Timber Frame Home, BONUS…It’s Passive!

Our family owns a construction company, Custom Woodcraft Builders. I think I might have mentioned that. We specialize in timber frame homes and log homes but we do stick build and remodel, but mostly timber frame homes.

I want to share with you an awesome project that we (he, really…I do the office side of the company) built in Nashville, Indiana which is located in Brown County. Brown County is beautiful with its rolling hills and dense forest. It is the perfect setting for a timber frame home or a log home.

David Watters was the architect for the home. David also owns The Beamery, where we have our timber frames made. My husband David and David Watters worked with the couple to come up with the plans for their timber frame home.

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After every permit was filed, the hand crafting of the beams began. The home’s timber frame is made from Cypress and is 100% mortise and tenon joinery

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After the beams were made, they have to be test fitted.

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In the mean time, the footers were finished. The footings and subfloor utilized washed and compacted #11 stone overlayed with a dense 4″ thick foam.


The basement walls were pre-built/insulated/pre-studed using Superior Walls. The walls were set and ready for drywall the same day!

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Then, the basement floor was poured.

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Then it was time for that awesome occasion that is rarely seen anymore. The raising of the timber frame.

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You must watch the videos of the timber frame raising. It is very cool to see how it looks going up.

First timber frame bend goes up video.

Timber framer raising video.

And that night, the owner, Michele, got this glorious photo.


Most of the photos and both videos were taken by the owner, Michel Wedel. She is an awesome photographer who did Simone’s Senior photos. You can see more of her photos on her website.

My next post will continue with the building of this beautiful home and what makes it a passive home.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

You know you have scored an awesome find at Goodwill when leaving the store you are offered double the price (get real) and you are high-fived in the parking lot for your awesome find.

Check the sign taped to the seat. “Do not sit on me. I am fragile (am I the only one who pronounces this fra-gee-lay? Thanks, Christmas Story) and need a new cushion.”

Yeah, they weren’t kidding. 

I purchased this chair for $14.00. Everything is original and it is in excellent condition….well, except for the seat. 

I am trying to figure out the history of this chair. I know that it is from about 1890 to 1910. At least that’s what my online sleuthing has found. This chair has a weird branding on one of the legs. 

I have tried every Google phrase I know to figure out the history of this chair. Here’s my conundrum:

  1. To paint or not to paint
  2. The fabric is original so should I try to save it or replace it
  3. What in the heck am I going to do with this chair because I really don’t have room for it

So, any help would be great. I have the same thoughts on this chair I got on Craigslist for $15. 

I bought it to refinish it but my heart has forbidden me to paint the beautiful wood. So, any suggestions would be awesome!


Late Night DIY Can be Hazardous

Update! The photos are up and I’m happy to announce that no other injuries occurred and the only thing that hurt was my ego when

Dave made several comments about nail holes. 😂




When you’re tired, just go to bed. This goes for DIY, crafts, painting, homework, job things, etc. You start making mistakes which make you angry. It doesn’t help your ability to do said projects.

This evening, I decided to hang up some family photos. Yes, we have lived here over a year and a half and my family photos have sat on the dining room floor waiting for that special day when they could be hung up. Lazy? Probably. Procrastinator? Definitely.

This is usually Dave’s job. In fact, let’s just keep this a secret that I tried to put them up. There’s a long history of many holes in walls where my measuring, or lack there of, just wasn’t straight. And, that reputation continued tonight.

After having a particularly aggravating fight with a photo being hung, it lashed out at me.

FullSizeRender-50  It’s not big enough to even have anyone ask me about it. It just looks like I scratched myself with something and that is NOT cool. The real story is, I was tired. I had words with the nails in the wall. I may or may not have made a deal with the devil at that point. I tried to hang the photo again and because I was trying to use a level…snicker…I actually tried to balance part of the frame with my elbow while reaching for the pencil in my hair. YES, I was overwhelmingly tired. The frame started to fall and I’m so tired and my hands are griping other things, I moronically try to catch the photo with my face so it wouldn’t crash to the ground. WHAT. THE. HECK.

