Black and White and Red All Over

What’s black and white and red all over?

Perfectionism is over-rated. That’s the position I’ve decided to (try to…) adopt. Well, explore anyway.

I think I’ll call it “Goof-Up Week.” Yes, I’ve decided to give myself permission to make mistakes. I”ve decided to not beat myself up about them. Will you join me in this celebration of our screw-ups? This week of freedom from having to be PERFECT? Of trying to stop ourselves from feeling like we have project the notion that we’re PERFECT? That it is okay to be a mis-stepper, mis-take maker, goof-upper farmgirl.

<The funny (funny-weird, not funny-haha) thing about this blog post is that I wrote it right before our online service went out for days, causing me to miss my deadline for getting this post up. Lesson learned: life in the country means technical assistance isn’t readily and immediately available. It means learning to wait…accepting and forgiving other people’s imperfections too…>

I’ve got this quirky (and probably unhealthy) thing in my personality that expects me to never make mistakes. Do you ever feel that way too? Like you’re supposed to hit a home run every single time? Perfectionism, perfectionism, cursed perfectionism.
I expect complete competence in all things. From. Me. Always.
HOWEVER. I’m now operating in the dark at this farm; that is, I have so little knowledge on how to do farmy things for myself, that I’ve decided to let myself off the hook. Maybe this attitude will allow me to make progress? To move forward? Maybe, I won’t stay stuck in analyzing and researching and thinking things through and being sure. Some things you just have to dive into. Jump.
Yes, just jump right in! Here are my red boots, dirty from all my jumping IN the last few days.

Now this post may make you crazy. Just know that there is something ELSE quirky in my personality: I like a million things going on at any given time. I like to spin lots of plates. While I am totally disorganized and bore easily, I’m happiest when I have projects piled high. Don’t ask me how that works with my perfectionism bent, but I thrive in chaos and challenge. So, you see…I’m fine.

I tell you that so you won’t go crazy for me with all the loose ends you’re about to see that I have hanging. I’m totally okay with it, so you be too. Sure, we are living out of boxes and sleeping on the floor. But, it’s all good. We are having the adventure of a lifetime. And remember, it is goof-up week. I’ve let myself off the hook. I can show you our big ole mess.

Okay, for starters. We did indeed decide to transform that middle bedroom into a Master bathroom. This has turned out to be one of those things that sounded easier than it actually is. You see, because there was no plumbing in that room, we had to rip out the dining room ceiling below in order to install water and drain pipes.

Here’s the BEFORE of that middle bedroom.


A mess, I know. But a means to the end.

And for real. I’m enjoying this process. It was so much fun for the sheetrock to come off the walls and see beautiful original boards underneath.  You can see them beside the window. And yes…that’s the attic you see. Once we got that ceiling down, we had a clear view of the chimney above in the attic. Funny, funny, funny: a huge naked woman is painted up on there on the chimney stack. I think I’ll head up and paint a naked man, just to be fair. Adam and Eve in my attic.

Look what we found in the ceiling of the dining room. Corncobs! Isn’t that awesome! This house was built in 1890. I wonder how long those corn cobs have been up there?

And remember our front steps? (not the orange shag ones, which I still kinda LIKE), but the front brown shag ones.

We ripped the carpet up from the front steps.

Here’s what we found under the ugly carpet.

Ugly wood.

Except that. Now they have personality and charm. I like the way they are worn down. I wonder about the people who ran up and down the stairs before us, the ones who wore down the stair treads.

It was filled with staples and nails; we have pulled all those out.

I do believe (now that I have given myself permission to make mistakes) that I will PAINT them. White on the risers; black on the step.

Giving myself permission to make mistakes has allowed me to take chances.

So what does someone do who takes chances?

Buy red spray paint, that’s what.

So far…

My old blue chest is Blue no more.

The old picnic bench is plain weathered wood no more.

A metal chair we found in one of the old barns…now red!

Old rocking chair and bench….now RED!

And various other red things I’ve spray painted.
Before: Milk can, chicken feeder, wicker chair.

And after…

The answer to the riddle is a book. Did you guess it? Red is really “read.”

But the answer to the question is my farmhouse. It is white now–the green cast gone when we pressure washed the exterior–with black shutters–and a touch of red all over! Except the front porch. I need some red here!

Just noticed that Oreo, the dog, is in this pic. Sorry about the backside shot there, but at least he matches. White and Black!

Farmhouse love. Truly, I love it here.

Now, what should I do with this porch? Red wreath? Red door? Spray paint those planters? Or no red?

