New Year's New Steps

Happy 2013! What do you want to do in this New Year? Anything you want to conquer or learn? Oh boy, I need to make a list for real. 2013 is going to be full of farm lessons for me, I’m sure. Ay-Ay-Ay, you know it. And I’ll celebrate my 50th year on this earth, so I think I’ll make a list for that too.

But not now. Some other time. Now? Now I’m tired. I’m tired and it’s New Year’s Eve; I just got back from a quick trip to my home in Georgia, so I’m writing this blog post when I should be popping a cork or blowing a horn. Nah, I’ll still have time for that! It’s only 9 o’clock. Three more hours of 2012.

There’s no place like home for the holidays. We all sing that song at Christmas time. Well, I’m here to tell you that it is TRULY TRUE.

This Christmas was the first one EVER that my husband and I spent without our parents and siblings. I couldn’t take it any more.

So, my daughter and I and Oreo, the dog, jumped in the car and left this:

 While my husband tended these boys for me:

And we headed off for home, my childhood home, to see my parents.

Seven hours later, we found ourselves back in Atlanta.

It’s weird how excited we were to see the skyline and sit in the traffic.

My parents live in the house I grew up in, so it feels snuggly and wonderful to be there. I slept in one of my old bedrooms. I sat in front of my father’s wood stove. I rode around my old city and visited with several of my favorite aunts and uncle. And then we were able to visit with my husband’s parents before we headed back home. To our farm.

It was a fast trip. I think we were in the car as much as we were out of it. But it was worth every minute to go home for the holidays!

I’ve told you how our farmhouse moving-in process has been so s~l~o~w. We’re cramming the stuff from our old house, which was twice the size, into this one. It’s not going well. To be honest, I’m feeling stifled, overwhelmed and paralyzed. To go home was to rejuvenate and apply balm to my weary soul.

Coming back, I can concentrate on all the wonderfulness here. There is a lot of wonderfulness to concentrate on. A. LOT. A. LOT LOT.

Hey, we’ll get there, right? One day. Some how. Some way. We’ll be able to walk through the house again without tripping over boxes.  So let me show you some of what we’ve accomplished and we’ll just ignore what we haven’t, okay?

Let’s start with our New Steps for the New Year.

We have two sets of steps, or stairs, in our FarmHome. There is one in the living room and one in a back room by the back door. I’ve always dreamed of my forever home having two staircases, a front and a back. So of course this one had two!

The front stairs looked like this when we purchased the farmhouse. That’s the front door at the foot of the steps and the other door goes to the back of the house. It’s my understanding that this front room is the original part of the house, built in 1890.

We ripped up the carpet on the stairs and on the floors. Nope, no hardwood floors under the carpet, just plywood. Now most likely there was hardwood floor somewhere under the plywood; but there was really no way to get the plywood up without tearing up whatever might (or might not) be under the plywood. So, we started all over again and put in new hardwood floors in this room. The disadvantage was losing more space between the floor and ceiling. Already the ceiling are low. Then again, there is an advantage. Another layer of stuff between the crawl space (outdoor air) and my feet, which tend to be cold all the time.

And the front stairs. Well, this is what we found under the carpet.

I LOVED IT! The well worn centers of the steps. I didn’t want to cover them up or sand that unevenness charm out. So we just painted them.

Here’s the after.

I love these.

love, love, love

Here’s the living room when we purchased the house.

Here’s what the living room looked like before the movers arrived.

You can see that we painted over the wallpaper with a soft blue, that I really really really like. I left the wood on the walls; it too was original to the house.


I think my furniture from my old house looks pretty good in here. The movers (who rock btw) helped arrange the living room. I’m taking suggestions, if you have any…

The photo that is on the mantle was just put up there. It’s too small to be there, but it is one of my all time favorites.

My daughter with her bear, Sandra Lynn.

One of my favorite things about this room is what I see our my window when I sit down at the piano.

