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Elsie is also sharing how she started house shopping and decorating (before even seeing her house) and we are answering a listener’s question on how to get into a festive autumn mood!

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Here’s a peek at the kitchen mood board. So excited!

Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast, today we’re sharing the tale of two holiday houses and how we ended up fulfilling our lifelong dream of being neighbors, kind of. I’m also sharing all the details of what it was like to house shop, purchase a home, and even start decorating before I even saw the home in person and we’ll be answering a listener question about how to get into the festive autumn mood. I’m so excited for this episode. So we just recently purchased this home in Missouri and it’s one block from Emma’s house and we painted it pink. That’s why we’re calling it Pink House because Emma just didn’t want me to call it Holiday House 2.0, that was a hard no from her so we’re calling it the pink house.

Emma: Yes, plus it is a pink house that was like the first thing she did. We should say, so you kind of mentioned in the intro, that it’s been a lifelong dream for us to be neighbors. I don’t know, people might be like, weird, why? So our grandma, Norma Jean, her and her sister before her sister passed away Ina, our great aunt Ina, were neighbors. They were sisters and their houses are across the fence from each other in Buffalo, Missouri. We’ve just always thought that was really sweet and although maybe our personal homes, maybe that’ll never happen, although life is long, who knows? It’s kind of cool.

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Elsie: What if we had double neighbor houses, a double neighbor situation?

Emma: Our husbands would just roll their eyes if they actually listen to this. 

Elsie: So our grandma and her sister lived next door to each other for more than, was it more than 60 years? It was most of their lives because, in the old days, people got married when they were basically children and that’s when they became neighbors. So they’ve basically always lived next door to each other and we just thought that was so cute. As kids, we would go over there and go play with their basketball goal and things like that. Just kind of fun anyway.

Emma: It’s always fun for cousins to grow up seeing each other a little more. So that’s kind of part of it with the pink house. Oscar and I already go on walks all the time and he’s just in a stroller, so he doesn’t know anything but I’m always like, there’s Aunt Elsie’s house as we walk by.

Elsie: Oh, how cute. I mean, he will soon. We’re going to tell the whole story, everything about it. We shared it on Instagram last week and got lots and lots of questions so we’re hopefully going to address your question today if you still had one and just tell a story and whatever, it’s fun. It’s pink. It’s adorable. Do you want to start with a little back story about how we ended up with our first holiday house and why it was called Holiday House and all of that?

Emma: So the house that I currently live in, we have always called it the Holiday House, and the reason being is we bought it maybe three years ago, four years ago, something like that. Yeah, three or four years ago. It was a house that Elsie could visit with her family because she lives in Nashville and I live in Springfield, Missouri. So it was a house that they could stay in when they come for the holidays so that’s why we called it the Holiday House. Then the rest of the time we were going to rent it out as an Airbnb but we pretty quickly ran into some issues with that. First was at the time, and I think this is kind of still true, there’s not really any property management companies here in Springfield, Missouri, for short-term rentals. So by the way, business idea for anyone listening in Springfield, Missouri, because I haven’t come across one and I actively looked for a few years there. Then also 2020, we ran into issues with COVID. The whole world kind of changed. So the short-term rental market kind of changed and that was different all over the country. In some places, it kind of boomed and then a lot of places it didn’t. So anyway, we had a friend, a couple of friends really, who lived in the holiday house while they were having their house renovated during that year and that sort of worked out. Then I moved into it and I just love it. I love the neighborhood and I really like living more in town and it also just has a lot more light than my previous home. One of the things I do for my career is I photograph food, which is kind of a funny thing to say. I’ve done it for years but I still think it’s funny.

Elsie: It’s not funny. People know and think it’s really cool.

Emma: I love it. I love photographing food. It’s really fun. But anyway, that’s a big part of my week. I do that almost every week and so there’s just a lot more natural light. I mostly shoot with natural light. I love the Holiday House so I live here now and it’s my personal home that me and my husband and my son, Oscar live in and our dog. But it’ll probably always be called the Holiday House even though it’s not just for holidays anymore, just because that’s what we always called it. Even on our blog posts that are about the house, they’re called Holiday House and we can’t really change those URLs without kind of creating a lot of broken 404 pages on our site. So that’s where we’re at with that. Then once I bought it, Elsie was like, well  I no longer have somewhere to stay when I come to town with my family. Obviously, you could stay if it’s just you, but your whole family, it gets a little crowded.

