Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Why Berry Blossom Cottage?

I've always loved hearing how people would have names instead of addresses for their homes, so I thought to myself, someday I will have a named house.  I decided; if and when, we ever actually own a house, I will name it.  When we found this house we realized it had mulberry trees, that coupled with my extreme love of Strawberry Shortcake gave me the name I was looking for.  Thus, Berry Blossom Cottage was born.  

When I was a child we had mulberry trees in our yard, we would make lots of things with them. Sometimes we would just pick them and eat them.  We made a deal with my aunt - we pick enough berries to make two pies and she would make them, but she got to keep one.  It seemed like a fair deal to us.  Finding out we had mulberry trees gave me an instant childhood flashback, which warmed my soul.  Keep checking in because we are going to share our families recipes for mulberry pies, cakes, puddings, cookies, and maybe even wine : )

Sidenote:  When you live self sufficiently you have to use what you have.  For the chalkboard, we used a mirror frame that I have had for 14 years, a piece of leftover paneling, and some leftover chalkboard paint (not exactly a perfect match color wise, but it will work).  For the chalk and eraser holder we used my antique matchstick holder.  Isn't it cute?  Don't forget to like us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram : )

Monday, March 14, 2016

Breathing New Life Into The Living Room

Rehabbing started in May 2015 and here is what the living room looked like as of Christmas 2015.  The entire rehab was estimated to be done by July 15th, but boy was that a bad estimation, lol.  We knew we might go over a little bit, but we never dreamed we would run into so many unforeseen issues.

At first we did not pass the electrical inspections.  It seemed like the inspector would always find something else when he came. The biggest item that needed done was to put in a new water ground, we didn't even have a clue what that was.  This required hiring a professional electrician, lucky for us we knew one.  He was able to get us squared away.

If you have ever had to deal with inspectors, than you know how happy we were when we finally passed.  It had been one heck of a ride and we weren't even close to being done.

Reminder of what it looked like before

Finally, we, and our lil cottage could breathe.  Of course, there are still a million things to do : )

                                                     The other side of the living room

Reminder of what it looked like before

All new windows, flooring, the addition of cornice boards, and crown molding were some of the other big changes for the living room.  We still have to work on the front door area, but we are pleased.

Side note: We had bought a new set of furniture, but once we placed it in the new smaller living room, it did not work.  It was back to our old antique furniture, it fit perfectly.  I now understand why furniture was narrow back then.  My philosophy has always been to only buy furniture you can move by yourself, I should have stuck to it.  What do you think so far : )

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

First Scary Glance At The Inside Of The Cottage - Are We Crazy - Maybe

We have always dreamed of being self sufficient and debt free, but we didn't think it would happen for us until retirement.  Then it happened, the nudge we needed.  A very close friend had taken the plunge to self sufficiency and purchased a homestead.  They let us know we could get their original city home for a cheap price, so we went to look.  Sadly, it wouldn't work for our families needs, but it got us thinking.  

Why wait, let's look and see what else is out there. Let's be as self sufficient in our small city as we can, let us live our dream.  We called the realtor, gave her our bottom line and put our dreams in her hands. Then, we called our buddy Dave to help us pick out the right house, and lend his construction expertise where needed.  After looking at 3 other homes we found her.  She wasn't pretty, but everyone agreed, she would work for our family and supposedly stay within our budget - insert laughter here : )

Picture above is of living room

Could we do it, could we do all the work that was required?  Did we take on too big of a task?  

Pic above is the other side of the living room.  

Someone had obviously tried to take this cottage on before us.  There were new items that were not put in place and a lot of garbage.  We sold and donated all the usable items.  The money we made went right back into the house.

Pic of one of the windows an animal tried to get out of

Talk about scary!  The house had been vacant for 4 years and some poor thing had either gotten into the house or was left behind.  I can only hope that it was rescued or finally found a way out.  We never did find the animal, but we found traces of one, as evident with the windows.  I still pray for it, where ever it is.  This was our first look - what do you think : )

Please stay tuned for more first looks and to see the progress we have made so far