Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A place for guests...

The guest room was a debate for me, which space to use... I had two rooms for options but decided kind of late in the game to make it the front bedroom off the living room. Convenient for guests but also has a lot of natural light. It's the room I slept in when I spent the night with my grandparents, which was usually once a week as a child!  

I couldn't find great "before" picture, but just imagine orange shag carpet, paneled walls, and really old old furniture. When the orange carpet was removed we found this flowered layer of rug/carpet that was a complete surprise!! I saved part of it and framed it so some of the original and surprising texture stays in the room. 

Also below the layer of carpet and flowered rug was beautiful wood floors!! Behind the wood paneling was beautiful wood walls! This picture shows the room after the walls were painted white and the floor was sanded. 
Those were the main changes in the room, which I've given a Mississippi theme! Here are some more after photos! 
One of my most prized possessions is in this room! In front of the bed there is a trunk which is covered in one of my grandmothers quilts. The trunk is my great grandfather, Charlie "Pap" Robertson's WW1 trunk!! It's full of so much military and family history that you can look through for hours! I'm so proud to be the keeper of these family treasures!

Rhett loves this room. Generally if I'm looking for him he can be found laying on the bed enjoying all the sunlight! 
There are a few repurposed and special items in this picture. The brown table was my great grandmother Ruth Robertson's and the brown chair was an old one daddy found and had recovered with an animal skin for a seat.  Above the table is a picture of Pawpaw Cole's navy class (not sure if that's the correct term)... It's the meanest looking picture of him I've ever seen... But it's a sweet memory! The hats are Pawpaws also. 

The blue shelf is a point of contention between my mom and I! It was an old white cabinet mawmaw and pawpaw Cole had in their house. It was rusted, and I found some cheap blue spray paint at Dirt Cheap. I love it and mom hates it... On the shelf are some pictures I bought in Oxford, some books on Mississippi, and a special gift from my best friends in college.
These side tables are special to me because they were a gift from my best friend Liz Alexander's family. They belonged to her grandfather Mr. Travis and I'm honored to have a piece of the Farish home in mine. The books on the table are by Mississippi authors Welty, Faulkner, and Morris and the clock was purchased from The Mustard Seed in Oxford which is my FAVORITE store! The table also includes a picture from the Rebels win at the Compass Bowl in Birmingham!  
This bedroom never had a door on it before, and I knew that would be necessary for the comfort of guests! I found this old wooden door in the barn and had the contractors hang it for me! My favorite part of the door is the glass doorknob (see below)! 

So... The guest room is ready for anyone who wants to visit!! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

From pink and floral to black and white!!

The bathroom is probably the biggest change in the house! It was a complete gut job. It was the only room in the house that we took down to studs. Floral pink panelling, a pink tub, pink toilet, and pink bathtub were removed to make way for a white soaker tub, new toilet, and built I vanity. 
For the updates I wanted a fresh feeling, but something appropriate to the era of the home. I chose a simple white subway tile for the tub surround/shower and a black and white tile (that I adore!) for the floor. I'm using yellow accents and have created some artwork of encouraging quotes for the bathroom. 

The wall color is the same gray in the rest of the house, but the cabinets are "belltowerstone stone" which is my little ode to Samford University! I'm really happy with the way this turned out! It's cozy, pretty, and much more functional!! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Meals and memories made here!

Let me just come out and state the obvious... I like food. But not just because it tastes good, but because food is a powerful tool in developing community, supporting others, and making memories. Anyone who has ever taken a covered dish to a grieving family or spent time under a tent at a tailgate falls into those categories. 

Not much had to be improved in the kitchen. Like the rest of the house it got new floors and a paint job. I also bought a new refrigerator and updated some plumbing. The biggest changes were the hammered stainless steel countertops as well as the white subway tile backsplash that was installed by Brooke and Ronald Lofton... Two great friends who were kind enough to spend several Sunday afternoons in my kitchen. One detail that I added just because I liked it was the contact paper wallpaper inside the cabinets. I'm personally a big fan of that small touch. 

I have a sign on the wall in the kitchen that states "meals and memories are made here" and I think that's so true. I fondly remember a lot of meals and recipes coming from that kitchen, as well as the high-pitched squeak of the utensil drawer and the chirp of Mawmaw Cole's bird clock which I relocated to the laundry room. It's really hot in there... there's really not much ventilation and there is not an exhaust fan over the stove. I used to wonder why my grandmother would always come out of the kitchen sweating but now I know. My grandparents also always used butter dishes as Tupperware. I thought it was a little funny but made sense, and is very economical. No matter what your meal was served in, whether it be an antique heirloom or butter dishes, it was always something warm always something yummy and always something available to eat while you visited. I've begun to try some recipes that are old family recipes as well as recipes from church cookbook and I'm enjoying spending time perfecting meals that were created by my great-grandmother or meals that were created by women in the church I admire.  I'm slowly learning those different recipes and hoping to try out a lot of them in the future so if you want to come over for dinner just let me know and I'll find something new in the cookbook! 

My great grandmothers chocolate pound cake recipe... It was one of the most delicious things I've ever cooked!

