Our Fall Home

***All week we will be sharing some of our recent and past fall decor**

This is our first fall on our new land and in our home and we are loving all of the surprises.

Want to know the surprise we are loving the most right now?

We have a huge apple tree!

We had no idea because we bought our land and home in the middle of winter. I have always wanted an apple tree and this home has THREE!

We have already made apple crisp and we are making another one today.

We will have more apples than we know what do to with so friends and local horses may be getting buckets of apples delivered to their homes and stables.

Another wonderful surprise is watching how the sun comes through our windows each season. It is all so new and beautiful to us. I feel like we fall in love deeper with this home and land a thousand times a week. We also were able to walk the land and clip all of the branches and flowers that we used though out the house for the tour!

When you first walk into our home this is part of your view.

Library and Music Room

This room is one of my favorite rooms in the house because of the positioning of the space, the huge wall of windows, the light, the view into the side garden and of course the gorgeous bookcase I designed and then had built by my brother!  We love this room and how much use we get out of it.  The bookcase transformed this room and it was one of the first things we had done in the home (because how long can a girl live with her books in boxes?).

If you are interested in ordering a large gallery wrapped canvas print of my art above our piano please contact us at contact@jeanneoliverdesigns.com.

We would love to custom order one for you.

The Living Room

This room was the previous owner’s dining room but with a large kitchen table and multiple outdoor dinning spaces we thought a living room made more sense for our family.  The biggest thing we did in this space was add this fireplace that I designed. I think it feels like it was original to the home.

When we moved in we had the whole inside of the house painted (ceiling, walls, baseboards) Nano White by Behr and we changed out all of the lighting. That alone made a HUGE impact on the feel of the home.

Watch the home video tour so you can understand the flow of the house a little better (if you want).

The Kitchen

We love the beautiful levels of this home, all of the windows and the open floor plan.

The Family Room

I am only giving you a peek into this space. You will have to come back tomorrow for a special post just on the family room.

The Master Bedroom

We have never had a ranch style home before (even though nothing about this home really fits a ranch description). We are loving having our bedroom right off the living room and on the main level. We also have a fun deck off our bedroom with a hot tub that we use all throughout the winter. The stars at night out here are insane! I had forgotten how incredible the sky looks in the country at night.

The Back Deck

Off of our kitchen we have a huge deck that we are loving! It has become another room of our house and when the weather is nice you will find Kelly and I out here in the morning talking and having coffee.  You can’t see in these photos but you can see the mountains from the deck and I wish I could record the sound of the birds in the morning and the sound of the wind through the pines.  On this day that the photos were taken we were getting ready for our kids to have some friends over to celebrate the start of school.  We grilled out, placed volleyball and ate too many s’mores.

The Side Garden

This is the last stop in the tour. I loved this space from the beginning because out of our 7 acres it is the only fenced in area and I am a sucker for gates. What is a girl to do?  We have started filling the raised beds and we are working on a new cedar porch that will allow you to walk right out into the garden. My favorite part about this space has to be the view of the butte and finding one of the kids reading in the hammock.

Video Home Tour

 

I can’t wait to show you later some of the trails we have made throughout the woods on the land.  Better yet…I would love to have you come to one of our live workshops at our new studio here on our land.

If you love before and afters (come on…who doesn’t) come and check out the transformation of a large workshop/garage into my studio.

If you want to read all about our journey to this home and land you can read about it here, here and here.  We had no interest in moving and then here we are.

It was a year ago this month that we looked at that first home and all of the adventuring began.

Thank you for stopping over and joining me for my fall home tour!

 

 

 

 

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Part Three: Finding Our Way Home

 

This is part three of a twenty part story but I promise to only make it three parts. I am kind like that.

If you would like to read PART ONE and PART TWO.

Part Three: Finding Our Way Home

There was a calm that had come over my heart in the midst of the waiting.  It wasn’t there all of the time mind you…this calm I mention.  The other residents of my heart worry and anxiousness would appear when I forgot what I knew to be true.  Does that ever happen to you?  The spiral that can happen when you forget what is true?  These months of excitement, disappointment, open doors and doors slammed shut I had felt the strongest and the weakest and sometimes in the same day.  Sometimes moments a part.  When I say calm I guess I mean a knowing.  A knowing.  Maybe that is a better word.  A knowing that wherever we landed it would be good.  It may look different than I had intended but I trusted that my eyes can only see right in front of me…but the Lord could see miles down the road.

