Building It Our Way

The beginnings of a new kitchen island for Sloss Castle

The beginnings of a new kitchen island for Sloss Castle

Hey, y’all! Welcome back to Sweet Sorghum Living. Today on the blog, we will be chatting about how frustrating it is to be looking for that perfect piece of furniture, but you can’t find it anywhere–no matter how many stores you visit or online hunting you do…nothing is quite right for that awkward space.  So, go grab a good cup of coffee or nice glass of wine and sit a spell with me as I share my own furniture struggle + give a bit of a sneaky peek of what is happening right now at Hathorn Hall.

This is the before of the kitchen at Sloss Castle. The hubby and I spent over a year renovating a 1980 hot mess. We learned a lot about full renovation and ourselves during that adventure!

This is the before of the kitchen at Sloss Castle. The hubby and I spent over a year renovating a 1980 hot mess. We learned a lot about full renovation and ourselves during that adventure!

A little back story…In December 2012, the hubby and I bought a 1980 time capsule that was in desperate need of attention and love. The bones of the house were excellent. The house was charming with lots of potential + we had big plans for her. Now, long story short…we succeeded, but it almost killed our spirit.

The kitchen was not awful, but it was not so great either…light mauve counters, floating cabinets that blocked the view, white tiles with fruit impressions, and a large, awkward space where nothing existed.

The hubby and I knew that an island was the perfect solution for the space big enough to land a helicopter. We took off to find and buy an island. How hard could it be for really picky people to locate the perfect piece of furniture on an unreasonably low budget? NOTE: This budget was set by the hubby, who thinks everything is overpriced. And I do mean everything! Any who…after countless hours of shopping, our ideal island was not found. We had no choice. We had to make it ourselves.

The hubby designed the island and built the island. I was very specific about what I wanted from an island. He accomplished all my requests and more!

I was very specific about what I wanted from an island. The hubby was very sweet to design it with all my requests and more!

I absolutely hate looking at trash cans. They gross me out. Out of sight, out of mind. My number one request for my island was for it to house the trash bin. But, it had to be easy to get out--so I could scrub it..and disinfect it...often.

I absolutely hate looking at trash cans. They gross me out. Out of sight, out of mind. My number one request for my island was for it to house the trash bin. But, it had to be easy to get out–so I could scrub it..and disinfect it…often. P.S. I am currently begging the hubby to solve my kitchen trash can problem at the new house….

I wanted a place to chop veggies + I wanted to use a piece of vintage marble that I had bought many moons ago. The hubby accomplished that + added wine bottle storage. Truth be known...I used it to store my two-liter Diet Pepsi bottles.

I wanted a place to chop veggies + I wanted to use a piece of vintage marble that I had bought many moons ago. The hubby accomplished that + added wine bottle storage. Truth be known…I used it to store my two-liter Diet Pepsi bottles. P.S. the hubby just finished a fabulous piece of furniture for our new dining room that will only hold bottles the size of a typical wine bottle…Hmmmm…is he trying to tell me something?

We decided to paint the island a pretty cinnamon and mint green top. We glazed the top with the same espresso color we used on the cabinets.. The same glaze color used on the cabinets.

We painted the island a pretty cinnamon and mint green and glazed the top with the same espresso color we used on the cabinets.

The island turned out pretty fabulous + it became the gathering spot in the kitchen.

The island turned out pretty fabulous + it became the gathering spot in the kitchen.

Looking back, the sleepless nights...loud, creative discussions...and the back pain were all totally worth it. P.S. I am so glad that I do not have to do a major kitchen renovation in my new house. P.S. the hubby painted the walls + we put a new top on the island. I cannot wait to tell y'all about it!

Looking back, the sleepless nights…loud, creative discussions…and the back pain were all totally worth it. P.S. I am so glad that I do not have to do a major kitchen renovation in my new house. P.S.S. The hubby painted the kitchen walls + we put a new top on the island. Hathorn Hall is slowly coming together, and I cannot wait to tell y’all about it!

Whew! I am getting tired just looking at the before and after of the Sloss Castle kitchen. Sometimes, it is hard to believe that the hubby and I tackled such a project. The good news is we learned many lessons that will help us with our new house. One of those valuable lessons is to not waste countless hours shopping for a piece of furniture…we just sit down, discuss, design, buy materials, and build.

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today. I am off to help the hubby with a furniture project…I am so excited about this darling table that we are building for the dining room…Someone needs to duct tape my big, Southern mouth before I spill all the beans!

 

It’s All About Location and Laundry

Happy Cloud

Happy Cloud

If I have learned anything from the many years of watching HGTV, especially House Hunters, it is that one can change a lot of things about a house–but not its location.

