Category Archives: General Tidbits

Bring On 2015

 

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

 

2014-11-26 23.39.28Hello!  We’re back!  With the busy time of year you may not have even noticed we were gone, but we took a “holiday hiatus” so we could celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and get ready to ring in the New Year by focusing on our family.  We breaked from both blogging and blog worthy projects (except food, we created lots of food and we definitely missed some good culinary and libation blogging opportunities.)  However, we’ve had  a relaxed and blessed holiday season.  With that being said we have missed our projects and we have missed our blog and we’re excited to be back.  The project list is long, but we’re excited to jump in and tackle them.  Maybe (just maybe) a few snow days along the way will gift us more time to work on our list.  Regardless, we look forward to creating and sharing in 2015.  In 2014 we launched this blog and for those of you who have been reading all along thanks so much!  For those of you who are new here we look forward to sharing 2015 with you.  We wish you the best in the new year!

We didn’t get Christmas cards created and out this year.  So below is our electronic version of that.  We’re kind of old-fashioned sometimes and love getting and receiving Christmas cards the old-fashioned way.  However, it takes so much time to get them ready, printed, addressed, mailed and it is so expensive.  Not to mention the trees that are sacrificed for the process.  So…in the spirit of simplifying this Christmas to focus more on our family and the real reason for the season we proudly present to you our electronic holiday wishes.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Aaron, Kelli, Greer & Ella Rose Barnett

 

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See you in 2015!

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A Box of Possibilities

About 7 years ago when our son Greer was in kindergarten Aaron’s sister Rachael moved to New York City. Greer made her a “box of possibilities” to take with her. It was an old box that he’d found and decorated. We have no idea where he came up with the phrase, but it certainly was adorable…and appropriate. She recently moved back home to Tennessee and unpacked the “box of possibilities” that I had long forgotten about and I was again amazed at his insightful gift. He was disappointed to see her go, but excited for her at the same time. He knew she was going on an adventure and that anything was possible. I kind of feel the same way about this house. Aaron and I have always loved old things. We used to drive around and hope to find an old farmhouse that we could live in. One day about 13 years ago Aaron came home from the grocery store with a “for sale” flyer for a house that had been taped to the front of a coke machine. The house was in rough shape, but all we saw was an affordable “box of possibilities.” It soon became our “box of possibilities.”

I’ve been reflecting a lot on our home and how other people perceive it over the last few weeks. First let me clear up that other people’s perception isn’t really what matters to us at all. I mean we care about you, our neighbors, our family, and our friends, but what you think doesn’t really drive our decisions on what to do around here. If it did the front landscape of our home would not be overgown and still on the to-do list while other more private areas of our property that we use are rustic-cottage garden lovely. We also wouldn’t have kept putting off the awful laundry room and half bath that everyone sees first when they come into our side door (which everyone does) for a later date. These kinds of items are on our to-do list for sure, but they just haven’t jumped to the top yet. However, since we launched our blog and I’ve had subsequent conversations with people from all areas of my life I’ve come to realize that people who only know our home through this blog think of it as a completed show house, full of nifty completed projects. I suppose that’s my fault because I only post the good stuff so I thought I would clear up that misconception. When we look around our home we don’t see a completed home (you wouldn’t either if you were here in person), but we also don’t see an overwhelming laundry list of to-do things (although maybe we’re niave)…instead we prefer to see a “box of possibilities” (a lot of potential.)

Living in a “box of possibilities” can get overwhelming if you’re not careful. I’ve certainly had moments where it has ovewhelmed me and I’ve wanted to throw in the towel for a more completed home. (I mean completed in the traditional sense…you know perfect.) However, over time Aaron and I have mastered the art of enjoying what we’ve accomplished while looking forward to what we want to accomplish. And I’ve realized perfect is a mirage anyway. We get asked a lot about our planning/organization for our many simultaneaous projects and project plans. I’ve read some other impressively organized blogger posts on how they plan projects. I’ve read endless to do lists that are detailed out to what is going to happen and when and in what order. Here’s our secret: we’re just not like that. We don’t have lists of long range developed plans. Do we plan? Absolutely! Having brainstorming conversations is actually something we love to do. We talk about projects A LOT before we actually ever do them. But, we’ve never made a project to-do list that is more long range than a few weeks out. It’s just not how we roll. We talk more in terms about what we’d like to do one day. But, honestly, that is always changing. We brainstorm a lot of ideas and the ones we are passionate about emerge to the top of the list when we feel strongly enough about them. We save up money, materials and ideas to do projects and sometimes even then we change our minds. We’re okay with that. It’s fun for us. It’s about the journey and not the destination. It’s about the possibility of it all. We do it beause we enjoy it, not because of the finished product (although that part is great too.) Talking about projects is something we both love to do. But we just don’t get caught up in worrying about the long list of things we’d like to do one day.