It was during these months, days and hours that I was coming to know and really believe that no one spot of land was the promise.  The whole thing was the promise.  The dream, the unknown, the stepping out, the friends that surrounded us, my family believing in something bigger together, the songs that calmed my heart and the prayers that were spoken while I was all alone.  Wherever we were supposed to land would be the right place for all of the dreams and needs not even spoken.  They say it is the journey and not the destination and this could not have been more true for the journey we were on.  The journey was changing our hearts and dreams and faith.  During this last part of our search for our new home, land and studios my precious friend Sheila Atchley said it perfectly.  The only way we would have missed what the Lord had in store for us was to…STAY PUT.  That is good stuff right there.   We would have missed it all if we would have been too scared to get out of our comfort zone, price zone, dream zone .

Our home was under contract and we were cleaning out, packing up and trusting that either a home would become available or that we would find a month to month rental until our home was found.   This was hardest on Kelly and the kids.  This unknown of where we were going.  I on the other hand was open to a different town and even state.  This was not shared by the rest of family but I just asked the Lord to open my eyes and heart to wherever this land and home and studio was for us.  I knew at this part of the journey that it wasn’t about where we landed but what the Lord would do with what we landed upon.

There were days when I did nothing but look for properties in the Pacific Northwest and then also search the towns around Nashville, Tennessee.  I think I was driving my family crazy with all of my internet searches and crazy ideas.  We had continued to look at properties and I have to tell you that there were a few that were incredible dream homes…just not our dream home.  It was a few weeks before Christmas and new properties being listed had come to a screeching halt.   Except one.

There was a listing for a home and land that would become available after Christmas.   The home was a Spanish style, lots of windows, high ceilings, a modern layout, all the rooms we wanted and more, 7 acres, and a workshop.  When I shared the listing with Kelly I was almost reluctant to show him because it lacked the wood burning fireplace that was on my must have list.  Kelly loved it from the moment he saw the photos and wanted to go see it right away.  The home was not officially on the market yet and we were the first to see it.

 

 

As we were driving to the appointment I was excited to see that we were headed to an area that was outside of town and along the west side of the highway.  This is an area with rolling hills, buttes and amazing views of the mountains.  As we came over one of the hills I turned to Kelly and told him I couldn’t believe we had never been out here and that an area this incredible was just outside of town.  It was truly one of the most stunning areas I had ever seen.

The home was nestled in a valley with a butte on one side and the mountain range behind it.  It was surrounded by trees and lots and lots of snow.  This was one of many properties that we were looking at covered in snow and no idea what the land really looked like.

I liked the home enough to come back with the children but Kelly was completely in love. In fact, Kelly liked it better than any home we had looked at to date.  This was harder for me because I had deal breakers in my head and heart and the biggest one was a wood burning fireplace.

The next day we were scheduled to see the home a second time but this time with our children.  I knew how much Kelly loved the home and I could also feel how much I was being resistant to it.  I only wanted what the Lord wanted for us in my head but my heart was pulling me all over the place.  I only knew to ask the Lord to change my heart or to change Kelly’s.  I asked my mom to come out to the house with us also.   I trust my mom’s wisdom and because she is more likely to be conservative with pricing I felt like her opinion was needed.  Little did I know I was about to be sabotaged.

 

 

As were driving back to the property and coming over that hill I tried to hide my emotions but I had tears at the beauty of the area.  I don’t know why I wanted to hide what I loved about this place but I could feel myself protecting, hiding and even downplaying parts of the home and property.  As we walked through the house I could tell that Kelly was being quiet and just allowing everyone to “be” in this space to make decisions separate from his love of the home and land.  I found my mom as she was walking through the home and as she turned to me she had tears in her eyes.  She was overwhelmed by the land and views.  Benjamin desperately wanted to talk to me and wanted to pull me into one of the bathrooms. I was certain he was going to tattle on his sister for something and I was honestly not in the mood. As he took my face in his hands he let me know that he loved this home and wanted this home to be the one.  In fact, they all loved it. They all loved it more than any of the other homes.  This home and land was their favorite. All of them.

