This is just a little reminder of what the side of the house looked like. I never get tired of looking at these "before" pictures! They make the "after" pictures look so much more beautiful! They also remind me of how hard we have worked to create something so lovely. I think we enjoy it so much more, having had to put in so much "sweat equity" as they say.
Hey friends! Welcome to my garden tour! If you have been following my Alder Street Rennovation story, you may remember that the yards were in almost as bad a shape as the house! There was no grass in the front yard, and after we finished our construction the back yard wasn't in great shape either. The sweet lady that lived in the home before us had a very green thumb but the existing plants and bushes were in very weird spots so, unfortunately, there wasn't a lot I could keep! This is a reminder of the front of the house after we had started a little of the demo.
It has been a long process and lot of hard work but things are finally starting to shape up!
The camelia and hydrangea came with the house and I was so happy to be reminded of how they are flourishing after looking back at the "before" picture. You can see that I added a little brick pathway that curves around to the side porch. I did this myself over a period of time so if you see any spots that look a little uneven, please forgive!
Defining the front flower bed with a border and creating this little path across the front of the house helped to create a more welcoming and intentional space. The flower beds are filled with plants that I don't really have to do much tending to, rosemary, Texas sage, the camilia and hydrangea bushes. Other than keeping them trimmed and watered, they don't need much care. My pots and urns are my favorite way to garden! It is so fun to keep them upadated for the changing seasons, and it is easy to take care of them and keep them watered.
The brick path curves around to meet the little side porch we added and the hexagon stones that create the path to our patio.
This pretty little pathway leads to our favorite spot, our patio!
Matt and I started the pathway a couple of years ago and just never got past the end of the porch! Last year, when life slowed down during quarantine, we took the opportunity to get it done. Well, almost got it done. The process of the pathway and patio took a while beacause those stones are so heavy and getting them as level as possible is such a pain! It could also be because we would lay four or five, and then call it quits for the evening and have a cocktail. Hahahaha.
Life got busy again and I didn't quite get the patio rounded out, but we will keep chipping away at it. This is our favorite spot to sit and have coffee on cool mornings or to have a cocktail on fall evenings under the twinkle lights. Even though we are sandwiched pretty closely between our neighbors, the fence and the bamboo give us a nice bit of privacy.
I have more pretty containers of flowers on the patio. I love to keep little things I can clip to bring inside to enjoy. I also have a pot of herbs that I love to snip on when cooking dinner.
Well y'all, I think this garden tour might have been more fun for me than anybody! It is always good for me to take a step back and remember how far my little home has come. Sometimes I have tunnel vision and can only see all the things that I still need to work on! Now that the front yard and patio are looking good, I have got to move on to the back yard. I have been working hard to clear out and tame the jungle but there is still a lot to do to get it looking good. I hope this has inspired you to spend a little time outdoors and create a space that you truly enjoy! Don't worry if it takes you a few years like me, life is always a work in progress!
While you are here, take a look around the shop. We have some great little pots, perfect for starting succulents, herbs or small house plants!
Well guys, when you saw the title of this blog you may have been thinking to yourself "is she still working on that house?" The answer to this question is yes, yes we are. This little house has been quite a labor of love for me. If you are new to The Southern Merc, and you have missed the story on our Alder Street Renovation, you can catch up by clicking any of the links below!
Alder Street Social Club
Alder Street Renovation
The Living & Dining Area
It has taken me a little while to get the bedrooms and the bathroom "photo ready." I have moved the furniture several times, rearranged the pictures several times, and have finally decided this is as good as it gets for now!
We'll start with the guest room. Unfortunately, I did a terrible job documenting our progress in this room. What you need to know about the room before we started working is that it had a dark, orangey-brown wood floor, walls and ceiling. Here is what it looked like when we started working on the house. We closed up a window on the side wall and made the window on the back wall larger.
Here is the same wall today. The picture over the bed is hanging where the window was that we closed up. I chose a pretty light gray by Sherwin Williams for this room called "Aloof Gray". The trim and ceiling are "Ceiling White" by Olympic.
