Friday, January 13, 2017

First Christmas in the Louisiana Farmhouse

Well I know it's late for a Christmas post, but better late than never right?

Ok... so I had all of these amazing plans for Christmas in our new house.  (You remember the post, right?)  Actually I had been dreaming of Christmas in the new house for years.  But the reality was, we had just moved in the day before Thanksgiving so between unpacking, a busy busy work schedule, and an even busier kiddo itinerary there wasn't a bit of time left to decorate elaborately for the holiday.  And realistically, we didn't have living room furniture, a dining table, a washer and dryer, or even a refrigerator until just a little over a week before Christmas.  So I felt happy just to have those things, let along décor.

To make decorating for Christmas even more of a challenge, (Y'ALL!!) come December most stores were already wiped clean of holiday decorations.  Seriously!! I would walk up and down the same isle ten times, looking behind displays and boxes for some type of decoration that went with the vision I had.

Well despite the Christmas décor despair, I did manage to find a few odd and ends and pulled together a pretty backdrop for my family's Christmas festivities.  The Christmas tree was not overly decorated, but just as pretty as any tree we have ever had.  I couldn't find a tree skirt that went just right with the look I wanted.  Funds were a little tight (just built a house, ya know), my burlap stash was lost in the flood, and like I said- shelves were pretty bare in the Christmas section.  As I was leaving Home Depot with our tree, I walked past the Christmas section and picked up a $3 buffalo plaid fleece blanket. It was perfect!

I found 2 spools of flannel ribbon at HomeGoods- perfect for the tree.  And a sweet friend, found two more spools at TJ Maxx.  I grabbed a few small boxwood wreaths from Joann's and used the ribbon and wreaths to bring a little Christmas into the kitchen.  Other than that I used pops of red with dish towels and a utensil crock to bring in a little more cheer.  I'll probably keep them out through Valentine's Day. 

A funny story about the Christmas tree:  We usually cut down our tree at the local farm the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Well Lane was working, and we couldn't find time to get to the farm. And just like the Christmas decorations, most Home Depots, Lowe's, and other tree lots had pretty slim pickings.  Finally we found a Home Depot with a good selection of trees.  We found an 8 foot "promo" tree with the pretties shape, no holes, and for only $25- another win.  Well once we got home and I started fluffing the tree and putting lights on it, I pulled out a branch.  Weird.  As I kept putting lights, I kept pulling out branches revealing holes in the tree.  It didn't take us long to realize that the good price on that "promo" tree was due to the fact that the tree had plenty of holes that was filled with clippings from other trees.  We were laughing so hard at the whole thing.  By the time I had finished all the lights, the tree was full of holes, we had a pile of branches, and Lane and I were in tears from laughing so hard at the perfect tree we thought we had found.  Believe it or not, it was still a pretty tree.  Our own Charlie Brown tree.

The good thing to come from the Charlie Brown tree, was that I had plenty of clippings to decorate the rest of the house.  I tied a few sprigs onto serving dishes with baker's twine, put some into candle lanterns, and the rest into my dining room lanterns.  We didn't have a dining table at that time, but the dining room was decorated for Christmas nonetheless.

All the simple décor was just so pretty, but what was even more special was all the memories we got to make in our new home with each other.  We spent a great deal of time drinking hot chocolate (and lemonade) by the fireplace, made gingerbread houses, homemade cinnamon rolls, and other sweet treats together in the kitchen, and hosted multiple gatherings with sweet friends and family. I planned a Christmas book advent for my littles this year.  Jude and Aubrey Lane loved it and excitedly begged to open the book each night.  There was no going to bed until they had their Christmas book. 

Christmas Day was the sweetest.  My family was coming over that day so I was up early in the kitchen.  I heard AL stir, so I ran to the hall so I could see her reaction without her knowing it.  After she realized "Santa had come", she ran down the hall and exclaimed "I did not ask Santa for a teepee, but he just knowed I wanted one!"  She was just as grateful as last year.  Jude was more attentive to the festivities than ever.  He loved unwrapping presents and demanded that his toys be released from their packaging immediately.  He was so funny.  Then my family came in and I fed them dinner on a fold out table in our dining room (our table didn't arrive until the 27th) and everyone had a great time.

