Whispering Hills Ranch

New Coffee Bar

Hey everyone - Jeremy here. Some of you may have seen the little bar cart that I build Chandler for her birthday a few years back. It’s the one that sits between our living room and our kitchen.



I built it out of a small desk we found at our favorite antique shop in Chattanooga (R.I.P. Knitting Mill Antiques) and made the cart portion out of some old pallet wood we had. It actually rolls pretty smoothly on hidden little rubber casters. She thought it was pretty sweet, and I got some major husband brownie points.

Throughout its existence, the bar cart has been a bit of a mystery to us. We’ve used it in a number of ways – we considered making it a mobile kitchen island, we’ve put our knives and cutting board on it, and more recently we’ve put some of our coffee stuff on top and our record player on bottom. This worked pretty well, but there just isn’t enough space for all our coffee gear there, so it’s scattered about the kitchen.

 Like many of you, Chandler and I both LOVE coffee. We probably register slightly on the “coffee snob scale,” although we aren’t quite to the “whisper sweetly to your coffee grounds as they roast” level. Chandler is an every morning coffee drinker, and I’m more of a post-lunch-mid-afternoon kind of guy. We have slowly been investing in more and more coffee gear (as well as reorganizing our house), so we decided it’s high time we created a central spot for our coffee.




So as you can see, we cleaned off the cart, put up a couple shelves with some cool industrial brackets from Home Depot, and voila. We have this awesome coffee area now! Not only is it really functional, each piece of the coffee station has a story.


-       The bar cart is the one I built for Chandler for her birthday. I know it's special to her, and I think it's pretty cool too. 



-       The shelves are from a piece of driftwood I found while at a lighthouse on the coast of Maine last Spring. For 9 months I've had no clue what to do with it, but I don't think I could have found shelves with more of a story. 


 The art print is from one of Chandler's favorite artists in Nashville, Kristin at Winsome Easel. She combines calligraphy with watercolor in a really cool way. Definitely check out more of her prints!


We tried to add a little life by putting a plant on the shelf, but we keep forgetting to water it. Fingers crossed we don't kill it too quickly. 


I love this spot. A place that we once tried to make unassuming has now become a focal point in our main living area. Come by and I’ll make you a cup on the house. 



Wall Color: Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore (lightened by 50%)  

Coffee Cart: Desk from Knitting MIll Antiques, Chattanooga, TN (Modified to be a cart by Jeremy)  

Shelf brackets: Home Depot  

Driftwood for shelves: a random lighthouse in Maine :-)  

Canisters: Target

Mugs: Lennox French Pearl 

"Spirit Lead Me" Artwork: Winsome Easel  



Christmas House Tour 2016 Part 2: The Main Floor

If you were to call me today and tell me you were coming into town, I would tell you to come right over and have a cup of hot cocoa and sit down on the couch for a nice long chat. But since I can't invite all of you over today, I'm virtually inviting you into our home for our Christmas home tour! 

In years past, I have kept our living room completely neutral, but this year I decided to bring in some pops of red, and I love the festive cheer it adds! Since I don't normally decorate with red, it feels even more special for this season. 

I always put the Christmas tree in the window because it looks so festive from the street! Because our living room is so compact, we went for a pencil tree in order to maximize our walking space. 

I used metallic ornaments with  some berry sprigs for that pop of color. Then I wrapped a black and white ribbon around it horizontally and a gold ribbon vertically. 

I have been collecting ornaments year by year, and a couple of years ago I made all of the pinecone ornaments out of pinecones I found at the park and dried out. 

I wrapped my gifts in a variety of wrapping paper this  year. 

On the other side of the room, I used red and white pillows mixed with some neutral pillows we already had, and then I hung a wreath over our window panes. When in doubt, hang a wreath, right? 

One of my favorite things is the hanging vinyl covers on the wall. I just hung them with 3M velcro strips. I love to spin records...especially Christmas records. And these are three of our favorites. 

Sometimes the best parts are the tiny details. Like the ornaments in the dough bowl on the coffee table flanked by some free greenery. And the gift wrap. And, of, course, most importantly...the nativity set on the console table. 

My dad collects nativity sets, and it was always very clear in our house that the nativity is the most important part of the Christmas decorations. It truly is what Christmas is all about. 

Now that you've seen the living room, let's head over to the kitchen for a minute. We can stop and refuel with some hot chocolate, coffee or tea at the little drink station.

I love that boxwood wreath from Target because it is good for any season. A plaid ribbon makes it extra Christmas-y, but I love it year round. 

 I shared our tablescape already, but here is a bit of a refresher! 

Here's a look from the peninsula into the living room.

Let's head to our final stop of the tour where we can sit and sing come carols on our vintage Wurlitzer. Or if you need to get some work done, sit down at the desk. 

For some perspective, the view on the above left is looking from the kitchen into the office. It's technically a bedroom in the floorplan, but it's open to our kitchen and the hallway, so we have made it an office space. It has gone through a lot of changes over the years, and now it is the most functional it has been. It fits our needs perfectly. 

As soon as we painted these walls dark a few months ago, I could picture a flocked tree in that corner. It just fits. 

A couple of notes about this space. That white narrow desk is mine, and Jeremy made it from the front of an old piano, and some sewing table legs we took off of a table we no longer use. It's pieced together, and it's nothing fancy, but it works perfectly beneath the window and for my office needs. Jeremy's desk is on the other wall and isn't pictured. 

The tree was the cheapest 5 foot tree I could find at Target last year, and this year I flocked it myself using Sno-Flock

The mantel is from an old farmhouse, and we bought it on craigslist for $75! I made the stockings, and the metallic tree collection on top is my favorite. 

