Wednesday, September 30, 2015

House Hunters: You Could Be The One

Life has been a little nutty. On a daily basis I have been fielding phone calls from my realtor here, the relocation company, a finance company associated with the relocation company, two different bosses and 24 stores as I haven't fully transitioned from one to another. I am traveling each day to hand over my area to two different people that are splitting it, saying goodbye to coworkers and friends all while trying to keep this house immaculate, plan a meeting I am cohosting in Atlanta all next week, keep up with the shop which has been extremely busy (holla!) and be ready to move to Nashville two days after I return from Atlanta.
I feel like my head is going to explode most days by dinnertime and I cannot afford the mess it would create in this house that we need to sell. ;)

Never mind figuring out where we are going to live in Tennessee. People ask me everyday, "Have you found a house yet?" The answer is NO. We don't even know where we want to live because we were only in Nashville for a hot second and have no idea what most of these towns even look like. I just know we want acreage and a home that oozes character and charm that I can make amazing. Oh, and schools need to be good. All easier said than done. It's like I am searching for a Holy Grailesque trifecta. I have actually barely been on because I just cannot right now.  

However, a few weeks ago I found this house and send the info to our real estate agent in TN who said that this amazing property is already under contract. Grrr. Knowing that these things can "fall through" I am sending out all the vibes to the universe so that the current contract does indeed fall apart so I can have this house. Since that may come off as selfish and "not nice", let's just say that I hope the potential buyers find something better for themselves. Because I want this one. (insert shit eating grin emoji here)

This one is perfect y'all.

This early 1900's farmhouse sits on about 5 1/2 acres and has been fully renovated. It's about 40 miles south of Franklin and about 40 miles from where I would set up my office. While that may seem kind of far, it keeps me in a good proximity to Alabama where I will be frequently working. It also means not all of Alabama would need to be overnight stays when I travel there and I am totally good with that.
Can we all just stare in awe at the quintessential perfect farmhouse it is on the exterior? Then buckle up your seatbelts people because you haven't seen anything yet.

This porch is just begging for cocktails and morning coffee. If they occur at the same time please don't judge.

This entryway! This entryway!

My mother suggested that you could paint this wood white and I nearly fainted. No way, no how. This is stunning and I recently found and purchased the most perfect coat rack and art work to hang in this foyer.
It's all about priorities people.
Now I just need the house.

There are fireplaces in almost every common room downstairs and the wall color seems almost identical to the main color in our current home.
I don't know that I would even need to paint this and after all the prep work we did getting our house ready to sell that would be a welcome respite.

Those moldings! And the floors are gorgeous and I love all the natural light.

I think this room is my favorite.

 Look at all the trim work! And windows!

I actually think I would make this room the dining room for obvious reasons.
Who would not want to dine in this room?
And let's not even get started on how amazing a Christmas tree will look in here.
This house at Christmas? I am beside myself and giddy at the thought of it.

I'm 100% ok with the kitchen. I think that it could work nicely for me. Sad it doesn't appear to be a gas range but if that compromise needs to be made then so be it.
See how flexible I can be?

All these French doors have me swooning big time.
This, this is exactly what my dreams are made of. I die, I really do.

Let's all say a quick, selfish prayer me that I can see it in person when I get down there. The town it is in is really tiny. So tiny in fact that my daughter would have to go to school in a neighboring town but the schools there seem to rate pretty well. However, if it takes me an hour to get to the closest Target that could be a little worrisome. While we are ready to leave the hustle and bustle here, we have known no other life and are not blind to the fact that going very rural may feel like too much of a culture shock and not be right for us in the long run. Let's just stay optimistic that this one is not too far off the beaten path.
And the price? We'll just say that it is so good that my dinnerware obsession is in no danger of being compromised and I should easily be able to fit all the things in this place.
Can I get a hallelujah?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dreams Really Do Come True

They do.
They really, really do.

