When we first moved to Georgia thirty years ago, we found a typically southern two-story with white columns out front and two wings on either side. It really wasn't ME, but I wasn't sure at the time what ME was. The colors inside were all wrong. The woman who built the house was a redhead, so she chose earth tones in brown, orange, and gold. I changed the wallpaper in a few rooms but didn't want to rip out the tile floor in the kitchen and dining room. Too expensive.
So I lived with it and started looking for an old house with some acreage. I was homeschooling four children at the time. Actually three; Dylan was two but definitely a force to be reckoned with. He's the reason I gave up homeschooling for a time, but that's another story for another day!
So after we finished schooling, I would pile all my little children into my Ford F-150 pickup and drive through the country looking for abandoned houses. We were able to go into quite a few where I would take pictures of ceilings, mouldings, staircases, etc. I was collecting ideas.
There were plenty of old, abandoned houses around. Some were for sale, but they didn't come with any land. Most would have to be moved. My husband wasn't on board with that. We didn't have any land to put one on anyway.
In fact, my husband didn't want to live in an old house. He had grown up in one and knew the kind of upkeep required and didn't want to fool with it. Sigh...
I eventually found a piece of land that had a mature pecan grove on it, some woods, and an open field. Only thing lacking was a pond. I figured three out of four wasn't bad. Husband was brought out to look at it and actually liked it! We bought the forty acres, but it didn't come with a mule. It did come with an outhouse, pig sty, and barn. Unfortunately we had to tear down all three due to termite damage. I really wanted to keep that outhouse!
I started looking at house plans. Since I couldn't have a REAL old house, I wanted my new house to look old. I also started collecting antique bathroom and light fixtures. A man who tore down old houses gave me some beadboard for the walls. I paid $200 for the upstairs flooring being torn out of an old house in the middle of town. It was heart pine and enough to do most of the upstairs.
There are dozens of stories that could be told, but you'll have to wait for the book. This is getting too long, but a few more things need to be told.
I couldn't find exactly the house plan I wanted and was getting frantic when the strangest thing happened. I had been to Tennessee to visit my parents and had stopped in Macon to see a friend. We had a good visit and before leaving I made a trip to the powder room. There in a basket on the floor was a Country Living magazine with the perfect house on the front. I yelled, "That's it!" It was their House of the Year for 198? I can't remember the exact year. I asked if I could have the magazine, she said yes, and as soon as I got home I ordered the house plans.
I spent many nights sitting up into the wee hours of the morning drawing out the rooms on graph paper and changing the plans until they were perfect for our family. We started building in January of 1990 and moved in on July 9.