So, that’s when I decide that if I am making choices to catch things with my face, it’s time to go to bed. BUT, I have been doing laundry since getting home from vacation and all the finished laundry is on my bed waiting for my mythical maid to fold and put away. But you know what? This is enough bed to sleep on. The laundry is staying put. I only need a sliver to sleep on.


Nighty night.

Master Bathroom

The master bathroom in our flip house was a joke. It was dark because there were no windows and it was incredibly cramped. There was a door into it that slammed into the vanity behind it. The vanity only had one sink…ONE SINK. Next to the vanity was the toilet. On the other side of the room was a Jacuzzi tub and small shower. It was all brown and tan and in desperate need of being gutted.

I thought I had taken a before photo, but I must not have. Well, I have during!

First was the gut. We pulled everything out and knocked out the wall behind the vanity that went into the “his” closet. Since we were using that side room as a new enormous closet (see previous post) we could use that smaller closet to make the bathroom bigger.


Instead of a small shower and a tub, because tubs aren’t used that much anyway, we opted to build a huge elegant shower with a seat where the tub and the smaller shower had been. We then decided to move the vanity next to (not behind) the door on a larger wall. I ordered the vanity from Lowes and YAY! It had two sinks.


We build a room for the toilet so there would be privacy if someone needed to use it and another person was in the room, like most master bathrooms.

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Then they laid my beautiful tile. I’m a sucker for classic mosaics that will never go out of style.


I chose a white subway tile for the shower walls.

We purchased the hardware for the shower from Economy Plumbing and went with a shower head, a rain shower overhead and the hand held spray. We chose our shower doors from Arizona Shower Doors and purchased two lovely mirrors for over the vanity.

I’m very happy about how the bathroom turned out. It feels very open and light even without a window!

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Mama Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Winter. Synonymous with hell in my vocabulary. After Christmas, I feel like Alice in Wonderland going down the rabbit’s hole.

In Indiana, the sky is gray. The sun checks out. Everything is dead and brown and muddy. If there is snow that covers the “dead” then you’re in a winter wonderland hell where you have to dig out of snow and your kids have 15 straight snow days where they follow you around screaming “I’m bored!”

At the end of January or first of February is my breaking point. This is the time my head spins around and all I can say is “Redrum!” That’s when Dave decides it’s time to head south for some sun, otherwise he will end up having to explain to the kids why Mama has a new white jacket and padded cell.

Winter depression sucks. Period. Having to stay cooped up in your home because it’s soooo cold outside can turn you batty. Since there are SO many women I know who are affected by this yet are ashamed/embarrassed to be open about it, let me say, you’re not alone. Not even close to being alone.

I started to write tips to combat winter blues when I thought, “You don’t know crap, Nicole!” Everyone is different. So, try different things. Getting out of Dodge is what works best for me and I am blessed to be able to do it.

Whatever you do, realize that this too will pass. Before you know it, the sun will shine and the flowers will bloom and there will be some a#%hole complaining about it being too hot.

Cheers! You’re in good company!

New Kitchen and Eating Area


Can I just go into how freaking difficult it is to clean a kitchen with four kids, two dogs and a husband ALWAYS in it? I actually had to take the “after” shots on two different days, banning the family from the kitchen and moving all the CRAP from the kitchen into the eating area to take pristine photos and then move the crap from the eating area back to the kitchen for those photos. Now the crap has magically accumulated to be in both rooms and the floor. Let’s not fool ourselves, the day my kitchen or eating area are this clean and staged is the day I die and Dave puts the house on the market.

Keep in mind that I am still looking for the perfect rug for the eating area and if anyone has ideas, hit me up. Here are the before and after photos!





















