in the face with every disorganized cocktail we had made in the entire history of our relationship.  And there had been a lot of them.

My ungainly TV cabinet, with a few updates, would be, for ever more, The Barmoire.  Most importantly, we added three storage shelves to the vast interior of the TV section.  The lazy-susan remained, but actually became useful with the addition of a cutting board that can be pulled in and out for cocktail prep.  The interior sides of the doors were converted to pin-boards covered with cute, inexpensive dishtowels.  I gave the exterior it’s 98th, 99th, and 100th coats of paint, in the form of a weathered, chippy layered mint green.  The updates were short and sweet, and soon, the only thing left was to stock the thing to its gills.  Which we did, because we feel that it’s best to be prepared.  You just never know when you are going to need a brooding cocktail.

The Texan and I have been through a lot together.  Not the least of which was the complete renovation of this 100-year-old house.  But when guests show up at our door, and they want to see what we’ve done with the place, the tour inevitably begins and ends at the Barmoire with my starry-eyed husband singing its praises.  I have to laugh, but not too loud or I don’t get a cocktail made for me.

The boots are my dad’s from when he was a kid. They have nothing to do with the Barmoire; I just like them. So there they are.

Garage Makeover Reveal

As beautiful as it was in this ‘before’ shot (taken many, many, oh-so-many weeks ago) the garage was due for a complete refresh.  Afterall, I needed an art studio, not an art shanty.

After! All fresh-faced and functional.

The front of the studio (as it shall hence be known) got brand new, properly-functioning carriage-style doors, board and batten siding (to match the house), and some farmy decorative accents.

A little countrified vignette.

Why, yes. Yes, it is.

My grandfather’s rusty old spurs.

Some primitive wreathes that I can decorate as the seasons dictate.

Decorative wire garden edging hung upside-down along the eaves to serve as a trellis.

The west side of the garage before.

The west side of the studio, after.

The garden-side of the studio got two new, functioning windows, complete with bright shutters, as well as new board and batten siding and decorative trellis edging.

More garden-variety decorative wire edging re-purposed as a trellis for the grapevines and morning glory to dominate.

Fresh new snappies and pansies to accent the garden walkway along the studio.

Gotta love that conveniently-named “Farmhouse Red”….my favorite paint color by Behr…. same color as the front door of the Farmhouse.

With the outside finally signed, sealed, and delivered….it’s on to the inside….the Texan thought he was finished with this project….MUHAHAHAHAHA.  Not by a long shot.

Getting Halloweenie at the Farmhouse

Halloween is kind of a big deal in our town.  Every year we have thousands of people that come into town to see the lights and decorations, and well, we gotta keep up!  This year’s theme at the Farmhouse is ghosts, and while the actual ghost part of the decor won’t be unveiled until Halloween (gotta save something for the big night!), the rest of the decorations are up.

My second foray into DIY doormats…. “Boo” seemed a little too obvious, so I went with the evil laugh instead!

Is the cheesecloth drapery too cheesy? Don’t answer that.

Anyone see the creepy ghost in the window? The professional photo-bomber is at it again.

Oh, how I love me some gourds. The uglier, the better.

It’s all fun and games to have pretty decorations during the day, but in this town, you better have something to show for yourself at night:

The nighttime is the righttime.

I am obsessed with purple lights. I wish I could leave them up all year. But then I’d be THAT person….and I am already dancing on a real fine line.

It was hard to get a good photo of our hedge (because I was too lazy to haul out the tripod and expose this right), but suffice it to say, it is full of blinking eyes.

Very Sleepy Hollow….maybe that should have been my theme. I don’t know why I insist on having a theme.

This is an easy little twist on traditional jack-o-lanterns…strings of mini lights (timer and battery operated), wrapped around the pumpkins.

Fairy lights and pumpkins–so pretty!

The sad thing is: all this work and our house completely pales in comparison to what other people do around town….actually, it’s not sad, it’s awesome.

Happy Halloween!

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