40 days of thoughts... Starting with the house.

A lot of people have asked me to post pictures and updates of the renovations of the house and for some reason I've hesitated on that... thinking the house isn't clean enough or I haven't quite got a picture put where I wanted to go.  But ultimately I have been living here for over two months and so this house has definitely become home. 

I'm not finished with everything I still have to do some electrical work in the laundry room and replace a door and window that leaked one horrible Thursday night but it's comfortable and it is warm thanks to the newly installed and highly expensive central heating and air!  I joke about the expense, but I think that's one of the things that my grandparents, great-grandparents, and my dad would be proud of... that it is comfortable. People can walk in the door do not have to shed clothes because it's hot or pile on the wood on the fire because it's cold.  It's a cozy house, and I hope (as hopefully some of you will see) it's welcoming. 

 I decided that for Lent I wanted to write a blog every day for 40 days. I've been thinking of blogs on a daily basis,
I just never write them down.  However I thought that this would be a good plan... I could update whoever reads this and whoever wants to see what I've done with the house over the next 40 days.  I can also post thoughts on experiences and memories, and since it's kind of therapy for me I guess I'll be having a daily therapy session for the next 40 days.

Today I decided to start with the entry of the house,  the Gallery. Pawpaw Cole nicknamed it that at some point in time...
I don't know when, don't know why, but it caught on. The gallery has been for many many many years and several generations a gathering place for coffee, for talks, for food, and for watching bad weather or cars go by.  To me it's a central part of the home. A house is not a home without a front porch in my opinion and mine just happens have a good title. Renovation wise not much happened to the gallery. We replaced a few rotting boards and the whole house got a coat of paint to freshen it up.  I made a few little signs "welcome to the gallery" and the "gallery rules" but other than that and the few extra chairs it's still got mamaw's Rocking chair and of course pawpaw's swing (that would crash one day - I had to fix that with help from Uncle Terry). I did plant a few flowers (hopefully things that won't die) of Rosemary because it smells good and it reminds me a little bit of Samford which was my home for's almost 7 years. That is really about all the renovations for the gallery but ultimately as long is it so warm and inviting (well I guess inviting because today it was really cold) that's all that matters. 

Today I came home little early and Rhett started barking while staring out a window (not unusual). When I looked out the window I saw these two guys in black pants, white shirt, and black jacket walking down the road. Now I don't live in a neighborhood so it's not really normal for someone to be walking down the road, much less in dress pants and loafers!  I figured they are probably some Mormon missionaries and I was right. At first I didnt want to deal with those guys... but then I remembered from some missionaries I've met previously that these are just really young guys that are away from home and doing what they feel called to do. So when they knocked I open the door and Rhett immediately begin sniffing and playing with them! I invited them to have a seat and got them a Gatorade and we sat on the porch and talk for a little while. I asked them where they were from, how old they were and  these two kids are 18 and 19 years old one from Utah one from California. City boys walking around Lamar County roads just trying to meet people and pray with him. So we sat and talked for a little while and they told me about their mission and where they had been and how long they were away from home. I was able to share with them some mission trips I've been on and just we talked about different opportunities that God put in our paths and how we use them and how is we always should take advantage of those opportunities and learn from them.

 I was struck by how young they are. In talking to them they're just babies! I mean the one kid graduated high school in May/June and immediately left his family for two years! I asked them how often they're able to contact their families and they said they can call them on Christmas and they can call their moms on Mother's Day, but other than that just  email. I just can't even imagine that... I have friends on the mission field all over the world but they are able to face time or Skype to keep in touch with their families. These guys are on a strict regimen and part of that is mandated by the church (I guess) but also (I assume) they have an option or maybe they have the opportunity to do something else. I asked them if they thought about what they wanted to major in when they eventually went to college and they didn't know ... so I just gave them a little advice.  I hope they got some encouragement from that little conversation on the gallery today. I posted on Facebook about this experience and I just really hope that we will all think about that a little bit more when these kids come knock on our doors. They offered me a Book of Mormon and asked to pray with me. I accepted both. Though I don't agree with their theology, I respected their sharing. Frankly a lot of us Christians wouldn't do it... we wouldn't pick up and leave our families for two years at age 18 of all things and just go wherever you're sent to walk a street and pass out Bibles and  pray with people. I told those guys that I admired them for what they do and they seem pretty surprised by that... but I really do. I think it is impressive what they're doing, taking two years to leave home and to just walk and talk to people.   My friends who are missionaries live in other countries where they preach and they teach. Central to all that though... is just walking and talking which is what these guys are doing. 

When I started renovating the house and after I was given the house (which is the ultimate blessing)  my prayer for the house was just that it would be a welcoming place.  Pawpaw Cole once told me ;before I went to study abroad in Mexico) to "remember who you are, what you are, and where you're from. I remembered the words but I didn't realize the meaning until days later. No matter where in this life I go... I'm Kacey Cole, I'm a Christian, and I'm from right here and Midway. I'll never be anything else... I may add to that list, but at the core that's me. No matter who you are, or where you're from... I want people to feel comfortable and feel welcome when they come to my home and visit me on the Gallery.