After spending the past couple of years pining for a place I frankly didn't know a ton about and then talking about it and sharing our dreams with you guys here, here, here and here. Oh yes, and here  too! The opportunity for us to make our dreams a reality has arrived. In a crazy twist of fate, (but not really because everything happens for a reason) I was offered the opportunity to relocate with my job to the state I have long been dreaming about:
We will be moving to the Nashville area. We had never been that far west and always assumed our journey would lead us to the eastern part of the state (mainly the Knoxville area). But God had another plan (and as usual, his is always better) and so we took a quick trip out there to ensure that this would be right for our family.  To say that Nashville exceeded our expectations might be the understatement of the year. It was better than we could have imagined and while Nashville wasn't in our immediate thoughts, it just makes darn good sense that it would be where we settle.
Now our pretty, little red house that I once thought would be our forever home is on the market and I am leaving the first weekend in October to start working out there. My husband and daughter are  staying here until the house sells, my son has an interview this Friday for a job transfer out there himself (fingers crossed!) and if he gets it he will come with me so he can begin working too. It's going to be a little nutty having our family split in half and living halfway across the country from each other, but since we are not sure of exactly where we want to live, I view it as a blessing. I will be able to really explore and head up the house hunt without needing to feel desperate or pressured into buying something. And because we are not getting any younger, we would like this new house to be our forever home. If we end up needing to rent while we figure it all out, so be it. In the end we will be in the right place. Of that I am sure.
So I am now shamelessly accepting all prayers and good vibes for a quick sale of our house so that we don't have to spend too much time apart. I also found an unbelievably gorgeous remodeled farmhouse on over 5 acres that we have fallen in love with. Unfortunately, it's under contract. So if you want to slide a prayer or two in there that it falls through, I would be grateful! As a thank you I will share this stunning home with you all tomorrow. :)

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in the common hours."
~Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, September 3, 2015

House Hunters: Seeing All The Potential

You guys.
I stumbled across this house on and I have to say, I am smitten.
At first glance I thought "Meh, kind of weird house" but I have found myself coming back to this listing again and again. There is something about the layout and quirks of this home that have me feeling like I could really, really make this place a showstopper.

First, the facts.
Located 60 miles southeast of Nashville this farmhouse that more readily resembles a converted barn is located in a town called Wartrace. It was named for an Indian trail that passed through the area and had a whopping 651 residents at the 2010 census. That is exactly 90,599 less people than live in our current town. Talk about a change of lifestyle.
Built in 1985 and situated on almost 8 1/2 acres, this home boasts 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and over 4000 square feet. Bigger than what we were thinking we want/need, there is something about this house that I can't shake. Let's take a look:

I love the open concept of the main living space. It seems a little dark, but with some great overhead lighting and furniture placement, this space could be pretty sharp. Besides, those little narrow windows on the front facade could someday be replaced for larger ones. The exposed beams, the staircase and the flooring all get a thumbs up.

Let's talk about this kitchen for a second since it is one of the most important parts of the house in my opinion. This kitchen immediately makes me think more about Mexican cantinas than a farmhouse and tile countertops are definitely not my jam. The glass doors on the upper cabinets look a little crazy for me too but new glass panels could always be installed. What I love is the brick and the wood beam that runs along the cabinet wall. I don't love that it is an electric stove, but who knows, maybe someday that could be upgraded to gas. Speaking of upgrades, I think that white cabinets, a new solid surface countertop, new overhead lighting, a farmhouse sink and even reclaimed wood shelving instead of upper cabinets combined with all that brick could make this kitchen absolutely gorgeous. We did our own little kitchen upgrade a few years ago and the thought of it doesn't scare me. There's loads of potential here people and some of those things would be easier to add than all that brick work.

This room looks like it is off the kitchen and when I look at it I immediately see a long farmhouse table with a rustic pendant hanging over it. This could be a dreamy place to dine and maybe even have an intimate seating area in. Again, possibilities could be endless.

Head up to the second floor and then there is this.
Of course the carpet would have to go, but look at that ceiling! Those windows! There is also a balcony through those French doors. 
This would be where we would put our tv, sectional and make it our family room/den. But wait! Turn around and take a look....

I admit that at first I was like, huh? But now my heart skips a beat when I look at this. Those bookshelves up on that little loft would make the most ideal little library! Maybe there is even space up there to fit a chair. My emerald green leather wingback with a little side wheels are already turning! For a woman who owns over 400 cookbooks alone, this is like a dream come true. 
But wait!
There's more!

Behind those bookshelves is a room. Master bedroom? Office? Guest room? Again, the rug would go but I am loving that ceiling and large window. P-O-S-S-I-B-I-L-I-T-I-E-S

The backyard situation is not too shabby - that's a saltwater pool.

View from the balcony on the 2nd floor and looking at the house from the property.
I think we can agree the lot/land is stunning.

