This week, we are sharing all the updates on our new houses. Plus, we are revealing our fall book club selections.
You can find the podcast posts archive here.
And, if you’re looking for a specific code you heard on the podcast, you can see a full list on this page!
Here is Elsie’s Pirate Chandelier
Here are the beds Elsie mentioned
Update on Elsie’s move:
Moved in three months ago, but in the middle of renovating so still have boxes everywhere!
First thing you did to make your new house feel more like home:
Emma – decorated for Christmas and cooked with her husband
Elsie – lit candles, hung art and mirrors, put all her quilts out, got her puzzles out, and worked on her kitchen
Where to find Elsie’s quilts
Favorite thing about your new house:
Elsie – It’s her dream house in her dream neighborhood
Emma – She feels settled and loves her neighborhood
Renovations you have done:
Emma – Repaired leaky roof and painted the exterior
Elsie – Creating a guest suite and a home library on the third floor, adding fireplaces, painting, wallpaper, wood floors, built Jeremy’s studio, changing all light fixtures
Fall Book Club Selections:
Feel Something, Make Something by Caitlin Metz
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers
The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride
Miss an Episode? Get Caught Up!
Episode 199 Transcript:
Emma: You’re listening to The Beautiful Mess podcast, your cozy comfort listen. This week we are sharing all the updates about our new houses, mostly Elsie’s. Plus we are revealing our fall book Club selections. Books. Books. Books.
Elsie: Yes. Books and houses. I mean, that should have been the name of our podcast. I feel like it is the thing. It’s definitely the thing I enjoy talking about the most, and I mean, movies, books, houses, and movies.
Emma: And my kid, but I try to do that too much ’cause I know it could be overload. But that’s pretty much all I wanna talk about.
Elsie: No, everyone likes it. Okay, so before we jump in, I wanted to share my own personal disaster. I shared a little bit on Instagram and I will put a photo in the show notes. It looks so horrible. It was this very sad, very mind-melting moment for me. So for the past three months we’ve been living in our new home and we have been trying to get it kind of like up to speed where we can take a renovation break. And if you remember far back, some people are like, why didn’t you take a break immediately like you planned? Well, there’s the reason why, because it didn’t go as planned like a week or two before we moved. And my husband’s studio was supposed to be finished being built. It wasn’t even started yet. There were just things that happened and that is such a normal part of renovating. So I hoped that we could get a lot of stuff done before we moved in and enjoy a peaceful summer and a peaceful fall. But at this point, a peaceful fall would be the most we could hope for. The ship is sailed on the peaceful summer. We still have contractors at our house every single day, which is fine. I’m grateful that, you know, whatever, whatever, whatever. Grateful, grateful, grateful. But also it’s been tough. It’s been tough, you know? So anyway, recently I have been trying to finish up our third floor, which is like two guest rooms, a guest bathroom, and a home library, which I’m so excited about because a new little baby has entered our family. And we will be having special guests this fall. So I wanna have it ready, at least by Thanksgiving is my goal for that whole space to be perfect.
Emma: Yeah, ’cause it had no bathroom before.
Elsie: It was just kind of an open attic with two bedrooms before, and now it is two bedrooms. It has H-VAC, it has a bathroom and it has a home library. Pretty soon it will have painted floors and walls and wallpaper too, I hope, and like beds and stuff. So anyway, I had been planning for months this Neverland-themed kid’s bedroom up there. It started when I found a pirate ship chandelier online. I got it from this business called Houzze with two Zs like a house, but two Zs at the end.
Emma: I’ve seen that before. I’ve never bought anything, but I’ve seen it.
Elsie: It’s around. And then if you just Google Pirate Trip Chandelier, it’s the best. Find the best price you can, they’re expensive. And that’s all I have to say about it. But found the best one I could, and for me, it was worth it because it was Peace Day resistance or whatever, you know? It was the magic.
Emma: I thought it was old too when you showed it to me. Like I didn’t realize it was new. So like I feel like it looks great. I thought it looked awesome.
Elsie: It’s definitely a statement piece. It’s one of the biggest statements in our home. So anyway, I put it up there and I knew it was gonna be low. I knew that from measuring it online, and I was like, I’m gonna make this work no matter what. Then I ordered a couple of, twin beds from anthropology and I was gonna do like two twin beds and then the light fixture, and then after that, you know, just like accessorize the room and it’ll be done. So on the day, the light fixture was hung, which I’ll show you a picture of in the show too. It looked amazing. It looked great. I have this gorgeous picture. It looks perfect. You kind of can’t tell how low it is because there are no beds in there, it looks fine. It looks good. It looks like it’s gonna work out.