You guys know I love a well-made bed - in fact, I wrote a blog on that topic! These vintage embroidered pillow cases that say "Good Morning" and "Good Night" were just what I needed to cozy up this guest bed.
I try not to clutter my house up with too many collections, but I just can't help myself sometimes! In this room I used vintage jars to house my collections of old dominoes and vintage thread spools.
The closet in this room was a nice size but only had one small door, making the space hard to use, so I had the opening widened. Luckily, there was a door from the bathroom that we did not need that matched the original closet door to make a pair. The antique glass door knobs are not original but I thought they made a nice touch! Little details like that make nice upgrades to any home, large or small.
This little bookcase is full of family pictures. I love displaying old pictures, it is so comforting to me to walk in and be surrounded by loved ones that went before me.
Y'all, what can I say? I like pictures too much! Haha! You can also see in the picture below on the left that there is a mirror and hooks for the convenience of our guests.
This is the little hallway area that connects both bedrooms and the bathroom. When you walk into the hall from the living/dining area, the guest room is to the left, the bathroom is straight ahead and the master is to the right.
There were two closets in this little hallway. We closed one up and made it open into the master bedroom. This gave me a good place for the air conditioning return. The other small closet houses the water heater. I would have loved to have gone with a tankless water heater but it just wasn't in the budget at the time. The closet below became the bedroom closet. That is the original water heater. Don't worry, we got a new one and installed it across the hall in the smaller closet.
Now, on to the bathroom! Just in case you forgot, it was disgusting. You can see the panel box was in the bathroom, so we moved that out to the hallway when the wiring was replaced. We moved the window to the right so it would not be partly in the shower. The flooring had to be completely ripped out and replaced. Hopefully, it goes without saying that we replaced all the fixtures! Ha!
This is our very small bathroom now! When you embrace living in 980 square feet, you have to make use of every inch! When we bought the house the washer /dryer hook up was in the kitchen. Rather than give up much needed closet space in the bedrooms, I decided to go with a stackable unit and put it in the bathroom. It is certainly not luxurious, but it works for us! As long as we keep up with the laundry and keep everything in its place, it doesn't feel too cramped.
Even the smallest of spaces deserve some special details. I couln't really find a ready-made shower curtain that I loved so I splurged on some fantastic fabrics. Dad helped me make this no-sew cornice board, and Aunt Janet was quick to lend a hand in sewing my shower curtain.
Keeping essentials like q-tips, bobby pins, and cotton pads in pretty containers on a pretty tray helps keep your counters looking good while still having everything you need conveniently located.
Next on our virtual tour is the master bedroom. I call this the master because this is the room that Matt and I chose to be ours but it really is exactly the same size as the guest room, just with two closets. This room had been used as a nursery about 30 years before we bought the house! My dad actually put up this wallpaper for our neighbors at the time when they were preparing for their first baby! Funny how things come full circle. Dad did an excellent job hanging that wallpaper because it was a pain in the you-know-what to get off of those walls!
This is my beautiful, peaceful bedroom now!
The walls are painted "Misty Lake" by Valspar. The trim is the same as the rest of the house, "Ceiling White," and the ceiling is the same as the living area, "Spare White" by Sherwin Williams.
The chandelier is vintage and is my most favorite light fixture in the house! We have low cielings so I didn't have many opportunities in the house to use a hanging light fixture. Since this one hangs over the foot of the bed, it keeps us from bumping our heads!
I hope you have enjoyed keeping up with my home renovation! It has taken a little while to get things settled, but I love a work in progress! I have been working on the yards this year so that will be the next thing on the list to share!
If you like what you see in the house, check out the store! It is full of beautifully currated items that speak to my southern style!
If you have been keeping up with what's happening at The Southern Mercantile, I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you think of the house and if you have a project of your own you are working on!
Check out more Alder Street Renovation stories here!
I am so excited to talk to you about my kitchen because it has turned out to be my favorite spot in this little house. It was definitely the room that needed the most work in this renovation! I think I mentioned in my previous blog that I don't have any pictures of the space from before we started working. Apparently, it was so horrifying I didn't want to remember it too clearly, haha! So let's get to it so you can find out how my kitchen went from this....
to this!!!! A bright, happy, CLEAN, efficient kitchen work space.
