November 28, 2012

A Tour of Our Home

This one's going to be long, but you don't want to miss it. If you've got time now, grab a cup of tea (or whatever strikes your fancy at the moment), sit back and enjoy. If your in a rush, come back later today when you have time for a lengthy visit!

 I was going to post pictures last week and give you a tour of our new home. However, with the holiday, I just didn't get to it. I'm sure you can all understand. But I've had several people asking me for pictures of the place, and I told them to be watching for the post. So I'd better follow through with the promise!

When we started house hunting, we had a short list of "must haves" for the new place.
We were determined to find exactly what we needed no matter how long it took. And we were prepared for it to take a L.O.N.G. time because we knew our needs were a little out of the ordinary.

We knew our new place needed:
- most importantly to have room for the truck to get in and out, as well as a place for Malcolm to keep his tools.
- some acreage (the more the sweeter) for our horses and farming hobbies.
-to be within a reasonable price range, something not too easy to come by if your wanting acreage too.
-to be close to our family in Chattanooga. Also not so easy to do if your wanting acreage as well.

We did a lot of internet hunting before we ever went to Chattanooga to look in person, and we found some pieces that interested us, but each one was going to need some tweaking, and nothing was going to be any closer to my parents than 45 miles. It's that hard to get acreage in the right price range that close to Chattanooga.

And then we got to Tennessee in September and took a week off to go look at the properties we were interested in , as well as some Dad had heard about, and each one got vetoed for various reasons. One was just too far from Mom and Dad. Another one was too much money for what it was. The next one, and the next one, and the next one you couldn't get the truck in without major ground moving/tree cutting work. And by Friday, we'd exhausted our list and our motivation. We had found a place we liked. It was going to be an exhausting awesome long term (3+ years) project to get it livable, but it came with 56 acres(!) and was only 25 miles from my parents. We had decided that was the place, because we like a project, we had a lot of fun renovating our little farmhouse in Georgia years ago, and, well, being as we live in the truck anyway, we could live in a camper or something until the house was ready, and shoot! 56 acres! Need I say more?
 We actually did put an offer in on that one, and thought we had it in the bag. The realtor had assured us it was ours. He just had to get the owners to sign on it. And he procrastinated by one day, just enough time for another offer to come in. We had a one day bidding war, and in the end the other people got it, and I hope they are happy with it. It will be a really neat place! I pray they aren't going to make it a neighborhood!

So on Saturday night, a day after exhausting our list of hopefuls and having just found out we'd lost the only one we were even slightly interested in, we weren't feeling too good about the whole situation, and we knew we needed to get back to work on Monday. But we were also feeling pressured to find something even though we had promised ourselves we weren't going to rush into anything and we were going to take our time and find the PERFECT place.

It's been said for ages that when God closes a door, he opens another one, and it is so true. We'd had our heart set on that 56 acre project. It would have been, eventually, beyond what we'd thought of possibly having, after a lot of time and money invested. And after that, it was hard to think of anything else even coming close to being as good. But God sees beyond what we see. He sees what's better!

So that Saturday evening, when Malcolm called me into Mom's living room to look at a house Dad had found on CraigsList, I wasn't feeling much like looking. But I was also trying to keep my spirits up and trying to lift Malcolm's too, so I went to look.

How we missed it in all our internet searching I don't know. It was listed on all our websites we'd been using to look and had been on the market for almost a year! It was within our price range. It was, from all appearances on the computer screen, practically perfect in every way. It was, honestly, a little too good to be true, and made one wonder...."what's the catch?"

And so on Sunday, after lunch, we set out to do a drive by, just to see if this place really existed.

And on Monday, after taking a look at the inside of the house and walking the property, we put an offer in on it.

And on Tuesday we had a contract for a closing in October.

We moved in a few weeks ago. I still pinch myself nearly every morning to make sure I didn't dream this all up.

I didn't.

It sits nestled into a secluded valley only 20 miles from my parents house. It feels like you drive quite a ways out into the country. It is so quiet and peaceful and yet just 10 minutes from every convenience you could dream of.