Emma: It looks low, but not like, you know, impossibly low or something. I don’t know.
Elsie: So the beds came up and I’ll show you a picture. I’ll link them, but I don’t think anyone’s gonna buy them after I give this review. But they’re from anthropology. They’re very beautiful. I will say that, they looked a hundred times better in photos. And for one, they didn’t really fit the room. They were just a little bit too bulky, and it wasn’t even just in pictures, I thought they were going look antique-inspired, but I would say they were very, very, very far on like the farmhouse type. So the texture of the wood is like if you took the most jaggedy, splintery, unsanded wood, and then just painted over it. Like they have a horrible texture. That’s really, for me, my biggest thing. Once they were up there, they were on the third floor, I had to pay extra for that. All these things, I was like, I’m gonna make this work. And for one night I thought about like, can I modify these? Can I repaint them? Maybe I can sand them a little bit. I was like, I’m gonna pretty much remake these beds from anthropology, which are expensive. But I was like, I’m gonna make it work. And then the next morning I was like, nope, I’m sending them back. They’re just not right for the room no matter what, and I feel good about that choice now. So I did that right away. I started scheduling it and they’re going back where they came from and I think that maybe in a completely different home, they would look nice. Something way more rustic.
Emma: I don’t know the way you describe the texture, I don’t know.
Elsie: I hate it. I hate the texture. And a big thing in our home is that I want everything to be old or look old and they just don’t. So that’s really like the main thing. They just look like farmhouse modern to me.
Emma: Because your chandelier looked old. Because I thought it was old. I saw it in person.
Elsie: Yeah. Not everything can be old, but I think everything can fit into the style of old, you know what I mean? Which is totally fine, that’s to be expected. And you don’t even wanna have everything in antique, trust me. Like some of the things they’ve had to go through for the antique light fixtures and the extra, you have to do a lot of extra steps, and it adds money, and may not be worth it for everyone. It’s good to find ones that are new, that are the old style, right? Like that’s a good thing. It’s not a bad thing. So anyway, everything about the room and the other thing was, I couldn’t even find one angle where it looked good, it looked bad from every angle. It was the worst. And I have to blame only myself. I measured these things. I did and I made sure that they would fit, and technically they did, but like, spatially and visually they didn’t. And so I guess sometimes you just have to cut your losses. So anyway, I’m sharing this story because I think that a lot of times I’m in my dream home era. We have a good budget and we’re like doing all these exciting projects and it’s so fun and it’s so magical and I feel very lucky. But I also want everyone to know that it’s not perfect, no matter who you are, no matter what you’re doing, unless maybe someone else does it for you completely. It’s like there’s always gonna be these like hiccups and headaches and like disappointments. And for us pivots, because ultimately the chandelier has to go downstairs into a living space now. It can’t be in the bedroom, it just won’t work. And I accept that. I still wanna keep it. I still like love it.
Emma: Hey, I think you’ll see it more now that you’re gonna move it down so it’s fine. It’s gonna be better. But yeah, it changes maybe the theme or what you were planning, and I’m glad you’re sharing it because I think, well, I don’t know what everyone else perception is, but for me, like in my first home when I had a much smaller budget and you know, pretty much everything was very DIY or affordable, vintage, I think I did have this like fantasy in my mind that one day I would have this house where there are no hiccups because everything would just be different. I don’t know why I thought that, and it’s like, no, like yeah, maybe your budget changes or different things do make some parts of it easier, better, or just more what you want. But there’s always something where you’re like, oh, no, did I make a bad choice? Oh no. Did I waste money? Oh no. Did I waste, like, you know, the shipping of something and like, you just feel frustrated and it’s just unavoidable that sometimes you have to change things or pivot or send something back because it just didn’t work. And it’s always a bummer. And no one gets to escape it. It’s just what it is.
Elsie: Yep. It’s true. Yeah, this one was sad for more nostalgic reasons. ’cause I was so attached to the concept and the idea, and now I have to sort of just like pivot it a little bit, which is fine. It’ll still be cute.
I’ll probably still keep the theme. But I don’t know I might not, ’cause I have to pick all new stuff now. Anyway, this episode is about our home updates. So we’re just gonna kind of give you all the tea about things that have been going on the last few months. There are definitely some frequently asked questions in here and some embarrassing stories, and I think it’s fun. I like talking about houses.
Emma: So, general update for your move-in, ’cause as you said, you’ve been in your house now three months, almost four months I guess.
Elsie: We moved at the very end of May. Yeah, so like three full months.
Emma: Do you feel like all the boxes are unpacked?