Just to recap, there were only a few, old cabinets that all had to be removed. There was also a wall that separated the kitchen from the dining area. Obviously, the floors had to be completely replaced! The original floors were long gone and the existing layers of rotten plywood were so termite eaten that they started falling out when my carpenters starting jacking up the house to replace the joists. You can read more about my adventures in flooring HERE. We took out the wall in the kitchen (it was super rotten anyway) to create a more open space. I did close up one window in the kitchen so that I could put the stove there. To be such a tiny house it certainly had plenty of windows so I didn't sacrifice any of my nice natural light by doing this.
The next step was to get the floors sanded and stained, and the walls and ceiling primed and painted and ready for cabinets! I used the same paint colors in the kitchen as I did in the living / dining areas, treating this as one large room so it would flow and be cohesive.
After doing a little research and some price comparrison, I decided to go with Ikea cabinets. I could get the look that I wanted and get the most bang for my limited bucks! *Disclaimer* If you are not a handy person and are not up for a project, then this is probably not the route you should go. I am very blessed to have some handy folks in my life to help with projects like these. I will tell you that I had no experience designing kitchen spaces and I found it very easy to use the online design program that Ikea offers on their website. It took some time to play around with things and learn the program, but I was able to come up with a design that I was happy with. Matt and I headed up to Atlanta where we were able to have an Ikea professional review my plan to make sure there were no major issues and to purchase the cabinets. It was a bit overwhelming, being first time cabinet buyers, so we stopped for margaritas and Mexican food at one of our favorite spots before heading home!
I did pay to have a professional to install the cabinets and I highly recommend this! I had a close family member, who had recently been through a kitchen renovation in an older home, suggest to me that I should not try to install these myself and I am super glad that I listened! You might recognize Phillip, (now, Tara's husband) from previous Southern Merc blogs. He did an amazing job installing the cabinets and counter tops for me. Because he is so experienced, he was able to deal with things like walls that are not straight and floors that are still slightly uneven. I was glad he was there with the knowledge to improvise when things weren't working out exactly like I had planned.
I am so happy with the end result. I was able to stick to my budget and get the fabulous kitchen that I wanted. When we moved into this house I was coming from an even smaller rental house that had a very small kitchen with minimal cabinets. For me, this was quite the upgrade! I also had not had a dishwasher for the previous 12 years so, to have a nice new one has been thrilling!
There wasn't room in this little corner to squeeze in a cabinet so my dad helped me build little shelves to display some of my favorite treasures.
My farmhouse sink also came from Ikea and was quite a deal! If you have been wishing for a farmhouse sink but didn't think you could afford one, you should check these out. There are two sizes, one like mine and one that is larger and divided. Your existing cabinets can usually be manipulated to accommodate this type of sink with the apron front. I opted for mostly drawers with the lower cabinets. The large drawers on the right contain all of my dishes and serving pieces. The cabinets in the corners have two shelves that pull out completely and then swing back towards the wall when pushed in so that no space is wasted.
A very special friend painted this cow for me and named her "Roxanna". It makes me so happy to look up and see her above the fridge.
My favorite cookbooks are proudly displayed on a shelf by the fridge and my favorite ceramic tray corals things like salt, pepper and garlic cloves that I use frequently while cooking. I keep everything I need to enjoy my morning coffee right next to my coffee maker, including a crate full of my favorite mugs!
You may wonder why I am choosing to show you my ugly old microwave and toaster. I just want to stress that you can set up and organize your small (or large) kitchen in such a way that your necessesities are made to look as nice and neat as possible. You don't necessarily have to line all of your kitchen appliances up on your counter top, and if you have a small kitchen, you don't need to have them taking up that much precious counter space! These wood and metal shelves sit by my refridgerator and hold a lot of important things that I use everyday but, I try to keep it organized and tidy!