Elsie: So if I may interject, right before Emma moved into the house, first of all, we had tried to sell it and then I stayed in it for one last time and I really changed my mind just because it was so special and perfect. We had spent our best Christmas there, our first Christmas as a family of four, our best Halloween for sure ever, because it’s when Emma did the haunted house and it was just, it’s a really good Halloween neighborhood. So anyway, my husband and I stayed there one last time with our kids to our whole family there and we were like, we can’t give this up. It’s not exactly like a good or great financial decision but it was more of just an emotional decision and not an investment but an indulgence for our families, just like happiness and nostalgia and peace of mind and things like that.

Emma: As our friend Ramet would say, it’s part of your rich life.

Elsie: Hell yes, it is. So we decided that then immediately almost after that, like a week later, Emma moved into it and she fell in love with it so that really changed our direction. Then after about, I guess, almost a year and Emma told me that she wanted to actually buy it because we had bought it through our business so neither one of us personally owned the house. We kind of just owned it together as a business asset. She decided that she wanted to buy it and I, of course, was sad. But also like, that’s cool, whatever. So I set myself a Zillow alert and this is how you do it. So I’m not even like the biggest Zillow fan. This sounds like a Zillow ad, but it’s not. But they do have this one feature where you can draw with your mouse around the exact blocks of where you want to shop and that’s what I did. I basically drew two blocks around Emma’s whole house, maybe a couple extra blocks on certain sides of it. She lives really close to this intersection where there’s a bunch of businesses like food businesses. There’s a little wine shop, a little taco shop, like all these cute things, pizza restaurant and we really enjoyed just staying near all those things. It’s really great when you come into town and you can just get a pizza that night and eat it on your porch. It’s so cute. We kind of just fell in love with the neighborhood specifically and we wanted to be able to walk to all this stuff still because that was what we loved about Emma’s house when we used to stay there, Emma’s holiday house. Anyway, I made the Zillow alert but we really weren’t that serious. I really wasn’t sure if we were going to like, you know, it’s like you have all these goals in the future, but it’s like, what order do I put them in? I was pretty certain that it was more of a back burner goal than a now goal but then in the summertime I got Zillow alerts all the time for houses and some of them were pretty cute. There was even one actually across the street from where we ended up that it was so cute and it sold in a day. I was like, oh man, that’s pretty fast. Just like everywhere else in the world, it seems like real estate is pretty intense right now. So anyway, one popped up. This is the funniest place. It popped up while we were at Disney World and I was actually with Jeremy’s mom. Jeremy wasn’t even with me. I was just with Pat and I showed her. We were sitting down to have a lemonade, take a break and the alert popped up in my email and I showed her the house and I was like, should we just get it? She was like, yeah, I was like ok and then I, thought it over for a day or two. Luckily, this house was for sale by owner so it didn’t sell as lightning fast because I don’t think it was as visible. If I didn’t have the alert then I wouldn’t have seen it because for some reason it didn’t show up through the search but it did, for some reason, give me an alert. So the house is just like so basic. It’s a basic craftsman bungalow, very simple. It has two bedrooms in the downstairs and then it has one bathroom in the downstairs, and then it has an upstairs. That’s sort of a bonus area which could technically be considered another bedroom and there is another balcony

Emma: It’s kinda like a loft.

Elsie: Yeah, kind of a big play space is what we’re going to use it for.