Elsie: My gosh. Can’t even say that without laughing. I’ll just be honest, our house looks worse than ever. It looks horrible, but I do feel like we are at the ending phases. So currently we’re having every light fixture changed a lot. There’s been these huge boxes of light fixtures in every room for months, and those are all getting changed. Like even right now as we’re recording. I have four different wallpapers sitting in my entryway ready to go up, which will make a huge impact once you know the project’s done right, and we have our last painting appointment. Scheduled, which will be such a relief, and we’ll have bookshelves after that. That’s a huge reason why we couldn’t unpack. We just didn’t really have bookshelves when we moved in. Like there was one small bookshelf in the entire home and that is not the right number for me. So now there’s gonna be an epic amount of bookshelves and we won’t be able to fill it for years, which is so exciting. So, yeah, our house looks horrible, but I do feel that by September, which I don’t know, maybe that’s when this episode will air around that time, I think. Yeah, I think by September it’s going to start looking good, and in the fall time I’m going to have a lot more blog posts showing what we’ve done so far. And people always ask me like, why don’t you share more of the middle, more of the mess? Honestly, I just don’t want to, it’s not fun for me. It’s stressful. It’s a headache. And to try to make it into content on top of that, I don’t want to, it’s not enjoyable.
Emma: Yeah. I mean, if you’ve never blogged, and it’s totally understandable, but like it’s actually a lot of work to put together any blog post. So then if you’re putting together something that’s kind of like just to update people in the now, but it’s not something that’s gonna be content that’s useful in the future, in any meaningful way. It’s kind of a waste of effort and like the times that we spend blogging or recording this podcast, this is like our time away from our kids, so we want it to be impactful, and we hope that every piece of content we ever make is enjoyable, but we also want it to be stuff that we’re gonna reference back in the future. Or really the podcast is our place to just kind of riff and be like, you know, like you’re telling your story about how the beds didn’t work with the ship chandelier. I feel like this is the perfect place to talk about that rather than trying to. Photograph a room tour that you’re never going to reference again ’cause you’re showing how something didn’t work and all you’re really doing is linking beds that didn’t work for you.
Elsie: That’s exactly all that it is.
Emma: So it’s kind of not even that helpful of content for people anyway. So yes, it’s not like you’re trying to hide stuff or be like, our lives are perfect and we never show you the messy parts. It’s like, no, it’s just kind of a waste of time.
Elsie: That’s honestly what it is. Thank you for summing it up so well. I think that says it better than I’ve ever been able to say it. It’s just like, I don’t wanna spend my time making posts that I don’t wanna make. Like, is that okay?
Emma: Yeah, it’s just not helpful content really. I mean, it’s way less helpful than you would think. But there is no secret about how messy our lives are or anything. It’s just a lot of effort, we’re not Kardashians, people aren’t filming us every day. We would have to do that ourselves. Way too much work. We can’t do it. We don’t have enough time in our week.
Elsie: So yeah, to answer the question, I would say the move went well. Our boxes are not unpacked at all.
Emma: I’ve been to your house, it’s a lot of boxes. It’s a zoo in there.
Elsie: It really is.
Emma: It’s a little disaster, but you can see what it’s gonna be and it’s gonna be beautiful.
Elsie: If it’s not great in the fall time, I’m gonna freak out in a weird way, but I feel like it is coming along to the point where it is, it’s like about to have its tipping point and every renovation has that, the point where you finally get to actually get rid of all the boxes and you actually get to enjoy your space and hang things on your walls ’cause they’re finally painted or wallpapered or whatever. Yes, it is happening soon, so everything’s gonna be amazing. Okay, so the next question is, what is the first thing you did to make your house feel like a home? I love this. What did you do?
Emma: When we moved in, it was like the day before Halloween, and so I think I kind of felt sad about not getting to decorate.
Elsie: Oh, that’s a sad moving day.
Emma: Halloween? Yeah, and ’cause our renovation also got pushed back and pushed back and we also didn’t have rails on our stairs until New Year’s Eve.
Elsie: Emma had a little bit of a painful renovation. Like she had to move into a house that wasn’t done and like some disappointments to navigate, which is really normal.
Emma: Yeah. And not done is fine. I think the rails, I did feel kind of angry and had to just be over it because it was legit, it was unsafe, and our kid was under two and learning to do stairs, so it was very like I carried him up the stairs until we had the rails.
Elsie: It was still like that at Thanksgiving.
