Life Update // Our Big Move One Year Later + An HGTV Update

THE FARMHOUSE

Well it’s been one year since we quit our jobs in Seattle, packed up the kids, and moved to a Farmhouse in the country.  We’ve spent the year *retired*, which really means managing our rentals, spending lots of time as a family, taking on the Porch House renovation (plus filming it for an HGTV pilot), having a baby (!!!), and tackling as many projects at our forever home as we could squeeze in.  And I figure it’s high time I give you an update on how it’s all going.

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse 1 7-14-16

We took that photo last year on the day we moved into the Farmhouse.  Wilder was 3 and Brooks was weeks away from taking his first steps.  Daphne wasn’t even a glimmer in our eyes yet, and Hacker was still with us, off somewhere sniffing out the field mice.  And we had this big, beautiful, old house behind us to call home.  My heart was so full with all of it.

Sometimes big changes are really scary, especially for a risk-adverse person like myself.  There can be this nagging doubt that a major life change – even if it’s your dream of all dreams – will be a big flop. But not with this change.  It felt right from the beginning.  Sure we knew there would be hurdles – like finding private healthcare, being 100 miles away from our rentals, finding capital to buy a flip house (banks don’t like to extend loans to the “unemployed”), and dealing with the animal smell in our new house – but we were 100% ready to take it all on.  And I’m so happy we did!  Because it’s been the best year of my life.

The Grit and Polish - One Year Later Collage

Row 1: Farmhouse Master Bedroom / 6 Day Kitchen Reno / Farmhouse Alphabet Wall and Entry / Porch House Kitchen Sink // Row 2: Birthday Cake / Farmhouse Master / Porch House Butcherblock / Dexter Airbnb // Row 3: Farmhouse Office / Daphne’s Farmhouse Nursery / Brooks’ Farmhouse Nursery / Brooks’ Birthday Cake Crown // Row 4: Nursery Wallpaper / 6 Day Kitchen Reno / Family Photo at the Farmhouse / Wilder’s Bedroom

We’ve been busy over the past twelve months (we tackled all of those projects), but I think I speak for my whole family when I say it’s been a great year.  Not only do we love our small town and country setting, but Garrett and I are constantly pinching ourselves, saying “how did we get here?!”  Of course we know the answer to that question (a combination of hard work, smart financial decisions, and luck), but we are very thankful for where we are today.  Very thankful that our kids get to grow up in a small town with a pond to call their own and endless trees to climb.  And very thankful that Garrett and I get to work on our own projects at our own pace, together.

That’s all well and good, but you may be wondering, what it is we actually do every day.  It’s been pointed out to me that “retired” is probably not an accurate term to describe Garrett and I considering all we do, and there’s a whole lot of truth to that.  I like the term ‘retired’ because it implies that we’re in control of our days and which projects we say ‘yes’ to, but ‘self employed’ is accurate too.  Whichever way you slice it, Garrett and I spend our days as landlords, renovators, parents, country dwellers, outdoor enthusiasts, and good ol’ fashioned DIYers and no two days are the same around here. Most of my time lately has been spent with our kiddos, either at home or around town, which is to be expected with a 3-week-old.  Before Daphne was born, I was going to Seattle a couple times a week to clean and maintain our rentals as well.  I also sneak in time for writing this blog (in the evenings or when the boys go to Nana’s house), designing and picking finishes for our projects from our home office, and sneaking in a walk every now and again.  Garrett still does a lot of the cooking and gets out mountain biking or running a few times a week, but otherwise spends his days working on Farmhouse projects/maintenance, renovating the Porch House, and managing our rentals.  The later of those has made up 95% of our income over the past last year, so it’s no surprise that it takes a lot of our time.

