A holy hope

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A friend sent me this today. A blog post by Ann Voskamp you can see the entire post here.  It’s so timely and spot on for so many of us… it seems there is a lot of hopelessness and sadness in the world.  I blog about beauty and decorating and not super deep things but the truth is since I shared about my family hardships, I have been getting a lot of emails from people going through similar situations. Pain. Tough stuff. This life isn’t easy, no matter the house or economic situation. Pain and sorrow are experienced by all in different seasons. But He sees us.  God sees me and He sees you.  I am going to leave it to the bible teacher to flesh out . . . I just wanted to share some snippets.  This encouraged me. Let’s try not to worry. And be scared.  Lean in to Him if you are going through a dark time. With open hands.

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“Basic” New Build

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In reality, not all homes are historic farmhouses or custom build. My friend and client Lauren, an architect herself with discriminating taste, found herself ready to plan a home for her large family with a basic “surburban type” builder.  Not her dream situation but Lauren is smart enough to realize the budget and the square footage were enough to “do something with” for her young family so she approached it with a grateful heart, with THE most amazing attitude, and resourceful and creative ideas. Because after all, it’s a new house y’all and she realized that…but when you have been educated and work in custom and you know what all is out there it’s a little hard not to want to incorporate all of that custom “top of the line” knowledge. But as I mentioned these type of basic builders are NOT custom, they typically do not allow changes.  The granite choice, even the paint colors are SET IN STONE….very limited! I am not even going to publish the builders name because they do not want to offer all of these choices, that is not what they do..they are not custom build.

BUT Lauren is the epitome of lovely and kind and she had a few inside connections and was able to talk them into a few small changes. Like polishing the concrete floors downstairs! Which at first I was like “ummm I’m not sure NO stain???” But Lauren had worked with a builder that had done this and done this well and boy was she right…it looks amazing! Score one for “not your average basic build!”

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She also made some good basic choices like choosing to do all white walls. Add moldings and case out doors. AND Being a design guru she knows LIGHT IS EVERYTHING and choosing to do SW Alabaster walls AND trim provides a true backdrop for all of the color she knew she would be adding with rugs and textiles and her FIVE gorgeous children! And black doors…black or painted doors always elevate and this small thing (she knows the painters thought she was crazy) instantly added class.  And that’s just Lauren…she homeschools five kids and cooks constantly and yet she is walking class…in the most unsnotty, Godly way.  Her humble self deprecating humor keeps you from disliking her even know she is amazing and gorgeous and thin to boot! (sorry Lauren just had to say it you are thebomb.com)

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I love this photo of the girls in the schoolroom.  The light is a knock off of the classic 3 arm french light by Serge Mouille. Sofa from Craigslist, IKEA billly bookcases line the walls with doors.

And the kitchen! No marble countertops and its still gorgeous! I can’t wait to add some color and fabric to windows!

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So most of the changes and arm twisting and cookie deliveries had to do with the kitchen of course!  Lauren was planning this on a budget…a subzero and professional range are not exactly budget but she scoured craigslist and the internet and found BOTH online…hours away but she got them and stored in her old garage for MONTHS.  The day those were installed I am sure she heard angels singing.  I love it when I see someone who actually cooks ALL DAY LONG and has a heart for hospitality gets these pricey items…she will truly use them! Fitting in to their basic builder cabinets wasn’t easy but patience, kindness and maybe cookies and brownies go a long way.  You def catch more flies with sugar than vinegar as shown here!

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Love the island.  Not sure how she got them to do the X but its awesome! Lights from Joss & Main, stools from amazon.  We will def being showing more of the kitchen down the road! (Once the children get off the island;) Notice the counter…again they aren’t marble but they look fine they really do the white subway and cabinets and hardware and appliances really set the tone..I can’t wait to show you more on her hardware etc. Notice how she used cup pulls on doors!

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Her wall of the back covers of “Cook’s Illustrated” look so good in these ribba frames..you can also really appreciate the trim work and alabaster paint and polished floors in these photos.  Lauren has a great tutorial she found on hanging ribba frames, shown here.

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And those rugs…she scours ebay sources like Mystical Rugs and Gallery99! See how she taped out even the rug…blue tape is her friend y’all…it keeps us from making costly sizing mistakes!