Emma: Yeah ee had family over. Yes, my mostly blind nieces, my elderly grandma. And I just was like, my house is unsafe and it really makes me angry that they didn’t finish this when they told me they would. But that’s fine. No one got hurt and it’s fine. But at any rate, the first thing they did to make the house feel more like home was I just went ahead and decorated for Christmas, right away because I was like Miss Halloween, Christmas, and then also I always think some of the first times you cook a meal in your home, which for me, usually we do more of a dinner after Oscar’s gone to bed, he goes to bed at seven and then it frees me up to like spend more time and like focus on making dinner. So like cooking, we make a lot of steak with risotto or different things like that. It’s a lot of meat with a carb. But I love to like just spend time making risotto or making a pasta dish and just like, I don’t know, cooking with my husband that makes, that makes it feel like home to me. ’cause that’s such a thing we do all the time, cooking in our house.
Elsie: That’s magical. Okay. So for us, the first thing we did was light the candles. So I got a bunch of new candles and like made sure that it was like immediate candle time and that it did help me a lot. It made me feel like a good feeling, and it was a time when it was like, not quite.
Emma: And it smells nice.
Elsie: Yeah. It’s a good vibe and we’ve kind of been doing that, hanging some art, hanging our mirrors, things like that, like make me feel really good, just like getting things in their place and having like unfinished stuff. I’m okay with it as long as I have some finished spaces. So we decided recently that we’re like a quilt family. We just realized that comforters are not as good as quilts. Like we love quilts, like the feeling of sleeping with them.
Emma: We have a quilt on our bed right now.
Elsie: You have one quilt or two quilts, depending on the season, and it’s like, I love that. So yeah, we have quilts on every bed. I love that. There’s one on our porch, there’s like a porch swing, it’s a bed, I guess. It’s so cute. So there’s a quilt out there and it just like, I don’t know, I felt like that was a really good homey thing ’cause they were all new.
Emma: I was gonna say, where do you get your quilts from?
Elsie: Yeah. You know what, I’m gonna link these in the show notes because I have like very specific. But one of them is from LL Bean, and it’s so random, but it’s like an amazing quilt. I love it. And some of them are from, I think, West Elm Kids, and they’re like, they’re not as good quality, but they’re really cute and they’re really good for the kids. Then I got a couple from Target, so there’s some there. And then there was one more, I’m gonna have to just link it in the show notes. But the other thing I love about quilts is that they last, and they age well, you know? So I think I’ve just found that that is like a really good bedroom situation for us. And then the other thing we did to feel at home right away was we got out our puzzle table and started a puzzle. And I spent the most time in my kitchen. So, in my home, nothing is really organized and nothing is how I want it to be, but the kitchen is pretty good. It’s definitely like a phase one kitchen ’cause I’m sure we didn’t renovate it. We added an island, which was great.
Emma: The islands are awesome.
Elsie: We didn’t change anything else. We just added a few little cabinets from Amazon, like bookshelves, basically. To store things and then that’s it. So it definitely does need a renovation and it feels like it will be extremely better when it is renovated at the same time.
Emma: It does feel very usable right now though. And it does feel nice and cozy and as it all goes together. ’cause you like painted those extra cabinets that you bought and one of ’em was like from the holiday house that we had got at a vintage store a long time ago and you painted it. So it goes with the other ones, and I think it feels really nice in there, but like to me, I can tell just ’cause I know you that it’s not done. It’s like a phase one but I feel like it’s a really good phase one.
Elsie: Thank you. We did the best we could and I still feel like the kitchen is the hardest part. Like my husband has it cooked at all because he’s like, he doesn’t know where things are and he’s not like he has a mental block about it. I cook every day, but I’m not like, extremely happy with where things are stored and how, but I also feel like it’s not fixable right now. So we’re just kinda like making it work and we’re considering doing our renovation next spring, which is really not very far away. And if not that, then maybe the next spring after that, which would be okay too. Whatever, whatever forever. We’re kind of burned out right now.
Emma: Whatever, forever indeed. How about your favorite thing about your new house so far, ’cause this can change in the years of course. So anyway. What is your favorite thing about your new house? Or a couple of things you want?
Elsie: Okay. I have two things. The first thing is for years I have, wanted to live in an old house. Probably for five years when we were first shopping for our second Nashville home. I’ve wanted to live in an old house, but it just like wasn’t in the cards, wasn’t in the cards, couldn’t make it happen. Finally, it happened and I think I am just like loving and enjoying this intangible old house thing that it has. And like Emma said when she came over that. Tell them what you said.
