December 2015 archive

Dark Stairs

Ok, play along with me here for a minute.

If the fireplace is the NOSE of our Main Floor, then the stairs are the EYES!

The fireplace is stunning! It’s what you look at when you first walk into the house….but the stairs are quite lovely too. Or, they will be with a “facelift” including new carpeting and a paint job.

The problem is… I go dark, light or both?

I can’t take all of the oak in the house, I just really can’t….

my options include

*white railing, spindles and base (which I think is too soft and with 2 boys will be filthy)
*Charcoal railing, white spindles, charcoal base
*Charcoal railing, spindles AND base

I like the idea of it being all one color and REALLY making a statement. I’m am leaning more towards Industrial Farmhouse than the pretty, all-white ones you may see on Fixer Upper. With two little boys, white just isn’t going to work. Plus, white woodwork, while pretty, is so hard to keep clean!

What do you think?

Here is the staircase and below are some different looks.

Please leave your comments and let me know what you think we should do. Keeping in mind the walls will be Gray with Blue undertones.

We really love this palette for our home. The top row/middle is my first choice for wall color. This picture looks way more green than it is in real life. It’s a very nuetral gray with the slightest blue undertone….

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Main Floor ~ Before

and don’t forget that we are going to replace the carpeting on the stairs and do something geometric or with a subtle pattern.

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First Picture of the Inside

I can’t wait to show you Befores & Afters of this house.

First thing we are doing is having the ENTIRE interior painted. My Sister-In-Law is actually meeting the Interior Designer we’ve chosen there on Thursday to start working on colors.

If you know me, you know that I am HORRIBLE at picking paint colors. I’ve painted rooms 2 or 3 times before I’m able to find a color I like. At the first house I owned, I painted the dining room blue > navy blue > sage green….everyone joked that it was smaller by the time I was done with it.

I’m not playing around this time! Kirk has given me the Go Ahead to hire an Interior Designer on this as well as some of the other major projects (kitchen, master bath, utility room, powder room, basement…pretty much the whole house).

Now, I should preface this picture with the fact that the house is PERFECTLY fine the way it is. It’s really quite pretty, in fact. It’s just not my style and I’m such a visual person that if I’m not happy in the space I am in, I’m kind of unable to really be happy. I spend most of my time in my home as my day sort of revolves around naps for 2 little ones at this point and if I had to live with the house as it is for very long, I might not want to stay there.

As is, the house is a Sea of Oak…and floral wallpaper. Need I say more?

The oak floors aren’t really my color preference, but I’m thinking a coat of paint could change all of that. Especially since I see that they are exactly the same stain Ms. Joanna Gaines has in her home. If they are good enough for her, they are good enough for me. Plus, we have EXTRA dark hardwoods in our current home and hate them! The ones in the new house look brand new, not 20 years old!

To eradicate some of the oak, we are painting all of the trim and doors white. A complete kitchen remodel including a wall knockdown into the dining room is planned for Summer 2016. New carpeting….new bathroom counters and some other cosmetic changes immediately will give us an idea of what we want to do with the house.

Being someone who likes Immediate Gratification, I would have it all done before we even move in if I could. The problem with that is that I don’t really know what I want. I don’t know if the Master Bedroom gets a lot of sunlight and can be a darker color or very little and needs to be light. I don’t know if there is enough storage in certain rooms or how we even plan to use the entire basement.

That being said, I’m okay waiting on a lot of these things.

There is, however, a lot of wallpaper in this house!!! And it’s all going before I spend one night in the place.

Here is your First Look at the inside of the house.

Main Floor copy

I wish you could see from this picture how beautiful the lighting is.

The windows are amazing! Again, these pictures do them NO justice whatsoever!

Main Floor Windows ~ Before

We are going to do white trim, but hopefully leave the window-frame stuff dark, like this.

