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It’s a “Jill House” (or the post about how we ended up buying a foreclosed home)

My husband has a term for any house built before 1940 that is in obvious need of some love.  It is called a “Jill House”.  This is probably due to the fact that any time I see these houses I go on, and on, and on about their rich history, and how I can imagine generations growing up in them, that someones grandfather built that house, probably with his own two hands, that it just needs some love and a family with children running barefoot through it on the hardwood floors.  Of course, my dear sweet husband, who CAN actually build anything with his own two hands, looks at it, nods his head in quiet exasperation at my obvious lack of understanding of how the real world of renovation works, and smiles at me.  After 20 years together, he gets me.  This my friends is a “Jill House”.

front of house

My family frequently comments that it is quite possible that I might have been born in the wrong decade…or century.  See I love old fashioned things…houses/churches/barns (OK buildings period), furniture, quilts etc etc etc.  I can just see and feel the heirloom quality of these things.  I can see in my head…families and generations that have passed through them.  And that is really probably the heart of the matter…family.  This means SO much to me.  You could say that I’m old fashioned that way as well.  I hold old time values and family close to my heart.  Someday I will tell you the story of us, of my husband and me and how we are high school sweethearts and the story of how our large family came to be, but I digress.  🙂  This post is to let you be here from the beginning of THIS new adventure in our life.

A few months back my dear husband, Cody, started talking about possibly getting into rental houses.  I, having grown up with my parents owning a few rentals, wasn’t nearly as keen on the idea.  Cody can fix pretty much anything and is a real people person.  He can talk to anyone, anywhere, about anything. While I, I prefer to sit back and read a book.  So of the two of us, he would be much more inclined to even think to do something like buy fixer uppers and become landlords.  So I started looking online at houses near us for sale.  Well, there isn’t many because we currently live pretty much in the middle of no where on a couple of acres in the mountains (if you can call the tall hills in Arkansas mountains, lol).  We have been here 5 years, working on homesteading, raising kids and building our dream home. Well, back in May, a house come on the market 11 miles from here on the outskirts of the nearest town.  It was out of our price range, but as an avid reader of http://www.oldhousedreams.com, and a lover of pretty much all pre-WWII house, it just made my heart go pitter-patter. Of course, my husband, being the practical man that he is, was not nearly as impressed.  I saved the house in my zillow.com account and tried to forget about it.  In June, zillow emailed me that the house had been reduced by $10,000! This definitely put it closer to the number my husband was looking for, but didn’t really get us to consider it to seriously.  In July, another email showed that it had been reduced again this time by $2,000.  Okay, that was enough to get this Momma to load up 7 kids, travel 11 miles and do a drive by to check out the neighborhood!  Well, when I arrived at the home and looked through the windows…guys, I nearly swooned.  Yes, swooned.  This house had a huge porch that wrapped around 2 sides of it, unbelievable windows and soaring ceilings.  The fact that the porch was rotted/falling in and some of the windows (ok…most of them) needed to be replaced didn’t give me a moments pause. Did I mention that it had a screened in Summer Kitchen off the back and it sat on 1.5 acres!  I was officially in love and pretty much convinced that we NEEDED to save this house and bring it back to life so a family could enjoy it again.  Now I just needed my wonderful husband and my father to come out and figure out a way to do it.  My Daddy is a master electrician and any home of a certain age probably needs the electrical redone and I do believe I’ve mention I think my husband as some serious building skills.  🙂  My husband, being the saint that he can be sometimes, somehow managed to find time to call the realtor, arrange for her to unlock the house and have my father meet us there.  It happens to be in a different town than either my father lives or my husband works, having family is awesome!  So later, I arrive back at the house and walk in through the back door/summer kitchen.

back deck

I’m seeing all the possibilities in the summer kitchen, my husband is seeing the crumbling back stairs.  Now might be a good time to tell you that my family also says that I wear rose-colored glasses.

kitchen

There is a WALK IN Pantry!  (and some mildew, its seriously humid in Arkansas)

Y’all, before I made it to the front of the house to unlock the door for my parents, I might have been clapping my hands and jumping up and down like a little school girl.

living room

This was MY dream house! A craftsman 4 square that had a been added on to over the years.  It even had my crepe myrtle in the back yard pruned the way I like them and a huge oak tree that is just begging for some siblings to scale.  Here is the coolest thing about the whole day, every person there agreed on the house’s potential.  After climbing around under the house and in the attic, both Dad and my sweet hubby agreed the house was sound and could be fixed.

Now here is where I tell my husband I think it would be a great idea for us to fix this house up and live here while he builds out on our land in the mountains.  Props to my husband for not telling me I was a crazy woman on the spot.  🙂  We, and I use that term pretty loosely, have done an unbelievable amount of work on our homestead in the mountains these past 5 years.  When we bought it, we could barely pull a vehicle onto the property.  Cody literally cut the driveway out with a chainsaw and a weed trimmer.  OK, pretty much everything built around here has been by the sweat of my husband’s brow.  I cook (aiming for whole foods), run the household and homeschool the kids.  I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and will help anywhere he needs, but honestly my hands are normally full just trying to keep the Littles out of whatever he is working on, or from running off with various tools. 🙂 I’m sure it took a lot for him not to look at me and say not only was I crazy, but to remind me that we were here looking at this as an income revenue not as my own version of Little House on the Prairie or whatever ideas were prancing through my head at the time.  Y’all, I could live a thousand lifetimes and never deserve this man. He is the single biggest blessing of my entire life!  I truly can not believe he would ever be OK with moving into town.  He is a country boy through and through. 🙂  Even so, here we are buying a foreclosed home to renovate and homestead at on the outskirts of a small town in Arkansas.

I’m so glad to start this blog at the beginning of this particular journey.  You will be with us from the start of this new adventure.  We don’t have it all figured out, but we will be okay.  We have been doing the thing called life together for 20 years now.  We’ve had some real crazy things thrown at us along the way, and by the grace of God have always managed.  We love each other, our children, our families and our Lord so everything will work out just fine.  Now there will be some overwhelming moments along the way! I may wear rose-colored glasses, but I’m also a Mom of 7 kiddos and know nothing ever goes exactly the way we plan it.  Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to making the house our home, planning the homestead areas such as the gardens, chickens and orchard, and homeschooling our 7 children along the way!