Have some sympathy for me and fill out that comment form! Talk to me! (remember? I moved out to the countryside in a different state and don’t know a soul. As you can see, I’ve made fast friends with a can of red spray paint.)

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

  1. Joan says:

    CONGRATULATIONS for enjoying your lovely new (old) home and there is never a goof/mistake or error – all happy happenings. LOVE the stair way idea – a cousin of mine who lives in and old home just did her stair way – she went with the less crisp look of totally white and ebony – muddied the paint just a touch – looks sooo good. I digress – LOVE the bedroom happenings – it will be a most special place for the 2 of you. And now the front WELCOMING – barn red front door!!!! – YES!!! and the planters too – gracious what fun we are having. Oh you will get it looking just totally COUNTRY before long. I do envy you getting to do this. Take care, Live in the moment, God Bless.

  2. Mary Beth Schwarz says:

    Oh I love shades of red too, especially claret and cranberry/burgundy! Where I am right now it is already autumn with chilly mornings, so I am seeing your house decorated for autumn and Halloween. The good thing about the white and black is that it can be changed for the seasons. Red flowers would give you some bright color. A red wreath now could be switched as needed for autumn and then Christmas. Love your stone porch! Sigh…..

  3. Andrea says:

    I’d vote for a red front door–good feng shui, especially if your door faces north. But paint won’t make it face that way if it doesn’t. And tie a red bow on Oreo for good measure. Just something to make you smile for those moments that feel more like tears. Many blessings of good health, abundance and great, great joy to you for this wonderfilled project.

  4. loreta says:

    You are an amazing woman!!!! Love your blog and FB.

  5. Cindy says:

    "Chaos is but order, misunderstood". You, my dear, are perfect in your imperfection! I love it! And I love red! Enjoy your upheaval, for this too shall pass…and all will be made new! How exciting for you! 🙂

  6. Kelly says:

    I’m so excited for you Rebekah!! Go you!! I love the red- so cheerful. I think more red on the porch- maybe the door- would be super cute! I remember when I was in junior high and my mom went on an orange painting craze! We had orange shelves and an orange chest and a bunch of other stuff that she painted orange! It was pretty fun and bright and I still think good for her!
    I love the goof up week- for sure- thanks for the permission slip on that cause I needed it!!!
    I’m really excited for you-and wow- how exciting about those corn cobs!!!
    Kelly in CA

  7. Nicole White says:

    "Take a deep breath and let it go…" or "Good enough- move on" things I say to myself when perfectionism is getting the best of me (I really do not have to clean the grout with a toothpick!)

    I’ve been 2 1/2 weeks in my new home in a new state in suburbia (moved from the county/ small town)- I know how you feel about new adventures.

    Your red, white and black color theme is terrific. Maybe a few red pillows on the white chairs. A wreath with red berries on the black door. I like the black door, it will tie into your black front stairs. Also, how about a few planters or window boxes hanging from the porch railing filled with red geraniums.

    Good luck getting settled. We too still have boxes everywhere and are having our third house guest this week. Yes, boxes and overnight guests miss-matched sheets and not enough towels because we can’t find the box (the movers packed weird and did not label things right). Take a deep breath… good enough.


  8. Candy says:

    Love a red door. From what I’ve heard it use to mean your house was paid for.

  9. Wow! Corncob insulation!
    Love the touches of Red! I am really looking forward to new posts and lots more photos!

  10. April says:

    A red door would be nice. then small touch of red like a planter. I love red doors getting ready to paint my door a dark autumn red. From what i can tell you dont live too far from my home in marion,nc. Welcome to the neighborhood! I love what you are trying to do with your farmhouse enjoy there are probaly lots of surprises just enjoy as an experince.

  11. Kim K says:

    Red front door. Definitely. It’s looking great!!

  12. Patty says:

    Definitely a red door! Always wanted one myself!

    I totally sympathize, I have some of those same issues myself.

  13. Mary Rauch says:

    Would you RECONSIDER painting the steps black. They are so difficult to "see" in dim light, and difficult, therefore, to gauge exactly how deep the step is and "where one stops" and "where one starts". I would never have thought this 20 years ago…..but NOW it is important for our safety at our house.
    Just HAD to say that for your consideration. We don’t want anything to happen to you and yours.

  14. Sheree says:

    Thanks, Rebekah! Now I know what I will find under the same ugly carpeting on my stairs 😉 Can’t wait to rip it out but I don’t want to get too many projects going at the same time. I too am rehabbing a farmhouse in IL. Project this week was hanging antique barn doors so that our barn would no longer look like a plane hanger. After I get some exterior building projects done, maybe I can tackle the staircase when we are hunkered down from the winter snows! Keep the faith. Rome was built or remodeled in a day!