Sabotaged I told you.  Just be warned that when you ask the Lord for clear answers and to change your heart where it needs to be changed…he brings out the big guns like a tear filled mom and your littlest’s hands on your cheeks.   As we walked out on the land there was just peace. Peace in my head and peace in my heart.  In fact, it was overwhelming peace.

 

 

This home was just a reminder that dreams, homes, land and studios are not just about one person. The Lord’s heart is for everyone and his love is perfect.  This home had everything that each person needed and many things that everyone wanted.  It was space for each heart and yet the lavishing of a view beyond our dreams.  This third home was the room we really needed, a view that we would have never had with any of the other properties, an investment that wasn’t there with the other two homes, a place of rest and dreaming for Kelly and myself but a place of gathering for our children.

So we put an offer on this third home.  We put an offer in on a Friday night and we were told we would hear back on Monday.  I hated waiting. Waiting meant someone else could make an offer or for some reason our full price offer would not be good enough. Things had gotten so strange over the past months that we didn’t even honestly know what to expect anymore.

Sunday morning we got the call that they had accepted our offer.  We asked our Realtor if we could go to the property and just make it real. After so many other offers we just needed to go out there.  We needed to walk around and take the time to celebrate and pray over what was coming.

After we made an offer on this property our Realtor was contacted by the seller’s agent of the second home we had placed an offer on.  The inspection had not gone well and they were wondering if we were still interested. They didn’t want to fix the items that came up on the inspection even though the other offer was significantly higher than ours.   I can’t even make this stuff up.  This is where the Lord’s mercy is so overwhelming.   We were protected the whole time.

 

 

This third home was on the best land, had the best view, had the room that we needed, incredibly solid and well built, we are surrounded by a whole community of horse property and beautiful homes, the studio will be ready soon for me to create in and host workshops,  the most awesome floor plan and so much more.  This home was not only what we wanted but what we needed.

The only way we would have missed what the Lord had for us would have been if we stayed put.  How many times have I missed sweet gifts or areas to grow because I didn’t want to get out of my comfort zone?  How many times did I give up before blessings came because it was too hard, too confusing or too unknown?

We have only been in this new home for three weeks now but we can’t believe this is our home. This is our land. This is our future studio.  We see our views and tear up.  We catch our children over and over saying how much they love the home and they are so thankful we are here.  We are smitten. It was all worth it. Every. Single. Thing.  Our whole day to day life is bigger, bolder, more beautiful because we were OK with being uncomfortable and walking through the dark for awhile.

I know this is “just” a house. Not sickness or death.  I get that.  But sometimes even “just” a house can change your heart and dreams and help you move one step closer to each other, the life you want to live and your faith.  I hope the Lord keeps us in this house until we have grand babies and beyond but if He doesn’t I want to have the strength to be an adventurer and to again and again step out of my comfort zone knowing His best is where my heart longs to rest.

[These are not the best quality photos but it gives you an idea about the inside of the home.  As soon as we closed on the house we had painters come in and paint the whole interior.  Everything was painted white and most of the windows have a black trim.  We have slowly changed out all of the lighting and you can see glimpses of what we have done so far on Instagram.]

If you would like to see how we make this home our own I would love for you follow me on Instagram.

We have some fun projects coming up very soon and we will also be sharing the studio transformation.

We are hosting our first workshop in our new studio THIS June! It is almost sold out and you can read about it HERE.

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Part Two: 39 Acres and a Whole Lot of Uncomfortable

 

This is part two of a twenty part story but I promise to only make it three parts. I am kind like that.

If you would like to read Part One you can read it HERE.

 

(the photos are from house two and the house I am writing about in this post)

Part Two: 39 Acres and a Whole Lot of Uncomfortable

When we didn’t get the first house I knew with everything in me that it wasn’t in vain. Everything was too big, too emotional, too outside of our comfort zone to have been just a fluke. Kelly and I truly believed that if that first home was not for us that it meant that the Lord had an even better home and land for us. This was honestly hard to convince ourselves of but we knew, that we knew, that we knew that something was coming. Keep in mind that 6 weeks before we were completely content with our home, 1/3 of an acre in town and my little studio at the front of our home. My good friend Sheila Atchley has lovingly referred to the first home as “spiritual bait”. With a good laugh and a nodding head I can now look back and fully agree.