Elsie: It was definitely a flip so let me tell you a little bit about that. My husband loved it because since it was newly flipped, it had things that old houses sometimes struggle with like electrical had all been updated. The lighting was all in the right places and things like that. It had some good, some nice modern conveniences about it. It has a really pretty kitchen which we’ll link to the picture or we’ll show it in the show notes. We’ve shown on Instagram a little bit, really, really pretty remodeled kitchen. They did it in great taste. I love what they did and there were other parts about it that weren’t as much to my taste, which was what kind of made me hesitate. The bathrooms are done pretty boring and not very era appropriate and they kind of effed up the fireplace a little bit. So I have to fix that overall. Really good job. There were some minor things that were just not what I would have done, totally to be expected. I guess where I was hung up was that I had fallen absolutely in love with this house on Emma’s Street that is a giant, needs everything old house, like needs everything. Emma had viewed it before and she said that it needed to be reconfigured. So it didn’t have any good bathrooms. It didn’t have anything about it. That is ready today, like move-in ready. It’s a project but it had obviously this limitless potential and I hope someone gets it who can put their heart and soul into it because that’s what it needs. But my husband was like, we’re not putting our heart and soul into that. We live in Tennessee, you know? So he was really attracted to this idea of a house that was kind of already ready to go. He was like, we can stay in it this Halloween. We can say it this Christmas and for all those reasons, that’s why we made an offer. Honestly, now that we’ve kind of gone through it all and obviously our offer was accepted and we closed on it. Then we painted it pink immediately. It was navy blue before and kind of started making our own. I realize now that I’m really glad that he pushed us to get something that didn’t need a whole lot because it’s like anything that we want to dom we can do, but anything that we don’t want to, we don’t have to do. Which is kind of nice. When I was obsessed with the house that was kind of a fixer, he was like, how many Halloweens and Christmases are going to pass by until this house is ready to stay in. You have to be realistic about that so anyway he was right in every possible way in that situation. It’s all good. I’m really happy with the house we picked. The size is much smaller, which is perfect for everything we need and we’re going to put up a picket fence and it’s just adorable.

Emma: Does Nova already know that it’s pink?

Elsie: Ok, no, this is the part that I was really excited to explain on the podcast because I felt it was too much to explain over Instagram, sometimes things just are. So what we decided is that with little kids, our kids are three and six years old, we could show them a picture and we could tell them about it, but it doesn’t mean anything to them until we’re there. So we decided to just wait and fully set it up and surprise them when we get there. We’re going to go for Halloween. This past week I was there for over a week setting up which we got a lot done but there’s still, even more, I’ll get into that later on in the episode, even more lovely boxes for Jackie and my father in law, Gary, and shout out to our dad Don because those are all the people who are helping me set up the rest of the things before we return in October. Anyway, we are so excited to show the kids and I’m excited that we decided to do it as a surprise because I think that their little kids if they thought about it, they could figure it out. But they’re not going to because they’re little kids. So it’ll be like a total surprise and I’m so excited.

Emma: Yeah, cute. I have a little present I’m going to put in there for them for when they come in late October.

Elsie: That’s a cute idea.

Emma: It;’s just a little something. Tell us a little bit about what it was like buying a house long distance and what you did to prep before you came to Missouri to set up. How do you buy furniture long distance when you haven’t been to a house? You know, that’s a little tricky. So did anything not fit? Was there something you bought that you’re like, wow, this is way too oversize for the space or way too small for this space? How did you manage that?

Elsie: Totally. So first of all, buying a house online is not anything I would ever wish on anyone. It is a little intimidating for this house and because I’m kind of a real estate enthusiast, you know, we’ve looked at a lot of houses. Before we moved to our house in Tennessee, we were house shopping for like three years. So I wasn’t that intimidated about this one just because it was very obvious to me it was not the kind of house where you look at it and you’re like, how would that feel? Is that small? You could kind of just tell and then our realtor is actually our friend. He’s our accountant. We’re intermingled and have all kinds of relationships with him. So I knew that if Jason, our friend was our realtor, that he would be able to go over there and kind of tell me the one or two things that I really wanted to know that I couldn’t tell from photos. There were a couple of things and then after our offer was accepted, I made a giant list for Jackie and she went over there a second time with Jason. They measured every room. Then it was kind of just like, is there an outlet on this wall, things like that that I couldn’t see in the pictures. Then she also made me a really slow walking through phone video of every room, kind of like spinning around. That was really helpful because I will say for me, the hardest things were the timing of ordering all that furniture is really tricky. It wasn’t just furniture, it was obviously curtain rods and curtain rings and curtains, you know, and just every little thing that goes into setting up a house we ordered the week before we got there or the day we closed, actually our Agility Bed arrived on the porch the day before we closed.

