Fall Video House Tour 2014

Last year, about this time, I recorded a House Tour video (click here to see it) after we had lived in the house about 6 months. It’s always fun to look back and see the way our house has changed over time. Pictures are great, but a video really gives you a feel for the flow and actual size of the rooms!

So, on a rainy morning last week, I did another quick video tour! With a full on garage renovation underway and likely a kitchen update in the next year, I expect to see even bigger changes coming next fall!

Also, it was really difficult for me to make the colors look true in the video. Especially because the sun was refusing to shine outside!

Thanks for coming along!!

 

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Garage no more.

We have a major project happening at the Quarles’ home, and it’s been in the works for over a month before it has gotten any face time here on the blog.

About to fix that.

You may remember our garage.

Or you may not…we haven’t talked about it much.

It’s situated under the house and behind in a rather awkward location. We have a two car carport, so we have never parked a car in it (and the previous owners didn’t either). It was just a storage space for junk and spiders.

We knew when we bought the house that we wanted to do something with the space and convert it into a room. Now the work has begun.
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Woah. Just like that. No more garage door.
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And the inside looks like this…part of the ceiling is missing and there is a window where there wasn’t one before.
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This is going to be our master bedroom. I was hoping for November…we are thinking more like top of the new year. Both existing bedrooms upstairs will be guest rooms which will be a great space for guests who come to visit.

Here is a rough to-do list and where we are on that list…
- Remove garage door 
- Demo and remove existing closet 
– Build walls and install door for new closet
- Close in long skinny closet 
– Make opening for long skinny closet in the adjacent den
- Install new window 
- Install siding outside
- Install outdoor electric outlet
– Caulk siding
– Paint siding
- Install new insulation
- Install new wall drywall
- Remove ceiling drywall in main room section
– Install new ceiling drywall
– Condense existing ceiling air vents
– Install new baseboards
– Paint concrete floors a dark gray
– Paint walls
– Install new light fixture
– Install closet hanging hardware

That list is very basic. There are a million little projects. But here is the amazing part…my husband and his dad are doing this all themselves. We are not hiring a contractor. I am helping where I can…and then at the end I will paint and decorated the living daylights out of it.

When all is said and done, the walls will be smooth, everything will make a lot more sense, and it will look like an actual bedroom. I’m pretty excited about it.

It’s a little overwhelming to try to explain all the little parts in a single blog post. I will probably just post updates along the way until we get to the more visually exciting things. For now, I leave you with this little video…

 

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If I have not love…

 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
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It’s a very rainy and dreary day in Nashville, and I am starting my work week after a weekend filled with two weddings. So, love is on the brain. And at the same time, I’ve still got England on my heart.

I stepped outside my comfort zone and spent time in another country. Jeremy & I went into the trip feeling unprepared for all the work we had to do. And we relied on the Lord each day to provide emotionally, spiritually, and physically. In the midst of a schedule so packed with worshipping, serving, and going, I didn’t have time to think about the sometimes frivolous “first world” concerns that tend to plague my mind. Even though, in England, I was still in a “first world” place, I was too busy doing a myriad of more important things to worry about things like decorating and having some alone time and eating organic. And it got me thinking…

If I have a spotless home, but do not have love…
If I stay married for 50 years, but do not have love…
If I keep a tight budget and save millions for retirement, but do not have love…
If I shop at the farmers market every week and instagram a really well-composed picture of all the produce we eat, but do not have love…
If I put together a great outfit on a budget, but do not have love…
If I manage my time really wisely and leave a balanced schedule with room for alone time and friends and family, but do not have love…
If I avoid processed food completely and make everything from scratch, but do not have love…
If I workout everyday and make fitness a top priority, but do not have love…
If I grow a garden, but do not have love…
If I graduated with honors, but do not have love…
If I have a job that makes me feel important, but do not have love…
If my house looks like it belongs in a magazine, but I do not have love…
If I write songs that speak to millions, but do not have love…
If I am known by many, but do not have love…
If I win an argument, but do not have love…
If I travel the world, but do not have love…
If I follow my dreams, but do not have love…
If I live on less, but do not have love…
If I take a chance, but do not have love…
I am but a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal
I gain nothing
I am nothing.

So many goals, worries, and dreams swim around in my head constantly. Things that do matter. Many of them are good things. Health matters, happiness matters, friends matter, family matters. I think God even takes delight in our hobbies and interests. For me, that is music and writing and decorating and reading and cooking and weddings and making things pretty.

But these things are not primary. These things are not what matters in the end.