Through the screen and between the branches, our black colt, Jessi.

  Now, these are the back stairs. They are at the back door and I’ve said a million times how much I adore that orange carpet. I actually wanted to keep it. My husband said, “NO.”

And he was right. It was very old and very, very dirty and stinky. So, the orange carpet came up.

Blue, the dog, in motion.

And new carpet went down. And Oreo comes down the new steps. Oreo in motion.

I think I stayed in the spirit of the orange carpet; this is a mocha-ish color. We also painted over that wallpaper.

Do you remember my dining room? This room was a favorite when we toured the house for the first time.

With it’s beautiful wallpaper and fireplace, it was, like Mary Poppins, “practically perfect in every way.”

There wasn’t a chandelier, so I purchased an inexpensive one online. It looks pretty good unless you study it, which I’m asking you not to do when you come to visit. Why not? You ask. I know, it just makes you want to study it when you come, doesn’t it? So I’ll just tell you. That’s not crystal. And the directions to hang all those little things were ridiculous. I just did my best. I still have a box full that I couldn’t figure out where to hang. You get what you pay for.

However, in order to create a master bath in the bedroom upstairs over the dining room, we had to rip out the ceiling. A while back, I showed you one of the corncobs we found in the boards of the ceiling. Anyway, we had to replace the ceiling, so I did a smooth ceiling instead of the poppy stuff that was there before. We also had to add some boxes for the plumbing that we needed upstairs. There’s a box over the window and one in the corner to the right of the window. I don’t like them, but they were necessary for the water and sewage lines.

(It’s worth it too! Here’s a sneak peak into the master bath that needed those water lines that messed up my dining room.)

Blue and Oreo in motion together. Where is Studel? She’s out chasing squirrels, that’s where.

Okay, back to the dining room. The only other thing we did in the dining room was to put down hardwood floors.

I love this room.

love, love, love

To the left is the fireplace, covered in moving boxes. I’ll show you that side when I unpack all that.

Funny thing about old farmhouses, including our FarmHome.

Uneven floors.

The china cabinet was leaning about four inches from the wall at the top. So, we had to jack it up in the front so my china won’t topple out.

When I finally unpack it and put it in, that is.

The wall behind the china cabinet is the wall behind the sofa in the living room. That floor is also uneven on that side of the wall. As it turns out, my living room sofa rocks in this house. Who knew? 🙂

I’ll show you our addition next time. Whew, now that was an ORDEAL. But it is done.

Happy New Year! Do you have some projects lined up? Have you made your lists? Aye-aye-aye. So much to do and accomplish and dream!

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

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

  1. Jeanette Jacobson says:

    I, too, live in an old farmhouse that we have been renovating for almost 20 years. We’re not done yet! You’ve made great progress on yours & it’s looking great! My favorite view out the window is looking at my peacocks perched on the barn door. Happy New Year!

  2. Lois Schultz says:

    I love your old farmhouse…..just love it. You have done wonders. Thx for the update. I have been following your progress. I have always wanted to live in the country so I live vicariously thru u. 🙂 Enjoy.

  3. Marcie says:

    Hi Rebekah,
    Oh WOW! What a great way to start the New Year, with a wonderful blog from you. Your new home is so beautiful and the renovation is coming along so well… love it all.

    For us, our big project will be to finish our back deck, put a ‘for sale’ sign on this place and find our ‘forever home’ on up the mountain. There are so many things we want to do, but we say, ‘save that idea for the forever home’.

    Thanks for all your New Year inspirations and looking forward to seeing your finished project.
    Take care & get some rest,

  4. Rebecca says:

    Happy New Year!! Loved seeing the photos and reading about your house again. What wonderful memories you are creating! The piano has just the right spot! I can imagine the joy you feel sitting there. I see why you love your painted stairs as well…I’m thinking about that one, but my house was built in 1875 and the stairs tilt so I might have to keep the runner…but I sure do love the look!
    So enjoy reading your posts and look fwd to many more. It’s nice to be able to dream through others adventures and photos. (Adore the photo of you daughter)!