White Trim/Dark Frames

I am in the process of buying paint samples and obsessing over which gray. Don’t want to go too dark, no green or blue or pink or purple undertones! At this moment I’ve pulled Silver Strand, Magnetic Gray, Mindful Gray, Repose Gray, Revere Pewter and Collonade Gray. They are kind of look alike at this point and that’s why I’m going to let someone else choose what’s best for that space.

How gorgeous is that fireplace? At first, I was bothered that it wasn’t gas (the whole house is Electric) but after spending an evening with the owners in front of the wood-burning stove I fell in love!

I just can’t wait to see it all without all of their furniture in it on the day we close and then painted the week following!

Do you have experience with gray walls, white trim and cream stone? I’m a bit confused how it will all pull together but I’m told it won’t be a problem. Please let me know any ideas, colors, recommendations, thoughts you have….



13 Acres?

I’ve gotten so many wonderful comments and responses to yesterday’s post about how we’ve decided to move our family from Denver to Lawrence, KS.

It’s crazy to think about!

A few of you have asked me what 13 acres actually looks like. I think this picture will help. The area within the white line is our land.

I’ve obviously whitened out our addresst. The house itself sits on about 1 acre of cleared land and the pasture is the entire clear space you see with the pond, barn at the top right corner and it runs along the road which I’ve also whitened out. The white fece surrounds the entire pasture which is about 4.5 of the acres. That leaves about 7.5 of wooded acreage.

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Here is a little more close up. You can’t see the bonfire pit, the two patios with a raised garden and firepit, the 2nd red barn or the adorable garage just to the left of the house.


You also can’t see is how the land is just rolling hills…People always think Kansas is so flat and my parents will be the first to tell you (as they did me) that one is definitely going to need 4 Wheel Drive to get back up to the main road from our house in the Winter.

It’s nothing like these Colorado mountains I’m used to driving so we aren’t worried about that at all. We actually can’t wait to get snowed in and do some awesome sledding down the road to our home.

The Hill To our Home

Any other questions? I am happy to try to answer any….please leave comments with your questions and I will be more than happy to share pictures or answer them in any way.

We are obviously very excited and your support means the world to us. This decision wasn’t made lightly and we couldn’t be happier to have found such a beautiful home and land to raise our boys on.

We Are MOVING!!!

For those of you who Follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed that in the past 18 months or so, every single Pin is about a Farmhouse. It’s gotten to be ridiculous!  I mean, every day I am showing Kirk a pin of hardwood floors, dinner bells, rustic tables. He’s really a gem, that Kirk, to tolerate this behavior. It has been borderline obsessive!

There IS a reason for this behavior. For almost 2 years Kirk and I have been dreaming about a home with a Story, a home with character, a home that isn’t the same floorplan as the one 2 doors down. A home with land for boys to run. A home that we never thought we’d find….

but we DID!!!!!

And without further ado, take a look at that exact home we were searching for….and the 2 newest members of our family, Cody & Cheyenne!

Our new home and horses

After 2 years of looking, we found the home we want to raise our boys in and the land we want them to grow on.

And yes…it is in Kansas. Lawrence to be exact!

We couldn’t be happier to be closer to family (5 minutes to my brother’s house) (also 5 minutes to Whitney’s, my BFF), part of a REAL COMMUNITY and in a home that we get to truly make our own.

This picture does no justice to how beautiful this home is. From the wraparound porch, the vaulted ceilings, the red trees on the circle drive, the 30-foot fireplace….

Our new home has personality and character, stories to tell. Honestly, I can’t wait to share with you the story of our home and the horses and how it came to be ours.

Can you believe it? I still am having moments where I will stop during the day and say to myself, “horses?!?!????” It doesn’t seem real!

This is the front of the house. I am telling you, it’s darling, lovely….adorable. It seriously belongs on the cover of Country Living magazine, the owners have taken meticulous care of it and the WREATHS COME WITH IT….I honest-to-God wanted to write them in the contract (there are over 20….even some along the white fence).

