Flipping a house and making it into our dream home has always been on my bucket list. I love doing projects and seeing the fruit of your labor come to life in front of your eyes, even if its extremely slow moving. But let me tell you what they don't say about flipping a house on these HGTV shows; there are stupid tiny things you don't realize will cost you time and money. When we walked through our house (three times mind you before we put an offer down), we saw immense amount of potential and excitement. We could take out this wall here, add something here, get some new light fixtures, slap on some paint and call it good, right? Not. Even. Close. You start working on your house and then you actually take the time to look at the door knobs, and man are they hideous. So lo and behold you start cruising Wayfair and Amazon and Houzz looking for door knobs that fit the style and functionality you're looking for. Then you realize that the bathroom faucets and shower heads are nasty and probably original to the house and let me tell you, faucets and shower heads are dang expensive. And those "simple" light fixtures you thought of in the beginning, are $200 a piece and you need at least 7 of them. So you're back on Wayfair and Amazon and Houzz looking for sales and options. You find something you like and you think to yourself, "I can do that. Why would I pay another $200 for that when I can spend $30 and make it myself?" Then your list grows and grows of things to build and make and you're kind of on a deadline if you want this stuff to be functional by the time you move in. And that wall you wanted to take out? Well the contractor called and said that it's not load bearing, but it bears some weight, and the only way to add reinforcements is to put in a pole or two. Whats running through my head is, "Why can't you just put in a dang beam across my living room and kitchen and call it good? The whole point of open concept is to not have a dang pole in the middle of the room." So I guess we'll see how that turns out.
Every weekend I make my way to Hampton to work for several hours a day to get things to where they need to be before we officially move in. Unfortunately Holden can't always come with me because of harvest on the farm, and I only get him when the rain comes pouring in, which is both great on my end, but bad for the farm. Right now I can say we are in the home stretch, even if it doesn't look like it. For the most part the demo is done and the dumpster is already gone (which took two loads believe it or not). These next few weekends will pertain of nothing but painting and adding cabinet hinges and handles, shiplap charm and building our kitchen island while waiting on the contractor, the flooring guys, the electrician and the painter to paint the exterior here in the next few weeks. If we're lucky, the bulk of that work will be done by the second or third week in November.
What puts it all into perspective at the end of the day is when you talk to locals and they hear you bought the place down the road with the pasture land and the creek running through it and their response is always along the lines of, "You got that place? Wow, you got one of the prettiest spots in Franklin County." or "You guys got super lucky! That land is beautiful and rarely does something like that come up for sale."
We are beyond grateful to have some amazing friends in the Hampton area that has helped us with demo, putting up fence lines for our minis, plumbing needs, ripping up flooring, all down to taking off old light switch plates. We couldn't do this without them! Needless to say, this is the one and only time you will find me flipping a house. We plan on this being our forever home and maybe someday (when we have a little more money built up) we'll add on or build a deck or do something crazy to add to our already hectic life. Follow me on instagram @iowacattlemama to see updates and more photos of our ranch and home!
Life is all about new beginnings and journeys. I full heartedly believe that we need to pursue our dreams and goals in life, as long as they are healthy and don't harm others. I am a dream chaser and if I don't feel I am in the right atmosphere or environment to pursue those dreams, then I look at my options and see what's possible. Here enters this blog and website.
Three years ago, I met my husband Holden and we lived in a little town of about 200 people. During our time in this town we worked on the family farm and mainly headed up the Hereford cow/calf operation along with row crops and a small alfalfa field. Let me just say that cow/calf is not an easy task. Like most animals, it takes a lot of time and attention. We became BQA (Beef Quality Assurance) certified in cow/calf operations through the Beef Check-off and read books and took classes on how we could be the best cattlemen we could possibly be. There were a lot of late nights helping cows calve safely and making sure the calves were healthy once they were born. There were times of ease and excitement and times of tears and frustration but we didn't back down easy. After some time had passed, we decided we need to reevaluate our operation and what we were doing in life. Was this really what we wanted in life? Were we truly living up to our full potential? At the end of the day, did we come home feeling happy and satisfied with our work? Not exactly. That's where the conversation begun about 5 months ago.
We started to lay out what this new change would look like for us; where we wanted to live, where we saw our future and where we could raise a family and our herd. That's when we stumbled upon this 20 acre plot of land with trees, brush, pasture grass and a little creek running right through the middle of it. We made one visit and we were hooked. We made a second visit and we were still hooked! We never gave any other place a chance, because this little slice of earth we found felt perfect for us. We went through the motions of buying a house and land and started dreaming up the potential for our future. We decided that this pasture wasn't ideal for our full sized herd, so we narrowed it down and decided this is where we were going to pursue our mini highland herd. For many reasons, mini highlands just seemed to fit the nature of our plans better because of their low maintenance, calving ease and ability to withstand harsh weather. Plus we would be hitting a niche market being the only miniature highland farm in the state of Iowa.
One evening, I was talking to Holden about how I wanted a big ranch sign to go over our driveway like out west in Montana where we stayed for our honeymoon, but I wasn't totally sure what we'd name it. He looked at me and said, "What about Highland Creek Ranch?" My eyes grew half their size and goosebumps rose on my arms. "That's it! It's perfect!" I said. There's a little creek running through the pasture where our highlanders will be grazing and it's something to call our own.
As the closing day arrived, we loaded up our car with the necessities for our first night and crossed the threshold into a new home, a new town and new beginnings. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of updating that will need to happen in our 80's styled home (don't worry, I'll share progress pics as we go, shiplap and all) but, it's our very own fixer-upper farm house, and it's everything we could've dreamed up for ourselves. Or as Holden calls it, our mid-century modern, Victorian, classic rustic farmhouse. Anyway, with any change in life, we faced our fair share of roadblocks, growing pains and sleepless nights to get here. Needless to say, I don't back down easy when it comes to our happiness and what we believe in for our future and future children. There will still be changes as we grow into this new phase of life but when you allow time and patience to fill in the cracks, amazing things can happen.
To those that cheered us on, supported us and love us beyond measure: we can't thank you enough for your guidance and help you provided as we begin this new journey in chasing our dreams and hopes for the future, you're awesome. I am beyond excited to expand what fuels our passions and make those dreams finally become a reality.
Holden & Billie Asmus