And here are some more photos:

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IMG_3975  third sink


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We originally put in Jenn-Air for all our appliances, but we had some issues with the size of the microwave/oven so we decided to keep the Jenn-Air Cooktop (although we originally had electric but switched to gas) but change out the rest to KitchenAid. KitchenAid had a microwave/oven combo that fit perfectly.

We had a trash compactor but when they tried to install the new one, it was larger than the space the old one had been. Luckily, an ice maker fit perfectly. All our appliances were purchased from Fine Lines by HH Gregg.


I love my new kitchen and eating area. I can’t wait to find a perfect rug to fit!

And lets all pretend this wasn’t erased just before the photo.


or this one a few days earlier


I’m sensing a theme.


IMG_7368 I love lake living!


Kitchen Eating Area Remodel

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Remember my eating area before photos?

The awesome tile and the ridiculous desk? Not to mention the chair rail, indestructible wallpaper and 1980’s light pendant? One thing you cannot see because the sliding glass door was very small which made the room dark; the view out that door is the deck and water…aka money maker.

That wallpaper, chair railing and tongue and grove was so dang hard to get off.  We tried and tried and finally had to call in the pros to remove it. Dave wanted to actually move in someday and not end up having to sell the house because his wife needed bail/lawyer/physiological counseling/heavy duty meds money.

So once the wallpaper was finally exorcised…er, taken off, the dry wallers came in to patch all the holes in the wall that I made. Then, the floor was taken up. Let me tell you, we had two of our workers who we put on the task of tearing up all the flooring and they hate us to this day. Not because we didn’t pay them well, because we did, but because the floors were a nightmare to take out. There is a reason that nothing had ever changed in this house since it was built in the 1980s. This house was like Steven King’s Christine.

Okay, so, we purchased another sliding glass door, which was the largest Pella made. We took out the fugly light fixture and put in canned lights because the ceiling was so low. I didn’t want any hanging lighting. And, finally, the hardwood flooring came in and was installed!

Next was the the stair case.  We had one of our subs tear out the existing stairs and railing and replace it with new treads, raisers and a new banister that we had ordered. Yes, he was kind of sloppy with his stain but I had given him the okay to be sloppy because he was REALLY good and he said he would clean it up.

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Next was the desk area. The kitchen didn’t have a utility closet so there was no where to put mops, buckets or brooms so we decided to turn the desk area into a utility closet.

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Next, I love, love, love chalk boards. Maybe it’s the smell of chalk that reminds me of all the times I got in trouble in grade school so I had to clean the chalkboards and erasers or maybe it’s the…no, I’m pretty sure it’s the grade school thing.

We taped off an area and let Lucy go wild (I cleaned up after her).

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I got a great deal on a large frame from Hobby Lobby because it was cracked. I fixed it and painted it and then we (Dave) hung it around the chalk board and hung up my Grand Hotel photos and we were done!!!

Tomorrow…the Grand Reveal of our kitchen and eating area!

IMG_7368   I love lake living!

My Soliloquy Because My Day SUCKED

Okay. I just have to share this. One of my friends growing up, Kelly, said to me last night, “I have noticed that you do a LOT of stuff….like, a LOT. Do you ever relax?” Shout out to Kelly who is a mother of three, a phenomenal dermatologist, full time BA Harley rider, wife and my non-paid therapist among many of her titles.  She does more than I could ever do! I could ask her the same question!

Here’s to all the Mamas who taxi kids to sports/music/dance/any type of lesson, have to be sexy, smart, nurturing, practical, frugal, principled, scholarly, kind, patient and all those things that make us want to scream. Here’s to all the Mamas who aren’t sure if it was today or yesterday or, not even sure, when they showered because their lives are so hectic. Here’s to all the Mamas who are not sure the clothes they are wearing are newly washed or dirty because, honestly, the two piles met and married on the floor after you pushed the clean ones off the bed onto the floor with the dirty ones, not caring because you were totally overwhelmed by the day/week/month/life, and just needed sleep.