Our Home

Our Home

Our Home

Another View

Please join us on this adventure as we share with you our renovations, decorating, recipes, trials, errors, bonfires, horses….there is so much to see! The road down to the house alone is gorgeous, the woods, the rolling hill, the fence, the garage is even pretty!

The barn…..sigh

Red Barn

Lovely Red Barn

I’m equally excited and terrified! I have moments where I can’t stand the thought of not seeing the mountains every day, but then I have moments where I think about Reeve seeing his cousins in school or me getting to sit at school programs with my best friend and it all makes sense.

It’s a bit daunting, all the needs to be done, but we are ready!

Welcome to Red Barn White House….I can’t wait to take all of you on this journey of a Simpler Life with us. Please click on the Follow Button and come along!

First up….we need help picking paint colors, stairwell remodel, carpet runners and designing the boys’ bedrooms!

College Town

When we started talking about leaving Denver I would over and over ask Kirk, “are you sure?” and everytime he’d say, “Jessie, I’ve always wanted to live in a college town.”

I had to stop and think about that.

I mean, I HAD lived in a college town (the exact one we are moving to, in fact) and wasn’t really sure what he meant. I mean, he had lived in one too (he went to college, didn’t he? TWO, in fact)….and his middle name is Denver (Reeve’s too)….so how could he think about leaving it?

Then, I had to step back and think about what it means to live in a college town.

In Lawrence, EVERYONE is a Jayhawk fan (except for maybe a very few Kansas State Power Cat fans). And everyone wears red and blue and the mythical bird on their clothes, everyone has a flag, a license plate, you name it touting their college pride. Was he prepared to leave the Rocky Mountains for a bird?

It’s more than that though. It’s the locally-owned shops and restaurants that residents are so loyal to that small mom-n-pop shops stay afloat while Barnes & Nobles goes out of business.

It’s the tailgating.

It’s the Rock Chalk chant and all the acronyms and legends only residents know (RCJH, LFK, etc).

It’s the parades down Mass Street and Santa landing on Weaver’s rooftop.

It’s the local celebrities like Dennis and Rob.

It’s Mount Oread and the rolling hills (Kansas is NOT flat)…

It’s the Granada, the Replay Lounge and the Bottleneck for live music.

It’s The Java Hut, Amy’s Fabrics, Jeffersons…

It’s the “Beware of the Phog” and Allen Fieldhouse.

For God’s sake, we wouldn’t even HAVE baseketball without Lawrence, KS….

As someone who has frequented all of these places as a college student, I can attest to how unique and great they all are. To Kirk, an *outsider*, I totally get their appeal.

While we saw all of the great *places* to visit, what we didn’t *see* but definitely *felt* was that good old Midwestern friendliness. EVERYONE waves. Everyone supports the same college and 2 high schools. Friday night football games are BIG! Everyone loves their Jayhawks, but also their KC Royals…


You walk down Mass Street and people know your name.

We NEVER had that in Colorado. We missed that.

Every time we would go back to visit, we would always laugh and grin at the tables full of old men sitting at restaurants talking about “the game” and “the score.” It was just so quaint…so promising coming from a city of people who are always ON THE GO! Sure, Denver has great museums and restaurants and skiing and shoppings and lots to do…but everyone is always rushing, in a hurry! The rats are racing, the Joneses’ have a new car and everyone has so much STUFF their homes are overflowing and then they have to build a newer, bigger home.

Denver was feeling crowded and rushed. Buildings and highways…

We wanted our outsides to match our insides.

For God’s sake, we tried to explain to Reeve that people have to “work the land” and farm b/c “where do you think food comes from, boy?” and he’s all “Target?”

NOT how we wanted to raise our children.

I often tell Kirk about this dream I had where we have land and three little boys and green farm truck and I play Keith Urban’s Raise ‘Em Up for him and I cry when he sings:

So you meet someone
The only one
You take her by the hand
Make a stand
Buy some land
Make some love
And then babies come
Raise em’ up
Raise em’ up

We don’t want to be so busy that after an hour spent in traffic trying to get home Kirk only gets an hour each day with the boys before it’s bedtime.