Down a two lane highway that meanders along the banks of Chickamauga Lake and the Tennessee River...
...you turn onto a tree shaded one lane road...
...and arrive at Redbud Farm.
picture taken in September when we were viewing the property

The house was built in 1915. We know very little of it's history, but I'm making it one of my projects to find out. One of the benefits of my home town is that, as large as it's gotten, it's still one of those places where you always know someone who knows someone, and it turns out my cousin used to work with the guy whose grandparents farmed this land and lived in this house. So I have a contact already!
We're thinking of calling it Redbud farm because of this tree that grows next to the house.
None of us have ever, EVER, seen a redbed get this big! It has to be ancient, by redbud standards. I almost wonder if it's as old as the house. You should have seen it with leaves in September! Amazing! And I can't WAIT till spring when it's covered in those dark pink blossoms that redbuds are famous for! Can you picture it in your mind? Don't worry! You'll get to see pictures!
There are redbud sprouts coming up all over the place, and I remarked to Mom, as she and I were walking around the yards and noting which shrubs and plants were there, that "well at least we know the place will grow redbuds." to which she replied, "Redbud Farm!" And the name stuck.
There are a number of barns and outbuildings. A creek babbles it's way through part of the front of the property. Year round water for the horses and whatever other animals join us in the years to come. An answer to prayer because now my dad doesn't have to go over there during our absence to water our critters for us! And behind the house and buildings, there is a gently rising hill that is covered in thick green grass, that in September was taller than Malcolm's head because no one had cut it this year! There are at least 5 walnut trees, and in the back yard this massive pecan tree. I'm in love!
There are 10 acres in all, and though that's small by some western standards, in Tennessee that's enough for us to be a farm, and so we are! Very happily! Those ten acres are holding a passel of dreams and possibilities for us. So many dreams that are going to come true on that ground!
I'll give you a tour of the barns and property in another post, but for this time, I promised those folks a look inside the house, and so lets get to it.
I just have to say, I am still, even after a month and a half of happy home ownership, absolutely amazed that in the past 97 years no one ruined this house! Someone (or multiple someones), bless their souls and love them, loved this house and maintained it enough to so that it didn't fall into disrepair beyond saving. And then a few years ago, another angel of a someone bought it and renovated it. RENOVATED! not remodeled! The first time I stepped through the front door, I thought I could have walked into one of those historical home tours. Praise God for people who love history and old farm houses!
the front living room as you enter from the front door
It's been updated beatifully. The walls may not have originally been sheet rocked, but now that they are, the paint colors that were chosen are complimentary to the age of the house. Care was taken in selection of light fixtures (I still want to know where they got them because I love their choices, and I've never seen anything like some of them!), and the original floors are still in place.
this one's kind of dark, but gives a feel for how large the room actually is, something I find odd in a house this old. The rooms are huge, relatively speaking!
There was love and care in that renovation project. Care to make updates that didn't clash with the ambiance, and care to preserve what could be preserved. One of the original fireplaces and mantels, now equipped with gas logs.
From the front living room, you can head down the hallway that passes through the center of the house...

...or you can turn to your right and enter the other front room. We're still debating what this room's original purpose was. We're leaning towards office or parlor. But now it serves as the guest bedroom.
And no sheet rock here. Original tongue-in-groove pine board walls, floor and ceiling! Makes for a dark room, but a lovely one. And some brightly colored quilts and rugs will snap the gloom right out of the room.
This room has two doorways. One goes out to the front living room, where we just left, and the other goes into the other living room. Guess we'll call it the den.
note not one, but TWO closets flanking each side of the doorway. Another unusual feature for a house of this period.
The other living room, or den, is where most of my library has landed. It's also where your most likely to find the girls, if they aren't shadowing you.
"Why is that you ask?" says Carlie Jean.
 "Do we really need to explain?" says Paris.
Because this room houses the second fire place in the house, now equipped with a very effect wood burning stove. Plus it's just got that cozy cabin feel to it with the woodwork. Plus, (and this is the biggy!) it's the only carpeted room, and the girls LOVE carpet!