I have had to remind myself of that daily (well, numerous times daily) during these past couple of months of home renovation–location–view–location–view.  I am not going to lie.  This project is overwhelming.  Some days, I think this house is trying to kill me.  Other days, I feel like it is a money pit…one rot problem after another.  Thank you, previous homeowners.

A little more rot...we have to decide if we want to replace the old windows with new windows or replace the old windows for French doors...decisions, decisions.

A little more rot…we have to decide if we want to replace the old windows with new windows or replace the old windows with French doors…decisions, decisions.  Do you see Mattie and Ziva’s laundry basket full of toys?  They love looking out the windows.

Mattie looking out at the living room windows...I am thinking that French doors would be lovely here...

Mattie on the inside looking out–She had gone inside to get a drink of water and a toy.  Hmmm, I am really thinking that French doors would be lovely here.  I am pretty sure that Mattie agrees!

Today…as I was spraying my 16th gallon of poison ivy killer (make that 18th gallon–I took a break from writing to go kill stuff)…I thought about how focused I have been on completing the house…that I have not taken the time to enjoy it…just as it is…mess and all.

Often times, we are all so focused on the daily routines that must be done, we are all so focused on perfection and how our lives look to our Facebook friends–that we forget to just be happy…like a real happiness. To be happy with the little accomplishments…to be happy with the fact that there is only one load of laundry left to do–at this exact moment…knowing that there will be two more later on this afternoon…to be happy because God has blessed us in so many ways…even the troubles and struggles are blessings.

Love the view from my laundry room...the

Love the view from my laundry room…sure, the floor moulding needs to be painted, the walls need a bit of art, and the clothes need to be put away…but sometimes there are just more important things to do…

Abby and Ziva enjoying the beautiful weather--I spotted them out the laundry room window and just had to snap a photo!

Abby and Ziva enjoying the beautiful weather–I spotted them out the laundry room window and just had to snap a photo!

We decided the day was too gorgeous to stay inside doing projects.  Ziva really enjoyed eating Abby's snack!

We decided the day was too gorgeous to stay inside doing projects. Ziva really enjoyed eating Abby’s snack!

Sure, I would love to wake up and my home renovation be completely finished.  I would love to have a laundry fairy…but what I do have is this exact moment to be happy with my location…and with where God has placed me.

View from the breakfast room--Abby traded her computer for the pool today.  Do you see the brass table feet on the window sill?  Yep, that project will have to wait another day!

View from the breakfast room–Abby traded her computer for a book and the pool today. Do you see the brass table feet on the window sill? Yep, that project will have to wait another day!

View from the upstairs landing--Note to Self:  (1) get taller ladder (2) finish painting

View from the upstairs landing–Note to Self: (1) get taller ladder (2) finish painting

View from the screen porch area--going to rip out this screen, replace all the molded and rotted wood with vinyl deck, posts, and rails

View from the screen porch area–we are going to rip out this screen, replace all the molded and rotted wood with vinyl…deck, posts, and rails

Thank you, previous home owners, for the Christmas lights...I wonder how long they have been hanging there????

Thank you, previous home owners, for the Christmas lights…I wonder how long they have been hanging there???? Do you see the 1980s intercom?

Rotted and leaning deck rails...this is the no-no zone...but the view is fabulous...and the deck will be too!

Rotted and leaning deck rails…this is the no-no zone…but the view is fabulous…and the deck will be too!  Stan brought home a little sneak peek of the material he will be using. I am so excited!

Progress on Abby's bath area...one day at a time...one day at a time.

Progress on Abby’s bath area…one day at a time…one day at a time.

It is a nice place to set up shop...all the deck will be vinyl...you won't recognize the backyard or deck when we finish!

It is a nice place to set up shop. The new deck will be vinyl.  I promise, you won’t recognize the backyard or deck when we finish!

No progress in the master bath...same as we left it two months ago...

No progress in the master bath…same as we left it–two months ago…

A little sheetrock dust art...it is a losing battle haha

A little sheetrock dust art…it is a losing battle haha

Thank you previous home owners for never replacing anything...in thirty-one years.  The deck is in poor condition...very poor condition...but I know a guy that is really talented in designing and building decks!

Thank you, previous home owners, for never replacing anything…in thirty-two years. The deck is in poor condition…very poor condition…but I know a guy that is really talented with designing and building decks!

Flooring for the master dressing room...yes, it is right next to Stan's side of the bed. Hopefully, we will be able to get to that project soon...but until then...I am going to focus on what we have accomplished!