We changed realtors for lots of reasons and we kind of asked the Lord if He was going to bring something else to us that He would do it while our loan was valid (I think without resubmitting everything it was good for three months). We actually asked this of the Lord because of our children’s hearts. They didn’t know why we were still open to moving because we didn’t get the first home. They loved our home and had no interest in moving if it wasn’t for the home we just lost.

We looked at some homes but nothing was grabbing us. We were still so in love with the first home I felt like I was cheating or worse…on the rebound and just settling.

Kelly was about to go on a trip and as he was packing his bags I teased him that I would probably find the perfect house while he was gone. I told him that my ideal home would probably be a mid century modern, modern and open floor plan, wood burning fireplace, vaulted ceilings and beams. Was that asking too much? Of course within our price range and it would need to have land and a studio. I have been known to be an overachiever.

The next day our realtor sent us a listing that was at the top of our price range and beyond. The house had been way out of our price range but it had just dropped a bit to even convince us to look at it. It was everything and more than we had told our Realtor we were looking for. It was a mid century remodel that had been finished by a designer with a wonderful eye. It was a ranch, vaulted ceilings, beams, a wood burning fireplace. There were many things in time that we would want to change but it wasn’t really the house that grabbed us and convinced us to look at it. There was 39 acres and a huge workshop that would make the most incredible studio for myself and live workshops. With Kelly out of town I went to look at the home alone.

I quietly walked through this home that was everything I was telling Kelly the night before that I was looking for. I was holding myself back. I could feel it. I didn’t want to get hurt again but in the same breath I didn’t feel a definite yes that would even remotely lead me to risking again. As I stood on the land and imagined myself teaching in the studio I had huge ideas come to my heart and mind. Things I had never wanted or thought before. This was gathering land. This was a gathering studio and it wasn’t just for art. It was bigger than that. I still held it at a distance and waited.

The next afternoon Kelly drove straight from the airport to look at the house with us as a family. I still wasn’t sure. Everything was huge. The land, the price and the ideas in my head. I wasn’t worried about the house. I can make a house. I love to put homes together and to make them ours. If this home was for us I needed Kelly (all on his own) to see the studio, see the potential and not be afraid of the work and money involved to make it come to fruition. So this was my prayer. Because I didn’t have a clear direction I asked the Lord to lead my husband. Lead us both.

As Kelly walked through the home I was quiet as he looked and was probably thinking about so many of the details of the past 8 weeks, what we had been through and how burned we felt. Then we walked in the high snow to the workshop and I waited. I waited for Kelly to look around and to hear if he saw what it could be. He turned to me and said, “I see it. This would make the most incredible studio.” He started speaking big dreams too. Words and ideas were coming forth that I had never heard him speak. It was probably one of my favorites moments in our marriage. We both were feeling, seeing, hearing the same thing and it was big!

We went home and talked it over more as a family. We low balled them a bit because of the price of the home but in the end we came close to their asking and they accepted. The only part of the deal the home owner added was that because we weren’t offering asking price that he would not be able to fix anything that may come up in inspection. The home had only been bought a year before and it had been completely renovated so we didn’t see this as being a huge issue. We agreed. Obviously, if it was a horrible inspection we could always back out under our contract.

The day they accepted our offer the buyers for our home had to back out. We could have signed the contract and later asked to change some of the closing dates but we knew we wanted to be as transparent and honest with the home owners as possible. We asked them to give us a few days to find another buyer. This was the day before Thanksgiving and we now needed to officially put our home on the market. We listed it immediately on Zillow with photos from my blog. We had so much interest that we asked our Realtor to officially list it and take over.

We had been told to not be disappointed if it took over a month to sell our home based upon the time of year. We didn’t believe this. Within two days we had five offers (and more coming in) and most of them were over our asking price which was already higher than any home had ever sold in our neighborhood. We felt once again the Lord’s hand upon our decisions and even the purchase of this second home that was getting us to dream and trust bigger than ever before in the plans the Lord had for us.

We chose a buyer for our home (that was so hard and tears involved there) and we finally signed the contract on the second house. We were busy the next day so I didn’t think about it until later that afternoon but we had never heard back from our Realtor and we still hadn’t seen the contract signed by the sellers.

I called our Realtor to check in and I could already tell that something was wrong based upon his tone and hesitation to talk. The seller’s agent was saying she couldn’t’ get a hold of her sellers and we knew this couldn’t be true. Who can’t get a hold of someone nowadays and especially when they are selling a home? Our Realtor was worried that another offer had come in that was higher than ours.