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We also didn’t love the curve of the sofa but its a huge sofa and fits so many people which she DOES love….so the fig tree from TALL PLANTS and the gorgeous lamps (TJMaxx yall) really distract from that curve.

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That fig is BIG, like 8-9 feet but the room needed it and candle the size.  They are so nice at Tall Plants and I am always amazed at the selection of topiaries, ferns and of course fiddle leaf figs..the day I was there last, they had two matching mega ones headed for the River Oaks Country Club. And they deliver around Houston.

These chairs will be slipcovered. Love that molding around fireplace.  I can’t wait to see what kind of art she creates for over mantle.  It will be abstract and have color.

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I love how she has taped out her plans to add more trim for a faux paneled wall look to dress up the white walls in a subtle way. The ottoman is from craigslist as is sofa…Lauren’s sister found it on Austin Craigslist..it is a restoration hardware piece that has been recovered custom and then listed on craigslist….Lauren should do a Craigslist commercial! It’s a Kelly Wearstler fabric…ok now we don’t like you Lauren!;;

Lauren’s style is def NEW TRADITIONAL with classic rugs and colors like blues mixed with a bit of her own modern art and chic lighting. She is the master at sourcing good sconces.

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I adore her master bath…the sconces are from Savoy House, Monroe Collection… and art from ebay! Absolute black granite was the only choice but wise choices on faucets and lights and backsplash saved the day.

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The kids look a little over the process but I love watching Lauren enjoy each step and get in no hurry making things perfect…she knows to get the bones right and move slowly doing things right the first time….so opposite my “lipstick on a pig” move fast tendencies…i love how my clients sharpen and teach me!

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Thank you Lauren and family for letting me share your home…Remember y’all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.  It takes time to build a thoughtful and collected home.  And that is okay. More than okay..it’s a blessing.

My London Flat’s Jewelry

You may remember me mentioning Houston’s My London Flat in the past.  My friend Suzy started this shop in a little walk up on Persa St off of Westheimer in River Oaks! (Across from St. Anne’s its actually in the convent building!) Suzy has such a great eye and background as a stylist. She travels to Europe and handpicks the most amazing little things and brings them home in her “second suitcase.” She then sells the antiques and paintings in her shop and designs and makes wonderful purses and bags and NOW jewelry with some of the smaller artifacts.

             I am amazed at your sense of history, femininity and design..You rock Suzy!

Suzy lived in England for seven years then returned to Houston . . .

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And she did y’all.  In 2013. She has worked so hard and now these amazing pieces!

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I love how she has named her collections, you have to go see here!

This cornflower blue cloisonné belt buckle is french and so pretty! ..i think this would amazing with a silk ballgown skirt and classic white shirt..think Charlotte Moss!

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She has a noble ladies collection and grand tour piece with handpainted portraits!

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And Y’all these majolica pieces are amazing. 

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Follow Suzy on facebook here and on instagram at SHOPMYLONDONFLAT and see her story here on STELLAR…its so cute and pretty!!

And for HMI readers she is giving a 20% discount for the next month just use the code HOLLY

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Freedom

This time last year we were in the process of closing and moving into my dream house… not extravagant or grand but classic and “us.”  I thought it would be a wonderful place for our family for many years.  A home we could grow and love in and live out life together.

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I was wrong.  We lived there less than a year. We sold it, moved, and divorced.

It has been a literal, holy (or unholy) mess. And yet the children and I have survived, even thrived. My pinterest Fourth of July dream was shattered (I just wanted to furl that flag out the top windows, Lord, just once) but my kids are healthy and happy, scarred but thriving because of amazing people in our lives and God’s provision.  We are all scarred, but standing. And I wanted to update y’all as I think about God’s faithfulness and yes freedom.  This road to freedom I hope my family is on . . . sounds weird maybe but hang with me.

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It’s a bit of cheesy cliche, so obviously easy for a Christian to make all of the literal correlations between freedom in Christ and the freedom that came with the Declaration of Independence.  Believe me I am a sap and history major and I love them all.  But NEVER  have they been more real to me than this year.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love all of the New England and East Coast flags and instagraming of flags flying on Nantucket I am showing here today.  These images are my fave.  Nothing like a flag inside and out. I mean I love me a flag and a white house and some babies in blue and white stripes.  YES! The shallow part of me mourns the little party and flag out front I dreamed of for the new old house.