  15. raquel says:

    i commented on the 7 things,please post…did it go through.
    iam currently wanting to move to another town (west wareham,ma from marion,ma) 4 house compound but waiting on $$$$$$.
    i believe in my dream.i want one of the buildings on the property (shack) as my art studio.
    any comment of encouragement welcome. we have 3 college kids/tutitions!!!

  16. Debbie says:

    Hey sister! FARMHOUSE LOVE indeed! We all need a goof up week.. every day I goof up something… Oh well, that’s life!
    Red everything sings to me! Especially mixed with black and white… When we moved 3000 miles across country eleven years ago, I promptly painted our den a deep warm country red and filled with all my personal things… I could go in there, have tea and feel comforted and my homesickness would fade a little too! You are going to have a blast on your farm… keep smiling, have fun and please, make some more messes! hugs!

  17. Kelly Leake says:

    I vote for a red door! A red front door is supposed to bring u good luck:)

  18. Diane Van Horn says:

    Red door, yes please! I love black and white and red. My kitchen and my little camper are those colors. Looking forward to more of your adventures and projects.
    PS How many cans of red paint?

  19. Shery says:

    Dear Rebekah, I, too, love having a lot going on at any given time. I suggest to myself to do otherwise, but the pattern is too ingrained, so, like you, I’ve let myself off the hook and go with what I know.

    LOVE the worn steps, wouldn’t dream of covering them up again. They earned the right to tell their story. Imagine the shoes that walked up and down them … the styles of shoes that changed over the decades. Now, they have dirty red boots happy to be there running up and down them :o)

    LOVE the red. Red is the color of life. ‘Taint no wonder it gives new life to old things.

    Red on your porch? A red door would sure look nice as a backdrop for whatever wreath or door dressing you might choose for the changing seasons. Pumpkins, leaves, gourds & bittersweet would look divine in those concrete planters. And, pumpkin time is just around the corner.

    Your ‘mess’ isn’t messy. It is PROGRESS and beautiful. Your old house is alive again. Oh, it is going to be just Jorgeous.

  20. Marilyn Valentine says:

    Yes, red! I think that’s why I married a Valentine – so red would always be a part of life. Red front door. Yup, I think I just might do that myself.

    I’ve learned that the constant pile of projects (I get bored easily as well) is a form of frustrated perfectionism – if I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all(right now). That’s also why I have projects with varying time commitments. I took up stamping to balance out quilting. I get the same sense of satisfaction from a card that took 15 minutes to make as I do with a quilt that took 15 months! AND, I feel good because I FINISHED something.

    My new motto: Don’t let "perfection" be the enemy of "good enough."

    Thanks so much…I live vicariously through your farmhouse experience. Just my two cents.

  21. Kristy says:

    I like the front of the house as it is. You can let the idea of red wait until you are positive just what you want to do. Or you can jump in and do something now.

    To start why don’t you put some of the things you’ve already painted red on the porch. Take the wrought iron furniture off and put the old red chairs there. Stand back. Do you like red that close to the front door? Is it welcoming? I think it would be. More red? Add the milk can. Do you need red on the door? Go with seasonal touches-Valentines, patriotic red stars, red and orange leaves and a red and green Christmas wreath.

    The wrought iron would look nice out on the lawn. Or what about using that chair in front of a frivolous vanity in the new bathroom, with a seat cushion tied in with big bows?

    Do not paint the planters red. That would detract from the welcome of the porch, because that would be below eye level as you approach the house. It’s ok to have multi colored plants including red though, because at a distance there would not be solid blocks of red.

    Paint the stair risers a nice clean white but not the treads unless there is new wood on them. Consider red paint not black.

    Remember: Renew (repaint), reuse, re-purpose.

  22. Denise says:

    Love love love what you are doing. I, too love red and how it just "pops" anything.
    Go for the red planters and red front door – instant cheerfulness. You can soften by adding different colored flowering pot plants and just change them up according to season or mood. Enjoy your Reno journey. Loving reading your posts. Makes me want a farmhouse of my own too. Love DIY mhelps having a builder for a husband lol God bless x

  23. Rebekah I just came across your blog via goggle (corn cobs in ceiling) because I ripped down the plaster and lath ceiling in our 1740 saltbox dining room and found about 100 corn cobs. Still curious as to the reasoning but I’m guessing rodents?

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