That philosohy makes this post difficult for me. I’ve been asked for a list of what projects are to come from some of you and so even though I don’t like to make project lists I have decided to do it for you. As long as you don’t hold us to this list that is! Here are the projects that we are currently brainstorming about. Disclaimer: it will change! Some will happen, some won’t happen, Other stuff will happen too.

Possibility: Rip out overgrown plants and put in nice, simple landscape.  (Problem: One side is deep shade and the other is sunny.)

Possibility: Rip out overgrown plants and put in nice, simple landscape. (Problem: One side is deep shade and the other is sunny.)

Possibility: Redo front steps and front walkway.

Possibility: Redo front steps and front walkway.

Possibility: Fix up these steps leading to our front walkway.

Possibility: Fix up these steps leading to our front walkway.

Possibility: Clean up fallen limbs and put up a zip line for our kiddos on this hill.  (We already have the kit- Ella Rose asked for it for her birthday- so this possibility is really happening SOON.)

Possibility: Clean up fallen limbs and put up a zip line for our kiddos on this hill. (We already have the kit- Ella Rose asked for it for her birthday- so this possibility is really happening SOON.)

Possibility: Scrape and paint our front porch and paint our railing a fun color.

Possibility: Scrape and paint our front porch and paint our railing a fun color.

Possibility: Put in a screened in porch on the back of the house along with a side outdoor deck, fire pit, grilling station and wood burning pizza oven.  Obviously a big, expensive dream.

Possibility: Put in a screened in porch on the back of the house along with a side outdoor deck, fire pit, grilling station and wood burning pizza oven. Obviously a big, expensive dream.

Possibility: Build ourselves a new couch!  Yep, you read it correctly.  We're having fun brainstorming this one!

Possibility: Build ourselves a new couch! Yep, you read it correctly. We’re having fun brainstorming this one!

Possibility: Rework our rigged by previous owner butler's pantry shelves and build a nice sliding pantry door for it.

Possibility: Rework our rigged by previous owner butler’s pantry shelves and build a nice sliding pantry door for it.

Possibility: Give the fire place in the dining room a facelift.

Possibility: Give the fire place in the dining room a facelift.

Possibility: Rip up laminate flooring in kitchen and see what is underneath...then make a plan!

Possibility: Rip up laminate flooring in kitchen and see what is underneath…then make a plan!

Possibility: Replace this laundry room window.  We already have it- just need to prioritize it.

Possibility: Replace this laundry room window. We already have it- just need to prioritize it.

Possibility: Fix up this hideous 1970 era half bath.

Possibility: Fix up this hideous 1970 era half bath.

Possibility: Finally fix the walls (the quilt hides a giant hole) in the laundry room.

Possibility: Finally fix the walls (the quilt hides a giant hole) in the laundry room.

Possibility: Tile the laundry room floor and add  more personality to it while we're at it.  Maybe then I won't let the laundry get so high!

Possibility: Tile the laundry room floor and add more personality to it while we’re at it. Maybe then I won’t let the laundry get so high!

Possibility: Transform the current extra bedroom that is my closet, art studio and general storage to a nice walk-in master closet and a bathroom.  (We only have one full bath and it's downstairs and our bedrooms are upstairs.)  Obviously high dollar project, but will add a lot of value.

Possibility: Transform the current extra bedroom that is my closet, art studio and general storage to a nice walk-in master closet and a bathroom. (We only have one full bath and it’s downstairs and our bedrooms are upstairs.) Obviously high dollar project, but will add a lot of value.

Possibility: Transform this nook into an art studio.

Possibility: Transform this nook into an art studio.

Possibility: Replace this dresser with a giant one that I have fun painting plans for.

Possibility: Replace this dresser with a giant one that I have fun painting plans for.

Possibility: Paint this dresser gray.  Maybe two shades.

Possibility: Paint this dresser gray. Maybe two shades.