Since our house is small, we don't really have a desk or office area where it would make sense to keep things like bills, pens and tape! Instead, I have a little station set up by the side door to catch all of those types of things. We also have a designated place to hang all of our keys becuase I am the world's worst to set my keys down and not remember where they are!
I wish I could have you all over for dinner so you could see things in person, but since I can't, I hope you've enjoyed all of the pictures!
Like a few things that you have seen? Visit the Southern Mercantile store to check out these items that will help you get the look!
(This blog was origianally posted in August of 2016 so these items are no longer available. We hope you'll take a look in the store and check out our current merchandise!)
Welcome to my home! I am so excited to share with you my finished (well, mostly finished) spaces with you! Just to recap, I'll be sharing before and after pictures with you so you can get a handle on just how extensive this renovation was. Brace yourself, the before pictures are pretty scary! Apparently, the front rooms of the house were so bad, I didn't take any before pictures of the rooms before we started working! Here are a few that I snapped after we had made a little progress.
Use your imagination and visualize a wall where my dad is standing, that divided the kitchen from the living and dining area. This wall was completely eaten by termites so, it had to go. This made me very happy because I really wanted to open the space up so that the room would feel larger. I did have to have a support beam added in the attic space as this was a load bearing wall.
Here is that space now, so much brighter and happier!
All of the interior walls, ceilings and floors of this little mill house are made of pine and most of them were salvageable. While I do love the wood for texture, stability, and the ease of hanging whatever I want, wherever I want, they were just so dark! The whole house was the same dark color, top to bottom, just crying out for a coat of paint! I had several folks stop by while we were working and say, "I can't believe you are going to paint that pretty wood". To all you wood preservationists out there, sorry. But I think the end result is fabulous! Lightening up the walls and the ceilings made the house feel twice its size!
Here is the happy and bright "after" picture of my beautiful living room! I am happy as a lark to sit here in the mornings and watch the news or to gather and visit here when we have guests. This small space is both comfortable and functional. Even though the house is small, I've found plenty of room to store things away and special places to show off my treasures. I decided to have the fireplace closed up as we would never use it and it just wasn't an option to invest in gas logs right now. I do, however, love to decorate a mantel so I kept a faux version of the fireplace. The mantel is not original and it is not old. Just a treasure I brought over from my last little house.
As you look at the pictures of my home in this blog and the ones to come you may see cords, mail, electronics, etc. I did not try to hide every little thing for these photos because, well, we live here. There are some unattractive and/or useful things that are out for all the world to see! If you are reading this and are currently living in a small space and struggling to find homes for all of your "stuff", here are some creative storage ideas that can make your "stuff" a little more attractive. On my bookshelf in the living room I used patterned cardboard storage boxes, sewing machine drawers, a vintage locker basket and an old paint crate to hide some of the items that we need but don't have room for in a closet or drawer. If you have to store items in plain sight in your home, get creative in using different kinds of containers to house those things.
I was blessed to receive a lot of hand-me-downs while renovating this home and since I have been on such a tight budget, I was grateful for them! These Pottery Barn drapes were passed to me, and they turned out to be just perfect in the living area! They were a little too short to hang them as high as I wanted, so to make them the correct length, I sewed a band of patterned fabric to the bottoms. This made them the perfect length and gave them a more custom look. I did sew these but if you don't have a sewing machine, you could easily get this look by using an iron-on "no-sew" hem tape.
Our little table doesn't seat many but it has already been a happy gathering place for many of our friends and family.
This little table is extra special to me because my dad built it. The table top is made from old tongue and groove boards that came out of the 100-year-old building that houses my shop!
Here are the colors I used for the living, dining and kitchen areas. Sea Salt has become one of my most favorite colors ever! Way to go Sherwin Williams! It truly goes with everything and reads as a neutral while still giving you such a nice hint of color. The ceilings are painted Spare White, which is just the lightest shade on the Sea Salt color strip. All of the trim in the entire house is just your basic glossy white.
I hope you have enjoyed the tour of my living and dining spaces! If you saw something you like, be sure to check out the items below. We'd love to help you get the look!