I should mention that *retired* life isn’t as lucrative as working was, a fact that we were well aware of before I quit my job.  What we have been surprised about is that our living expenses have gone down.  Groceries are a good half of what they used to cost us in Seattle (granted there are no PCCs or Whole Foods here) and we eat out far less (simply because there aren’t a ton of options).  Plus we spend more time hiking/camping/exploring outside and less time at paid museums and the like (again, there just aren’t any over here).  This Spring we also swapped our decades-old, hand-me-down Tahoe for a lightly-used Ram eco-diesel truck, which has really kept our gas bill in check, especially with frequent trips to Seattle.  Of course with Daphne’s arrival, I haven’t been able to travel to Seattle as of late so we’ve had to hire cleaners to help with our Aibnb turns.  We’ve also had to hire out labor to help with the Porch House to free up some of Garrett’s time and keep that project moving along.  We are definitely busier than we expected, but the added help been a good compromise to keep a little balance in our lives.

Once the Porch House is finished and sold, I’m not really sure what our days will look like.  Obviously we’ll spend a lot of time with baby and our boys, but what else?  It’s possible we’ll move on to another project right away, or it’s possible we’ll take a breather while Daphne is little, do a little traveling and wait for our next project to come along.  And of course, there’s that whole HGTV pilot that we filmed waiting in the wings, so who knows what will come of that.  One thing’s for sure, whatever we do, we’ll surely busy – Garrett is not one to sit around plus we have 3 young kids – and it’ll be doing something we want to do.  That right there is probably the single best benefit of *retiring* early.

Speaking of HGTV…we found out last month that our pilot will air sometime in the Fall!  We actually got the call while I was in labor with Daphne three weeks ago.  I had to excuse myself to another room to breathe through contractions while Garrett spoke with our producer.  Ha!  It sounds like the show will get a new name (apparently the execs didn’t like ‘Rehab Crazy’, which is a-okay with us) and we should get a peak at the pilot after the finishing touches are put on.  I’m excited to finally get to share this project with all of you!

Well that’s how things are going for us in a nut shell, at least at the 1,000 foot level.  If you’re wondering about anything specific ask away in the comments.  Otherwise, rest assured we are very happy with our move and excited for what’s to come!

xoxo

-Cathy

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14 Comments

Comments

  1. Can you point me to your Air b&B’s ? we are looking for a two or three night rental around Dec 17/17. Just my husband and I!

    • Fun! We actually will be transitioning the Dexter and Ravenna houses to month-to-month leases for a chunk of the winter. But if we go through with making the Bryant house an Airbnb, I’ll point you in that direction!

  2. Will you be rehabbing the Farm House kitchen in the near future? I’m really curious about that space.
    Congratulations on a fantastic year!

    • Sadly, it’ll be awhile. Since the space is really large and this is our forever home, we don’t plan on it being a budget renovation. Plus we want to wait until we know 100% what we want to do (cause we won’t ever be doing it again ;).

  3. I can’t wait for a “peek” at your pilot for HGTV as well!

  4. Why did you choose to Air bnb your homes instead of renting them yearly.

  5. What a great update post, I really enjoyed it 🙂

  6. Will you be getting a new puppy anytime soon???

  7. Not to be too personal, and definitely not political, but how on earth do you manage private health insurance coverage for a family of 5? Mine alone is $875/month with a $6500 deductible!!

    Good luck with all your endeavors! Looking forward to seeing the new old house reno. I hope you’ll keep us informed with the HGTV news.

    • I would like to know the same thing, in regards to health insurance. A large portion of our income pays health insurance, and we can’t retire as early as we would like because of it. you share bits about retiring and rentals, please share.

      • I wish I had a better answer about health insurance. It’s expensive and big chunk of our monthly budget goes to it. Wish I had a better answer (for you and for us)

  8. I’d agree that you aren’t retired since the dictionary definition of that is “to have ceased working” – we can all see that’s definitely not the case! Instead I’d call you a ‘full-time family’ – that’s what one of my friends started calling her ‘situation’ which is not unlike what you and Garrett are doing. I think it’s an awesome life choice and your kids will reap huge benefits from your hard work both before and after ‘retirement’

  9. Amy Turner says:

    Congratulations on an incredible year and the HGTV pilot! Can’t wait to see it.

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