We eat a lot of mexican food.

My husband and I are SUCH creatures of habit. So when we meal plan, I'm not exaggerating when I say that we eat some form of Mexican food 5 out of 7 nights of the week.

There are go-to dishes I feel very confident in making and one of them being these

S W E E T  P O T A T O  +  B L A C K  B E A N  E N C H I L A D A S


These enchiladas are the first meal I ever made for austin when we were dating and I felt pretttttttty confident that I'd woo him with these babies successfully.... so naturally, I went the extra mile and got dry black beans to soak myself instead of using canned. I made my best guacamole and even brought extra lime and cilantro for garnish.  We sat down to eat and I anticipated his response to how delicious everything was. As I waited for his remarks as I took my first bite and noticed VERY QUICKLY that something felt like chewing on rocks... those extra mile black beans... yeah not soaked long enough and I forgot to cook them. Luckily, Austin still loved them and married me anyway. However, i've never tried to do my own black beans since... haha, call it a sore subject but i'm just fine buying the beans in a can.

I've been making different versions of these enchiladas for years now. Over the course of the last few years and with much trial and error, changing and tweaking it to make it perfect... this year I feel like I've finally perfected it. 

These are great for meal planning as you can double the recipe and they keep really well in the fridge. 

Enchiladas.jpg

The day we didn't pass our final inspection.

Yesterday was hard, and that's okay. A sweet friend reminded me of that verse in Proverbs where it says

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life."

My friend reminded me that it was okay to be sad and weary cause our hope had been deferred a lot over the past 2.5 years. I'm glad God knew hardships would happen and that I would need a reminder in His word that being sad about things not coming to pass yet- was allowed and that it's normal. Thousands of years ago He planted scripture in The Word that would still be relevant truth for me today. In this season of August 2017, He made provision for my heart and for the way I felt yesterday and those thousands of years ago verses soothed my hurting heart.

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12

Being disappointed is inevitable as we journey through life and it's okay to be sad about things not going the way you thought, it happens - but if we stay there, we never experience the next part of the verse- "a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." God knew what He was doing in creating that verse - because He knew we would need a reminder to not stay in hopelessness. We must make the choice to allow God to restore our hope so that we can press in to see the dream fulfilled. Dreams made reality are just hopes we never let die. 

Yesterday, when I shared about not being able to move in on our stories, we were flooded with responses of love, support, & prayer from all of you who have walked our huskey house journey with us. We were undone. The support that all of you have given to my husband and I has been overwhelmingly beautiful. And in the midst of disappointment, we were yet again reminded that God has always, and will always, make provision to tend to our hearts and restore our hope. We are beyond grateful for a community that meets us where we are at yet won't let our hope stay deferred, won't let it die out and keeps speaking life and love over us to champion us on towards the goal - to see this dream fulfilled and to experience the tree of life. #thehuskeyhouse

 

The Design

It's a beautiful sunny day in Nashville today- we've had so much rain lately -that's been holding up our progress I might add (insert cry face) - so this sunshine is a much-needed change of scenery here. 

With the sun beaming through the skylight in our room and my coffee in hand I'm gonna share about our design process with the house. 

I hit on a few of these points before so some of this might sound super familiar... Austin was working with an architect originally  (before we were dating) to develop the property for a home. Austin was imagining a black farmhouse and had plans ready. First off- could Austin be any more perfect? A black farmhouse? Like, what a dream boat... so creative and he so gets the Modern Farmhouse thing.

Ugh #swoon. 

You can read more about that here in my previous post. In a nut shell we decided we couldn't build the house that was drawn. So, we talked about buying something preexisting instead. And as you know- we obviously come back to building... or else we wouldn't be here now :)

When we were looking at houses we were asked by our realtor to separately write down the top three things we wanted in the house we were looking for and not to show one another: so we did. When we brought them to the realtor he was amazed that we had written down the exact same things... apparently, in the realtor's experience, spouses don't always communicate their wants when looking for a house and it makes the process much harder to find something they both love when they aren't on the same page. If you're looking to build, buy, or renovate I'd highly recommend talking through your biggest wants with your person- whoever you're buying with and getting on the same page before getting serious about anything regarding the housing process. 

Luckily, Austin and I both had spent many many hours talking through all of our house desires and looking at Pinterest and Houzz and showing each other what we wanted. So, when it came to writing down our three biggest wants in a house we both wrote: Natural light, Big Kitchen, Open floor plan. Although we didn't end up buying- those were valuable words we ended up taking with us into our design process.

Austin and I love to entertain and host events so we wanted a space that would lend itself to that. We both love food and to cook, so having a big kitchen with space was important to us - and when it comes to natural lighting, well, I would love in a glass house if I could so.... there's that. We started by imagining what that space would look and feel like. We'd toss out ideas like high ceilings for sound, exposed trusses, white everything, black roll up door ... and on and on it went until Austin walked over to me with a rough sketch of our house. A very simple design without much dead space and with a focus on each space being highly functional. A draftsman friend drew it up to spec for us and we were on our way. 