    Have a beautiful day!


  5. Diane Van Horn says:

    Thank you so much for the mini tour! It is looking beautiful and warm and homey! So happy that you were able to go home for the Holidays, even for a little while. May you and yours have a Blessed New Year! Look forward to your posts.

  6. Pam deMarrais says:

    Rebekah, I love what you have done with the house…everything! The front stairs looks so good with the paint, and your furniture fits perfectly in both rooms. The claw foot tub in the bathroom is so luxurious looking. I agree that it was worth having to find a place for the pipes downstairs. You have such great taste in classic furnishings and colors, which makes the farmhouse have such a traditional feel. Kudos!
    May you be blessed with good fortune and good health in 2013!

  7. Joan says:

    Happy New Year Rebekah and family and farm and house and all the animals. What a great tour of your lovely home – wheweeee you have been BUSY and doing such a wonderful job breathing life back into the ole girl. I miss ‘going home’ for the Holidays, so happy you got at least a quick trip. You sure got my juices thinking about the TO DO’S in my life – going to get on that today. I did start today making a Thankful jug, which is a big jug/jar that I am going to put colored pieces of paper in with a jotted note of Thankfulness for every day, then next New Year’s Eve we will read them as a family. So best get going now and get to that list – but first I’d best do what is at hand – Love and God Bless you and yours.

  8. loreta says:

    That was a wonderful tour of your house I kept scrolling back and forth to see if I had missed anything. I always enjoy your blog and your FB comments. Looking forward to seeing all your finished house. Love you.

  9. Adrienne says:

    You’ve done an amazing transformation and should be congratulated. There is still much to do but your changes are wonderful so far. You go, farmgirl!

  10. Keleen says:

    I love what you have done to your farmhouse so far, especially leaving the worn steps on your staircase! You asked for ideas on furniture arrangement in the living room, so I think you should consider the fireplace the focal point of the room and arrange the main furniture pieces toward it, such as bringing the sofa around to face the fireplace. Fill in empty areas with other items you have on hand. Don’t be afraid to bring your sofa and chairs out from around the walls into the middle of the room. Beautiful home, Rebekah!

  11. JoEllen says:

    I absolutely love every aspect of your farmhouse. So original and beautiful and your placement of furniture is just right. I know how you feel about getting a lot of stuff into a smaller place and then deciding what you can use and what you can do without. My circumstances are different, but the feeling is the same. We live in a very small house and recently decided to move my elderly mom in with us. She lived in a 2 room apartment with lots of neat things and with a small amount of time to move them, 3/4 of it came to our house; in a spare bedroom,in the garage, in a storage unit, and some incorporated into our decor to make her feel at home. We do what we have to do and rejoice in the fact that we have a choice to do it. So much fun to look at your home and in my mind escape to where you live in that wide open space. Look forward to more posts as this new year goes on.

  12. Shery says:

    Wow WOw WOWEEEE, HUGE progress…so elegant in the countrified sense of the word. You’ve gotten so much done in a short period of time. Gorgeous stem to stern. How good it must feel to enjoy the comfy feel of your wonderful new home. It has such a warm and welcoming feel.

  13. Denise says:

    Love the changes you’ve made. Looks great. Love love your front stairs – awesome. Glad you stuck with your color plan for them.
    Dining chandelier looks great, don’t worry bout the box and if they’re not crystal. Zips the room up
    Cheers happy 2013

  14. kay says:

    Your home is warm and inviting. Thank you for sharing. Happy New Year……

  15. Tammie says:

    Hi Rebecca,

    I love your posts as well as the photos. The picture above the mantel that you love so much but looks out of scale, you can get another frame that is larger, hang the photo on the wall and place the larger frame over that. If the frame is decorative it will look charming and make your photo look as though that is where it always belonged. 🙂 Happy New Year all!!!