Emma: I don’t remember how I worded it, but essentially my feeling when I got to your new house, which I knew where it was gonna be, but just like being there with you after you guys had moved for the first time. It felt to me like your first house in Nashville, your other two houses. So you had three houses in Nashville and the first one I was like, this is Elsie’s house, this is their home. It feels like their home, even as you’re renovating it ’cause I had seen it while you’re renovating. It just was like, yeah, this is their home. And the other two just never really felt like home to me. They just, I don’t know. They were beautiful houses and the things you did in them were beautiful, and there wasn’t anything wrong with them. They just, I don’t know how to explain. They just didn’t feel like home. And when I walked into this one, your new house here in Springfield, I was like, yeah, this is the Larson’s new home. It just felt like it, and everything that I see is like putting more things up and it’s starting to look more like itself as you’ve kind of finished like the renovations that are just like subfloors and putting in bathroom stuff, you know? It just more and more feels like the house that you’ve been wanting, the house that you’ve been talking about and like was trying to make your last house into, which was just like a really cool nineties house and perfect for what you guys needed at the time, it feels like this was meant to be.
Elsie: I definitely think it was meant to be. For like my fellow simulation nerds. It’s like my evidence in life, my proof that I’m living in a simulation is that like I got my exact perfect dream house. It couldn’t be more perfect. It’s my dream house. So like literally my dream house.
Emma: Yeah, you pull up to it and I’m like this is like Father of the Bride house. You walk into it and you’re like, it’s like a Knives Outs house. It just feels like you guys were meant to live there. And when I see the girls outside, I’m like, they fit here. This is their neighborhood, this is them.
Elsie: The other thing that I love so much is our new neighborhood is like my childhood dream neighborhood for my kids. It’s a cute childhood neighborhood. It’s just, it’s adorable, you can walk to things.
Emma: Including grandma’s house. Well, they’re great grandmama, but your grandma.
Elsie: Yeah, they have a piano teacher now. They’ve had art lessons. We have a little pottery studio. Just like so many cute things that you can do.
Emma: Goldie’s favorite restaurant.
Elsie: Goldie’s favorite restaurant, A Sleepy Possum Cafe. So it’s like a breakfast restaurant, it’s like a popup. But yeah. Anyway, it’s magical. So yeah. What’s your favorite thing about your new house?
Emma: I honestly like, seriously, almost every single day I have a moment where I’m like probably working from home or just hanging out with Oscar, and I’m like, I love this house. I’m just so happy. I feel very settled because like my last two houses, I didn’t feel as settled and, one of them I like hated.
Elsie: The snake house.
Emma: The snake house, off of Ozark. I just never loved living there. It was really hard to do my work there. I felt very isolated. I felt very far away from everyone all the time. It wasn’t a great neighborhood to walk in and I love going on walks. I didn’t have Oscar, but thinking about it now, I’m like, that would’ve not been my favorite house to have Oscar in. Because again, there wasn’t really anywhere for him to walk and we were outside all the time, walking up and down the sidewalks all the time. He like has a little ride on the bus that I bought from a thrift store and cleaned and he’s always riding it around the neighborhood. And our neighborhood is hilly, but it has some sidewalks and like there’s some neighborhood kids and it just feels good here. I just feel very settled and I love our house. I never envisioned loving a split level or I don’t know there isn’t necessarily anything about the house that I was like, I manifested it and I’m living in assimilation. I don’t have the same thing that you have, but I do love the house and I feel like it’s the perfect mix for Trey and I. It feels exactly like the two things we want all combined, and it also just feels like a good house to raise a kid in, and that’s what we’re doing, that’s my season of life. So like his daycare’s like five minutes from here. Like I said, we play outside all the time. We have a sandbox, we have a yard for our dog. We have like a little circle drive that he plays in and sidewalks that he plays on. And then we have a neighborhood pool and I go there almost every day after daycare. If it’s not raining, I take him. ’cause he just loves being outside, he’s two. Being outside is everything to him. And so we’re just at the neighborhood pool or hanging out outside. The inside of our house is beautiful and I love working in it. I feel like it’s an easy space for me to work in. The kitchen’s great and it has enough light for me to photograph and do my food blogging life, and I just love it.
I love our house. It’s a great, great fit for us and feels, I hope we never move. I hate moving anyway, it’s so much work. Yeah, I just love it and I feel really, really grateful to like be in a house that feels like I’ve settled. Yeah, it’s a nice feeling.
Elsie: My favorite thing about your neighborhood, this morning I drove by the Swan Pond and the swans were out, and they’re so cute. I’m obsessed that she has swans in her neighborhood. It’s so cool.
Emma: It makes me feel very sophisticated. I can’t even explain why, ’cause it’s not really fancy. But somehow if I’m out on a walk and I see the swans, I’m like, I’m living in a Nancy Meyers movie and I live in a neighborhood that’s fancy. Like, I just think that for some reason, because it’s cute and it’s quaint and it just, I don’t know it feels cool. Swans are awesome.
Elsie: Yeah, it’s a very, very sweet neighborhood. Oh, renovations you’ve done. Okay, well you can go first ’cause I feel like you did a full renovation and I’ve only done not a full renovation.