 

ADVICE

The biggest piece of advice we got was to get as many eyes on the floor plan and design as possible. People who have built their own houses and know what they are talking about it have a lot of insight that us newbs have yet to acquire- so getting those who have gone before you to weigh in on your project is worth its weight in gold. This proved to be the best piece of advice we got. We had some key people who helped navigate and tweak our design to make it flow better and helped us utilize the space to its maximum ability. Also, because our design was so simple there wasn't much storage space around the house- having lots of eyes look and brains thinking on the plan helped to create storage in areas we never even thought of - as well as ideas and suggestions to make the home the most energy efficient.

 

DECISION MAKING

When it comes to building you have to make a lot of decisions about things you've never even thought about and sometimes that can seem a little overwhelming- my biggest piece of advice is to find a handful of inspiration photos that you love the feel and look of and to use those photos as your spring board. 

Here were some of mine: 

This photo above was my main photo of inspiration: it had all the colors I wanted, the feel of clean, modern and farmhouse and just a touch of that simple Scandinavian feel- all in one. I worked off of this photo to make a lot of the decisions for the house.

the amazing and brilliant and flawless design of: AMBER INTERIORS

the amazing and brilliant and flawless design of: AMBER INTERIORS

Being able to really define what you're wanting will help you with the sea of decisions and options there are out there. The best thing to do is to start by listing out what you want your home to be like. 

Style:  Modern Scandinavian Farmhouse

Look: White, Clean Lines, Simple Layout, Barn/Farmhouse, Modern

Feel: Clean, Bright, Airy, Cozy, Minimal, Homey and Fresh

With as many options out there as there are grains of sand, you'll have to keep coming back to these definitions of your house in order to ensure everything looks good and flows together well. From the outside aesthetic to the inside you want all the design elements to work together harmoniously. My sister-in-law gave me a good piece of advice and said "when you see something you like, ask yourself if it matches your style, look, and feel? Is this clean, airy, minimal?"  From the exterior finishes to the interior- you want to make sure that each choice can be defined by your style, look, and feel. These questions help you stay on track! 

So just have fun gathering your ideas, photos, and inspirations and piece together that works well together what you feel the style of your home is? Traditional? Rustic? Modern? Midcentury? Traditional?  You get to make it your own. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's about time - giveaway!

Watches are an accessory I can really get on board with. Functional, classic, and easy to wear if you can find the right one. When the kind people over at Jord Watches contacted me about partnering up with them for a giveaway - I jumped at the opportunity to sport one of their beautiful timepieces.

My Jord timepiece came in the most beautiful packaging that just beckoned to be worn daily. I absolutely love the wood grain and it pairs so perfectly with everything I own. The wood is lightweight and the bands are custom sized to the size of your wrist - aka- it fits perfectly and doesn't shake around or move up and down my arm and drive me crazy. 

So, basically, I'm in love and happy to collaborate with this beautiful company to offer YOU a chance to win a $100 gift card to get your very own Jord wood timepiece! And! a huge bonus is that you get $25 gift card just for entering to win! Everybody wins.... but actually, everybody wins!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

If you're looking for that perfect accessory to add to your wardrobe or for that perfect gift! I'd certainly recommend one of these beauties!

Our Foundation and Floors

When Austin and I were dating, separately we asked the Lord what He had for us as a unit and then came together to share. Austin went first and began telling me that the word "Refuge" came to his mind. We sat in the car and I pulled out my journal to the page where i had drawn a house with the word "refuge" underneath it. I pretty much knew He was my husband in that moment but what i also knew was that the Lord wanted to build a house of refuge with us. Both of us have a passion to host and be a safe place for people... even if that just looks like sharing a meal. 

Originally, when Austin started this process He had a house draw with an architect that He was working on before we were dating. It was still a farmhouse with the focus of the house being in the living area for hosting worship nights and gatherings of friends. We spent about a year trying to perfect that design and watching the square footage of the house grow and grow and grow until we were looking at a home that we were sure we didn't need or even want. It was here that we also ran into a few hiccups with the property itself and questioned evening continuing with our project.

We thought about just buying something already built, we even looked at a few... but then one day as I was driving near where we might build, I knew in my heart that we were meant to be in this city and that we needed to keep pursuing this build... later that day as I was talking to Austin he told me of his same feelings towards the project... so that's what we did. We set our minds and our hearts to go after it. 

New Design:

We knew we needed to start over with a totally new design. We wanted everything to be really open and simple - like mega simple. So we spent an afternoon and tried drawing it out. We talked it through and Austin comes over to me with this design on graph paper and it was perfect. Simple- open and I started seeing it all in my head. We had a draftsman friend of ours draw it up professionally and I remember getting that email of the official designs... It was our house. The engineer even commented: People say that want simple all the time... but you guys really meant it. lol - #truth.

