House update

So, the house is coming along, but we’re a bit behind schedule. This is our inspiration, the original Country Charmer. I apologize for the picture quality on this one, I used my phone to take a picture of my computer screen.

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We are making a few changes based on our preferences and what we were able to find locally. Ours will have wood siding (the color hasn’t been chosen yet) and the second story windows are completely different. These are the ones we’ll be using.

This is the house so far. Our goal to be done and moved in is currently January 1st. I will continue updating the blog and may possibly write a book because start to finish this house is only going to cost us about $13k. Keep in mind that where we live we can do the work ourselves.

The house is going to be around 1,000 square feet with three bedrooms and one bathroom. We bought a wood stove to save money. I’ll add pictures once we get it out of the SUV. It’s heavy so we’ve left it alone for about a week now.

Thank you for visiting the Berry Cottage today.

Why Owner Financing Can Be Better Than Traditional

My husband and I have done both owner financing and traditional mortgages. Be sure to do your own due diligence, I’m not a lawyer and can’t be held liable if things don’t work out well for you.

That being said, owner financing opens doors for people with no credit and poor credit, depending on who is offering it. The company owner financing Berry Cottage looked at our payment history instead of our credit score.

It also allows buyers to purchase homes and land that a bank may not finance. Very few banks would have financed Berry Cottage because it had some issues when we first bought it. We were able to get a lot done for very little money, thanks to friends and family, but a bank wouldn’t have looked at that.

You can negotiate better terms some times. We put $1,000 down, we don’t pay any interest, and our loan term is only for three years. Then the financing company pays all of the closing fees. There isn’t a bank anywhere that will do all of that.

Before you sign a contract to owner finance anything be sure to read the contract and hire a lawyer to look it over. If you go through a company do some digging into their history and look for reviews. It can be harder with an individual, but try. If something doesn’t feel right then walk away.

With Berry Cottage we paid for the deed and the property map to make sure things added up. To be honest, it seemed to good to be true. Everything checked out and the contract was so simple that I had my skeptical parents read over to see if we missed anything. They agreed that we needed to proceed quickly. It’s almost been a year and I can’t say enough good things about the company we’re buying Berry Cottage from.

Why Should I Read the Bible?

This is a question I think a lot of Christians ask. Many people who go to church feel like they don’t need to because the pastor is reading from it. Others may think that it’s confusing or it’s just not interesting.

I used to not read my Bible at all because it was confusing. Then it evolved into me reading it, but only so I could check it off on my to-do list. I didn’t even think about what my motivation was, I just did it.

That changed when I went on the Walk to Emmaus. A wonderful woman talked about what a gift the Bible is and how we should make it a priority. I definitely wasn’t doing that. I was doing my Wednesday Bible study at 1am Thursday and wondering why I couldn’t remember it. 🤦🏼‍♀️

Before this experience I was not a morning person. I was staying up until after 1am after all. An amazing thing happened, though. God started waking me at 8am. Every single morning, except Easter, He has woken me at 8. On Easter we had service at 8 so he woke me at 6am.

I read my Bible because God speaks to me through His word. He shows me what He has done in the past and I know whatever I face He’s there in the midst.

If you open your mind, the Bible is fascinating. There are stories of love, sorrow, pain, and death. Each one shows how God was there and what He did for His people.

If you have a hard time reading the Bible, try a different translation. You can download a Bible app called YouVersion, it’s on Apple and Android, and try different ones. You can also make the text larger if you need it.

Tomorrow I’m going to talk about how to get into God’s word. I hope that you enjoyed today’s post and will come back tomorrow. May God bless you.

How God Blessed Us With Berry Cottage

How God Blessed Us With Berry Cottage

First I think you need to understand that my husband and I were not looking to move. We were meditating on Hebrews 13:5 ESV, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.””. We were even fixing up our twenty year old single wide so that it would become our forever home.

At the end of October, my family and I got sick. We were sick for almost a week so we were bored. I was swiping through the Facebook marketplace because I hate that red dot. I swipe through everything to get rid of those dots. As I scrolled I saw an adorable little house for $13,500. I clicked on it and as I read the ad my jaw dropped and my heart sped up. Not only was it cheap, but we could put $1,000 down, pay $350 a month for three years, and not pay a dime in interest. There had to be a catch.

