Kitchen before the island Before we even moved in and had contractors coming and going for remodel work, they all commented that our kitchen really needed an island. After we moved in we realized more counter space and more storage for large items that wouldn't fit in our cabinets would really be nice. Whenever we had large groups over, we struggled for places to put things and needed more surfaces to serve food from. Not to mention the fact that my kids were eating at my antique dining room table and it was starting to show the wear and tear. I knew I didn't want a cookie-cutter island that I could order online. I also wanted something rustic, heavy and open. The top surface was also very important since my husband does a large amount of barbecuing, meat prep would be happening on it and whatever surface we chose needed to be easy to clean and sanitary. So when we hosted our friends and started talking about all of this after they were the 100th (not really, but possibly) person to say, "You know, you really need an island!", we began to brainstorm how it could be built. Lucky for us we have a really talented friend Brian, who has a talented friend Greg and the two of them just started up a furniture and decor business called Sawdust & Solder with his business partner Greg. So when Brian suggested he and Greg build an island for us, I immediately started looking through Pinterest and discussing design. Over a few discussions and texts back and forth with ideas, I narrowed it down to this one island for inspiration: I fell in love with the legs on this island. They aren't cheap, but I think they are worth it. Since this project, Brian has a lathe and can make legs himself. expensive, but so worth it stain samples The most difficult part of the project for me was choosing the stain color. As you can see in that first picture of our kitchen, we have floors with a lot of grain and color variation and I didn't want the island to compete or add to the amount of wood grain in the room. I wanted something dark since our cabinets and counter top add a lot of white to the room. The original plan was to stain the island the top right color in the stain samples photo above. But, at the last minute (carpenter's nightmare) I decided it needed to be different. So, after numerous texts and time viewing the samples in the kitchen at all different times of day; I finally settled on the darkest stain. I am so happy I did. The black stain compliments our black hardware, doesn't compete with the flooring and grounds an otherwise very lightly colored room. prep for pouringdrying, lots of dryingbefore sanding of edges The one thing I knew I wanted to change about the inspiration island we found on…

I remember the night clearly. Jeremy and I were in yet another serious discussion about whether or not we should really do this. We had made decisions along the way that certainly put us in the directions of moving to the property we now call Smith Farms West, but this was THE decision. We had made an offer on the property, but it was contingent on the sale of our house. After a couple months of waiting for an offer on our city house, we had gotten one. Clicking the box on the electronic form our real estate agent sent us was going to make the rest of the decisions from this point forward for us. So, we stood there late at night in our newly remodeled kitchen and weighed the pros and cons yet again. In recent days we had made lists of the pros and cons, imaginary budgets of how we thought the finances would go after the move, priority lists for the remodel of the new property (if we even got it), etc. But now we were down to just one final choice. As with any major life-changing decision that couples face together, there was a certain amount of questioning involved. Is he saying “yes” because he thinks I want him to? Is she saying “yes” because she thinks that’s what I want, but perhaps I don’t. On and on the questions went. Few people even knew we were going through all of this because we didn’t say much about it, almost sure that it wouldn’t work out. We were sure that at some point along the way the deal would fall part, something would keep this from happening. From the first look at the online real estate post when I called it a shack and thought that would be the end of the discussion, to the first visit that Jeremy had arranged when he contacted the selling agent without me knowing, to the first viewing of the property when I fell in love, and then to the final inspections; somewhere there was bound to be a hiccup. There were hiccups, but not any that stopped the process. Each step we took the doors kept opening, so we kept knocking and walking in faith that this was all meant to be. I’ll admit, I didn’t feel all that in touch with God at that point in my life. Honestly, my time and energy was spent on making myself better physically. It was important and time well spent and I felt great physically, but not spiritually. We had tried out churches, none feeling right and I was in a whirlwind of dealing with life stuff, so I wasn’t spending the time in prayer, scripture or worship that I needed. I was hoping this was all God’s purpose for us, but uncertain. I felt like as long as doors kept opening, we should keep pursuing the move to the country. You know that overplayed song “If it’s Meant to…

After carting my wedding dress around for a few moves and then stuffing it in yet another closet when we moved into the farmhouse, I realized what a waste it was to never get to actually see it! Why not put it to use as decoration? My first thought was throw pillows for our bed, but was worried they would get too much wear and tear with kids and dogs around. Then I thought, why not cut it up and frame it? I felt like the fanciness of the satin and lace would look great with the rustic barn wood frames. The farmhouse is not at all fancy, but the lace does go along with many antique pieces throughout. The most difficult part of the entire process was the first cut. I went back and forth deciding if I was fully committed to never using this dress again. I know some who are saving their dress for their daughter to wear. However, I felt certain that I wanted Lauren to get to display her own fashion sense if and when she marries. I even texted my mom to make sure she felt okay with me cutting up my dress. While obviously, the dress is mine, my parents bought it for me and my mom and bridesmaids helped me pick it out and I felt I needed her blessing to alter it. So with everyone's approval (or at least three people), I cut away. My dress was really two separate pieces. The first was a simple strapless satin dress. The second was the lace overlay with small sleeves, open front and train. I have no regrets. Now instead of my dress being stuffed in the back of a closet, never to be seen again; I have it displayed in our master bedroom, reminding us of the day we became Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Want your own set of barn wood frames? Here are some similar to what I used. Barn Wood Frames We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

I created this farmhouse sign from an old fence board laying out in one of our burn piles. A little paint, sanding and now it’s in our living room. It was easy! I just printed the stencil-style letters out, used transfer paper to rub the ink onto the wood and then painted in the letters!


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