(This blog was originally posted in August 2016 so some of these items are no longer available. We hope you will take a look around the store and see what's new!
It seems like I have been working on this little house forever! (It probably seems like that to you too!) It has definitely been a labor of love, and is still a bit of a work in progress, but I am finally at a place where I feel I have tended to enough of the details to let you have an in depth tour. At 980 square feet, this house packs a lot of character into a very small space! Matt and I have been thrilled to settle in to this little mill house and make it our home. Living in a small house or apartment doesn't mean you have to compromise your design aesthetic. There are plenty of ways you can bring style and organization to a small space, while keeping to a strict budget and I hope I can give you a few tips along the way!
I am pairing a "before" picture with each room / porch, just in case you have forgotten the horror! If you are new to The Southern Mercantile, be sure to take a peek at my previous renovation blogs, to see the whole process!
Alder Street Social Club
Alder Street Renovation
Alder Street Renovation-The Floors
Now, just to recap, here's a little reminder of what the house looked like on the outside when we began our work.
And, ta da! Here's my beautiful front porch now! Don't you just want to come on up and visit for a while? Matt and I have already spent many evenings here in the spring and the fall, sitting on the glider, sipping a glass of wine and, catching up on the day! I had concrete board siding and trim put on the house which helped greatly in making it more energy efficient and will hold up much better in our damp climate than the original wood siding. I did have to install all new windows in the house and the porch received new columns.
On to the side porch! You may remember, the side porch did not originally exist. There was a small stoop with steps leading up to the side door.
I decided to expand a little by adding a small side porch. As it turns out, adding this porch was, by far, the best decision I made regarding the renovation. I just love it! I love coming home, parking in the driveway, and walking up the steps to be greeted by this happy little spot! The side door enters into the kitchen so it is perfect for the usual coming and going, unloading groceries, etc. There are steps each side of this porch, one set leading down to the front yard and the driveway and one set leading down to the back yard (and the soon to be patio).
If I am home alone on a pretty evening or a Sunday morning, this is where you will find me. It is a little more private than the front porch and such a happy place to sit and drink my coffee! I know you can see my stash of yard tools, under the table. I have future plans ready for a cute little gardening / storage shed but that project is down on the priority list a ways. For right now, the side porch also serves as my storage area for gloves, yard tools and bug spray. This cute drop leaf table has been a great outdoor storage solution for me. My vintage drink crate acts as a nice cubby for small items.
I have a few more projects waiting in the wings to finish things up on the outside. I am currently saving for a metal roof and underpinning. This spring I started to attack the yard but I still have a good bit of work to do there! I am also planning a little patio area that will be right off the steps that lead to the back yard and I have a feeling that will become my new favorite spot!
Just in case you are interested, here is the color pallet for the exterior of my home.
Did this inspire you to spruce up your own porches? Here are a few items in The Southern Mercantile store that can help you get the look! Click a picture below to view it in the store! (This blog was originally posted in July 2016 so some of these items are no longer available. We hope you will check out the store and see what's new!)
After purchasing our “little” project the first step was to deal with the termite damage! Our little jewel is totally wood, inside and out. Ugh. When we bought the house I knew there was damage, but like most projects, the more you rip out, the worse it gets! I was on a very tight budget, so I feel very blessed to have found two super talented fellows that came every weekend for a year to work on the house. I will never forget the Saturday that they called me at work to let me know that it was “worse than they thought”. The kitchen floor was so rotten that it just started falling out when they started jacking up the house to replace the floor joist. There were three layers of rotten floor, many years of just covering up the problem
The next major problem was a rotten wall in the kitchen. When we first looked at the house I wondered why one wall had the ugly 70's paneling. Surprise! It was hiding a wall that was half eaten by termites! This wall was one I had wished I could remove but didn’t want to go to the expense. Guess what? We took out the wall! One positive outcome to the termite damage: a beautiful open kitchen space.