On the plus side:
1. There is a two car detached garage
2. Great amount of land/property
3. A pool is not on our list of "must haves" and a saltwater version gets a thumbs up for being less costly to maintain and a more natural/healthy way to enjoy a pool
4. Although I would want to change some aesthetics of the house, there is nothing that would have to be ripped up/changed  immediately (except maybe those carpets)
5. A great size with quirks to play up to, I am totally digging this house

The negatives:
1. The house is an hour away from both Nashville and Franklin. The Franklin thing matters more. I really, really like Franklin and while I don't necessarily need to live there I would like to be close enough to get in and out when I want to. Plus, my daughter already loves Franklin too and I think my son (who hasn't been to Nashville yet) will feel the same. It would be nice to be close enough for them to work/hang out there if they wanted.
2. It is at the top end of our budget. It has been on the market for a little bit and it doesn't seem like they have budged on the price at all. With the things I would eventually want to upgrade/change it could be tight with the current asking price. Will I be happy with a Mexican Cantina kitchen for the next 10 years if I can't change it? Hmmm....
3. We have not been to Wartrace yet because are doing 99% of this search remotely right now. Will we even like it there?

What do you think? Too funky or enough funk to make it just right?

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Impromptu Gathering

It was about 5pm a few Saturdays back when my sister in law called to ask what we were doing that evening. Even though we were knee deep in painting the downstairs bathroom and none of us had showered that day, my answer was "Nothing, why?" She said she had a bunch of steaks for the grill so why don't we come over for dinner and hang out?
I had run to the fish market earlier that day and bought mako steaks so I offered them up so it would be a surf and turf style meal and told her we would be there in an hour. We grabbed a chilled bottle of wine as we ran out the door, stopped and bought some ice cold beer along the way and within an hour we were relaxing on their deck watching my nieces roll around the lush, green grass.

this my friends, is the life

The sunset was spectacular,  the company even better and I knew that all the planning in the world could not have turned out a better Saturday night. 

I love spur of the moment gatherings. Forgoing all the planning, cleaning and perfecting (since I am still somewhat a total Type A, although I am admittedly becoming more of a free bird in my old age) makes for a more enjoyable event. Something that is so organic and real. And fun most of all.
Earlier this summer Charlie and I were talking about how difficult it sometimes is to get together with the people we care for the most. Everyone is always so busy that sometimes we are making plans a month in advance and by the time the date actually rolls around with so much "life" happening in between, who even knows if you will really still feel like getting together?  
I can't help but wish life was a bit more sporadic so when you pick up the phone last minute and say "Hey, what are you guys doing tonight?" the answer will be "Nothing, why?"
It seems like that is when the magic really happens.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

House Hunters: The Perfect Home For Me

It's been a while since I did a House Hunters post although I have been spending 99% of my free time searching online for homes these days. Our search has taken us father west then we ever thought we would go, but life is funny like that sometimes. And yes, we are still looking in Tennessee. That state has my heart. I'm pretty sure it's settled into my soul as well. 
As I comb through listing after listing I sometimes worry that finding the right house is not going to be as easy as I thought. I'm also scared that I may find my dream home but that it might be in the wrong location. This has actually already happened to us. Sigh.
Instead of sharing listings that are sort of right, I decided to show you a home that is exactly what I want, with an ideal piece of property in an area we really want to live in. 
Built in 1907, this historic gem is located in the quaint town of College Grove not too far from the infamous and swoon worthy Franklin, Tennessee. It sits on just over 5 acres and even has the first letter of our last name on the front door. Coincidence? Maybe not...

 Perfect view from the front porch

 Adorable outer buildings

 And a barn!

 And flat land to grow food!

Let's look inside:
 Simple but perfect.

 With a cookbook collection numbering over 400 titles, ample book storage is definitely a perk.

 This kitchen. Oh, this kitchen.

 Yes and yes.

 And another shot because the kitchen is just so good.

 Again, simple and perfect.

 Got to be honest, I don't mind the wallpaper. Would probably change it but it does not offend or bother me in any way.

 Simple is the theme here and it is just so, so right for this house.

This is what I love. This is what I want. 
This is also about $100k over our budget. Insert wailing emoji {here}.

