This is the second idea board- Beautiful Farm House. Simple. Comfy. Clever. Painting starts today with the living room.
Now first things first when you are redecorating your space. Paint is simply the biggest alteration you can make. It will speak loud and clear about the space it represents. It is also inexpensive and fairly easy to do. I do love paint with all my Farmgirl heart.
I want to combine my two idea boards into the living space. I want to honor the home’s ninety-two year old history. This is a family home. It should have places to put one’s feet up, places to read and dream while looking out one of the many windows. It should be clean and orderly but not so much that it feels stagnant. A comfortable home where Grammie and Pa can be found. It should represent Doug and I and our loves (lots of plants, books, gifts from friends, and art created from our daughters, granddaughter, or myself.
A nice chocolate color on the trim will help it mimic beams. It will give it a cabin/country feel. For the walls I have chosen a beautiful yellow to illuminate the light from the windows. I took down all the curtains, and well, you’ll just have to check back tomorrow for the before and after! See you then! I have to start painting!
I do adore history. And the history of things. I feel that structures hold the imprints of spirits and memories of those that came before. All you have to do is walk into a place to get the heebie jeebies and know something tragic happened there or to walk into a place and feel a wonderful sense of calm to know what I mean.
When we walked into the house we are buying Thursday I felt like I was in someone’s Grandma’s house. I could not explain this but I saw children running through and laughter and celebrations and quiet contemplations in the light filled home.
The internet has made it rather easy to find out history. A few clicks of Google and I had found the names of all the owners of the house and then the history of the family that was there for seventy five years.
Leslie was eighteen, and his lovely wife, Jane was twenty-two. They came from Kansas and the newly married couple built this house in 1925. Since the bedrooms and bathroom were not built on until 1952, their growing family lived in close quarters indeed. Their children, Elmer, Leslie, Weslie, Dorothy, Ruth, and Donelda (I just love old names.) grew up in this home and it was passed to Elmer then to Elmer’s daughter until it was sold in 2000. It was lost to the bank a few years after and in the past six years, three owners have fixed and flipped or rented the home. My beloved grandfather’s name and my son’s middle name is Elmer and I feel its kismet.
I found the grandson who still lives in Pueblo and I am extremely tempted to pen him a letter to see what memories he may still carry.
Soon we will add a lifetime of memories and children and grandchildren and celebrations of our own to that beautiful dwelling. I shall indeed treasure it.
This house speaks in whispers telling of past families and memories. It so fills me with inspiration every time we pass it. I want to live there, to make a fire in the hearth, to grow something in the solarium. I want to hang clothes on the line and tend to the chickens. This 1907 house is supposedly inhabited by six people according to the internet but it looks abandoned. Short stories and poems flow from its bones and I long to start a garden and trim the weeds so that one can see the wrought iron gate as they pass the statuesque frame of home.
Ahh, I wish.
The house we are staying at is enchanted. A raccoon visits each evening. Margie has dubbed her “Miko”. She won’t come too close, just to the end of a pizza crust.
I wasn’t too pleased with her this morning though! We left our windows down in the truck. Doug called me down to take a look at my seat this morning. The vandal had opened a grocery bag of rotten leftovers and soup. We wondered who would have done such a thing. She had rifled through everything in the truck and left her telling, adorable hand prints on everything! I knew immediately who the culprit was.
Thus far, we have run into some dead ends regarding jobs but we won’t give up. I imagine we will end up in Denver, Doug hopes to stay out here. We’ll see. Today we have food, clothes, shelter, transportation, health, family, friends, and a little change. And though we have little else, we have the stuff that makes us rich.
I have been stalking Craigslist. It is exhausting. The rents in our county have nearly doubled. Mention eight cats (let alone a dog, chickens, ducks, and goats…and self employment and bad credit) and it’s amazing how quickly someone else gets the house! Doug and I talked about what we wanted. Do we want to give up our farm animals and move closer to town? No. Do we want to pick up extra work so we can afford something more? No. So we started looking at towns 30-45 minutes away from where we are now. Really just a shot down a dirt road from here but they are not familiar to us so they felt very far. Even there, dilapidated trailers or houses in town that didn’t allow animals was all we could find.