Emma: Yeah, when we did most things before we moved in, although as I already mentioned, there were a few things not done like the rails, but since we’ve moved in, the main things we’ve done is like getting the exterior painted and like changing out some outside lights and things like that, really pretty minor stuff. And then like most homes, when you move in, you discover a few things that need repairs or maybe I have bad luck too. I don’t know, but like tend to be a few things that break after we move into houses, it’s just how it goes. So we had some leak issues with our roof. We’ve got all that fixed and we had to redo some drywall and repaint it, so we did all that. I’m honest, and I’m just being really honest here, ’cause the podcast is our friends. I am burnt out on renovating, and kind of decorating, not seasonal decor, but just like, I don’t really plan on doing.
Elsie: If it’s not a Halloween skeleton, she doesn’t want it.
Emma: I don’t give a if it’s not a skeleton, get outta here with that ’cause I’m not interested, like right now we’re recording in my basement because Elsie’s basement isn’t quite done. It looks exactly how it looked when we toured this house, and I don’t really plan to change it anytime soon, maybe ever. I don’t know. Like I just don’t care. I feel like our house is good enough and I love every space and there are some small things I’m gonna do. I am only interested in things that I can do, like literally myself. ’cause I’m just tired of trying to book contractors, and then if they don’t show up and I work from home it’s a little bit disruptive just like it is for Elsie. Like if I had contractors right now, you would hear them while we’re trying to record our podcast, which is a part of how we make our living. So it’s just, you know, this kind of difficulty of like, I’m tired of having people in my house and I’m just taking a break for a while. I don’t know how long, but a while.
Elsie: I definitely feel the burnout for the first time in a serious way, and like I do think it’s definitely real that like, you know, most people can’t handle doing this for that many years in a row.
Emma: Yeah. People always ask me like, are you gonna get a hot tub? And I’m like, I don’t care enough. Like I love hot tubs so much, and I just can’t, just the work you’ll get later. I’m like, not right now. I’m burnt out right now. Maybe in a couple of years. I don’t care right now.
Elsie: Yeah, I’m burned out too, but I’m like an internal war within myself because I always wanna keep doing stuff, even when it’s like not what’s best for me, and I’m trying to like to do less, but then also like only do the most important things and it’s tough.
Emma: Yeah, I’m only like, oh, I’m gonna paint this one little room that’s like my library. Oh, I’m gonna paint the sunroom, but like I’m gonna do it myself, and so it’s just gonna happen slowly over as I have time, you know, my one hour after Oscar goes to bed or whatever, you know. But that’s all I’m doing for a while ’cause I’m just a little burnt out and I’m just giving myself a break.
Elsie: No, that makes sense. I think that sounds really smart. Okay, so renovations that I have done. So our third floor is almost done, and it’s like a guest suite and a whole library.
Emma: It looks awesome.
Elsie: Thank you.
Emma: The library part is so cool ’cause it’s kind of like windy. Yeah, it’s cool.
Elsie: It’s definitely like an oddly shaped space, and I’ll make a video of it as soon as it’s painted and a little bit decorated and share more of it. But yeah, I’m very happy with how it’s coming along and I’m so excited to get the bookshelves as soon as they’re painted and cured, I just cannot wait to get out all my books again ’cause it’s driving me crazy to have all the books in the basement. It’s like sad. And I feel like I’m like missing my friends and like some of them are reference books that I use, sporadically, you know? So, anyway, the other thing we’ve added quite a bit of is fireplaces. We added three fireplaces. There’s one in Jeremy’s studio, in the basement. There’s one in our bedroom that we’re building right now, and I am building a replica fireplace from a famous movie. It’s one of my favorite movies if you can guess it.
Emma: You win a prize, but we don’t know what it is.
Elsie: Yes, you have to buy the prize yourself, but you win. And if you’re thinking of right now, it is what you’re thinking and it’s gonna be amazing. I can’t wait. I’m so excited. I’ve always wanted to do this replica fireplace for some reason. And then where’s the other? Oh, the other fireplaces in our main living room. So the way the house was when we bought it, it was like a very modernized fireplace, and so we have rebuilt it into a traditional fireplace. So yeah, and also making them electric. I just like realized, I’m like not a gas fireplace girly, and I don’t want gas smelling in my house ever. And also like some people who work in the medical field have told me that it’s not good for you. So for all those reasons, I’m out and I am excited to have the electric ones. We found this one fireplace that we use three times that looks really realistic, and it also gives off heat, so it kind of does everything I want, but without any gas smell, which makes me feel, especially in the bedroom a lot better. And then other than that, you know, we’ve painted, we’re doing wallpaper, we did our wood floors and we built Jeremy’s studio. Right now we’re getting every single light fixture in the whole house switched, and some of them are moving around. So I think it’s gonna be epic. It’s gonna be wonderful. But honestly, it’s been hell pay this summer being like a summer mom on top of working on top of working with contractors every single day. I feel in a not good place, but I do think it’s gonna be better soon ’cause we are taking an intentional break for the fall.