From this room, you have three options other than the way we came in. You can go left into the hallway, right into the laundry room and then exit the house, or...
... straight ahead and into the kitchen.
Nooks and crannies abound, which I love! I wasn't digging the black and white linoleum, but it's growing on me quickly. The light fixture in the kitchen is awesome and unique, as is the one in the breakfast nook...
....which sits at one end of the kitchen and looks out onto that lovely redbud tree, and now several of my bird feeders.
I have only one complaint about this kitchen, but it's nothing that can't be fixed. And so it's my "think on it" project and it involves the lack of counter space, and this wall.
I'm wondering about getting an antique stove. But the more practical solution would be to get some kind of table of counter. We'll see what happens. In the mean time this wall looks really bland and barren, all except for that awesome built in cupboard. It's one of two and I just adore them! I've always loved built ins!
The other door leaving the kitchen leads into that central hallway you saw from the front room, but now your at the back of the house. Right outside the kitchen door is a doorway to underneath the stairs, and the most awesome storage space ever! If I lack counter space in the kitchen, the house has made it up to me by providing abounding storage space, which is something Malcolm and I have never ever had! It's awesome!
And heading back down the hall towards the front of the house, brings you to the two other bed rooms. We think perhaps it was originally one large room. Or maybe it was two rooms. Hard to tell. We're calling it the master suite because they are smallish, and so we're using them both as our bedroom.
Enters the third and final fireplace of the house, complete with original mantel. This one is non-functioning. We're toying with the idea of putting in gas logs.  Functioning or not, the colors are lovely!
Note the little cupboard above the mantel. It has two shelves in it and is about 6 inches deep. Interesting.
In fact, there are two more similar cupboards in the den, one on each side of the door, and so high on the wall you have to have a ladder of chair to climb on. They are deeper and one contains an old straw hat and a newspaper scrap from 1920. They are clearly original to the house, and also very mystifying. Never really seen anything like them before.
And back out in the hallway, is the stairs to the attic.

A little over 800 square feet of fairly easily finishable living space but right now completely awesome storage!
previous owners stuff. Not ours. It's much more cluttered now as we stacked boxes here and have been unpacking from that point. Made the rest of the house much more livable!

There are dormer windows on three sides, and even if we finished it, we'd still have TONS of storage! Each dormer has attic space on the sides that have been closed in to create 4 massive closets, one in each corner. I'm thinking what an awesome space this will be for Malcolm and me! We want to lay some carpet and bring up our wood pellet stove. He has set up his gun reloading stuff in one corner. I can just see my sewing space in one of those dormer window alcoves, and a  table for working puzzles under another window, a comfy sofa and chair for relaxing...just loads of possibilities. And the girls can lay by the stove while Malcolm works on his guns and I quilt. It will be so cozy!
There are so many different little features, small details, that add so much charm to this house, right down to the doorknobs.
And no matter which window you look out, there is a lovely a view that gives the feeling of being secluded and very far out in the country....
out the back (the pool is probably going by by in the spring. Anyone in the market for one?

the master bedroom windows look out onto the screened in porch and across into the soybean fields of the farm that borders us on two sides
out the front windows and from my porch swing I can enjoy the views of a wooded forest

from the other side of the house I can the barns and look down to the creek there at the far end of that small pasture
....even though we have neighbors. No one is right on our doorstep. No where near that! We can only actually see one of the houses clearly and it is still set back down the road a ways from our house. We've met our three closest neighbors, and another neighbor that lives down the road. All amazingly nice, helpful, and generous people. We feel so blessed and fortunate. One always wonders and worries abit about having good neighbors (or nightmare neighbors) when moving to a new place! It just adds to the "too good to be true" question that seems to linger about the place in my mind.
The porch wraps around three sides of the house. I've dreamed of, and longed for an old farmhouse for years and years and years. And if I ever expected that dream to come true, I thought surely it would be dilapidated and in need of lots of work. So to get handed one that is so old, and already "fixed" and landscaped beautifully, and nearly perfect in every sense of the word, at least nearly perfect according to the standards of those years I've spent dreaming....well I can't help but wonder if I'm still dreaming.
But then we ended up going  past the house for Thanksgiving weekend, and I walked in the door and all our stuff was there in that dream house, and our horses were there to greet us, and our mail had been delivered to that address. So I guess it really is a real place! And I really do live there!