But never ever before have I been more aware of the need for true freedom . . . And yes I am tempted to tag a little Martina McBride video on the end here.  Seriously, I am not even close to letting go and being totally free of all of my emotional and spiritual junk, much less any marriage issues.  But i know that i know that i know, that working through “junk” in our inner selves and our closest relationships all under the umbrella of Christ’s love and God’s wisdom is the only way to true freedom.  It’s not popular or cool to say but I know it. It’s what I believe.  And tough season has mae me believe that more than ever. The opposite of freedom is what?  fear and bondage.  And Christ came to set the captives free, His perfect love casts out ALL fear.   He gives us (me and you) a spirit of power and LOVE not fear.

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I’ve have been pretty damn scared this year at various times.  And as I sat in our therapist’s office and ugly cried on Thursday and heard him say “God wants you to face your worst fear” I knew He was right.  We have to face our fears.  For freedom.  There is just nothing better than being free is there??? Watch your kids when they dance and play freely? And we could go on and on about theology and what the means and looks like but the first step is bravery to step out and face fear.

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So this fourth of July I love my country and the brave men and their families that stood up against crazy all those years ago and still today.  Because King George was cray y’all and America isn’t perfect but we have a beautiful and TRUE story of bravery and righteousness and God’s hand.  We are a city on a hill, or we were.  I can’t fix my country but I can work on facing my own fears and doing the things God created me to do, in my family and in my work and my sphere of influence.

And yes, you read that right. We are divorced.  The kids and I moved to a neighboring town and are doing well.  God provided us an amazing home to lease and my mom is living with us until her little house is ready for her move in.  The kids are spending a lot of time with their dad and are having a fun and full summer. And their dad and I have started counseling.  Finally.  Yes we realize it’s usually best to start the counseling BEFORE the divorce.  We didn’t do it that way.  We did do some counseling but not really get in there and get committed and serious about it until now.  The timeline is was it is.  What matters is we are finally getting help both individually and together. So please pray. Pray for fruit in counseling, pray for the holy spirit to move and change hearts and minds where needed.  Pray for truth. Pray for my boys and our parents and friends that have been caught in this unholy mess.  And for yourself if possible I am praying. Please get thyself to counseling.  I beg you. And if you don’t like the counselor or its just so so, keep trying, keep praying God will connect you with the person that can get up in your business and tell you and get your number and help set your feet back on the right path.  I know counselors don’t replace scripture or godly guidance but good solid counseling can be a huge part of freedom. And restoration.

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{Top three images from House Beautiful and this one of vintage flags from countryliving.com}

So I just wanted to say that.  Happy Fourth of July.  Let freedom ring!

We had a fun day in nearby Chappell Hill!

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My boys never sit this close so I am loving these silly pictures from today.  It’s the little things y’all, just getting muffins made and a few baby flags up and being with friends. And then taking a nap while it storms…yes!

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So thank you y’all truly.  For hiring me, reading me and supporting what I do. For praying for my family.

Wisconsin Parade Home is open

The My Next Home parade home is open in Eau Claire, Wisconsin! For times and ticket info visit here.

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I arrived last Wed and helped style and prep things…meaning make multiple Target and TJ Maxx and Joann runs..and spray paint and rub n’buff etc. A lot of work but yes a lot of fun too!…12-14 hr days..the crews and cleaning people worked longer! But it is all worth it! Saturday at ten am we opened our doors and it was such fun to see people’s warm reactions to the farmhouse in town!

paradeprepcollageElements of shiplap, real wood floors from Georgia, painted doors, transoms, salvage wood on kitchen shelves, living room beam and island, all worked together to woo visitors.  Amazing a house with mostly white walls could feel so warm!  Has to be the warm tone floors and black painted windows (less pricey than steel but the same modern farmhouse look)..and no doubt the drapes, monograms and linen slips I brought North!;; (ikea jennylund slip by LS slipcovers...available soon here to ship nationwide!)

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One thing I love about this house is that so much is custom or handmade but so much is also big box and easily accessible like the PB rug and sofa in the room above. Sure the chairs and windmill on wall were rare thrift finds from Craigslist for bargains and nothing makes a room special more than a piece of old wood or antique but the basic good sofa and blinds from select blinds are no brainers/easy orders!  Proves not every single thing has to be custom (100 year old barn beams retrofitted for an island or in your ceiling) sometimes a basic sisal rug or white bracket from lowes are okay and fitting.  The power is in the mix!