Emma: Yeah, you’ve had to be a robot who’s like, I have no feelings. I just do the task.
Elsie: Yeah, I was telling Emma that I have cried the last three times we’ve talked or hung out. Like any time we talk, it’s like I always start crying just because I can’t, I’m barely getting through.
Emma: It’s just a lot of feelings too, and a lot of space for them.
Elsie: It’s been a challenging summer. It’s been very challenging, just like scheduling-wise and, taking on too much. So anyway, is there anything else we wanna talk about the home updates?
Emma: Maybe you should tell ’em about your front stoop because it’s kind of funny, the squirrels.
Elsie: Yeah. Okay, so one last update before we move on. So our front porch, when we bought the house, the paint was chipping a little bit and we were like, we should probably repaint this. Then a couple of months later we started to realize that the wood looked really torn up and I was like, our contractor’s boots being really rough. I was like really confused about how it was looking so bad so fast, and then one day we saw squirrels out there and it looked like they were eating the wood. They’re eating the stairs to her house. So we looked it up and they’re actually just like sharpening their teeth or like gnawing on it. They’re not actually eating anything but they’re still destroying it. It doesn’t matter. So that’s interesting. So we had to cut a section of our deck off. So there was a day when a part of our deck was missing and it was kind of scary. You just had to take a really big step over it. Oh, you came over to the house on that day?
Emma: Yeah, I was over that day and I was like, Hmm.
Elsie: Yeah, and then you replaced it and now it’s just primed. So we’re waiting until the painter comes soon, and then we’re going to paint it. I’m actually gonna paint it kind of the same color as Marigold’s bedroom, which is a dusty pink color. It’s kind of a statement color for a porch. But our whole neighborhood is, it’s very big and it’s all old houses, and I’ve looked at every single porch color, and this is what I decided. Fits this house the best ’cause I really like the houses with red steps. But sometimes I think a red porch is too much. So I decided to do a dusty color I thought would be more, I’m a pink person. I like pink. I don’t use it as much as I used to and not as bright pastel as I used to, but I’ll always love pink. It’s definitely a great color. It goes with so many things. And for this porch, it was gray and it looked good gray. And I was originally gonna paint over it with a gray, but I just felt like it wasn’t exciting at all. It was the opposite of exciting.
Emma: Yeah. You’re just fixing something that was broken, which is fine. But not very fun.
Elsie: And I feel like this will just add a little bit of a special something, so I hope it turns out well. I’ll make a video as soon as it’s done, and I’ll show it for sure on Instagram. I hope it’s done soon. But yeah, that porch has been quite a, I think that I’m learning about the commitments of old houses right now because there’s definitely, you know, they have their surprises, their little surprise electrical bill.
Emma: Surprise, the squirrels ate everything or sharpened their teeth on everything. Whatever. I do love your front door though, with the like humidity architect message thing. It’s not really a message.
Elsie: Yes. So for anyone who hasn’t seen it on Instagram, I’m going to make it a permanent video. It’s called like Ghost Writing, but what it is, is essentially at one point there was some kind of final or painted sign on this door, and it’s been scraped off for a long time, but every time it gets super humid, you can see all the letters again, and it’s so cool. I heard about it from the original house listing, which was like an old listing, but I had never seen it, it took months. And then one day it was there. It was so exciting.
Emma: It’s pretty cool. And you know, as much as you love spooky stuff, and like, I mean, it’s literally called ghostwriting. So I just feel like it’s perfect. And it’s just cool if you like old stuff. It’s neat to see a little piece of history that’s only revealed when it’s humid. I don’t know, it’s fun.
Elsie: It’s a sign for an architect. So at one point, an architect was functioning their business out of the home, which is interesting.
Emma: Or the door was from, maybe they took the door.
Elsie: Yeah, that’s true too.
Emma: Who knows?
Elsie: I actually think the door is different, so maybe. Interesting. Okay, I’ll figure that out. I’ll crack this case.
Emma: Report back. All right, now we are going to tell you our fall book club selections. So we are going to do three fiction books and then one non-fiction book, and I’ll let you tell them about the non-fiction book. Why don’t you do that first actually?