Emma: We should say Agility is a sponsor of the podcast but it’s also something a brand that Elsie and I love so that’s why we talk about it. It’s the first thing you bought for this pink house and it was one of the first things I bought when I moved into the Holiday House because we are true believers.

Elsie: I hope that our listeners know by now that our love for our sponsors is real. Just to make it crystal clear, I pay my own money for the Agility Bed and its frickin worth it. They’re not cheap, but we’re there every single Halloween and Christmas and a lot of other times so it’s during important times. As far as shopping for a house online, if you have to do it, I know Laura talked about that a little bit and some of our summer episodes and she bought her full-time main family home long distance and then walked into it for the first time when she already owned it. A lot of people have to do that when they move across the country and I think it’s pretty tricky. So if you can have someone you know go in there in person, hopefully FaceTiming you, that’s what I did with my realtor the first day before, what I was considering it. He told me, kind of every little thing. A lot of times, there’s things that you can’t tell in pictures, like what is the actual countertop materials? What is the color of this, the color of that, especially if the photos look edited anyway? It was a little bit scary but I would say for me, not even. I don’t know if I could do it for my main home. I think I would have to freak out and fly somewhere and see it in person. So for people who do that, like Colin, just did it, Colin and Laura just did it, they have all my respect.

Emma: Do you want to answer some frequent questions that we’ve seen people have as you’ve started to share this as you mentioned on Instagram? People keep asking these. So number one, are you staying in Tennessee or are you moving to Missouri?

Elsie: So I totally understand it was a little confusing, but we’re definitely staying in Tennessee. Our daughter just started kindergarten. We’re very looped in this area and the home that we live in Tennessee is our permanent home. I don’t use the term forever home anymore but if I could, I would. It’s that kind of situation, you know? But this is definitely a second home but we do go to Missouri a lot and we realized that we would like to go more. The big thing was just the flexibility, like being able to just pick up and go for a weekend whenever we feel like we need to or if something happens with a family member or just things like that, life and then being able to stay there and leave. I was staying there last week, I didn’t know which day I was going to leave for most of the trip which was so nice to have that flexibility.

Emma: You’ve also mentioned on the podcast before that you’ve gotten a little burnt out with renovating your house in Tennessee, your main house that you live in. You know, because it’s a big project and also renovating is wonderful but also can be a lot emotionally and financially and all the things. So would you say this is helping or hurting your burnout?

Elsie: So this house felt like a break for me. It did help. So first of all, since we weren’t renovating basically at all, like I know we painted the exterior, but that’s not renovating to hire a painter and give him one paint swatch. It wasn’t like the pain of doing a bathroom or a kitchen, even close. It was very simple and not a lot of choices or anything. So what I mostly did with that house was decorating. Actually, I bought furniture and I’ve bought a lot of vintage. I’ve been to the flea market a bunch of times, things like that and it was it really helped. It felt like so much fun. It was different. I have a different color scheme there. I have a little bit of a different style than I’m leaning into. It honestly felt like a total treat and a distraction. While I’ve been slowly reformatting what I want to do for our big renovation here and I did just need a little bit more time. So I would say it helped much more than it hurt. I don’t think it hurt at all.

Emma: Ok, so you mentioned you’re not really, it’s not like you’re hiding it from your girls but you’re not necessarily telling them a ton about it until they can see it. So when are they going to see it for the first time?

Elsie: I think we’re going to go the week before Halloween and it’s actually also Jeremy’s 40th birthday that week. So I think we’re going to celebrate it all in one special thing. Our daughter’s got her Buzz Lightyear costume and everything. I’m just so excited. I think it’s going to be magical and we can really feel the fall vibes this year. Because last year, because of COVID, we decided not to go to Missouri for Halloween and this year we’re going. 

Emma: Nice. What style are you doing the home? Well, wait. Also, say the age of the home, say the age of the home and kind of the style you’re doing.