We drove forty miles to look at the house, expecting a mess. Housing is cheap where we live, but not that cheap. When we pulled up we immediately noticed a new metal roof and new vinyl siding. The issues had to be internal. The company who listed the house gave us the code to the door and we went inside to look around. It was dirty, but not damaged.

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We did our due diligence, of course. We went to the courthouse and bought the deed and the plat to make sure the person who owned the house was listed. That checked out, but we could not figure out how the land lay. I prayed that God would show us because there was a shed that seemed to be encroaching. Before I could say amen a very nice woman walked outside. Her father had owned the house and land that we were hoping to buy, so she was an expert on the house and the property.

With all of our questions answered, we were ready to proceed. We agreed that we weren’t going to fight for it and we would accept no and move on. We were approved and beginning the minor repairs five days after I saw the listing on Facebook.

It has been six months now and we are still working on replacing a few walls and the flooring, but we are grateful that God has blessed us with our Berry Cottage. My husband and I prayed for years that we could buy an old home, but God waited until we were content with what we had and where we were.

Due to extenuating circumstances, it will likely be August before we can move into our home. It’s hard because there is a peace there that we don’t get anywhere else. Even our preschooler and toddler are quieter and laid back when we’re in the Berry Cottage. It truly is a gift from God.

 

Staying Organized in a Tiny House

Keeping your home organized is important, but in a small house it is critical. If you don’t put things back where they belong then your home is going to become cluttered very quickly. This is going to be the hardest part for me because I am not naturally organized; I thrive in chaos.

The first part of organizing is getting rid of anything you are not using. It’s a lot easier to prevent clutter when there’s less of it. So, grab a box or a trash bag and start getting rid of everything you have not needed in six months to a year. Go room by room. Declutter every closet, too. It’s amazing how much junk ends up in our closets.

If you are a book collector like me this is going to be hard. I have plenty of books that I have either never read or I haven’t read it in a long time. I keep them because they mean something to me. Just make sure that they stay where they’re supposed to and don’t start taking over your house. Actually, living in a library doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

If your obsession is clothes, shoes, etc. I want you to get rid of anything that does not fit first. If it has needed repairs for six months or more and you have not had time, it’s a lost cause. Toss it or give it away. Now look at what you wouldn’t wear to spend the day by yourself, but it was a gift. You aren’t going to wear it when you see them. Donate it. Someone else will love it. Probably.

The last place I want you to declutter is your kitchen. Go through your junk drawers and start throwing stuff away. If everyone in your family has iPhones and iPads you do not need Android cords. Throw them away! Get rid of extra plates, silverware, cooking utensils, and pots and pans. I’m not talking about the good stuff Grandma gave you. I’m talking about the worn out broken stuff you don’t even know why you still have it. Now is the time to get rid of it. You only need one place setting per person. If you have company buy paper products. As a bonus you’ll clean up after big family meals faster.

I hope that this has motivated you to clean up and get organized. I’m going to read it to myself again later to motivate me. I’ll be honest, I hate cleaning and getting rid of stuff, but I know that sometimes I have to. This is one of those times.

Finding Inspiration

You can find inspiration anywhere, but my family tends to find it outdoors. When my husband and I were younger we lived in Virginia and we loved the mountains. That was our happy place and we were content to stay there and never leave. Especially not for the beach.

Then we grew up and God called us to Alabama. We love the mountains here, they’re beautiful, but Gulf Shores is our happy place. While visiting we got the opportunity to stay in a beautiful beach house that is similar to The Berry Cottage.

It’s not identical, obviously, but there were a lot of similarities. It is a good bit bigger at just over 1,100 square feet, but there were six of us staying there so that was a good thing. It was a two bedroom, two bathroom with a sleeper sofa in the living room.

The Berry Cottage isn’t near the beach, but we decided that we didn’t care. We can still add beach charm to our little piece of paradise. We are doing this with colors inspired by the sand and water, decor of sea creatures, and various marine items like crab traps and fishing nets.

This was the interior of Bon Vie. We loved how it felt like a farmhouse on the ocean. Ours is going to feel like a beach cottage in farm country. I just wish that I could find a front door like this one for our home, I loved it.

I am hoping to have The Berry Cottage completed in August. As we complete these projects I will tell you what we did, how we did it, and I will share before and after photos.

Goals for The Berry Cottage

The Berry Cottage still has a few months to go before it’s complete, but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming. Of course there are still a couple of must dos left, but there are plenty of fun things, too.