Possibility: Finish the molding repair work we've started in the master bedroom and other finishing touches in this room.

Possibility: Finish the molding repair work we’ve started in the master bedroom and other finishing touches in this room.

Possibility: Paint and recover this movie theatre seat that Aaron acquired decades ago and move it into our living space.

Possibility: Paint and recover this movie theatre seat that Aaron acquired decades ago and move it into our living space.

Possibility: Transform these and other attic relics into usable pieces in our home.

Possibility: Transform these and other attic relics into usable pieces in our home.


Not even we know what of these things is next on our list, but we’d sure like to hear your opinion on what it should be. In the meantime, if you visit us (which we hope you do) don’t expect to see anything more than a “box of possibilities.” A lot is done. A lot is left to do. We are going to enjoy both. We hope you also enjoy your “box of possibilities”.

-Kelli

P.S. This list includes items from a simple walk through of our house. After writing I have remembered all sorts of things I didn’t include…like refinishing our bathroom cabinet, painting our shutters, building an island for our kitchen, adding a back gate to our garden, sewing new pillows and curtains, oh and learning to sew. This is why we don’t make lists…it would never end! I’m stopping now because I think you get the idea.

This is how our story starts…

Hello! We are Aaron and Kelli Barnett. bub
And this is how our story starts…

We bought our 100+ year old farm house over 10 years ago with grand plans to build it into the house of our dreams. We thought we had all the abilities, time, and money necessary to do just about anything we wanted. (Yes, we were overconfident!) That house…that loveable, drafty, huge, perfect canvas. It was all we had ever wanted. We had room to grow, and endless possibilities. Where other people saw wavy walls and warped floors we saw built-in cabinets and (somewhere deep under layers of living) beautiful wood floors. Then not long after we signed on the dotted line we received the best news we can remember, we had a little one on the way!! Those kinds of blessings are never at the right time and never seem to be convenient, but we didn’t care. We had tried for several years to get pregnant and actually started to believe it might not happen, but that’s not what this story is about. That news shaped everything about us including the way we have built this place. It took us a few years to figure out we could be both good parents, and at the same time, still be devoted to those little adventures that keep us happy and sane. Some of our activities have changed. Instead of kayaking and camping we started painting and building furniture. Instead of going out to eat with our friends we started inviting everyone over for BBQ and cards. While we were figuring it all out the house waited, seemingly always ready for our next idea, next effort, next try, next mistake. It became one of our greatest joys and yet at the same time our most frustrating disappointment. At some points it seemed to be too much for us to handle, at others we couldn’t imagine being any place else. All these years later our response to someone who mentions how much they love our home is always “It’s constantly under construction.” We don’t think we will ever “complete” this house to meet our vision, but it’s about the journey and not the destination.

Why did we think we could handle this adventure? I think it is 3/4 Kelli’s passion, and 1/4 my willingness to try anything…..once. If ideas are a river she is the Amazon, with endless twists and turns sometimes flowing slow and steady and at other times flooding everything near it with too much water to measure. She has designed more paintings, rooms, arts, crafts, and furniture than I can ever create. The reason we work so well? Even though she loves to design, plan and create she also trusts me to complete her vision (or at least try.) She calls me the youtube expert because that’s what I’m really good at (finding information, understanding it, tweaking it.) Although we often succeed in our efforts there are times when I have to tell her, “no, it’s not possible” and she has to tell me, “yes it is so get on with it” but knowing our limits and encouraging one another are just some of the many reasons we work well together.
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Two awesome kids and over ten years later we have completed (some successfully and some unsuccessfully) hundreds of projects and we have hundreds more to go. We’ve been sharing our ideas and projects with others for awhile in various formats, but we always get asked to do it in more of a formal way…in a blogging kind of way. We’ve been pondering it awhile now (that’s what we do- we ponder a long while) and have finally decided to leap into the adventure of blogging about our adventures. So here you will find the exploits of our eclectic and unconventional farmhouse including our diy home improvements, home maintenance, furniture repurposing, furniture building, art and craft projects, interior design, culinary arts, gardening and whatever other creative adventures we have the guts and time to take on. Thanks for coming along with us!

-Aaron

P.S. It’s extremely important to mention that also tagging along on our exploits are our two top priorities…Greer and Ella Rose are sometimes willing and sometimes not, but always excellent helpers.
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Our Unconventional Farmhouse