It is roughly the same size as our house now which is just right for our family of four. It is in Williamson County which has top notch schools in towns where you can also have acreage. A perfect scenario for us. While we are all in love with it, we cannot even dream of trying to stretch this high. We want to move in order to have less overhead, not more. Being foolish defeats the purpose of our move.
It's just hard to see things like this and then look at some of what is in our budget and one of two things seem to happen. 1. The house is amazing but the land is not. 2. The land is great but the house is not. It's really frustrating.
On the up side, every time I get up from the computer after a long session and wander through our house I am taken aback by how beautiful and perfect it is. And while it wasn't beautiful or perfect 10 years ago when we bought it, we made it this way. 
Unfortunately, we just haven't found anything we want to put that same energy into again and I am not willing to settle for a house I am not in love with no matter how great the land is.
Maybe if we hold out long enough they will drop the price? Here's to wishful thinking!

*I created a House Hunters board on Pinterest of listings that appeal to us. You can check it out here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

B Is For Bourbon

(wasn't I cute?)

When I was say, 7 or 8 years old I caught a nasty virus that had me bed ridden for days. My father felt bad for me and surprised me one night when he came home from work with the Annie soundtrack  from the Broadway play (on vinyl ~ holla!) to cheer me up. I listened to that album on repeat until I am sure my mother was lamenting her "Hard Knock Life" and dreaming about "Tomorrow"  when I would hopefully tire of it and stop playing it. Unfortunately for her, once I was back on my feet I not only incessantly played the album but began to use the hearth of our fireplace as my "stage" where I would reenact the entire show. Again and again and again and again.
THEN the movie came out in 1982 with Carol Burnett (game changer!) bringing the whole thing to life and renewing my obsession with that spunky little redhead. I saw it in the movies and when the betamax tape came out (showing my age here) I naturally watched it on repeat. One of the scenes long burned into my memory was of Miss Hannigan and her bathtub gin. When she sank into the whole tub of it? Hilarious! Although truthfully, I may not have fully understood what was really going on, but her garbled drunken mannerisms were definitely funny to a young kid.
As an adult I came to understand what was up with gin and why Miss Hannigan would immerse herself in a tub of the stuff. It's like the nectar of the Gods. Seriously. Smooth, refreshing; to be honest I have often thought I could be quite content soaking in a tub the stuff myself. It's that good. With a generous splash of tonic, it has long been my go to drink. Add a hefty squeeze of lime juice and one to garnish the glass and it just screams "Summer!"
I am sure you are thinking "Why is she going on and on waxing poetic about gin when I thought this blogpost was going to be about bourbon?" Well, I am just getting to that part.
While gin and tonic has always been my summer drink, bourbon (ah, here we go!) and whiskey have been my favorite fall/winter liquors for the past couple of years. I have shared about my love for the old fashioned before, and this summer's fresh produce has me rethinking my seasonal drinking habits. Slowly sipping this powerful drink is pleasurable enough, but the liquor soaked fruit in the bottom of your glass is equivalent to the prize at the bottom of the cereal box. With each bowl you eat, the anticipation of getting to that trinket builds and builds. Same thing with the old fashioned. Each sip you take gets you closer to that fruit patiently waiting at the bottom. 
When I found myself grabbing the bourbon off the bar again in order to whip up these delicious Peach Old Fashioned's I started thinking that maybe the old days of gin and tonic are doomed to obscurity like betamax and vinyl. And my old hearth dancing days.

Summer Peach Old Fashioned

Muddle a few peeled and pitted peach slices (be generous), two maraschino cherries (the more the merrier), two dashes of Angostura bitters and one scant teaspoon of sugar in the bottom of a small rocks glass. Add ice then top with 2oz. of good bourbon. Give it a gentle stir. Add a few small peach slices to the top for garnish and because they will just sink to the bottom and marinate in all the goodness.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Weekend in the Hudson River Valley

Every summer our family gathers for a weekend at my brother Tom and his wife Stacey's beautiful farmhouse in the Hudson River Valley of New York. Nestled in a bucolic country setting, their home was originally the barn of an estate and was converted to a home in the 1940's. As you can expect, it exudes charm and character; from the crown molding and chair rail to the stone hitching post and water trough by the front door. 
The quiet is a welcome respite from our busy suburban lives. The serenity of their rolling acre of lush, green grass and the shimmering, crystal clear pool definitely soothes the soul. I look forward to it all year long because it's a weekend spent unwinding, relaxing and catching up with the ones we treasure most. That, to me, is worth more than any fancy, five star getaway.