Looking back on the season, I'm quite happy with the simple décor- it was all about the memories this year, and there were plenty of sweet ones made.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Prepping the Farmhouse for Christmas

Since yesterday I did a little intro to the farmhouse, I thought I would keep the blogging pace and head straight into the next phase of the new home: decorating.

I have the very welcomed, but very daunting task of not only decorating a new home, but getting it ready for the Christmas season as well.  I don't want to skip Christmas just because we are busy getting settled; I'll be working double time to make sure the house feels like Christmas throughout every room.  Since the home is new for not only me, but my littles as well, I want to make sure the home is super cozy and welcoming for them this year.  In doing so, it will be welcome for other family and friends as well .  Oh, I just can’t wait to invite some friends over for some of my shrimp and corn chowder!

Photo Source: By Stephanie Lynn

Since we literally just moved in the farmhouse, I have a completely blank canvas to work with.  It’s a little overwhelming, but I actually have a good vision of what I would love to see.  I painted the entire house white not only because I LOVE that color, but it keeps a fresh "canvas" for me to transition into different seasons and holidays.  I can add pops of red and black this season without worrying if it clashes with wall or cabinet color.  And pops of red and black is just what I envision for this Christmas season.

Photo Source: Little Laura Lou Crafts on Etsy

When I look around my living room, I keep envisioning a tree in the front corner to shine out both windows and draped in buffalo check with a cozy blanket or fir tree skirt waiting to hold those sweet little presents. When we worked on the house plans, I made sure that there was a special spot for the Christmas tree, and outlets to accommodate. That tree will be here sometime next week.  Now I only have to decide if I want to do traditional red and black buffalo check or hunt down some black and white.  Both are equally beautiful so either is a win!

Over on the mantle, I can see beautiful garlands of cypress greenery and lots of white candles or white lights placed along it.  I also made sure there was an outlet hidden around the side of the mantle with Christmas lights in mind. Then of course stocking holders amongst the garlands, and everyone’s stocking waiting to be stuffed with goodies.

Then on the sofa, I can see a mix of fur and buffalo check pillows welcoming visits and long talks with sweet friends, or nights cozying up with my little ones watching a Christmas movie.  And a red plaid blanket draped over the sofa waiting for us.

Photo Source: Four Generations One Roof

Speaking of sofas, I’ll let y’all in on a little secret: I have not bought any new furniture for the house.  Yep! You read right.  We currently don’t have any living room or dining room furniture.  And I’m kinda having commitment issues.  You see we had a sectional in the previous house, but I thought that having just a slipcovered sofa and some nice sitting chairs would be prettier in our new home and would allow me to rearrange seating as needed.  However, I have realized that my family is used to sitting together, and regular sofas aren’t as accommodating as sectionals.  Plus, we built this house with the full intentions of opening the doors to fellowship with our family and friends.  Sectionals offer much more seating.  The drawback: no easy rearranging and the elimination of pretty chairs.  So the conundrum: what to get?  I want pretty and comfy!

I think we may actually be leaning towards sectional because it’s what we’re used to and it’s what we like.  In my quest for a sectional that was pretty too, I have found some pretty ones from Arhaus. (You can see all their pretty sectionals which are on sale by clicking here.) And they have a white slipcovered one as well.  I have been dreaming of a white slipcovered sofa forever, so maybe I’ll have to add a few pieces from Arhaus onto my Christmas wish list.

Photo Source: Arhaus

As for the dining, my heart is set on a salvaged wood dining table with a matching bench on the side and slipcovered end chairs.  (Got to have somewhere to sit when I make that shrimp and corn chowder.) I actually came across Arhaus when I was searching for the perfect table.  They have some beautiful tables that are worth checking out as well.

Photo Source: Glitter Guide

Photo Source: Better Homes and Gardens

I haven't forgotten the rest of the house, I’d love to add touches of Christmas to every room.  Some pops of red in my white kitchen and a pretty wreath on the mantle hood.  In the dining room, I would love to add some greenery to the lanterns.  And just keep going with touches of red, or black buffalo check all throughout the house.  I even plan on putting some cozy red buffalo check flannel sheets on the beds.  And hopefully by mid next week, I’ll have been able to bring all these visions to life.