We wanted a life where we PAID ATTENTION. To corn growing in rows. To a neighbor who may need our help. To a community with one goal. To details. TO EACH OTHER!

It’s hard to focus on your family, on your MARRIAGE, with just a few hours together every week.

And so we did it….

we bought some land with a couple of horses on it and we are slowing down!

Our new home

Lawrence, Kansas

Something in each of us changed. And we can’t wait for the adventure that awaits us in Lawrence, Kansas.


Welcome to the very first installment of my Friday Favorites!! I’m really excited to do these as it’s one of my favorite segments on the blogs I love to follow!

For this first Friday Favorites, I want to share with you my Top 10 Kitchen Tools. With a major Kitchen Remodel under works as Project Number One in The Ranch, I’ve slowly been purchasing some smaller Must Haves for my Dream Kitchen.


  1. Stainless Steel Scraper/Chopper from Amazon ($9.99) This little number is awesome! How have I lived so long without something as simple as this? From cutting vegetables to chopping brownies to scraping herbs into a pot. It has numbers on it which makes it perfect for bakers or people who do things with dough (so obviously not me) and it’s very lightweight and easy to clean! I love it…
  2. Black & Decker Dust Buster Hand Vac from Amazon (Normally $126 but I got Cyber Monday for $38) First, how great of a deal did I get on this baby? I am super excited about it’s power and look forward to sucking up dog hairs, baby crumbs and Reeve’s messes. PLUS…it’s turquoise and looks pretty!
  3. World Market Red Melamine Bowl with Handle $12.00  I was so excited about this fun, colorful bowl. I use it to mix up a quick cookie dough or mix, but it’s especially great to toss eggshells, trash, dirty measuring spoons, etc in. The handle and spout are added bonuses….I picked up an extra one for a Ladie’s Night Gift Exchange.
  4. World Market Mason Jar Measuring Cups $12.99 I have each of these items on my WishList from Kirk (which probably means I will just buy them for myself and pretend he gave them to me). They just seem to make sense, you know? I have how the measuring cups I have now are so hard to clean b/c they are attached on a ring and I hate how they stack and always still have Olive Oil residue on them…so why not buy ceramic, easy-to-clean ones? Duh….and the color! Who doesn’t love a turquoise anything?
  5. Sprirelli Spiral Slicer 2.0 $29.95 I love PASTA! I really do…but I’m well aware of how bad it is for me, so when I found this and first used it I fell in love. Zucchini is my favorite, there is nothing quite as yummy as zucchini noodles with a little olive oil and butter & salt/pepper. You NEED this in your life.
  6. Rachel Ray Lazy Slotted Spoon $11.99  All I have to say about this is…DUH! How did I not think of and patent this and get crazy rich off of it. I hate lying my spoon on my white counters and spoon rests kind of gross me out….
  7. S’well Bottles ($24.99) My friend swears by hers. She says it keeps her hot drinks hot for 24 hours and her cold drinks cold for 24 hours….I haven’t gotten mine yet, but ordered one for me and one for Kirk. I can’t wait to get mine…and what a great gift. PLUS…BONUS…someone told me it holds a whole bottle of wine! Boom!
  8. Zak Designs Saucy! Dressing Bottle & Sauce Bottle Server ($9.99) I picked this up at Kohls without really knowing what it was, but then I used it when we had people over and wanted a prettier way that slapping the salad dressing bottle on the table and really realized how great it is to have. Who wants to look at Paul Newman’s face when they can look at this pretty baby?
  9. Joseph Joseph Scoop Plus $13 This is a no-brainer. It’s a spoon, it’s a scooper…it’s a strainer. When you have little kids this is a MUST. They want their noodles plain and you want to add sauce to yours so just use this to scoop out some for them. I’m sure there are many other ways you can use this spoon, but so far that’s about all we’ve needed it for because *someone* hates sauce and vegetables and pukes if there is a single piece of seasoning on his food.
  10. OXO Brownie Spatula ($6) Listen, we eat a lot of brownies in this house and I won’t apologize. And there is nothing worse than wanting one brownie sliver and having to take a whole huge piece (((Sarcasm))) b/c all you have is a regular-sized spatula. I love mine…


We are just two days from listing our home for sale…and my anxiety is at an all time high. I can’t remember the last time I felt this way. Perhaps when I made the decision to move to Colorado, leaving family behind?