And when I think about the way I want my life to look in the end, when I look back and everything is over, I want to love the Lord first and primarily, and in turn I want to love others.

I get distracted by the comparison game. And I wish for a more extravagant vacation, a fancier home, healthier food, more friends.

But if Jeremy and I never go on another vacation, and we never move out of our starter home, and I put on weight someday, and I go through seasons of loneliness, it won’t really matter. It won’t matter if I have loved fully, given of myself, and put God’s glory first in all things. I would rather be known for my hospitality than my cleanliness. I would rather meet Jesus someday and hear him talk about the glory that He received from my life than listen him list off the ways I saved money and ate healthy food.

Those things matter.  These are good things. 

But if I have not love…

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England Part 2: The Northeast

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London is a cultural hub and a vital epicenter of British history and excitement; however, I don’t think anyone can get a true England experience without venturing outside of the hustle bustle and into the countryside/smaller cities of the UK. London is so international; it’s hard to get a good feel for English culture.

While London was a great adventure, the bulk and best part of our trip was spent in an area called the Tees Valley in North Yorkshire. It is about a three hour train ride from London.

It’s hard to share about our time there with just a blog post. I need you to come over for a cup of Yorkshire Tea, and I can tell you all about it. But, basically, we spent every day from 8am – 4pm (roughly) teaching at a public secondary school called The King’s Academy. Secondary school is equivalent to 6th – 12th grade in the US. We led assemblies every morning and spoke on the topic of courage to a couple hundred students at a time. We used movie clips, scripture, and performances of songs that I have written about courage to share, and over the course of the week, we were able to speak in front of every student in the 1000+ student body.
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Then we taught 17 or so music classes throughout the week. We talked about working in the music industry, the creative process of songwriting and producing, and shared about Christian music specifically. We wrapped up with an interactive activity that had us very sick of “Happy” by Pharell Williams by the end of the week.
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In the evenings, we were vagabonds. Traveling minstrels. We stayed in a different place every evening and lugged our suitcases to school every morning. We worked with a youth worship band in a small town called Great Ayton. We taught a Bible study and led worship at a Wesleyan chapel turned house near York. We led worship at a cafe church in Guisborough. We loved meeting lots of people, staying in a variety of places, and staying up at night having great conversations with our hosts. Every encounter was a joy.
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We were so welcomed by our American expatriate friends, Mike & Kookie Taylor, into their home with a cookie cake and some souvenirs. They are doing amazing work, and we were inspired!
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We spent the weekend leading worship at a youth leaders retreat in the Yorkshire Dales (aka the quintessential English countryside). This was a definite highlight for me. We even went caving (a bit of a nightmare for my claustrophobia). The chapel where we met was built in the 12th Century. Singing in a place where other believers have worshipped for over 900 years was such a privilege.
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After a 22 hour travel day back to the US, we made it in one piece and only a little worse for the wear.

We have felt called to go to England for several years. It was a dream to see that wish come true, and there was no doubt while we were there that we were exactly where we were supposed to be. We hope very much that we will be able to return soon…

Cheers,

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Fall Home Tour 2014

Decorating for fall and, soon after, for Christmas are two of my favorite things. The level of cheer in our home goes up a couple notches with seasonal decorations for my two favorite times of the year. We are in the midst of some rather major home projects currently, and it is nice to do some simple decorating instead of a big renovation. It’s the small touches like branches from the yard, fresh cut hydrangea, and pumpkins everywhere that bring Autumn home and get me excited for this season of change, beauty, cozy nights, sunny days, fresh apples, pumpkin spice, and traditions.

I will let the pictures do the talking. Come on in.

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Decorating for fall doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. The only things I bought were two small mums, some fresh pumpkins, and that new table runner to create my tablescape. Then I painted some of the small pumpkins with paint pens, gathered hydrangeas and sticks from the yard, got out some blankets, displayed our apples in a red bowl, and made use of our existing chalkboards.

Whenever I decorate seasonally, I love to take a look at the things we already have (whether on display, in storage, or even in the yard) and just give them a fresh, seasonal spin.

Happy Fall, Y’all.

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England Part 1: London

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This month has been a crazy one. I started off the month with a work trip to Orlando, and Jeremy traveled quite a bit the first week of the month. Then we left for 10 days in England. Then I got sick. Then our cat ate some ribbon and a shoestring and almost had to have emergency life-or-death surgery.