Elsie: Yes, so the home was built in 1915 and like I said, it’s been renovated quite a bit like they basically gutted it and they left the fireplace is the same and they left a couple of original built-ins and things like that. But because it looks so updated and new, some of it may be a little bit too new. I decided to bring in a lot of vintage actually Elizabeth from Cheap Old Houses looked at it when we first were in escrow and I asked her, what would you do? She said, buy a ton of vintage so that’s what I’ve been doing. I bought this antique chandelier off of Etsy and that was really cool because we took down the new light fixture they had put up and put this old one and it just instantly made the room feel more old and like it had always been there. So overall, I’m just adding a lot of vintage and I’m trying to lean my decor more towards the 1920s and more towards antiques. I’m staying completely away from mid-century, which is probably the first time I’ve ever done that. Like, there’s always a. Some mid-century in all my houses, but not this one, which is a new experience and it’s been lots of fun so far. Then the color scheme difference is, so the outside of the house is pink, but on the inside, I’m doing the no pink rule which I’ve done before, like on an Airbnb. It’s just generally a good thing for me because pink can very much be my default and I just like pink so I get attracted to all the cute things, all the time when I’m shopping like shower curtains, towels, rugs, all of it, you know, pink, pink, pink. So I’m doing the no pink rule which is really fun and it kind of helps me branch out. I’m doing a lot more neutrals. I’m including a little bit of black which that is very different for me because in my personal home, I have almost no black. Black is just not really a color and I usually tend to decorate very low contrast, so I’m going more high contrast in this space. The other theme is holidays year-round. So there is some things that are Christmassy and some things that are Halloween sort of vibes that will stay up year-round. For example, I got this poster from Etsy, it’s an art print of Macaulay Culkin from Home Alone with the iconic hands on his face pose. I got one of those for the bathroom and then I got these awesome witch prints from Etsy. They’re vintage photos of women dressed up as witches and I love them. Those are in the kitchen and those will stay up year-round. I’m kind of just loving the strong, the more nostalgia the better. I love it.

Elsie: All right, we have a listener question. This one comes from TV Princess on Instagram. Hi ABM. It’s funny to be addressed as ABM, huh?

Emma: I like it.

Elsie: Hi ABM, I’m a giant fan and love the podcast. I relisten to at least one episode a day. Oh my gosh. Every morning while I get ready for work. Wow, ok, this is a true fan and it’s an honor. I have an episode idea I’d love an A Beautiful Mess guide to getting into the autumn spirit – decorations, cocktails, recipes, music, movies, daily routines, everything. Thank you and happy autumn. So I responded to her and I said, we are already recording this week and I’m going to use this as a listener question like a little segment. So let’s do it now. I love this question. So I do feel very, very strongly that you should change your routines up for the new season. If you want it to feel like a new season, you kind of have to create that for yourself. So I love what she’s saying, I already started my portable fireplace candle in the kitchen last night, I moved it in there and it’s like the woodsy smells really good as far as decorations, obviously go full ham on Halloween and Emma will too. Emma is in the zone with her skeletons.

Emma: Always.

Elsie: She told me, like three times I was in Missouri, that she was going to find a way to make the skeletons be climbing onto her roof or climbing up the side of her house.

Emma: Well, I recently got some landscaping done in the front of the house where they had to basically pull out all these weeds in a front bed and so it’s dirt. I was kind of sad because the grass won’t grow super fast and it may not even grow this year. It might be next year. But then I realized I could turn it into a graveyard. So I’m going to put up a little fake headstones and the skeleton hands coming out of the ground so when kids walk by, it’ll be like a graveyard. 

Elsie: So you guys see that she found her destiny in her holiday house, making it into a haunted house. It’s so cute.

Emma:  At least in the front. 

Elsie: Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to see your graveyard. That’s awesome. As far as decorations and cocktail recipes, I’m going to just give a shout out again to the hot toddy made with Harney and Sons Cinnamon, hot Cinnamon tea is that what it’s called? We’ll link to the recipe because I’m pretty sure Emma made a recipe of this, but it’s just cinnamon tea and whiskey. It’s so good you can put a squeeze of an orange and a squeeze of a lemon, a cinnamon stick if you’re feeling fancy. What’s your cocktail that you would say that makes you feel like fall?