I have to take a break for a moment because I want you to just think on this as we did that late afternoon and into the evening. We place an offer on a home that hasn’t had any serious action for four months. Our buyer backs out but we have another one (in fact a line of them) in a few days. We don’t know it at the time but the sellers had already sent all of our information onto the title company to start the paperwork as they waited for our new buyer and the new closing dates. The night we officially sign the contract for the new home another offer comes in higher than ours. It was another door shut in the most obvious way. Everything had seemed so right and falling into place.  We were trusting more, dreaming bigger and truly wanting to be only where the Lord wanted us. Wasn’t this the home, land, workshop, purpose of everything we had been through?

The sellers never responded to our offer and they let our contract expire at 5pm that night. At this point we had two hours left to sign the contract on the house WE were selling. Kelly was on the phone with me through much of this and at one point I just told Kelly that with everything in me I believed we were supposed to sell our home . Our current home needed to be not on our plates so we were free to buy what was coming. It didn’t make sense. We didn’t have a house lined up. We didn’t have any answers but I had peace. Kelly agreed. We both had an overwhelming peace in the midst of confusion and chaos. We signed the papers to sell our home.

That night as were eating dinner with the kids we always share our high and our low of the day. I told our children that my high was that we didn’t get the house. I told them that if we lost this house too can you even imagine what is coming for us? I told them that each home had been amazing but that we only wanted to be in the home and land handpicked for us. We would wait. To ask our children to believe in a big God with a perfect plan can be very uncomfortable sometimes. What if we had heard Him wrong? What if we were supposed to stay put? Don’t think we didn’t have extreme doubt alongside our extreme faith. They were holding hands.

I want you to know that letting go of a house we deeply loved without having a place lined up should have been more uncomfortable for me. Home is such a huge part of how I love. I have said that home is one of my love languages and that is definitely true. It was the hardest to ask our children to trust us that no matter what it was going to be alright. We weren’t losing our home…we were letting it go. There is a huge difference between the two.

The next day it was confirmed that another offer had come in and that we could come back with more money and they would consider the offer before making a final decision. There are details I can’t share but the whole thing felt dirty and gross and we were fine to walk away.

This time around I was holding onto this house loosely so I have to be completely honest that I didn’t even cry. The last home I was an emotional and heart broken basket case but this time I was calm. I was expectant that something even better was coming.

We were on the edge looking over and just wondering with a mix of excitement, fear and the unknown about where we were going…

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Part One: House One and the Day I Lost my Heart and Mind

(The photos in this post are of house one and the house I am writing about in this post)

This is part one of a twenty part story but I promise to only make it three parts. I am kind like that.

 

Part One: House One and the Day I Lost my Heart and Mind

 

It was a regular day. That means I was procrastinating the real work I needed to do and I was looking at Realtor.com for nothing and everything all at the same time. I am a realtor’s daughter which means I have grown up with a love of housing, open houses, random home searches in towns I don’t even live in, I take a vacation and instantly start searching for local property and figuring out if I could live there based upon random Zillow searches.

 

In the midst of my procrastination I came upon a previously viewed mid century that I decided at that moment we should look at because maybe it had potential I just couldn’t fully realize yet. Please keep in mind that we weren’t really looking for a home and this was just me procrastinating real work. Kelly agreed to look at it and in my quick search to find a local realtor I saw a home that had just been listed within the past two hours. This wasn’t just any home…it was MY home. It was the home I had waiting for all my life. I am not prone to exaggerating or high emotions at all.

 

 

When I saw this home I burst into tears and had never felt this emotional connection to a property (let along photos of a property) in my life. Unfortunately for me my husband Kelly was on an hour long conference call and he was not about to risk his job for his antsy and hormonal wife. I had no choice but to take matters into my own hands (keep in mind he wouldn’t get off the phone and the clock was ticking). I instantly texted about 20 local friends asking if anyone was interested (or knew of anyone interested) in buying our house. Yes, I did. I then proceeded to find a local Realtor and set up an appointment for that day.

 

 

When Kelly (finally) got off the phone I told him to sit down and just look at the house. I told him this was our house. I knew it didn’t make sense, we weren’t looking for a new house, the bedrooms weren’t’ right etc.…THIS was our home. Kelly agreed and said we should set up an appointment. I told him he was so lucky to be married to me because we already had one and we needed to leave in 30 minutes. I like to think of myself as proactive.