Case in point, Ballard pendants over marble custom island!

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And again below, the monogrammed slips are from Ikea and the table from Pottery Barn.  The team at My Next Home could have made a craftsmen table but they had enough to do on the actual house so we purchased the table which is okay in my “its all in the mix” thinking because the room has custom drapes and an antique gray blue sideboard to give interest and make unique!

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Allison, the builder’s wife and homeowner, redid these chairs below…those of you that follow me on instagram you saw the before and during Light is from Ballard and coffeetable from TJMaxx.  Down to Earth Garden Center provided the plants…so gorgeous.

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Close up of the wood on the island..i love how she placed the outlets!

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The warmth of the stain on the new Southern long leaf pine floors and wood of beam and island really keep the white walls from being cold.  Essential in Wisconsin..they need cozy y’all!

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And unlike on HGTV and many high end show homes, NOT everything was even finished, but despite that it looks amazing, like home!  Seriously it looked and felt about were about to uncork some wine and have dinner! Mission accomplished!

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A look into that pantry…it feels like a drugstore or candy store, love Allison’svision for exactly how she wanted the shelving.  Also the counters for laundry, kitchen and butlers are all different!

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There is also a vintage light in the pantry. The house is a mixture of vintage, antique and reproduction lights that all work together to give a cozy, collected feel.

All of the shiplap, beadboard and most of the sheetrock in the house is SW Pearly White.

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Looking from sink into the laundry.

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I love this view from back door to master..again TRANSOMS!  LIGHTS! PEARLY WHITE PAINT!

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In the master we used shiplap on the ceiling not walls. Miss Mustard Seed paint in schloss on the bed and dresser! Wood windows painted black, looks like steel doors but not!  And of course some monogramming on the bed! And schumacher hollyhock…i love this bedding mix…PB and other big box bedding mixed with jsut a few custom pillows!

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Behind the bed, we were inspired to try the Southern Living idea house’s gingham wall…we didn’t use quite as much glaze in one of the stripes..that is the key if you try it at home and want that transparent buffalo check look…glaze yall!

Main features of this house that I love and can be used in any new home to make it feel old: large baseboards, old door knobs and glass or black, glass transoms over doors, long leaf pine floors, shiplap and schoolhouse lights. And lighting with charm outside too!

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Barn light Electric lights on exterior. Just showing a few snippets from the upstairs office and basement as well.  There are two rooms upstairs and a bath and two bedrooms and media area in basement as well as other bath.  The entire home is approx 3800 sq/feet…a cottage by show home standards;

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 The laundry is not huge but very functional with cubbies and the old sink! and lots of beadboard and hooks …liked it evolved as an old home would!

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This house has a mix of old lights and new lights, none really match but it doesn’t matter and plays into the vintage feel.  Some rooms have shiplap on walls and sheetrock on ceilings, other rooms the reverse! I love the black doors too!  This view from the back hall into master is one of my faves!  The ceilings are NOT super tall but the transoms play into that feel.

Shiplap on the kitchen hood…master closet is the lovely color SW French Gray…Allison has lived in an old house with no closets so long..this closet is going to blow her socks off once she moves in..so nice!

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The basement has barn doors fashioned from barn wood from the family farm and a media room and more.  And a view above coming up from the basement into main hall!

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The exterior is white vinyl siding, again practical.  With metal windows that are black on outside and painted wood on inside..not steel!  The homewoners asso would not approve an all metal roof so they just did metal for accents.  The haint blue porch ceiling (SW Watery) and the schoolhouse electric lights make the house sing in my opinion..my fave…the chelsea gray carriage looking doors for garage!  Good job My NextHome and Allison Mills! This Texas girl had a great time with “you guys” and it was almost hard to leave especially the cool breeze. But I was glad to get back to this fella and his brother!

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Cutest driver ever!

Remember you can still visit the house today and tomorrow until 5! Visit here for more info on tickets!

Monogram pillows available!

Ok y’all, I have been asked about the perfect size and fabric and where I get monograms done for ages so finally I am going to try offering this….maybe a limited time.  We will see how it goes.  But I am so in love with this combination I have finally mastered for my clients I do want to share.  I want to add a dark gray one that is more boyish but for now this is it! And it’s called the ALLISON!