The Physical Foundation: 

Austin and I both loved the idea of having gray concrete floors but I wasn't super into the idea of walking on cold floor all the time.  That problem was solved with two words: radiant heat. 

Radiant heat is one the coolest things I have ever heard of. The picture above is the radiant system installed before they poured the concrete over it. The way radiant works is there are tubes ran all across the floor that hot water gets pumped into = heated floors. The great thing about radiant heat is that it's SUPER energy efficient and since that was something that mattered a lot to Austin and I we were sold. One of my favorite features about radiant heat systems is that it heats everything so when you have it on it not only heats the floors, but it heats everything on top of the floors... meaning your furniture, your counter tops, even you! UM YES PLEASE.

We worked with Comfort Engineered System, an amazing local company. They were amazing to work with and we would certainly recommend them to anyone local looking for a great radiant heat company.

Our goal for the house is sorta a Scandinavian- minimal modern take on a classic farmhouse. Austin and I luckily have the exact same taste when it comes to house stuff so dreaming up what we would do has been such a fun process. Austin brought the idea of concrete floors to the table and I fell in love. I love the modern aesthetic the concrete would give to accomplish what we were seeing in our heads. Plus, they are heated and gray and that's like my color palette and love language.

I can't wait for Christmas time already with the cozy warmth flowing through the whole house!

There's been days we've had to pep-talk one another and push through the doubt and fear that comes along with setbacks. But, we've had each other to lean on.

This project has been far from easy, but we know without a doubt that it's the right thing and that just because the road has been rocky isn't a sign to give up. It's a sign that there's gonna be a great reward at the end. It's a lesson that when the process is long there are so many more opportunities to celebrate and that's what we will do.  We continue to rejoice in blind trust despite all the things we haven't seen or understood. Trust in the God who works all setbacks-delays-unexpected-unfortunate-unpredicted-uphill-trudge things together for our good and when it's finished we will truly be able to celebrate and declare this house a Refuge. "Consider it pure joy, brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." - James 1:2-4

This is our foundation. This is what we are building our house on in reality and spiritually- this is what we have chosen to establish and build our home on. Trust in the Lord and trust in each other.

Our House Journey

Before my husband Austin and I were ever together, Austin had been working on preparing our piece of property for building. That means that he's been working on this project for 3 years. 

Yup. Three years. 36 months. 1095 days and 26280 hours. 

So pretty much He's the champion of all champions. Bless that man!

In reality, the project has gone through a few iterations so with the end in sight im gonna go back and recount some our process as it's happened thus far. I'm gonna cover the whole project in section's The Property. The Foundation/Floors. The Design. The Color Pallette. The Accents. And The Interior: Room By Room.

Starting off:

A normal project would never take three years. Like, never. lol. So, if you're considering building don't be detoured by that timeframe... we have friends who built and were moved in by 4 months so just know that our situation wasn't standard by any means.

The Property.

The piece of property is a family piece that's been in my husband's family for over 20 years. As you can imagine a lot has changed and grown up around it in 20 years. As it stood when we purchased the property it is sandwiched behind two neighborhoods, it has working train tracks on the back end of the property, and a stream running through it and a lumber yard as it's neighbor on one side. I should mention that my husband works for that lumber yard - so it's a celebrated neighbor for us. Never the less, all of those elements made preparations and permits for our project a longer process. 

my brother at our property in October 2016.

my brother at our property in October 2016.

After months of working for permits, we finally started getting some traction on our project. 

Did I mention we had to build a bridge to cross our stream. Another very different circumstance :)

Having a stream on your property is pretty sweet right? The ability to walk out and enjoy the sound of water running quietly sounds like a dream and it really is. It's one of my most favorite things about our little plot of land. This particular stream is what they call a blue line stream... which just means that it's the kind of stream that's indicated on a map... which also means there are special permits and regulations to build a bridge to cross it. We clearly never thought we'd be building a bridge over a little stream you could step over but hey- if it's for nemo... I guess we'll play ball.

Here's the finished bridge and my sweet husband.

Also... with the property being so old it was extremely overgrown. Like, wooah. 

You see that monstrous crabapple tree (that was already dead) behind Austin- that thing was a beast to break down and haul away. Austin and a buddy of his tried to tackle is and went through a few chainsaw blades and come home covered in chigger bites. A word of advice to you if there are huge crabapple tree's you need doing away with... don't do it yourself. Just trust a pro with trees 50 times the size of your body. 

And then there was that glorious day that the footings went in....

All of this was accomplished by early November and we were grateful for this much process, after two years of just working to get the property ready and permits for building.

Stay tuned as next time I'll cover our foundation/floors: our concrete floors and radiant heat system.