Remodel Rewind


Welcome back to the homestead!

It has been quite an adventure these last few months.  I can’t thank you all enough for your thoughts and prayers, they were such a source of encouragement for me.

In hindsight, deciding to move, buy a house, completely remodel the house, change jobs, and Neil undergo major hip surgery, may have been a bit more than we should have bitten off at one time.  However, we are finally on the other side of that mountain and it feels amazing.

I wanted to take a look back at the remodel since things were so hectic I couldn’t chronicle it as well as I wanted to for ya’ll.

The day we walked into the Little Rock House for the showing, I instantly knew this was home.  It also helped that one of my best friends just bought a house one house over!  We walked around and looked past the outdated fixtures, pink and purple walls and saw the potential the house held.  We made an offer that night.

We bought the Little Rock house in December and had a month before Neil’s surgery date.  This ignited a supercharged remodel and move in effort so it would be done before his surgery.

The first order of business was to get rid of the pink and purple walls.  We hired professional painters who repainted every wall, trim and door in the whole house.  Just that one change made the house have a completely different feel. It began to feel like ours.

The next few weeks brought massive remodeling.  We did as much as we could ourselves to save money.  This involved ripping out carpets, tearing up laminate and lots of construction mess.  Neil and his awesome friends did most of the flooring which was a huge job.  Neil and I changed out every lighting and plumbing fixture, register cover and plug cover.

The kitchen needed the most updating.  We took out the laminate counters and had granite installed, we changed out the silver sink with a fabulous copper sink and upgraded all the appliances to stainless steel.  We also replaced the cheap linoleum flooring with a laminate that looks like stone.  After kicking around several ideas for the cabinet updating, I ended up painting them and changing out all the knobs which is still in progress-and hopefully will be done in a few weeks.


The new kitchen is wonderful.  Even though it is a galley kitchen it has so much counter space and feels open with the vaulted ceilings.

In the dining room we changed out the floor and lighting fixtures and ended up with a cozy area that has a lovely view of the horses and pond next door.

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The guest bathroom had very purple walls and I was so glad to see them go.  We took a very floral room and turned into a rustic charmed bathroom.


Our master suite was also in serious need of a makeover.  The original walls were Carolina blue with dark shag Duke blue carpet-perhaps the previous owners were a house divided!  We ripped out all the carpet and replaced it with wood flooring.


We also redid the master closet with a wood closet system, although this was pricey, it has made such a nice difference.  We have more storage space-which was much needed-and we no longer have those metal shelves which didn’t go with the rustic theme of the house.

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Our office and guest bedroom are still works in progress as well as the master bath.  We have a custom built wood vanity for the master bath that should be completed in several weeks and I can’t wait to see the end result.

Of course we had to design a special place for Oliver, so we turned the existing laundry room into his suite.  He has a cozy bed and his own personal porch-which he accesses through his piggy door-where he spends his days sunning himself and greeting our visitors as they pull into the driveway.



It has been such a stressful season, but we both survived and are thriving.  I have a fabulous new job I start on Monday, I can’t wait to tell ya’ll all about it, and Neil is healing wonderfully.  He goes back to light duty in a few days and will soon be off his crutches.

There were many moments of feeling discouraged and overwhelmed over the last few months and I am so thankful for a strong partner, amazing friends and supportive readers who pulled me through when I felt I couldn’t take another step forward.

As the winter slowly drudges toward Spring, I excitedly await the new, warmer season.  I know it is going to be an amazing adventure.

Until next time…



We Survived!


Welcome back to the homestead!

Today marks one week since Neil’s big surgery and he is doing wonderful.  Thank you all so much for the well wishes and prayers.  Although the hospital will probably have paths carved into their carpets for eternity from my pacing while he was in surgery, everything went well.  We ended up staying overnight due to some minor complications, but were able to go home the next day.  I have very rarely been in a hospital unless I was there to work, and being on the other side of things was definitely a different experience.

Being on the nurse side of the door, it is easy to forget just how stressful it is to have a loved one sick or injured.  I could barely tolerate one night in the hospital with Neil, I can’t imagine how difficult it is to have a loved one there for an extended period of time.  Luckily, one of my best friends lives one house away so she was able to care for Peanut, Oliver and Lilly (who was very upset we did not come home) so I didn’t have to leave Neil’s side. 

With the surgery behind us and Neil healing so well, I am hoping life will return to some kind of organized rhythm soon.  The last few months have definitely taken a toll on me.  With such a high stress level, a terrible diet (I mean I seriously have been eating Jello for breakfast this week), and very little sleep I am starting to look just as fatigued as I have felt these last few months.  I am so excited to be coming off night shift and hopefully establishing a much healthier lifestyle.