The next problem to solve was finding an inexpensive flooring option for the kitchen, dining and living area. I really wanted the look of an old farm house wooden floor but of course could not afford tongue and groove. I decided to use 1 x 8 boards for the flooring, even though I was strongly encouraged not to by my local hardware store and my weekend warriors. I decided to go with my gut (I am known to be a bit stubborn) and ordered all the wood from my local hardware store. I must say that these floors turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the house. This is a good lesson in why it is sometimes good to go with your gut and not listen to those that say “it can’t be done”! Kyle, one of my weekend warriors, did a beautiful job installing the boards for me. I spent about $500.00 on materials and even had enough to put in the bathroom. I think it turned out absolutely perfect!
Since then, my guys admitted that it turned out much better than they thought it would. The fellas from the hardware store have been over to check out my progress and also admit that the floor looks great, despite their initial concerns. My little inexpensive flooring project has caused quite a stir!
With a little sanding (o.k. maybe a lot of sanding), some stain, and help from good friends, my inexpensive floors are quite a masterpiece!
My husband and I have taken on quite a project! We bought a 980 square foot bungalow that is in desperate need of some tender loving care! This home was built in the 1940’s and was a rental property owned and rented out by the owner of the local lumber mill. There are many of these little mill houses around town, many beyond repair but for some, there is still hope and great potential. This house also happens to be next door to my parents!
When I left Ocilla and headed for college I never dreamed I would find myself back here. I really never dreamed I would own a business in a building that I helped to remodel in our tiny downtown.
I never, ever thought I would live next door to my parents! My parents bought the house I grew up in in 1977. Their house was built in the nineteen teens and was a fabulous place to grow up. It has a big front porch and a huge back yard. My brother and I spent hours outside in our yard, but also roaming around the neighborhood. When we were kids we rode our bikes all over town, met up with friends, and pretty much went wherever we wanted. Our neighborhood is conveniently located just two blocks from downtown.
In more recent years our neighborhood has suffered. The rental houses on our block have fallen into disrepair and with that have come less than desirable neighbors. When the little house next to my parents came up for sale, my husband and I jumped at the chance to snatch it up. Thus began a new life and a new vision for our street! We rent a little house just around the corner from our new house, so it couldn't have worked out better for us to stay where we are while we take on this project. We have been looking to buy a house for several years, but nothing ever seemed to line up and be the right opportunity at the right time. Our town is very small, so I know this will sound silly, but I was really hoping to stay in the neighborhood I grew up in. For years I have felt a passion to stay there and to contribute rather than flee and let the homes fall apart.
Once our little purchase was official, my auntie decided she would like a little project of her own. Until now she has divided her time between Tennessee, Colorado, and Texas. She has joined us in our mission to change our neighborhood and purchased two little bungalows on the other side of my parents. Not only are we thrilled that she will be spending more time with us, but we are so excited that the revitalization of our neighborhood continues! Things are looking up!
I wanted to share these before pictures with you so you will be able to fully appreciate the magnitude of work it has required to save this house. It has definitely a labor of love! I can’t wait to share pictures of our progress and share my tips of how we managed such a big project on a small budget!
I count myself lucky to have grown up in a very social home. My parents’ house always seemed to be the center of the party when I was young. All of our neighbors would show up fairly often for porch parties and pot luck dinners, and I learned a lot about impromptu entertaining.
What a wonderful time in history for our neighborhood! Our block was full of young folks, looking for fun and fellowship. I've heard fabulous stories of “fry” parties at Clark's house (everyone brings something to drop in the fryer), game nights with cards and dominoes, folks spending the evenings on my parents’ porch. This little group was dubbed the “Alder Street Social Club”, and I am hoping to bring it back! How great to live in a small town and not just know your neighbors, but get along with them and fellowship together. A place where kids can go from yard to yard and sweet tea is best served on the porch in the company of good friends.
This is the feeling we are hoping to bring back with our Alder Street renovation. I am so excited to be involved in the revitalization of our neighborhood! I can't wait to share pictures and insights of our adventures in the remodel of our house.
I especially can't wait to host my first porch party on my newly renovated porch on Alder Street. If we can create and capture half of the energy and character of the original Alder Street Social Club, we will be living fabulously!