Here’s to all the Mamas who stay up into the wee hours of the night to do things needed for their families and here’s to the Mamas who can say ” I just CAN’T do this tonight”.

Here’s to all the Mamas who think, “Everyone else seems so put together. What’s wrong with me?”

There is nothing wrong with you. No one is perfect and everyone struggles. You just don’t see it. YOU are amazing. Thank you for doing all that you do.

We all have days when we have to (or need to) wave the white flag and hope we make it to bed time. Which sometimes is 6pm for my kids.

After the day I had today, I just wanted to post this.


The kitchen Remodel


The minute we finished signing our sanity over for our home, our mortgage broker took us over to the house via his boat. During all the negotiating and fighting over price/sump pump rigging/chimney issues, etc. we had never gotten the chance to see our house from the water. I loved my house already but this took it to a whole new level.

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So the first thing I did, THAT DAY, was pull off that fugly blue floral curtain-y thing around the kitchen window AND start pulling down the hideous wallpaper in the kitchen eating area. That alone made me feel SO MUCH BETTER!

The next day, I grabbed Oscar and told him we had to get rid of something ASAP!!piclab

 I just. Honestly. Can’t. with that ceiling.

Oscar and I turned off the power and started dismantling this lighting travesty. Matt, our carpenter was given directions from Dave (this was his brain child) and he started to draw up designs and then installed the tongue and groove car siding after our electrician rewired for our can lights. Here is the amazing (and way less suffocating) difference.


Notice in this photo that the oven is right next to the fridge? 


We decided we HATED those right next to each other so we were going to have to find a place to put the fridge.


On this side of the kitchen you can see the hole in between the two rooms. We didn’t want or need it so we decided to move the refrigerator over there.

In this photo you can see how there was a layered counter that cut the kitchen off from the eating area and did not work with the flow of the room, besides, I wanted to extend the island. (Notice the matching curtain thing on the sliding glass door.)


As I mentioned before, we had decided to keep the cabinets but we were going to be disassembling many of them and moving them around. We took down the layered counter completely which allowed the two rooms to become one large kitchen. We added some of the cabinets that were part of the layered counter onto the island to create a very long center island.


During all of this, Majestic Stone Imports were making the template for our counters with the amazing Super White I had chosen and the new floors from ICC were installed.

We took off the cabinet doors and painted the cabinets and the doors  White Dove by Benjamin Moore.

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We decided to add a sink where the the refrigerator used to be so we would have three sinks. Then, Bob, from Majestic Stone, called to say the magic words I had been waiting for. “Your Super White is ready for installation.” I was so stinking excited.



Don’t you just want to cry? It’s so beautiful!

We installed a new window without the grids so the view is awesome. We also installed all new appliances. Happy birthday to me.

Before and Almost Done:


My next post will be about the eating area and how we changed that and then….after I do my dishes and scrub down my kitchen so it’s clean, I will post the reveal!

IMG_7368    I love lake life!


My Old Kitchen

It’s hard to imagine that my house was on and off the market for eight years with a kitchen like this!


There is so much wrong with this kitchen. The above photo were part of the realtor online photos. When I saw them I said to Dave, “THIS IS OUR HOUSE!” And we laughed through the rest of the photos and then called the agent and headed over to see it.

Lucy cried throughout the house tour. She cried and cried and begged us NOT to buy the house. But we made an offer. It had such awesome potential!

The ceilings in the kitchen made me feel like I was suffocating. They were SO low and the room was so dark. I’ve already talked about my “love” for the orange/tan tiles on the floor and on the counters. FullSizeRender

The island had a built in blender and Dave begged to keep it. It didn’t work and I didn’t want it so we pitched it. There was a little desk underneath the stairs and it was super awkward. The stair rails were rickety and totally not to code so they had to go as well!


Okay, so I just want you to soak in the before photos. Next post will be about the remodel process. Until then, I’ll just leave this here.

imageq      You are welcome for the laugh.