I love painting so one of my goals is to paint shiplap on the walls lacking tongue and groove boards. The oldest part of the house was built around 1918 so the original wood walls are gorgeous. The old ceiling is also coming down to reveal the wood there.

The exterior needs landscaping and shutters. I don’t have much of a green thumb so I’m researching hardy plants. We’re also supposed to be getting chickens at some point, but I haven’t had time to think about that.

On top of the want-tos there are a few have-tos. Like the bathroom needs updating, the windows have to be replaced, and the porches need new roofs plus paint. We’re blessed that the house has a two year old metal roof and new vinyl siding. That cuts down on projects greatly.

My husband and I love vintage pieces so we are trying to use as many as we can. We have a 1940s Hoosier cabinet, a 1950s dinette set, and a 1920s tea cart. Each piece is usable while adding charm and character to our home.

I’m not sharing interior pictures on the blog yet because we have a long way to go, but I will share before and after pictures when we’re done.

Quick Questions

I thought it would be fun to answer a few questions so that you know where my family and I are coming from. If you have a question that I haven’t answered here please ask in comments.

Is The Berry Cottage your first tiny home? No, actually it’s our third tiny home. Our first was only 144 square feet plus a loft. We still own it and we are hoping one of our children will want to live in it.

Why do you and your family choose to live in small houses? We choose to live in small houses because they are usually less expensive and utility bills tend to be cheaper. Repairs and maintenance don’t cost as much and are much easier, too.

How do your children feel about living in a small house? Our oldest is the only one who complained, but that was when he was going to share his room with his siblings. Now that he’s going to have his own room he’s happy.

Do you have any hobbies? Where do you work on them? I enjoy reading, writing, crochet, and painting. My goal is to eventually get a she-shed so I can work on my projects and have a little peace and quiet. Something that doesn’t happen with three kids running around.

Where do guests stay? Since The Berry Cottage is remote we can’t put friends and family up in a hotel. Our goal is to buy an antique camper and fix it up into a guest cottage. We don’t get visitors often so we figure a small camper with comfortable beds and a bathroom is perfect when someone does show up.

Preparing to Downsize

This is our current home, a 1996 16×80 (roughly 1, 280sq ft) manufactured home. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a large room consisting of the kitchen/living/dining rooms. It has a separate laundry area in front of the back door, but I wouldn’t call it a laundry room.

I told you all of that so that you know where we are and where we’re going. I honestly don’t feel like we’re losing anything because of how much we’re gaining once we move. I will talk about that later.

My first big idea is to use as much multi-use furniture and items as possible. Old dressers work great as TV stands and they can store almost anything. The right dresser will look classy in the living room. This is going to be especially beneficial to us since the kids will get the bedrooms leaving us in the living room on a fancy futon or pull out couch.

This one is easier for me than some others, but don’t keep things you don’t use. What-nots, furniture that doesn’t really serve a purpose, etc. Look around you and see what you haven’t used in the last six months or longer. If you haven’t used it yet then you don’t need it. In the words of Elsa, “let it go!”.

My last tip is to use your decor to tell your story. Use pictures, favorite pieces, and handmade items to achieve this goal. When you live in a small home you want to keep everything meaningful. Instead of buying a throw at Walmart, use one a family member made or make one yourself. It will change the look and feel of your home.

What helped you downsize? What are some favorite pieces in your home?

Why The Berry Cottage?

This picture is what The Berry Cottage looked like when we first bought it after we cut the grass. We started calling it The Berry House at first while referring to it as a cottage because that’s what it is. It has 752 square feet of living space not including the porches. Eventually, we would love to enclose the back porch so that we can have a master suite. Even with that addition, we will roughly have 952 square feet because we don’t want, or need, a big house. Our soon to be twelve year old will have his own room, the younger two will share the bigger room, leaving me and my husband in the living room.

The berry part of the name comes from a goal my husband and I have. We would love to homestead on our half an acre of land, which means berry bushes, vegetables, and chickens. Berry Cottage sounds a lot better than Corn Shack.

There is peace when we’re there working or just spending time sitting on our porch. It’s in the middle of a small town, but it’s quiet. Except for the occasional rooster crowing across the street. I love that, though.

I am praying that God will allow us to complete all of our projects so we can move soon. It’s quaint, but it’s home. In the short time that we’ve owned it, we have made beautiful memories and I know that’s why God led us to it.