What I feel now is similar, but I’m leaving behind the mountains and all that they allow us to do.

Kirk reassures me that we will come back, that we have our own trails on our land and around the Lake we will be living near…but it won’t be the same.

He keeps asking me if I’ve changed my mind and I see in his eyes how desperately he hopes my answer is “no.” He asks me “we’ve spent two years talking about this, how is it you haven’t been preparing yourself to leave?” and I have no answer for him.

Truth be told, I don’t think I ever really thought we’d find a place we wanted.

I was in Target this weekend picking up some items for a birthday party and had THE word panic attack. My heart was racing and my chest tight, I felt like I was in a race with everyone there. My head was pounding, every sound amplified….

A lot of it is nerves that our house won’t sell and we will lose The Ranch and be right back where we started. A lot of it is worry that it WILL sell and then this will be ever more real.

I wish more than anything I could find myself some time to sweat it out at the gym each morning, I just know that would make me feel so much better but it’s just not possible with all there is to do to get the house ready and a baby who won’t let me out of his sight.

Oh, how I wish I could just curl up in front of my fireplace with a hot cup of coffee and just THINK…what I wouldn’t give for a hot yoga class to clear my head.

I think I will just lie here in my bed while Lowe naps and Reeve fights “bad guys” in his playroom and try to just be silent with my thoughts. I will try to just focus on our dream, remember what started this whole journey.



We are officially Under Contract on The Ranch!!!

The next step for us to is to put our home in Highlands Ranch on the market and sell it!  Hopefully it sells quickly, we are worried with it being right before Christmas and all.

Selling you home is STRESSFUL!  Buying a new home is stressful. Everything is STRESSFUL!

I keep having mini panic attacks! There is so much to do and so much to decide and so much money to spend. We are having the whole home painted on the exterior and will be remodeling the kitchen and dining room after we move in. A bathroom remodel will be Phase 2 along with a stairwell remodel and new trim/molding.

Even typing all of that gives me anxiety!

I’m trying to calm myself down and remind myself why we are making this move (for the boys and to get back to simpler life…with 2 horses…how is that simpler?), but every time I look at the mountains I start to cry!

I’m excited and scared and terrified and nervous, but I have Faith that this is the right thing for our family.

In the meantime, I keep reading and quoting this to myself.Quotes-From-Elizabeth-Gilbert-Big-Magic

It’s been a 2-year Dream in the Making…and being Brave is a lot harder at 36 with 2 kids than it was at 27 with no one buy myself to think about. These two little boys that are my world make decisions this big REALLY hard! I’m emotional about all of this, but I’m putting my love for the mountains aside to give my boys their cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and 2 horses…and THAT is about as BRAVE as I can imagine being….

but the truth is…I don’t want to live a SMALL life. I used to think Small Towns equaled Small Life, but the older I get and the more I see, I realize Small just means Scared.

I will talk more soon about how I swore I’d never find myself back in a small town, that’s a whole post of it’s own, but I can’t wait to have a LOCAL coffee shop/bookstore/breakfast joint/music store. Nothing is “local” here, it’s all a chain. I can’t wait to cheer on a Friday Night Football game, see my niece/nephews at their sporting events, take the kids to grandma’s for the weekend, be close to my best friend, get involved with my sorority. There’s just SO many *little* things that are going to make my life *bigger* in the best sense of the word!

I will keep you all posted on here and hope that you enjoy following along in this journey with us.