Elsie: Okay. So the non-fiction book is called Feel Something, Make Something by Caitlyn Metz. And they’re an amazing artist that we love from St. Louis. So also from Missouri and yeah, I got the book. I pre-ordered it. I got it on the day it came out, and it’s incredible. It is exactly right up our alley for A Beautiful Mess podcast listeners, so I can’t wait for you to see it, and read it. It’s kind of like a hybrid of like a lot of illustrations, a lot of pages are full illustrations. And then there’s also like a lot you could read. I would say it’s probably an easy read, like it would take a couple of hours to read the whole thing and it has projects in it. So it’s a book about, you know, expressing your feelings and also making things. And there’s a whole part at the end about making little zines, which I thought it was like, it gave me the greatest rush of inspiration. So, yeah, I think it’s gonna be so much fun to work on together. And I also got like five extra copies to put in our neighborhood free little library ’cause I was like so enthused about it. Like I want everyone to read it.
Emma: I love it. Yeah. I really didn’t know anything about it, Elsie sent me the cover and I was like, oh, an immediate yes. It just looked like something I was very interested in right away. And then the three fiction books we’re gonna read is we are going to read Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman, which is a book, but it’s also the beginning of a series. So if you wanna keep going after that with a series, great. But Elsie and I are both gonna read that. We’ve never read it. We have seen the movie and we talked about it ’cause I love that movie so much, but I’m excited. I love that author and I haven’t read the series, so very excited. It’s perfect for the season.
Elsie: Yeah, the fans have told me that the first book isn’t even the best one, which I always love as a review series.
Emma: I do too. That’s exciting. And then we are also gonna read All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers, which if you’re a true crime junkie like I am, then you already know who that is because she does Crime Junkie, and I think she’s also the founder or one of the founders, I’m not sure of Audio, Chuck, and they do a whole bunch of different kinds of podcast about crime, true crime and other things. But anyway, this is a fiction book. All Good People Here, and actually my husband bought this book for me a while ago, and he read it first because we were like, oh, let’s both read it, we only have one copy, you know, whatever. And he said he really liked it. It’s a mystery. You’re trying to solve a crime, and he said it has a couple of twists and he didn’t see it coming. And he always sees the twist coming. He’s one of those people. So I feel like it’ll be fun. So I’m excited for that. And then we’re also gonna read the Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride, which I’ve actually never read this author before but I’ve heard so many great things. I feel like Barack Obama loved one of his books and put it on his summer reading list or something like that. But the premise of the book sounded a little bit spooky. I think that they’re like tearing something down. They’re gonna build something and they’ve discovered these like skeletons or a skeleton and then that’s kind of like the jumping-off point for the book. That’s my understanding. So I think it sounds really interesting and I’m excited to read a new author that I have a feeling I’m probably going to love, but never read before.
Elsie: Nice. I’m very excited for this season. It’s gonna be a good reading season. Yeah. I want to get more people involved with our book club. Like I’m not sure how to make it a little more interactive.
Emma: I don’t know. That would be fun though.
Elsie: If anyone has suggestions, like maybe we should do more Instagrams about it or something. I don’t know. But read along with us.
Emma: Read along with us. We’ll put all of our pics for the fall in the show notes for this episode. And as usual, we are a bit random, so we will announce like the episode before what book we might be doing, but we don’t know what order we’re gonna do these in yet necessarily. So, and especially the nonfiction book.
Elsie: We can’t play by those rules.
Emma: We really can’t. We’re not organized, okay. We are not organized. We’re just doing our best. But the nonfiction book, since it’s kind of a, it’s not a workbook, but it has exercises.
Elsie: It’s kind of a workbook.
Emma: Probably that one will come last so that we have time and you know, you all can have time to like to work through it a little bit, and not do all of it at once ’cause you don’t need to feel all your feelings in one day. That’s too much.
Elsie: Everyone’s gonna love it, it’s amazing.
Emma: Okay, now it’s time for a joke or a fact or meditation with Nova.
Elsie: All right this week we have a special guest. It’s Marigold and Nova. Marigold, do you have a joke for us?
Marigold: What kind of key opens up a banana?
Elsie: What kind of key opens up a banana? I don’t know.
Marigold: A monkey.
Elsie: Ah, good one.
Nova: I told her that joke, and she told it to that podcast.
Elsie: Nice. Oh my God. She’s doing so good still. It’s so cute. She said, Mommy, I better record a joke or a fact with Nova, or else no one will listen to your podcast.
Emma: She’s not wrong.
Elsie: You’re probably right. Thanks so much for listening. You can submit questions at [email protected] or call or voicemail at (417) 893-0011. We’ll be back next week with our 200th podcast episode. So yeah, bring some champagne. We are very excited about that. We’ll be letting you know the lessons that we learned from recording our first 200 episodes.