Now, I am back at work, and Jeremy is about to start fall tour season, and life is feeling a little bit more normal. But my heart is still reeling a bit from what I now recognize as 10 of my favorite days ever. It was my fourth time in the UK, and it was also my favorite. We had an amazing trip, and I am having some withdrawals from the scenery, the tea, the people, and the sense of purpose that filled our days on a trip that we have been anticipating/hoping to take for years.

I have already posted the pictures on Facebook, ordered a photo album, and had some time to decompress and journal about the experience (thanks to the two sick days that immediately followed our trip), but I figured a blog post would be the way to round out my recap of the trip. We went as a couple to serve alongside a ministry called UK-USA Ministries (www.uk-usaministries.com) with one of my former youth pastors and to work at a school called The King’s Academy. We basically used music everywhere we went to build relationships and plant seeds and spark conversation and lead worship.

I will be sharing next about the time we actually spent doing that in the Northeast region of the UK, but first, we spent two and a half days in the great city of London as tourists. It was our only “vacation” with just the two of us this year (barring a couple of quick weekend getaways), and we had an absolute blast.

I have been to London several times before. First was when I was about 12, and my family spent nearly three weeks there. I still have SUCH vivid memories from that trip; that is when I first fell in love with England. Then I went back twice in highschool. Both times it was for little more than a day at a time, and the experiences were very rushed and part of a large group.

This time, my best friend and I got to explore and set our own schedule and get lost together and do so many things in a short amount of time, and it was such an amazing experience.

The first day, we arrived to our hotel around 2pm. First we went to St. Paul’s Cathedral and climbed the hundreds of steps to the top to look out over London. We stayed close to the Tower of London, and it was just a short trip to the South bank where we went to the Borough Market, walked along the River Thames, stopped into the Tate Modern Art Museum (we are not modern art people, apparently), saw Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and visited two historic local pubs (favorites of the likes of Shakespeare and Dickens) before settling into some fish & chips at a not-so-historic pub that wasn’t so crowded. Then we retired to a fairly early night’s sleep at our budget (yet extremely acceptable) hotel.
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Day two. The day of magic. Because we went to Harry Potter Studios in Leavesden and saw Wicked on the West End. Lots of magic wands and spells. We LOVED Harry Potter Studios. If you are a fan of HP, it is the place to see all the original sets, props, and the behind-the-scenes details of how the movies were made. We spent four hours there, and we could have spent longer! Then we made the trek back to London and took a short nap before heading out to dinner at a Tapas restaurant (after searching in vain for sushi) and Wicked on the West End.
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Day three. The London speed race.
Tour of the Tower of London (so amazing for this history buff!)
Churchill War Room Tour
Church Service at Westminster Abbey
Trafalgar Square
Buckingham Palace
Big Ben
Parliament
Picadilly Circus
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We took in the major sights of London in one big gulp. This day was a highlight for me because I love learning about the British history and seeing iconic sights of Britain. I also loved attending a church service at Westminster Abbey where the reverend gave a stirring sermon on the meaning of the cross as more than a symbol.

After two and a half invigorating London days in practically PERFECT Fall weather in the 60s and 70s (Fahrenheit), we boarded a train for the Northeast, and that is where the adventure really began…

To be continued.

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Painted Kitchen Door

I have mentioned that there isn’t anything particularly spectacular about our kitchen. I am so grateful for it. It’s spacious and has plenty of storage and the cabinets are sturdy and fairly new. The appliances work great. But it’s not my style. I can live with it, quite happily, however. It helps me make food to nourish our family, and it can hold plenty of people.

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But I recently did a little update that is adding some “happy” to my space for less than $5.

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Back it up. I had been really inspired by colored pantry doors like this and this.

We don’t have a pantry door, but we do have a basement door in our kitchen. But it looked like this.
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That hole had been there since we moved in. I kept thinking we would have to get an entirely new door, but then I realized it wouldn’t take that much work. So I picked up some wood filler, the only thing I had to buy, and patched that hole in no time.

Then I wiped down the trim with soap and water (amazing what that will do), and tried out three sample colors that I already had.

From top to bottom: Knoxville Gray (Benjamin Moore), Valley Hills (Valspar), Gibraltar (Sherwin Williams)
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Then I chose the only color that I had enough paint left to use without buying anything new. The middle. Valley Hills (the same color as our upstairs bathroom).

I removed the doorknob, taped over the hinges, and used a foam roller brush to paint it down. It was really easy! And really low commitment. If I want to paint it back later or paint it a different color, it hardly cost me a thing!
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Have you painted any doors lately? I’m thinking about doing ALL the doors in our house a medium gray. I think it adds some sophistication and character. What do you think?

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