Saturday, March 26, 2016

Home Sweet Home

This has been quite the journey.
There are so many words to be said and stories to be told about God's grace, mercy and how when we allow him to direct our steps we end up better off than we ever expected to be. I have known all along that there were reasons for the delays. I knew it and yet I struggled daily with it. Tears, frustration and anxiety; I thought I had this entire relocation planned out and yet was powerless and completely not in control of any of it. I couldn't force our home in NJ to sell no matter how much curb and interior appeal we gave it. Yet, in the time it took to sell my husband was able to transition into a work from home position within the company he has dedicated himself to for the past 10 years.
In my plan, he was coming to TN jobless and we were going to "figure it out". But God's plan is far better than our own. He not only provided a job, but a job that affords him the ability to be home 24/7 since the travel required for my job grew exponentially this year. The comfort of two incomes without the push and pull of who puts their job 2nd place to family needs.
The dream in my heart was to find a farmhouse on multiple acres in Franklin. But it wasn't happening and anything that was available was so far out of our reach price wise it was discouraging. Depressing, really. I knew in my heart that God wouldn't have brought me to Franklin knowing I would fall in love with it and not be able to afford living here. God doesn't play games like that. I never asked the relocation company to move me to Franklin last year when this whole journey began.
In my plan, my corporate housing was to be in the same town my office is. About 37 miles from Franklin. But at the time of my relocation they came back to me and said the only options available for my housing were all in Franklin. I was disappointed. I didn't want to commute so far to my office. But I went with it. I was powerless and not in control of it. God knew better. He knew I would fall in love with Franklin and that this town would end up feeling more like home to me than the hometown I grew up in and spent the past 10 years of my living in.
Instead of putting complete trust and resting in knowing that he was directing this journey, I began to look at houses that were not part of my dream. Houses that I could afford but were less than what we were really searching for. I was ready to settle and open to making a less than option work for us so we would hit some of our wish list, live in Franklin and stay within our budget.
But Friends, we don't serve a less than God. In my fear and on my timetable I forgot that.
We put an offer in on a nice flip house on a solid acre here in Franklin. The interior was stunning and all the finishes were gorgeous. The lot size was great. But it was a split level style which I do not care for and frankly, I thought the front fa├žade of the house was ugly as sin. But the pros outweighed the cons on this one so we went for it. We got into multiple offers and did not get the house. I was ok with it because I knew I was settling. What I wasn't ok with was the feeling that we were never going to find what we came here searching for.
The next morning I felt like I was at rock bottom. I got in the car alone to run errands and decided to drive through Leiper's Fork, my very favorite part of Franklin. The area is so lovely and my heart aches when I drive there like my heart used to ache at the thought of someday living in Tennessee. I wept openly in the car that afternoon crying out to God that I couldn't see a way we could ever afford to live out there but oh, how I long to! Leiper's Fork embodies everything I dreamed I would find moving here. It was the first place I showed Charlie when he came out here in November and after spending a morning driving through those winding country roads he too agreed that living out in Leiper's would be a dream come true. 
It should really come as no surprise that within 2 weeks an 8.5 acre farm in Leiper's Fork came on the market. I had driven home for the weekend to see Charlie and we were together scrolling through the morning the listing went live. Charlie was the one who noticed it was in Leiper's Fork. This house was actually on the market last October when I got out here but I didn't go look at it because the price was much higher and my heart wasn't set on living in Franklin at the time. They pulled it off the market before the holidays and happened to relist it when we were in a position to actually put in an offer on it. I went to see it last Monday, put an offer in on Tuesday and by Wednesday we heard that it was ours. It has the cute rustic farmhouse feel I was looking for, a sweet metal roof, a barn and a view to die for. And all the land we were hoping for.
 I told you we don't serve a less than God.
When I got the call that we got the house I was in Memphis for work. I haven't been to Memphis since 2013 and the day the call came was my first day there since then. It was two back to back trips to Memphis in 2012 and 2013 that started this whole dream of moving south to Tennessee. I spent the trip in 2013 with a nagging in my gut that there was a divine reason I was back in Memphis. I had no idea what it was, but I knew there was some reason I was there twice in a row. I flew home and remember telling my family how odd it was that I felt so strongly that the trip had a purpose beyond what I could see or knew. I didn't know what that purpose was or would be and I wouldn't find out until 3 years later when it all came full circle.
This realization reduced me to tears as I drove to my hotel that evening. Sweet, happy tears of awe over God's goodness and faithfulness. He is so good y'all. Throughout this whole journey I have told my children that if nothing else, I want them to walk into this next chapter of our lives having clearly seen God's faithfulness in bringing to pass those dreams he has placed in our hearts.
So without further ado, here are some pictures of our soon~to~be  sweet farm from the MLS listing.