 

We took the kids to look at the this mid century, untouched, masterpiece surrounded by 2.3 acres of woods and we made a full price offer before leaving. We hadn’t called our bank, thought it through or have a buyer for our home. It was our home and that is all we knew. The next day the final offer was submitted, we wrote the owners and gave them a photo of our family, we had our loan approval and we had a buyer for our home.  Did you read that…we had a buyer for our home.  All of this within 24 hours. This home was everything that we didn’t even know we were needing. It was rest and dreaming. If God’s hand was ever on a decision in our life this had to be it.   Right?

 

Two days later we were told that the owners had taken another full price offer. I couldn’t process the answer over the phone that we didn’t get the home. I truly didn’t understand and acted like I could still change the outcome. I cried like a heartbroken teenage girl. I was devastated. I don’t think my family knew what to do with me because I had never reacted like this outside of death or my parent’s divorce. I felt with everything in me that this was our home and that this wasn’t how the story was supposed to end.

 

The next day I called our lender and he told me he couldn’t believe we didn’t get the home because the other lender said we were the stronger offer. I asked him how often do loans fall through and he said everyday, all day long. I asked him to go ahead with our loan as if we were buying this property. I wanted to be ready when they called. This is truly how sure I was that this home would be ours.

 

I also called our Realtor and asked her to put in a backup offer with first right of refusal. She called me back saying that wasn’t necessary. The owners had already been offered multiple back up offers and they wouldn’t take any other offer but ours if the the first deal fell through. I felt like once again that God was making a path for our family and connecting us with this home. The buyers for our home were willing to wait and so we waited. For six weeks we waited.

 

For six weeks I cleaned out our home, sold so much stuff, prayed alone and prayed with others. What I haven’t told you is that at the beginning of the school year I had told our children that this was going to be the year that we prayed for such big things that when they happened only the Lord would get the credit. We prayed for loved ones, for our business (I have a totally cool story about that for later) and for things in our lives we wanted to change. As a family we felt like we were in the midst of something big that we hadn’t even prayed about or for. I asked the kids to believe in big things and claim big things. We continued to wait.

 

I headed to France to teach the Living Studio Normandy and waited and prayed. I came home from France and waited and prayed. One night Kelly asked me if I wanted to watch a movie and I just asked if we could drive by the house again and just pray over it again. He kindly agreed. As we were approaching the home we noticed lights on and for the first time the For Sale sign was gone. Our stomachs dropped. Had it closed? What was going on? This was suppose to be ours, right? We called our Realtor right then and asked if the house had closed. He asked us to hold on and he would get back to us.

 

It had. It had closed. It was over and it wasn’t ours. None of this made sense and all of this felt so real, so big, so ours, so a part of something bigger and it was “just a house” so why did it hurt so badly and how could we have been so wrong. And how were we going to tell our children? Our friends? Our family? We had been so sure and now we just looked liked crazy religious freaks that had claimed something for 6 weeks that was never ours.  Wasn’t this going to be something so big and amazing that when it happened only the Lord got the glory?

 

What we were about to learn was that this house was only the beginning of getting out of our comfort zone and believing for bigger things for ourselves, our family and our business. It was also going to be that time when the Lord used a house so amazing that it made me lose my heart and mind to put us on a new path that we weren’t even looking for…

 

 

 

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All About The House {adding character to your home}

One of the best things we did for our house in 2012 was to give it a face lift with new paint throughout.

I have a bit of wanderlust/ants in my pants:-)…whatever you want to call it and sometimes I need change in a big bad way!

We have been in this house for almost 10 years and that is the longest I have ever been in one house (even including the home I grew up in).

I grew up in an old farmhouse and our garage was the old barn.

I like big rooms, squeaky stairs (except when you were trying to sneak in late at night) and front doors with big windows.

I like the trees in your yard to actually be bigger than the house…not looking like a bunch of bushes around the yard.

But I don’t live in rural Illinois where property is affordable and you trip over old farmhouses as you go throughout your day.

We built our home and at the time we built it the neighborhood had planned to have “older” looking homes,  lots of color and big front porches.

9/11 happened…the economy happened…and our semi-custom builder and the other builder went out of business.

Sure, they waited until they had built our home to bail.