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white linen, dark gray thread, box pleats! more specs below

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SIMPLY EMAIL LESLIE IF YOU WANT TO PLACE AN ORDER at clients@hollymathisinteriors.com and include your address and thread colors, and initials.

This is the flax natural linen color also available..its the exact fabric I use on a lot of my gathered skirts under sinks etc…I love this fabric so pretty with white thread!

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And I will update you soon on our little family, we are enjoying the first lazy days of summer…swimming, cartoons and spending lots of time with daddy which has been good…

Oh and you see I bought IKEA loveseats for them (to replace the custom amazing linen sofas that wouldn’t fit through door of rental) so much smarter than a sectional because they can’t TOUCH, and fight over covers and pillows, which escalates into wrestling and fussing!;;

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Please continue to pray for us!  God is big y’all!

Wisconsin Farm Story

Here is more on Allison’s farm and the backstory..i am working on her town home for now but she plans to keep the farm and I hope to be a part of helping her restore it further and even the barns…. Barn restoration is much needed throughout the Midwest I have found out and very expensive.. God saves the barns!  Seriously, what a national treasure they are! But for now I just want you to hear the love this woman has for her family farm.  Roots matter y’all.  Her connection to this land just oozes so i want you to hear it in her own words.

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“I grew up in a rural community in central Illinois. My Dad was an Engineer for CAT, but we lived in the country and went to a small church filled with the best salt-of-the-earth farmers. Close friends of ours lived on their family’s farm that had been passed down from generation to generation. We didn’t have a tv. I grew up reading the Little House on the Prairie books and dreaming that I was Laura on the prairie. I wanted roots, I wanted land. I knew about our family’s farm way up in Wisconsin. My Grandma was raised in Eau Claire and she could remember taking the sleigh from town out to her Grandparents farm (our farm). They had to stop halfway to water the horses and get fresh warm bricks for their toes. When I was young I did visit here, and I used to ask my Dad if there was any chance that the farm would come down our side of the family. (It had been passed down from father to son since homestead, but my family line was through a daughter, not a son.) I can remember him patting me and saying “No. There are too many Olsons.”

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Family picture around 1911. My great-grandma Marie (pronounced Mary is sitting in front of the door with my grandma Olive Harriet on her lap.

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This is the homestead document signed by U. S. Grant. His signature is the large one near the bottom.

“I talked about the farm when Glen and I were dating. My love for old farms, family history, land and all that beauty drove us to look for the perfect place throughout our early marriage. Glen is an entrepreneur.  He is the hardest working man I know and we moved all over, working and building our family and businesses. We have lived in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Illinois again, Minnesota and finally Wisconsin. While in Minnesota he started a company called MyNextHome. It was originally a FSBO realty company. We started flipping houses the hard way. Living in them while doing the work ourselves and raising four small kiddos. We would move in, start renovating, work through to the end, God would bless us with a sale, we would move into the next house and start again. Our farm was our 19th home in 17 years. Then we got a phone call from my Dad’s cousin. His folks had passed away and they were going to auction off the family farm. I remember telling him “DO NOT AUCTION IT OFF!  We are coming down!!” In 2007 we moved to Eau Claire and into my dream home.

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The Mills family . . . Chelsea 22, Lane 21, Gabi 18, Aidan 15

This little city instantly felt like home to us. After a couple years Glen was renovating properties to use as rentals and he remade the MyNextHome name into a properties and consulting company with a rental property side, a contracting side and a realty side. His company has grown leaps and bounds and I am so proud of him!!