Now that the majority of the inside projects at the Little Rock House are completed, I will soon be able to turn my focus to the outside.  I am going to be posting the official before and after remodel blog this week so stay tuned for that-I can’t wait to see what ya’ll think.

We have had some lovely 65 degree days here in North Carolina and that warm sunshine started to awaken my spring fever.  We have big plans for establishing the Little Rock House Homestead, an awesome chicken coop-and of course reuniting this chicken loving redhead with her favorite feathered animals, fire pit oasis and garden are in the very near future.  Oliver enjoyed the warm days sunning himself on his very own porch.


As the first month of 2015 comes to a close, I hope you have started on some exciting new adventures too.  I would love for you to share them with me!

Until next time…


Surgery week has arrived!


The week of surgery is upon us!

The last week has been an overwhelming blur of to do lists, hauling boxes to and from, unpacking and painting cabinets.

Neil and I have been working extremely hard and racing against the deadline of hip surgery this Friday. We are so blessed to have wonderful friends who took time out of their busy lives and time away from their families to help us move the furniture out of the Mebane house.

After that major move day, it was game on. We worked from sun up until almost sun up again day after day, scrambling to get things moved and in place at the Little Rock House.

Throughout all the stress and commotion, Neil and I are absolutely elated with the house. It is so perfectly us we wake up every day just looking around and enjoying all our hard work.

Waking up to the sound of the rooster crowing and the sight of horses grazing in the morning mist makes this restless soul of mine sigh and relax a bit. Although Oliver is the only barnyard animal we have currently, our neighbors have quite a variety of critters that I just love to see outside our windows.

At the beginning of surgery week, the Little Rock House is finally starting to look like a home. We have all of our boxes unpacked, decorations up, animals moved, counter tops installed and almost finished cabinetry in the kitchen.


That is one project I will never take on again. Maybe without all of the other events going on it wouldn’t be so bad, but this time consuming project is still days away from being finished. After sanding all of the doors and priming all of the doors (one hour dry time at least) the lovely oil based paint we used takes 12 hours to dry, so it takes at least two days for one complete door.


The very cold 10 degree nights lately (when did I move to Minnesota?) forced all of the cabinet painting inside- which is not an easy task when the house is full of boxes and new floors I don’t want to mess up! However, little by little it is getting finished. I can’t wait to post the final before and after picture and see what ya’ll think of it.

Moving Oliver was one thing I was majorly dreading. Oliver is not a huge fan of car rides anymore and true to his piggy nature change makes him very anxious. With some big help from Neil, we picked up Oliver, kicking like an old plantation mule, and wrestled him into the FJ. I sat in the back with him and his stinky litter box that he profusely used the whole way to the Little Rock House-hey at least he used the litter box and not the floor of the car! I can’t imagine the conversation that would have followed if we were to have gotten pulled over that night.


Oliver quickly settled down and getting him into the Little Rock house went much smoother than I expected. Within hours he was using his custom piggy door to access his very own front porch. He slept better that night than he had in quite a while.


Apparently moving has worn the pups out. They wasted no time in finding their beds and relaxing as we worked.


As this week roars on, the endless lists of what needs to be done pre surgery continue to grow, and one by one Neil and I get the lists checked off. I think we are both grateful for the forced downtime his surgery will bring.

Not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions, I like to chose a word and focus on that word throughout the year. My word for this year is “settled.” For those of my fabuous readers who have been with me for awhile, you know life has been one crazy adventure after another. This year I am focusing on enjoying this new path Im life and settling in to my little slice of homestead heaven.

Stay tuned as the Homestead Redhead finally gets back to living the homestead life.

Until next time…


15 Days To Go


Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!

I hope this new year brings many new adventures and new opportunities to grow and learn.

The countdown is on for us to get into the Little Rock House. There are 15 days left until Neil’s big surgery and we have to be moved in beforehand.

We have done so much work in the last few weeks and the house look amazing. The office floor is the only floor left to complete but that should be done in the coming week.

We got our appliances delivered this week and although they were missing some parts, they should be arriving soon.

What do you think?

I am in the process of painting the cabinets, which has been a huge job. I have never done anything this big on my own before, but it hasn’t been too challenging-just a lot of time.