Life happens and some of our neighborhood didn’t turn out like we were told.

I am embarrassed to tell you that I used to walk along the “older” part of the neighborhood and cry that my street wasn’t going to look like that.

Cried.

Seriously.

I would like to blame it on postpartum or something but that wasn’t it.

I am a crybaby. End of story.

I don’t deal with change well.

Sooooo……that brings me back to our home and making the most of our home.

Making it have that “feeling” even though we live in a new neighborhood with bushes instead of trees.

Even though when we need to borrow sugar we can just open our windows and they can pass it to us from their kitchen window.

I feel so blessed that we have a huge backyard (for a neighborhood), I have a big front porch and that our builder was semi-custom and allowed us to make changes that reflected the feeling I wanted for our home.

Here are some of the changes they let us make:

1. Divided Our Living Room

Our living room was actually a  much bigger room.

We knew that someday (didn’t know it would take us 10 years to start) we wanted a family room in the basement so we could handle our living room being smaller.

We asked them to cut the room short and create a library with the other space.

We had them add the fireplace on both sides and add a French door.

We couldn’t afford for them to build the bookshelves so Kelly built them for my birthday a few years after we moved in.

2. Took out their built-in entertainment centers

The builder had planned for a built-in entertainment center in living room and master bedroom.

I did not like anything about their design or the angle of the cabinets.

We had them take them out and leave a niche in the wall so Kelly could go back later and build shelves.

It worked out perfectly and changed the look of those spaces.

3. Took out the desk at the top of the stairs

The original plans of the house calls for a desk at the top of the stairs.

I thought this was the weirdest place to put a desk.

We asked them to take that out and put a window seat (with storage and bookshelves) in that space.

We drew out what we wanted and it has added so much to our home.

4. We had them paint all three of our fireplace mantels and trim white

All of the woodwork in the house was supposed to be oak and they painted it for us.

Of course we could have done this after the house was built but it would have been an enormous amount of work.

5. We upgraded all of our light fixtures

I didn’t like any of their light fixtures so I asked them if I could change them out.

They gave me the catalog they order from, the price limit on each room and purchased the lights I wanted instead.

We have continued to change some lighting over the years but I was so grateful to have a say in our lighting choices.

6. We upgraded our stove

This very simple addition has made a nice difference in our kitchen. It is nice to have the extra space for cooking and this would have been very hard to add after the kitchen was completed.

When our home has been appraised they always comment on it and confirm was a nice extra it was to include in our kitchen.

These are probably some of the bigger things we had done as our home was being built and over the years we have continued to try to add older character to our newer home.

Making your house a home is a labor of love and doesn’t happen over night.

We have spent 10 years so far adding moldings, wainscoting, trees, built ins and more.

We still have so many things we want to add, change, upgrade etc. but it all takes time or money and we rarely have lots of either!

As we work on our basement this year we will be sure to show you all the little things we are adding to make it feel older and full of detail.

We also want to focus on our front yard this summer.

I would love to add a picket fence (but I don’t know if I can get it approved with the HOA:-() and to add new landscaping in the front of the porch.

I want it to be more colorful and have more layers of flowers and plants.

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Here are the new paint colors that we have added to our home.

Some are custom mixes but most of them are from Sherwin Williams, Home Depot or Lowe’s.

The paint names are written under the paint swatches and please email me or leave a comment if you have any questions.

I also am a big believer in shopping your own house first when you are getting tired of how your home looks.

You bought the things in the first place because you liked them.

Sometimes it just takes a fresh coat of paint or a new spot in your home to give it a completely new look.

In my e-course Creatively Made Home I did a video about shopping your house.

It gives four different looks for my living room with pieces I already had.

I have upload the video onto the jeanneoliver.ning.com creative network.

You just have to be registered (this is free) to see the video.

You will find this free video under Free Home Video {Shop Your House}.

One last thing!

While I was at my friend  Alexis’ home a few months ago I was admiring her windows.

I couldn’t place my finger on what was so awesome about them.

Guess what……she had taken out all of the screens!

As soon as I got home we took out all of the screens on our main floor.

It was free and made such a huge difference!

We kept them in our bedrooms etc. but our main floor living space was instantly brightened and looked “cleaner” and brighter.

I would also love to hear how you have added character to your newer home.

It is amazing what a few small things can do.

*****

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