So that is the story of our farm and how we came home to be here on this piece of land where my great grandma was raised.  Raising our four children here, bundling together to stay warm by the fire in the winter just like she did with her family.”
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“Baking in the same kitchen and trudging up the same stairs.”
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“We added this barn garage recently and I love how Glen and his crew made it blend with the barns and house that had been there for so long.”
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“Living at the Farm has been such a blessing for me. For my children and my husband, however, the distance from town is a problem and also the lack of modern amenities in the home. I noticed I was hearing frustration in my children’s conversation about not being able to just hang out with friends after school and not being able to be involved in activities. My husband too was bothered by the time spent on the road and the amount of money we spend just in gas. At first I heard their complaints with a hardened heart and perhaps an eye roll or two. But the Lord spoke quietly to my heart about what was truly important. This place or my family.  I knew i didn’t want my children to resent living on the Farm and see it as a negative in their lives instead of a positive. So Glen and I began to work on a plan to move to town till our children were done with school. We also decided that the house we built would suit as a parade house for MyNextHome. So we broke ground and began to build the #farmhouseintown. “
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“Our plan is to renovate the Farm while we live in town for a few years, and return to the country when our kids have grown. Perhaps this is the best of both worlds.”
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         I love this place. Will be so hard to move out. Even for six gas burners and multiple bathrooms. The Farm is where my heart is. ❤
Me Holly here, I am so glad I have been able to share in all of this and see Allison’s heart for her family farm and help integrate parts of it whether it’s an old piece of wood or photographs for the wall, a piece of a windmill, whatever….into their #farmhouseintown.  I can’t help but feel that God has blessed Allison in her obedience and heart not just for her desire and stewardship of the farm but her love for her family as well.
And here it is … the farmhouse in town, more progress pictures coming..the open house is coming like a freight train..like two weeks y’all! I will be on a plane to St. Paul soon to help style it out…you midwestern girls watch for details and come see us!Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 8.43.30 AM
The Mill’s business website MyNextHome.com will be live soon with a new website.  In the meantime follow Glen on facebook and Allison on Instagram @wiscogirl71

Wisconsin Show Home

You have heard of the Kips Bay Show House but what about Eau Claire, Wisconsin?? That’s right, yours truly has been working with Eau Claire builder Glen and Allison Mills of MyNextHome on a really neat, REALISTIC and special show house!

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This is a more realistic but no less beautiful show home. Less than 4k square feet but with lots of craftsmen details and beauty!

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Barn Lights from Barn Light Electric, custom doors but with functional vinyl siding and black windows for a bit of fresh modern country charm!

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White white white paint everywhere or small variations but the warmth from stone and wood floors and beams keep it from being color..laying in rugs and drapes and upholstery will also add those final layers of warmth to this clean background canvas.

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Wood floors, shiplap shiplap

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Charm charm charm!

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I was up there in November and IT WAS ALREADY SOOO COLD! But such an amazing trip!

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Glen and Allison and their craftsmen are just so cool and talented and into what they do…providing homes for families….and this home is special because it showcases what their company does, but will also be a “town house” for their family.  You see Allison, is a true blue Midwestern farmgirl….Y’all she feels it in her bones…it’s such a neat thing and they have been living on her family farm. But it is a ways from town and being the good mama and wife she is she told me “this farm has been my dream and my family has endulged me but we need a place in town that isn’t freezing all winter” among other things so they are finally building a town house! What is wonderful, is Allison is getting to keep the farm but they will have a warm place to land full time. Did y’all know how cold an OLD Wisconsin farmhouse can be in the dead of winter?  Mind blowing.

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Glen said “when your kids come downstairs in ski suits and they are still cold it’s just time to do something”… But I must tell y’all the afternoon I spent in Allison’s farm kitchen talking about family and design and her life and home was one of the best days of my life.  Seriously.  I could go on and on but Allison is such a neat person. (love you too Glen;;)

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She looks like a cross between Andie MacDowell and Amy Grant and talks like them too!

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Look at all of these sweet animals!!! I had little girl kitty crazy time with these kitties..love me some kitties.

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And this farmhouse…

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Can you even believe this barn? Yes it was a dairy. I have such a thing for barns.  Is there anything more American? It’s like a quilt… just makes me want to cry thinking about these old barns

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and the grainery. Wow.  That color.

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My phone pics just don’t do it justice. But I have better photos coming soon. I will be traveling back up there in June to help tweak and prepare for the opening of the “town house”…they are finishing up…just a few weeks left! Staining floors and putting up shiplap…don’t you love the black windows?

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When Allison first contacted me this was her inspiration

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Country Living Show Home from 2014 designed by Catskill Farms

And she has run with it and it has been such a pleasure to assist along the way…we have morning coffee chats and “I am driving to Houston” calls on speaker fun and it has been pure joy!

I am going to blog more soon about the history of the farm and Allison’s story.   As well as progress pics on the construction.