I walked by the desk and quickly typed in the computer-memorized web address for Craigslist to take a quick look to see if there was anything new. A brief post had been listed an hour prior. It didn’t give very much information, nor did it mention animals, but I did not dilly dally by emailing, I called straight away. We hopped in the car and went to see it fifteen minutes later.
Even though I had not given the landlords a clear answer yet, they had turned down potential seekers after we came to see the place. The couple used to run cattle and there are pens and chicken coops on the property. They like honey bees. There is a large garden already fenced. There is a clothes line. There is a well. Hold onto your hats folks, there is a wood cook stove attached to a propane one in the kitchen! There is everything we could desire.
It is few miles due south of the sleepy town of Calhan. Not very far, about forty minutes from where we are now. I can still pick up the baby to watch her. I can afford the extra gas money because the rent is cheaper than the townhome I rented some sixteen years ago. Blessingly low rent. This could be a place that could stand out in the minds of our children and grandchildren as “Grammie and Papa’s house”. A fun retreat in the country. A place we can stay for a long time. I am so relieved (as Doug is) to set ourselves into a place and stay.
The owners of the property have their house on the land as well. His grandfather bought the old house we will be renting many years ago and the house itself whispers stories of its past and of joyous events. It sits on ten acres where on a clear day one can see from New Mexico to Denver. The mountains majestically framing the view. Mature trees surround the homestead. It is a peaceful place.
We are putting a bit of work into the house before we move in as the last tenants did not love it like I already do. Yesterday our interns, Ethan and Stephanie, went and helped us remove the carpet. Beneath it we found two layers of linoleum and beneath that lay in secret the original wood floor. I nearly cried. I will be painting the main rooms a creamy antique white with a slight gold undertone. This house longs for bright colors and exposed windows. There are seventeen feet of windows in the living room alone! I will share before and after photos as we go, but come along with me as I give you the initial tour!
There is a second bedroom but it is so dark with the wood paneling and the small window I could not get a good shot of it. It will be brightened up and turned into a guest bedroom and will hold all of our apothecary items.
I know folks love three day weekends. After three days of graduation parties, farmer’s market, barbeques, and a bad tummy ache, I am happy to be home today.
There is magic in an old farmhouse. My cousin came over the other day to drop off a wedding invitation. She was friends with one of the original owners of this house. They were here many years, she said. The kitchen is exactly the same. There is a lot more clutter here now. The original Mrs. of the house kept a sparse, clean home.
“They didn’t have much”, Janet recalled, “but it was always pristine.”
A couch. A large rug. Everything in its place. Makes me want to run through and get rid of some more stuff. The original Mrs. wouldn’t be too happy with me.
The light filters in the large south window in the kitchen illuminating everything as I make coffee early. Other friends came over to visit yesterday and pointed out the cabinet handles. Something I never noticed.
“They are like sterling silver,” Trish ahhed.
The house speaks to me. It is filled with promise and hope. The old well is covered up in the back yard. Bits of the coal chute and furnace are here and there. Original steps to the cellar to heat the house with the coal stove. The old kitchen and its beautiful white farmhouse sink, now showing its use and age. Glimmers of wall paper show through the paint. The original chimney, now not attached to anything, falls in with fatigue.
But the house has promise, even a renter can see that. We are happy to be working around the large yard, in the gardens that would have made the original owners proud and provided sustenance in the cold winters. Walking around history and making new history is a mesmerizing task. This week I will paint the porch, perhaps robin’s egg blue, and tend to the vast beds of vegetables and herbs. I will make cheese from our goat’s milk, and get the ducks a swimming pool. I will hang clothes on the line and swat at the Miller moths. I will stay home and be a farm wife just as the great women before me did. We will watch our granddaughter discover her surroundings and we will make new memories, new history, in this old rental house.