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Full steam ahead!

My husband and I kissed today at 5pm in the stands at his son's baseball game. It was to serve as a celebratory kiss to take in the moment when we passed another milestone in this process of making our dreams a reality. A few things need to be patched, fixed, repaired, and that sort before closing, but we're getting ready.

I can now engage my lighting fetish and buy all the replacement fixtures I've been eyeing and pinning on Pinterest all this time. I can contact electricians and painters, welders and stone masons, contractors and plumbers, oh my! My husband can now buy his deer feeders and schedules he's been pinning on Pinterest (yes, guys Pin too!) and plan his feeding for the wildlife exemption while guests take in healthier fatter deer, turkey and whatever else comes to feast.

I've taken my measurements, ordered slipcovers and I know what will fit where as I'm always collecting things. I've chosen colors, realized what works and what won't for my style and am already mentally purging what I no longer need for these houses or the two coming ahead (yes, there will always be more!). Paint colors are chosen, trays are planned for designated areas for guests for coffee stations, wine stations and places to drop your everyday essentials. (We decorators are groupers and things have to be visually organized!)

It's an understatement when I say that I LOVE these three houses. Each one has their own different personalities and looks and accommodations. However, they all have one thing in common...each and everyone one of them feels incredible the moment you walk in. You feel as though you're transported back to a moment in time before master-planned communities and PTA's, smart phones and social media, before life got crazy and the kids grew up on you. Suddenly you feel all your worries were left outside the gate and definitely on the other side of the door. You are overwhelmed with a sense of solitude. Isn't that what we all need in life? Certainly it's not entirely practical that we all feel that all the time, but we all need an escape from time to time. As a decorator, I want to share that with my friends, family, clients and the world.

Escape...unwind...leave your cares and worries behind, even if just for the weekend! The clarity these peaceful moments will provide you are paramount to regaining perspective in areas of life, relationships, money, business and more.

We've decided that the historic log cabin will honor my father-in-law, Dr. Richard A. Okerholm, and his worldwide reach in medicine. It will tap into his German and Swiss roots a bit as well as the Okerholm family history in Tennessee where the Log Cabin was originally constructed in Parsons, Tennessee in 1820. It is masterfully re-built and has more character than you can shake a stick at, pun intended. In honoring him, you'll find subtle touches of his accomplishments via patents and his incredible dissertation. It will receive some new light fixtures inside and out, perhaps even a few new decor pieces, but for the most part will remain unchanged.

The awe-inspiring barn with it's intense woodwork and industrial-themed lighting provided an easy segue to name it after my father, Nolan K. Harper. He was a father to seven and though he retired from Exxon after 38 years, his joy was in wood-working and construction. He was incredible with architecture and I remember while I was growing up, he'd spent countless hours sketching blueprints and floorpans. He'd sit me in his lap and explain to me the mechanics of home construction. Eventually he'd walk me through with his blueprints to show me the plans which had come to life. As I grew, he taught me construction details and all things electrical and plumbing. He was never a chauvinistic man and instilled in me that I could do everything a man could but if for whatever reason I couldn't, that I'd know what was necessary to hire the right man for the job. He instilled in me that I could then supervise with the knowledge of what it would take to get the job done right the first time. He quite literally and figuratively, passed his "tools" down to me. Other than an exterior paint job and the addition of Dad's mementoes, I don't anticipate much will change with the Barn. It's simply breathtaking.

The Saltbox House will be named the "Sieben House" (Seven in German) after my husband, myself and our five children and will take on a bit of a new look with a new and updated color scheme along with some new accessories and decor.

But as part of our ongoing dreams and plans, it doesn't stop here! This property is lacking three very important structures: Mrs. Okerholm's Schoolhouse, a little Farmhouse with a black and white monochromatic scheme and one last major thing that I'm going to have to hold back for a bit longer. We're hoping to have Mrs. Okerholm's Schoolhouse and perhaps the surprise completed by Rita's birthday January of 2019. The Farmhouse too, if possible.

So here we are...waiting on closing day and working to move our little peace of heaven and earth to get it ready for everyone who has always said, "I'd love to just come stay a night in your house!" or "I feel so good just being in your home." Well, now you can. We plan to be up and running early April 2018.

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