Waterlogue 1.1.4 (1.1.4) Preset Style = Vibrant Format = 6" (Medium) Format Margin = Small Format Border = Sm. Rounded Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Medium Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Normal Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Medium Water Bleed = Average Brush = Natural Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Narrow Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Light Options Faces = Enhance Faces

The My Next Home website  launches June 1… in the meantime you can follow them on Facebook here and follow Allison on Instagram @wiscogirl71God didn’t give me a sister, but He gave me some great sister-in-laws, friends and clients!  And y’all know this has been “a tough season” but this job and client is just another example of God’s provision and blessing…both in work and also in friendship and community.  Y’all God is big, really big.  Life isn’t easy but He is near and He cares. About beauty and home and family and mostly about us. His sons and daughters.

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Nana’s new digs

My mom is in full blown house mode.  Her favorite place to be I think;  My mom was a real estate broker for overy 30 years and she and my dad were flippin houses before “flippin houses was cool” . . .And as I have said before my grandmother was a decorator and my mom’s grandpa was a home builder.  So this house fever stuff, it is in our blood!

And Nana has a new project y’all!

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(First things first, flag and chairs on porch, next up painting doors and cleaning up yard..I want her to keep the haint blue porch ceiling!)

Her new little home to be is less than 1,000 square feet (though she has noted the county has it on tax rolls for a bit more, they must be at least 40 sq feet off y’all);;…four big rooms with a tiny bath and laundry room.  On one of  her favorite streets in our new little town and has tons of potential.  We think it was built in the 1920s.   The same lady lived here for years and kept it in great shape and it seems her children really took care of it and made lots of updates along the way…great roof, insulation, new wiring.  Music to our ears. Nana might not be as into pink as the previous owner but it is sweet to find an entire house painted pink..how cute huh?!

And GREEN ceiling..yes!

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Along the way someone added drop commercial ceiling.  Nana already has that stuff down….she may or may not have removed some herself!

The laundry room is so cute with all of the windows and shiplap ceiling, the day they tore it down she was going to keep it as is…green and all…but as is often the case there are some areas that aren’t in great shape..so we will see what she does!

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She has been in the “getting bid” phase and its enough to make even my head spin! I will say she is a lot nicer to crews and craftsmen than my grandmother was….Joan was more into war department type tactics to keep her work on schedule. My mom is a little more “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” but beware she will turn Joan on you if needed.  It’s time to “get er done” y’all.

Tear out has begun on this sweet little house she scored.

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She may or may not go to BOTH Lowe’s and Home Depot every day! Nice wood floors under that carpet…woohoo…and the paneling could be torn back to the shiplap or she may just paint it, the issue is the drop down ceiling and the various stop and start points on the ceiling if that makes sense.  I see why sometimes people just sheetrock to cover a layer or remodeling remnants.

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I love that my mom can see a diamond in the rough and imagine the possibilities! (lol that look on her face..she is a “lawdy that ceiling what I gonna do…let me go make a list of the possibilities!;;) Not all people can look beyond pink walls and drop down commercial ceiling to see charm and cuteness.

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But she is smart and she realized it had good roof, updated plumbling and wiring and AC….pink walls are easy to fix! And it has some cute little details like old cabinets and built in ironing board and trim around windows…good trim!

And I admire my mom because she is much more frugal than me…. I am all “buy the SMEG fridge, why not!?”

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The little bath has been torn out…i think she is trying to decide about claw foot tub or not..and of course will reuse the cute cute little cabinet with latch..love that detail!  This bathroom is screaming for hex tile and pedestal sink!!

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After school shenanigans, Henry is following in the family tradition of “working on stuff”…looks like he is “programming” the AC for her..not! Drew is doing the first born thing…reading like the good citizen he is!;

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All in all, I know she is not thrilled with the pace things are going but no doubt she will have this whipped into shape soon!

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I can’t wait to see how it turns out Nana, in the meantime we are really enjoying having her with us.  I really mean that (most of the time except when she moves my stuff around but she is a laundry maven so how I can stay frustrated long right?!) . . . my boys are rowdy but she loves them and puts up with them and ME. I know we can’t live together forever y’all but DANG it sure is nice to have your mama in the next room when you are sad late at night or a storm rolls into town and all of your new fire alarms start screeching. God has wisdom (of course duh) in having her with us during this transition. One more thing to be grateful for in what is becoming known now as “the tough season.”;

Oh and it’s MOTHER’S DAY so happy mother’s day nana…we love you more than ‘a cheap bid on fast reno work!’  Truly!