Thank you for coming along on our holiday home tour of the main floor! I hope to take you down to our basement soon :-) First I need to put away all the laundry and vacuum down there! #reallife

Merry Christmas to you all! Soak in the joy of these last two weeks before December 25. I pray you find peace when you need it from the Giver of all peace. 

Christmas House Tour Part 1: Setting the Table

All great change in America begins at the dinner table. - Ronald Reagan

I love meals with friends and family around a table. The very first project we did in this house when we bought it was build a banquette so that we could make the most of the limited dining space we have. It was the best decision because I love packing people in and feeding them. 

We are celebrating our holidays out of town this year, but for the Christmas season, I still set the table for four imaginary people. We will surely have friends over who can enjoy this setup! 

Our dining area is nothing fancy. It's a cozy kitchen corner. So, I wanted to keep things really simple and classic. I started with that red and ivory striped runner that I picked up at Hobby Lobby last year. Then I ran a gorgeous cedar garland from Home Depot that draped all the way to the floor. I love that the table looks decked out, but there isn't anything tall obscuring your view of the person sitting across from you, 

Aren't those gold cups fabulous? They were a last minute Target find, and I think they absolutely make the tablescape. 

I added some sparkle to the garland by interspersing some metallic ornaments. 

For the place setting, I used classic Christmas dishes that we inherited from a family friend along with simple white napkins. 

I kept the theme of the red stripes consistent with the pillows on the banquette. The simple small pillows are from the dollar spot at Target, and the larger red and white stripe pillow is from Home Goods! 

I hope this tablescape puts you in the mood to host family and friends this holiday season! It doesn't have to be fancy. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Use what you have, serve food that you love, and make those memories. 

The Christmas Conundrum...

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and everyone is charging full steam ahead into the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. As soon as Halloween ended and November began, I had Christmas on the brain. For some reason, in the midst of the joy about the coming advent, I have had a big check in my spirit...a sense of discomfort about the season ahead. Bear with me as I share my heart (and some photos of our home from last year). 

Christmas brings out all kinds of wonderful, joyous, magical feelings, but, if I'm honest, it also brings out the worst in me. You wouldn't know it by my elf-like enthusiasm, but my heart wrestles with a lot of less than lovely tendencies. 

Come December, I start to see my biggest flaws amplified in the heightened emotion of the Holiday season. I'm greedy. It pains me to admit it, but it's true. I love the holiday ads. I love black Friday shopping. I love winter clothes and shoes and making Christmas lists and knowing I have new things coming my way. I want. I want. I want. 

Also, I am the Queen of Comparison...especially when it comes to home decor. Decking our halls should be about creating a warm, welcoming environment in which to enjoy our families and friends and be reminded of the joy of the coming of our SAVIOR who is Christ the Lord. It is so tempting in a world with standards set by Pinterest and Instagram to doubt ourselves and turn Christmas into a chance to keep up with the Joneses. I walk through Home Goods and Target, and I'm so tempted to fill my cart with things I don't need and don't have budget for. 

I almost broke down in tears today as I scrolled through Instagram thinking "I can never measure up to the standards set here." I work a full time job and we have traveled so much in November that I simply haven't had time to devote to Christmas crafting and original ideas in time for the early-Christmas reveal that every blogger/instagrammer does. Every other year of my adult life, I have reveled in the joy of decorating for Christmas for the sake of it. But this year...as I aspire to start a business of home decorating, I am putting an extra level of pressure on myself, and yet I know I don't have the means or the time to measure up to my own impossibly high standards. 

At the same time, I want to declare with boldness that my heart is for Christ this Christmas.  That is what it's all about, right? And as a Christian, I know I'm supposed to say that. 

But let's be real. Most days, for me, it's more about celebrating warm, fuzzy feelings and holiday traditions than it is actually lifting up the King of Kings. There is nothing wrong with listening to Christmas records and drinking hot cocoa and watching Hallmark films til my head spins from cheesiness. In fact, I am delighted that our culture has so many joyful and wonderful activities with which to celebrate the savior's birth. 

My heart is saddened, however, by the fact that I so often make it to a reverent Christmas Eve service and realize that my heart of worship has been overshadowed all Christmas season by the fluff and sparkle of mainstream Christmas. My balance is off. My focus is diverted. 

We give out of obligation and overflow instead of out of sacrifice. We grumble about family disputes and try to choose the schedule that is least imposing on our own agendas. 

I do not want to do that this year. I do not want to find myself on December 26 with a host of new presents and pretty pictures of my home, but with a heart that is turned only toward myself. 

Finding a solution is easier than it sounds. I don't know how to balance a love for making my home beautiful with a peace that comes with knowing every corner doesn't need to be blog-worthy. I don't know how to have a silent night alone with Jesus and not think about to-do lists and Christmas wishes. I don't know how to give out of extravagant generosity instead of obligation. I don't know how to be certain that my focus is on the true reason for the season. 

But I'm praying hard about it. I'm praying for HIS JOY to be greater than the temporary joy that comes from manufactured Holiday cheer. I'm praying that when I see everyone else's glorious Holiday homes...that I will smile with inspiration rather than feel discouraged that I can't measure up. 

I want to write more letters to lonely people I know. I want to give more time away. I want to seek HIS will for my days in the advent season ahead instead of my own Christmas bucket list. 

All that to say...I'll be sharing photos of our holiday home soon. It will be lovely and it will be fun. But, know in my heart, that I am a work in progress. Working toward loving Jesus and others more than myself. More than my Christmas trees. More than my own self-glorification. More than my follower count. I'm not always there yet, but maybe this Christmas, we can all just be works-in-progress together.