Emma: I’m not super into cocktails at the moment just due to nursing. I’ll have a glass of wine or this or that here and there. But I will say along those lines, one thing I do and I talked about this on our, we did an interview on the HGTV podcast but changing out your bed linens for the season. I think really something about it for me, just clicks me into, ok it’s fall time, so you kind of have to wait till the weather is right but that always does it for me. I’m really big into seasonal candles. All my scents will go from summer stuff to more fall-winter stuff so right now I’m in this transition phase. I’m about to go crazy with the pumpkin candles. Right now, I have a bunch of candles that the Burlap Bag made me. They made me one when my son was born and on the outside of the candle it says Oscar William, which is his name and it’s actually banana bread, that’s the scent. To me, it’s perfect all year round but I really love it this time of year. So once I burned that one, I ordered four more from her. I was like I want the Oscar William candle. I need four more and they’re banana bread scent so I have that going in my house right now which I feel is a nice moving into fall scent because it’s very like baked goods. But I feel like banana is still kind of fall time but it’s kind of summertime so it’s an in-between. It’s that and then I’ll put all my autumn decorations up like pumpkins and then I wait until closer to October 1st to do the Halloween or at least I try to wait as long as I can.

Elsie: You are very classy.

Emma: Thanks.

Elsie: Not me. I’m not waiting. I started at the end of August putting up the Halloween stuff and I do just feel like I need two full months of spooky for my own personal preference.

Emma: Do you have any autumn music because I don’t have any recommendations for that?

Elsie: I do. So I love the Rosemary’s Baby soundtrack. Jackie and I both got the record. We were just talking about it the other day and it’s just vibey and it’s kind of spooky but it’s also just kind of nice. I really like that. Then honestly a lot of Halloween music is kids’ music so that’s perfect for my life because my kids love, the chicken dance song was playing in our house the whole entire weekend. That’s my life. The soundtrack for Hocus Pocus, I would say, is pretty perfect as well.

Emma: I love it. Yes.

Elsie: Movies, obviously let’s relink to the horror movie bucket list. There’s a kid one and an adult one.

Emma: I love it. Then we have promised people a mini-episode about Harry Potter and so I would also mention doing a Harry Potter marathon starting now,  Halloween and Christmas, I think works great. A friend of mine, her and her husband, they have people over every Sunday night and they do a Harry Potter marathon this time of year so we’re definitely going to pop over there. See if our infant son can chill.

Elsie: That’s so charming. I love that.

Emma:  Yeah, it’s really cute.

Elsie: Well, I hope everyone’s getting into the autumn spirit and if you haven’t downloaded our bucket list yet, the little printable that you can do, it’s on the sidebar of our blog right now and please do it because it’s so much fun. I just finished filling mine out this morning actually and it has so many things on it that there’s no way we’ll be able to really do them all but doesn’t matter because it just keeps you doing something fun all the time. Making memories.

Emma: Actually, small story on that, I had started it and I put it out on the kitchen counter and I was telling Trey about it and then I made dinner, went on a walk with Oscar and when I came back, he had added a couple of things to the bucket list. 

Elsie: What did he put?

Emma:  One of them was to rent a boat and do an autumn boat day. So we already got a couple of friends, two other couples, and we’ve already booked the boat and it’s just really cute. I’ve actually never been on a boat. We’re going in early October and I’ve never been on a boat that late in the year. It’s usually a summer thing here in Missouri.

Elsie: Do you think the leaves will be turning because that would be so pretty?

Emma: I hope so and I hope it’s still warm enough to maybe swim but I’m ok if it’s not. But I also just think it’d be really like, I’m going to do the snacks a little bit more Autumn and it’s just one of those things we probably wouldn’t have booked that or made those plans if he hadn’t put it on the autumn bucket list. So there you have it.

Elsie: Awesome. I was thinking yesterday we were in the pool and I was like, should I decorate my pool for Halloween? 

Emma: Yes. Oh my gosh. 

Elsie: Yes, we can still swim for like two more months because it’s not even close to cold yet and our pool has a heater. So ok, I’ll do that.

Emma: You can have skeletons in floaties, on an innertube or like,

Elsie: Don’t ruin it. Don’t ruin it. I’ll post a picture on Instagram when it’s done, I’m so excited. All right. Be sure to check out our show notes there at abeautifulmess.com/podcast and we will link to our favorite fall candles this week and whatever else we talked about in the episode and the mood board for the new Holiday House. All right. We will be back next week.

Emma: Bye.



This article originally appeared on Source and was reproduced with permission