I had to first take off all the doors and hardware, sand everything, tape up corners and walls, prime everything and paint with oil based paint (which takes so long to dry!). I am also pretty sure that I have some brain damage from all the fumes I have been breathing in despite the ventilation and mask wearing efforts!

I worked a 14 hour day this week at the house on cabinets and other projects, and was so exhausted by the end of the day Neil pretty much had to carry me to bed!

I can’t wait to show you all how it looks once we are finished.  Most of the major projects are complete, so we are just putting on the finishing   touches.

We also installed a closet system. Neither one of us had ever done this before, but it turned out great. It is such an improvement from the white wire ones we had originally. The manufacturer instructions were terrible, but we figured it out anyway.



We have moved quite a few boxes over and it has proven very challenging to live between two towns and two houses. The critters have no idea what to think of all the commotion! Oliver got in some cuddle time this week because he has been a nervous (which comes out in awful, destructive piggy behavior) wreck.


On top of all the remodeling, moving and surgery stress, I am down to one month to find another job. Thanks to all the holidays, I am still waiting to hear what will be next for me on my nursing journey.

Despite the constant whirlwind of to dos and stress, I am so happy with where I am in my life. Neil and I adore the Little Rock House and we can’t wait to get officially moved in and start making memories and enjoying all of our hard work.

Stay tuned-finished cabinets, granite counters, and much more remodeling adventures ahead.

Until next time…


Night Shift fades into Morning


The wheels of time seem to be rolling faster than usual around the homestead.  I have reached new levels of exhaustion.  I think at this point I need to coin a new word to describe how tired my red head is.

Working night shift has wonderful perks when you are a nurse.  First of all, administration isn’t typically around-that’s always a good thing!  Also, night shift folks operate on a whole different wave length, they are typically more laid back, and a bit more outspoken.   Patients are typically more interesting and get into more precarious situations when the sun goes down, which provides excellent entertainment as the twelve hours drudge by-oh the stories I wish I could share.  You also get the benefits of higher pay and having the day to get things done and visit with friends and family.

Working night shift has been an awesome experience, but it has come with a price.  The rest of the world doesn’t operate on night shift, at all.  In fact, for those that have never worked night shift, the complete disregard for those who do is pretty massive.  Working night shift means sleep is sacrificed on a regular basis to go to appointments, pick up children, answer phone calls, go to meetings-you get the idea.  Night shift folks walk a tightrope between sleep deprived zombie and barely functional adult.

Over the last few weeks, I have been working all night and working all day.  All work and no sleep make Laura a crazy girl (yes I know it is the Christmas season, but Halloween is my favorite holiday so please forgive The Shining reference).  Days have gone by where I get 2-4 hours of sleep a day (remember the day is my night) and sometimes that’s even the combined amount of sleep for the few days that have passed.

The past few years of sleep deprivation are ever increasingly catching up to me.  In fact, the studies of sleep deprivation’s effects on the body are pretty interesting and serious-check out this study featured on ABC HERE.

Neil’s police department works a swing shift schedule, so he works one month of day shift and then switches to one month of night shift.  The effects of swing shifts like that are extremely significant on one’s health and mood.

All this to say, that after serious consideration and discussion with Neil, I have decided to leave night shift for the time being, and also leave the emergency room.

Due to the HIPPA laws, I can’t share my day to day stories of what it is like being an ER nurse, but I can tell you this.  I have seen more in the past 5 years than most people do in a lifetime.  I have pulled dying folks from cars to provide life sustaining interventions, I have seen the torment of addiction and the slow way it decays a person’s body and mind over the years.  I have cared for the senseless, the homeless, the ignorant and the average joe.  I have watched children take their last breath and heard the piercing animalistic cries of their grieving mothers.  I have seen the violence and the brutality of the underbelly of humanity, I have been assaulted by several patients myself.  One resulting in a sucker punch to the face as I tried to help her to the bathroom so she wouldn’t fall.

As the hours fade into days and the days fade into weeks, the years of being in the trenches affects you in significant ways.  It is impossible to not be affected by the things I see.  When I clocked in for my first shift as an ER nurse I promised myself I would leave that field if I ever got to the point my heart was no longer in it and after 5 years I have arrived there.

One day I may return to the unique chaos that is the emergency room, but at this point in my career, and my life, I crave a simpler, less emotionally demanding job.  I don’t know where my nursing career will lead me just yet, but I know wherever I end up is exactly where I am supposed to be.

Until next time…



The Renovations Continue


Christmas is winding down and I hope this day brought much love, laughter and family for ya’ll.