Flooring for the master dressing room/closet…yes, it is right next to Stan’s side of the bed. Hopefully, we will be able to get to that project soon…but until then…I am going to focus on what we have accomplished!

Today, I took a little time to go outside with Abby and the dogs to remember why we bought this fixer upper, to remember that sometimes it is good to be lazy, and to remember that kids grow up quickly...and laundry will always be a constant.

Today, I took a little time to go outside with Abby and the dogs to remember why we bought this giant fixer upper, to remember that sometimes it is good to be lazy, and to remember that kids grow up quickly…and laundry will always be a constant.

IMG_8872

by abby

Wall art by Abby:  this piece is hanging outside her room

Even though, we are still living in a mess…living out of boxes…and living on a prayer; we are happy.  And at the end of the day, that is all that matters.

Thanks for sitting a spell with me.  Have a blessed day!

Chasidy

A Big Fixer Upper: Challenge Accepted

photo 5-2After many months of prayer and searching, the Hathorns finally found a place to call home in Alabama. It was not the move-in-ready, cute-little-cottage that was on the list; however, the deal was too good to pass up and the location was absolutely perfect.

The ideal location and gorgeous views will make all of the work ahead of us totally worth it. A big fixer upper? Yes. Do the Hathorns accept the challenge? Yes! Now, it is time to get this reno party started *wink*

photo 1-2

This photo was taken the day of the open house. Stan’s job was to inspect, measure, and figure out if the project was doable. My job was to document with photos, take notes, and figure out how to turn the ugly into pretty. Abby’s job was to be silly, assist, and use her Holmes on Homes skills to point out possible disaster.

After months of house hunting and countless hours of looking on the internet, we decided our ideal, move-in-ready house did not exist. We would either have to build (which really wasn’t an option) or buy a house in need of some love (which is really code for lots of renovation).

So off we went to an open house that would change everything.

photo 3

This is the before picture of the kitchen. Good news is new stainless appliances; bad news is pink Formica countertops and a section of floating cabinets that block the view!

Before and During Peek of the kitchen

Before and During Peek of the kitchen

We accepted the challenge of restoring this home to its former glory.  There was no doubt it was once the jewel of the neighborhood.  The bones of it are strong, the views undeniable, and the potential ever so glorious.

This is a little before peek of the master bedroom. The room goes beyond the French doors...once again something is blocking the view!

This is a little before peek of the master bedroom. The room goes beyond the French doors. Once again something is blocking a gorgeous view!

Abby having a bit of fun with the destruction of the master bath. Don't worry...Stan was near and supervising carefully.

Abby having a bit of fun with the destruction of the master bath. Don’t worry. Stan was near and supervising carefully.

photo 2-2Lots and lots of leaves had to be raked and bagged. Seriously, lots. Around 100 contractor-sized bags.  Honestly, we lost count! **p.s. that number does not even include the leaves Stan blew to the curb.**

photo 1-4

So far over eight tons have been hauled away...by far the old, dirty carpet was my least favorite item to remove...just yuck!

So far over eight tons of dated and ugly have been hauled away. We all agreed the old, dirty carpet was the least favorite item to remove. Gross + Yuck!

First project on the very first night...removing all the mullions...

First project on the very first night–removing all the mullions.

photo 3

 Hello, gorgeous new floors! More details in future posts.

All baths were stripped back to bare bones...four full baths and a powder room...

All baths were stripped back to bare bones. Four full baths + a powder room.

photo 2-1Stan, Abby, and I did all of the demo work ourselves, and we are planning on doing most of the renovations ourselves. I do believe we accepted the challenge *wink* I also believe we are going to need lots of coffee!!

The backyard captured our hearts...it will need new landscaping and a deck, but we are up to the challenge.

The backyard captured our hearts. It will need new landscaping and a deck, but we are up to the challenge.

Another peek at the kitchen-the island that Stan built is amazing and I cannot wait to share it in a upcoming post!

Sneaky peek at the kitchen and the island Stan is building 

The before photo of our new place...stay with me as we reveal the during and the final photos.

The before photo of our new home. 

It has been 78 days since we accepted this challenge.  There are many more days–more like months to go before the mission will be completed.  We have accomplished many projects since day one, and I will be sharing some of them with all of you in future posts.

I want to say a big thanks to Joyce Tippen of Re/Max Marketplace, Trussville for being such a caring and patient agent!  We also enjoyed meeting Bonnie Hicks (Re-Max) at the open house.  Those ladies do an awesome job.  If you are in the Trussville/Birmingham area or looking to relocate to this area, check out Re/Max Marketplace at www.trussvillemarketplace.com and give Joyce or Bonnie a call!