Birthdays, besties & Bigmama

I have needed to write this post for over a month but just hard to put into words. Its actually been nearly six weeks since I celebrated my birthday (as my mom pointed out while I have been writing thank you notes this weekend..hey I may be getting a divorce but I still write thank you notes..what better time actually!)

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I don’t want to gush and glorify divorce or myself and my friends or my party and make it all look perfect.  But God showed up at my birthday party just like he has shown up for me throughout this hard season.  So I do want to glorify him.  For the way He loves me directly and the way He loves me through my friends. Some of my friends are super busy, just like I am and I don’t want to go down that glorification of busy road but it’s true.  They have small kids and businesses, Maifest and Round Top prep was in full swing, and we don’t all live in the same town.  But on March 15th, they made time and come out and supported me.  And I didn’t know I was going to go around the circle and bawl and tell what each person meant to me but I did and I was a little nervous the next day about what I actually said, because I was drunk on love.  And I wish I had a recording of what some of them said.  Giving words and time are powerful y’all.

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{That’s right I threw my own party yes I did}

So there you go…I sent this invite out so I couldn’t cancel the little event…and I did want to cancel as it got closer to the day. Just seems a weird time to have a party but I didn’t want to be gloomy and sad on my 40th birthday so I took the plunge, sent the invites.  And if you are my friend and didn’t get an invite its because I thought you were too busy or too far or it’s been too long.  But know I thought about  you because I did.  My fear or insecurity held me back or lack of convenience (you live too far away) is all that kept me from inviting you. Believe that.

So Holly Kuhn is a client that has become a friend and she owns the Old Glory Antiques shop in Colorado and Burton, Texas.  You may remember her home was in Country Living in the fall. I posted about it here. Holly allowed a few of my friends and I that don’t live local (and some that do) to bunk there on birthday weekend. Her Burton house isn’t a functioning B&B, it was at one point for now it’s not, so I really appreciate you opening it for us Holly.  Truly you and Brian are the best!

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So Camille came early from Abilene and we spent the Saturday before my birthday just hanging out and getting provisions for the OG (wine and chocolate and chicken salad) and I thought it was good to be with just her that day before and rehash all that is going on and get all of my tears out. Because who wants to “ugly cry” at their birthday party, but it didn’t work.  I still ugly cried at the party..and its Okay.

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{Before we put scissors to my bangs}

So Sunday morning we went to church and ate cake pops for breakfast and had a slow day as guests trickled in..like Becki and Jenny and my mama. And then Camille cut my bangs, important girl stuff like that…It was so fun to see my longtime friend hit it off with my newer friends and my mama just soak it all up.  But I am not surprised at all that they bonded instantly.

I love these faces below. I wish I had a photo of everyone that came so glad we at least got these in the entryway of Old Glory.

{Me after we put scissors to my bangs, proof that a little snip can be as good as highlights}

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{Becki is so good at the selfie, and Jenny you drove from Shreveport and didn’t even go see your parents, that is love}

And then that evening we gathered at Royer’s Pie Haven because well it’s magical there…both the pies and atmosphere. Tara lit candles and had it even more special than usual.  I knew it would be the perfect place to just hang out and be with people I love and it was.  Of course I didn’t talk to each person as much as I wanted or get very many photos.  But that is okay.  It is etched in my mind and on my heart that I am loved. And friends matter. And I need to pour into my friendships more, water more. Do more than text. But also be grateful for the people you can text or email months between visits and it still be the same.  That is grace and real friendship.  To be able to pick up anywhere.

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So thank you Tara for opening your haven to me and for being a wonderful friend. And to everyone else both old friends and new that took time out of their lives and schedule to be with me.  It meant more than you know. I so so so wish we had gotten more pictures of the evening but I guess if its such a sweet time you forget photos that is a good thing.

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That being said, I just wish Bigmama’s book had released a little bit earlier so I could have given each person a copy.

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Just like Oprah!

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Because so much of what Melanie says in this book rings true for what my friends mean to me…really all of it! And its good to say it and remember it.

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There is no one cuter than you my friends.

No one more loyal, more wise, more creative, more kind. MORE FUNNY

Larry Hagman knows its true.

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Arnold knows it.  Even Mary & Edith agree;

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Lol. I love these popping up on social media Melanie and I love your words.

That’s all I got y’all. Water your faith. Water your marriage and family.  But water your friends too. They matter.

And thank you again to my friends for the gifts and words and love and tears and miles traveled. I love you.

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