MTWaggin said...

Oh my God! That is a freakin dream house! Get that spare room ready we're movin in!!! LOL You two are amazingly blessed with the perfect place and I'm so glad you gave us a tour. Just amazing!

Jennifer said...

I love it! I can't wait to come visit. Your guest room looks so inviting. I hope that means you are up for overnight guests! :) Hopefully we will get to TN sometime this spring. I'd love to see more pics of the property and barn. What a blessing your place is!

Cindy D. said...

I'm in love!!!! What a wonderful home you have!

small farm girl said...

I am sooo jealous!!!!! It's beautiful!!!! Like, my dream house, beautiful! I'm so happy for you!

Badlands said...

I. Love. It!!!!!

Muffy's Marks said...

I am in awe!! Your home is the dream of a lifetime. And I am so happy for the both of you and your critters. Thank you for the tour of your cozy, lovely home. Perfect, just perfect.

Merideth in Wyoming said...

Its Perfect!!! I love it all. I want to come live with YOU!! HA HA

Annette said...

Congratulations! It's beautiful.

MEME said...


ACountryCowgirl said...

WOW AMAZING!!!! What a huge blessing from GOD. It is so beautiful and perfect!! I can't wait to visit:)

Dreaming said...

I think you found a little piece of heaven! What a darling house with such lovely fixtures - love the phone!! The window treatments look darling, too!
You are right about God opening a better door!

Meagan said...

I almost have tears in my eyes. One dream gives way to another one. God really does always have plans that are greater than our own! Your new home is practically perfect in every way. I suits you beyond words. It oozes charm. I LOVE that it has been maintained and preserved and I am in awe of all of the precious features! The cubbys, the storage, the built ins, the original mantles! Oh. My. Word. It is perfect. I see many many MANY happy years and memories being made on Redbud Farm! Love the name, it has a charming ring to it that makes me want to come visit!! I can't wait to see it in person very very soon!!!! xoxox! LOVE YOU SISTER!

KarenTX said...

Congratulations!!! It is a beautiful home and you and Malcolm and the girls are going to be very happy there! I'm jealous! I love older homes....and the porch!!! Ahhhhhh!

Kellie said...

WOW! What an incredible home you and your Hubby have! It is absolutely gorgeous in every way!

Jake said...

Congrats!!! Thats really exciting. I love those old homes.

Shirley said...

What are you doing, living in my dream home!!!! It really is perfect, isn't it? I'm so happy for you and Malcolm to have found this place. After a year of living here, you will find out if there are any issues, and hopefully there won't be any. Only thing I would worry about are the walnut trees and the horses, because walnut bark/wood can be toxic for them, but as long as they aren't in the pasture it's good.
This sure is a beautiful place! Maybe your neighbours can give you more history on it.

Trainer77 said...

Your house is very nice. We are looking as well for a farm about what y'all are was searching for. We would only be so lucky to find as charming a place a yours. Congrats!

gowestferalwoman said...

WOw! You two really did good in your move - thats a fantastic piece of property!

though from one horse owner to another, IMO I would CUT ALL THE WALNUT TREES DOWN. no joke this is serious - and do NOT PUT your horses even near them, as the soil is toxic - http://www.equinechronicle.com/health/black-walnut-poisoning-in-horses.html

but I hear that redbud trees are okay! :)

Lana said...

That is a house full of character! It's wonderful to have a home with a history --- that will be part of the fun, so much history to discover! Congratulations!


Tina Marie the Willow Witch said...

It is just lovely, so happy for you. Enjoy in the best of health