How are y’all planning on prepping your home for the sweetest season of all?  Let me know!  I’d love to see your homes adorned in all their Christmas goodness.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Little Louisiana Farmhouse Intro

Louisiana Farmhouse

I had imagined in years past, that I would blog our entire building process in depth. In fact, I couldn't wait to start blogging about it, but honestly there were many, many nights that the last thing I wanted to think or write about was the new house. Building a custom home is lots of hard work and problem solving.  Regardless, we feel incredibly blessed to have been able to build this home and it's surreal to finally be moving in this week. 

Even though I wasn't very good at blogging the build, I did keep a pretty good account for things on my @louisianafarmhouse Instagram feed. And from there I have received through comments and direct messages lots and lots of questions about the home. So I figured I would take some time and answer a few of the most asked questions. 

I get asked the most questions regarding floor plans, so let's start there:
When Lane and I first started dreaming of building our own home over four years ago, we started just driving around our favorite neighborhoods. We quickly realized that our style was not the common taste in our Louisiana area. Those French Acadian homes were gorgeous, but instead we were drawn to garden homes and off the ground farmhouses. So I started combing Southern Living house plans. We even went to South Carolina one summer to see some of our favorite homes in real life. We found several plans that we loved, but none actually worked for our family. After talking with one architect, we quickly realized that it would cost more to modify a house plan than it would to just have custom plans drawn. So we met with a local firm and brought with us the elements that we loved: shed dormers, gabled roof lines, and porches. After 10 long months, we had the plans to our dream home. And since a Carolina coastal cottage in the middle of a Louisiana cow pasture didn't quite make sense, farmhouse it is.  
**Due to legal and personal reasons, we cannot share our floor plans. Thanks for understanding. 

Next up, floors:
We used wide planked antique dirty top pine for our floors downstairs.  We installed them across a subfloor made of 1x4s on 10 inch centers to give them the feel and sound they would have if the house was off the ground.  We buffed them and applied four coats of floor polyurethane in satin. No stain. The polyurethane alone brought out that rich dark color of the antique pine which contrasted with our all white walls very well. They are already scarred with nail holes and scratches from their previous location so they are the perfect bit of rustic for our farmhouse. And doing life on them will be easy because scratches will just add to the charm.  When we got to the upstairs floors, our budget was too tight to do the same floor upstairs.  Due to allergy and eczema, we knew we didn't want carpet, but the cost of laminate and installation seemed high to me. If I picked a laminate I loved, it was about the same as wood floors. My friend Beth suggested painted plywood floors and after some research we went for it. We cut birch plywood into strips and then painted them the same color white as the rest of the house with the exception of Aubrey Lane's room which we painted light pink. It's not a permanent floor, but we saved a ton of money and it will last a handful of years. And we love it!

And counters:
Against all advice and recommendations, we chose honed White Carrara marble for counters. Yes, they scratch, stain, and etch, but I feel like that's part of the beauty of them. We could have gone with a Quartz for more durability, but the cost was nearly double. In my opinion, the beauty of the marble is unmatched, and beauty is worth a little babying and the scratches are part of the patina. 

I have plenty other questions to answer regarding design. Design was a tricky part of the process for me. I love so many styles, but didn't feel that I fit into one category. And honestly, I didn't want to. But that made design challenging. I didn't want a completely shabby, Scandinavian, eclectic, or coastal styled home. Quickly realizing that there are no such things as design "rules", I stopped stressing about fitting into one category. Instead I concentrated on things I loved: polished chrome, matte black, exposed brick, and white paint. I wanted to create a home that could be "dressed up" and feel elegant for gatherings, but comfortable and cozy for our family. Once I concentrated on fixtures and colors that I liked instead of trying to conform to one style, the process got easier. And I would encourage anyone else building or decorating to do the same. Let Pinterest and Houzz inspire you, not conform you. 

If y'all have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. I reached out to even strangers for advice sometimes, and would be glad to pass along all the help I received.