The Little Rock House has been completely transformed in the few weeks we have owned it.  We have demo’d and renovated, moved things in and moved things out and it is finally starting to feel like a home.

It is amazing the difference just changing a few things can do to warm up a space.  I switched out the cheap white switch plate covers to brown, wood ones and all the rusty, tan register covers to coppery brown registers that match the rest of the house.  This definitely adds up in cost, but a great trick is to reuse the white switch plate covers and spray paint them to the color of your choice.  This saves quite a bit of money and ends up looking great!

Painting and replacing the floor were the major projects that hung over our heads.  Thanks to Neil and a few of his awesome friends, everything except the office floor is now replaced.  The kitchen, dining room and master all have brand new floor which I absolutely love.  I had no idea flooring was so labor intensive!


(I put down all of that underlayment myself which was no easy task.  I can cross professional floor installer off my list of future careers)

Check out this before and after:


The master bedroom turned out so nice.  It is a huge upgrade from Carolina blue walls and Duke blue shag carpet.

The dining room also turned out really well.  We ended up liking the floor so much, we want to change out all the floor in the living room to match it eventually.


The kitchen will look so much better once the appliances, cabinets and counters are installed, but at least it has a new floor!  The appliances are coming next week so we are very thankful the floor was finished in time.  Our granite counter tops aren’t getting installed for two more weeks, so we won’t be able to check the kitchen off our project list for a while.


I am so grateful we are not living in the house with all of the construction and mess going on.  No wonder people people get so stressed with renovations, I can’t imagine having to deal with the noise and chaos renovating brings, every day.


I have been moving as many boxes as I physically can to the new house.  We are down to three weeks before Neil’s big hip surgery (so nervous for it!) and thus the deadline to be moved in.  The office floor will be completed this week and the fabulous closet organizers will hopefully get done soon as well so we can start moving clothes over.

I can’t wait to show you how Oliver’s room turns out-it is going to be a slice of piggy heaven!

Stay tuned-the renovation adventure continues.

Until next time…


One Week Anniversary of House Ownership


Today marks the one week anniversary of Neil and I owning the Little Rock House and what a week it has been!  Within one hour of closing, we were at the house getting to work.


The house was definitely livable (although my definition of clean is obviously much different than the previous owners), but not at all our style.

The walls were various shades of pink, neon purple and neon blue with pretty awful dark blue shag carpet.  There is literally different flooring in every single room.  What we thought was hardwood, was actually laminate.

The first huge project was the painting.  Those neon purple walls had to go.  We hired an awesome painting crew I used in my previous house, and they got the job done in two days.  Just with painting, the house began to feel warm and inviting and starting to look like a home for our family.

kitchenbefore&afterEvery light fixture, faucet, floor (except two rooms), kitchen counter, switch plate, appliance, toilet and lock had to be replaced.



We have been to Home Depot and Lowes more in the last week than I have in my entire life times ten.  Pretty much after every trip our car looked like this…


We are trying to do as much work ourselves as we can to save money.  We did hire painters and are having our granite counter tops professionally installed.  We have a beautiful copper farm sink we also had installed since it is such a unique piece.  The counter tops should be installed in a week or two.


Neil and some of his friends are redoing the kitchen cabinets and Neil and I will be our own flooring crew for the master bedroom, office, kitchen and dining room.  We pulled up plenty of nasty carpet, which was much easier than I excepted.  The only really not fun part of removing the carpet is pulling up the staples used to secure the under-pad.  After pulling about a hundred or more staples, I would say I am officially an expert staple remover.


Removing the linoleum floor was awful.  Definitely the worst project we have encountered so far.  After smashing my finger twice with the crowbar, I left that hard core demo project to Neil.  After a few hours he was half way done.  I was definitely glad to not be a part of that project.

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We spent 10-12 hour days at the Little Rock House this weekend.  We were both off all weekend and the time together was productive and so much fun.  Despite all the projects, decisions and work, we made sure to take some time out to enjoy each other’s company.  Just down the road from the new house is this amazing little artsy town with a theater, general store that serves only organic, farm fresh food, a pub that brews their own beer and a great view of the river.  We had a great dinner at the general store one night and I look forward to many date nights there in the future.

Although this week has been jammed full of sweat, finger slamming and heavy lifting, I am feeling utterly blessed.  My life is not at all as I pictured it would be around this time last year.  So much has changed in the last 12 months, pretty much every aspect of my life has been transformed.  I can’t help but see the symbolism in the transformation of the Little Rock House.  I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months brings.

Stay tuned for more renovations and adventures!

Until next time…