  16. Rene Foust says:

    I love what you have done to your home so far….simply beautiful! I know all about the sloping floors, the floors in my "tv room" slope so much you can see it. But I guess when you are almost 200 years old you are allowed to slope. Good luck with everything and thanks for sharing!

  17. Sandy says:

    Love love it! So elegant and yet farm-ish! Love the painted steps. I too would swing the couch around so it faces the fireplace, the chair too, maybe a coffee table. For your treasured picture I would use a bigger frame with a matt behind it to give it some weight. Everything looks great, thanks for sharing with us.

  18. carol branum says:

    Rebecca,How wonderful!I am so happy for you! carol B.

  19. Lorrie says:

    Your house is beautiful! I’m not surprised you’re tired; it’s clear that you’ve put in a lot of work. I can tell you this – downsizing is only really difficult when you’re doing it. Change and letting go of things is hard. But when it’s done, it’s done. Then you can see and live the dream. What you let go of doesn’t matter anymore. What you end up with is exactly right. Your house is absolutely charming. Anyone can have even floors, but your view, your horses, your unique and special home, the peace and joy that comes from living in beauty? Priceless. Thank you for sharing as you go. Not just pictures (I love those, too), but the reminder that dreams can come true and be as wonderful as we hoped.

  20. Debbie says:

    Wow Rebekah! Things are really coming along! I love your style! Great house, great rooms, great people! What more do you need? I would be pooped too! Your hard work is paying off though… It’s just beautiful!
    Happy New Year
    Love and hugs from your beach farmgirl sister!

  21. Cindy Hailey says:

    I’m so in love! Two staircases! I grew up with two and hope one day, as you, to have them again. What a wonderful job you are doing-it’s such an encouragement. Old homes seem to want something done all the time, but seeing others’ success gives hope. (Our current home was ‘born’ in 1936.) Thanks for taking the time to share you home, your thoughts, and your ideas.
    OH…btw, if you do ever tire of the wood panelling, (we eventually did in one of our former homes), there is this awesome thick wallpaper that goes easily over panelled walls. There are many designs to choose from and they are paintable! In fact, the patterns are raised, so they can even be painted in two colors…Like very close, but slightly different whites, etc. Maybe you already know about the paper, and maybe you won’t ever elect to try it, but just in case…
    Thanks again for sharing your ‘stuff’…Such important stuff it is, too. 🙂

  22. Cindy says:

    First of all, I totally get what you are talking about with moving stuff from one home into another. And I lay awake at night thinking about how I have too much stuff! AUGH! We are living in one room, in our basement, while we build our house, ourselves. And I’ve been bringing stuff from our house in town, mostly by myself. I want it done by the end of this month. I can’t take it anymore. Our problem is, we are living in a little bit of the basement and we have tried cramming all of the furniture that we aren’t using in our basement and all of our stuff and there is no more room. AND we can’t fill up the upstairs because you can’t build around a full room. I have got to get rid of some stuff, that’s all there is to it.

    About going home for the Holidays. Would it be possible to trade every other year. Have your family to your house for the Holiday (to spend the night even) and then you all go home the next year. Families should do everything they can to be together for the Holidays.

    And I was wondering…where’s Strudel….I’m glad you told us!

    And I didn’t read all of those comments but did anyone suggest this…..take a couple of bigger (graduated sizes) of picture frames….just the frames. Paint them and lean them on the fireplace behind or beside the picture of your daughter, and then it’ll all be the right size, and her picture will still be the focal point.

    OK that’s enough for now. Good luck with it all. I feel your pain girl, I feel your pain!

    Cindy Bee

  23. Janie Butters Hipshear says:

    Oh my dear – you are doing so well! This place is a works in progress as you know. What you have done is great – keep sending us the photos. I love love before and after photos! It gives me hope for my orange counter-top country kitchen.

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