"But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds." ~Psalm 73

Sunday, March 6, 2016

House Hunters ~ Southern Plantation Vibes

I've probably mentioned this before, but I am a sucker for traditional home design. Growing up in the late 70's and 80's makes me preferential to specific carved out spaces in a home. I love a formal dining room, living room and will always have a soft spot for the good old center hall colonial. When I went to see one that sits on a solid acre in our target location my hopes were high. I knew from the MLS pictures that this one needs updating, but that actually excites me.
We walked through the front door and the first adjective that came to mind was grand. This is a grand home. A family home. Warm, inviting ~ I could see the house filled with family and goodness knows at 3500 square feet it is big enough to fit everyone in ours.

The floors and moldings in this home are everything. There are pocket doors, swinging doors...for a home built in the 80's it feels more like you are in a historic Southern plantation that was last updated in the 80's. I was completely smitten.
That dining room would give me the opportunity to buy a fabulous wallpaper I am dying to use and just go right over the existing one. I can see it now.

The kitchen is tough and has one of the first microwaves that was ever manufactured mounted right into the wall. The space however, is great and the cabinets are top quality. Refinish the cabinets, replace the countertop, backsplash, appliances and flooring and this kitchen could be amazing. Remove the soffit and upper cabinets and you could add windows and open shelving. There are tons of possibilities.

Everything is mostly cosmetic work: painting, wallpaper removal, carpets out. Except the bathrooms. They need to be gutted but are livable in the meanwhile. I asked our agent what the ceiling would be for price in this location and let me just say that updating this house could be a very wise investment.

You're probably waiting for me to say that we put an offer in on this one or that we are planning to. But there is one problem with this house. It sits on an acre of land but that acre is all in the front yard. As in, there really is no backyard. Look:

Where do we put our gardens?
Chickens are out of the question in a neighborhood like this.
While the character of the house and the potential investment opportunity make my heart skip a beat my husband would be miserable with this lot.
Location on a scale of 1-10 = 10
House when updated = 10
Lot = 0
And for that reason we move on.
Although I would be more than willing to help whoever buys this house plan the remodel. My head is still reeling with ideas.
Oh, the possibilities!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

House Hunters ~ There's No Such Thing As The Perfect House

The struggle is real y'all.
Since my last post our house in NJ has gone under contract (thank you Lord!) but unfortunately the house I really liked and posted about here also went under contract. To someone else.
Back to the drawing board for us.
Now that our house has a closing date the clock is ticking because an 18 wheeler loaded with all of our earthly possessions will be headed out this way very soon and there have been no other prospects on the horizon. I'm starting to panic. Just as I was having a breakdown the other morning I logged onto and saw this adorable cape had just popped on the market. My eyes welled with tears because surely this was it! This is the one. Capes are my favorite and what could be more serendipitous than selling a little red cape I have loved and adored and finding a charming white one?
Sitting on just over 2 acres, the exterior had me at hello. Then I saw the interior pictures.

It's perfect. And this kitchen.
This kitchen!
I dream about kitchens that look like this. Dream about them when I am awake, asleep, and supposed to be focused on other things. I am obsessed with kitchens and this one is everything.
I emailed my agent the link at 6:30 am (because obviously texting at that hour would be rude and she's such a sweet Southern lady) and she was able to get us in to see it later that afternoon.

And it would be the perfect house.
That kitchen is just as amazing in person as you would expect it to be. The late afternoon light was dreamy. The lot was perfect. It reminded us of our house in NJ only with my dream kitchen. It felt so cozy and comfortable. This is the kind of home I picture us in.
The traffic getting to and from this house is a nightmare. So bad in fact that it seems that people use the street as a cut through. I had to let 4 cars zip pass before I could back out of the driveway. We moved here to avoid things like that. It is out of our target county school district so that means we will have to pay for private school for my daughter and this house is already priced at the top of our budget. Ouch. As we drove away I knew I could not compromise those two things for the most charming cape and Pinterest worthy kitchen I have seen yet. And frankly, that sucks.
This kitchen. Those windows. This one will forever haunt me.
And so we press on.....