Summer at Home : 10 Months at The Farm


I’m so happy you are here today!

It’s been 10 months since we bought our little fixer upper, a 3 bedroom home built in 1987 on 12 acres outside Charlotte, NC. I’m calling it a farm because we have chickens, that counts, right?! We’ve knocked down walls, we’ve put things off, we’ve lived with the undone and the imperfect. We’ve got little pockets of pretty next to little pockets of ‘we’ll do that one day when we get more money and time’.

There’s some pretty, there’s some potential, there’s some ugly, and it’s only fair that I show you all of it.

Today I’m joining Gina’s Summer Tour of Homes where real women gather not to show off their homes, but to share their real spaces as inspiration and encouragement. The tour lasts all week!

Let’s start with the pretty stuff shall we?

mixed up chiars

A $15 yard sale table with a $35 yard sale chair on the end, grouped with chairs from World Market & Ikea.

table and chairs


dark grey master bedroom


More about our bedroom here.



Find out more about the family room here.

family room before

Here it is when we moved in.






The younger boy’s room with the DIY frame wallpaper that isn’t really wallpaper.

love so amazing

I have a little office that connects to our barn. Here’s the before–it was bad.


create a moment


wood stove


how to decorate

a simple kitchen

We’ve done most of the work in the kitchen. Here’s the before. We knocked down walls, added Ikea cabinets (love them)


I found the Viking Range on Craigslist for a steal, the whole story is here.


We have half a million other projects so instead of waiting around with an unpainted wall behind the range, I painted it black. I know, most good DIY bloggers get out the wet saw and tile their own backsplash. I’m just not that kind of girl, I’d rather paint it and wait for my husband to do the tile work. I’m entirely too impatient to do a decent job, so black paint and hanging plates will get us through for now.

kitchen painting

I thought it would be smart to start painting right at dinner time. At least it got done.


Here are some of the things we’ve yet to finish — the trim on the floor of the kitchen,


We also have door trim that looks like this.


A neglected basement that looks like this.


And our shower looks like this.


an old metal tractor barn that looks like this on the inside (best it’s looked since we bought the place and we are planning to start inviting you out in the fall! YIKES!).

da pool

a pool in the back yard that we are still trying to figure out. It’s a 25 year old pool. We bought the house in spite of the pool, not because of it.



let's carry on

Our home’s been featured in multiple magazines (the rental house we moved out of in August is in this month’s issue of Cottages and Bungalows!) and I just wrote a book about living beautifully with imperfection and it’s currently the number one best selling design book. But that’s not because we have a perfect place that looks great all the time, clearly. It’s the exact opposite. It’s because we create beauty in spite of the imperfections, and sometimes we do a pretty good job.

Ready for more summer inspiration, visit Heather & Vanessa At The Picket Fence to continue the home tour.




the nesting place book

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  1. I LOVE that you always share the real with the pretty for pictures! Thanks for keeping it real!

  2. I love it all, the pretty, the finished, the unfinished! Thanks for sharing!

  3. baileywife says:

    The shelves are up in the kitchen!! Yeah!! They are perfect! Enjoy some time outside now….your home inside can wait! :) ~ Kim

  4. Do I remember correctly that you have plaster walls in this house or am I making that up? If you do, what is your preferred method of hanging things? We’re about to move into a house that was built in ’56 but last updated in ’87 and hanging stuff on plaster has me more worried than stripping all that wallpaper :)

  5. Girl, even your messes are gorgeous! I love love love your style, and your beautiful book is changing me! :) Have a fabulous Monday, <3 you. :)

  6. Paola Rarick says:

    Hi Nester!! Thank you for letting us into all of the imperfections. I have to say you have inspired me to “just do!!” Instead of being paralyzed by it not being perfect.
    I do have a question: This weekend bought wingbacked chairs at a tag sale and all of a sudden I am freaking out about bed bugs. I vacummed it thouroughly and did a check on all crevices and piping with a credit card and a flash light. Sounds rediculous even typing it. I have had used furniture in my house for years but all of a sudden Im full of fear. How do you handle upholstered used furniture. I have seen on the blog that you have a few used pieces. Thanks so much for your help.

    Paola Rarick

  7. Love it. And next to the unfinished door trim is my favorite-Princess Elsa, the Swedish clock! Just point to her, and I’m always happy. Your book has me inspired and ready to work on my problem space. Still working a little on contentment, but nothing’s perfect! Thanks for being you and sharing yourself.

  8. Wow. Beautiful and stunning. I love your stove as well!!! Can I hire you?!!!

  9. Do you still have the ceiling fan in the living room or did you replace it? If it’s a hole in the ceiling, no biggie — I was just trying to get ideas for our living room. :)

    It all looks so lovely and restful! And I love how the nook next to the range turned out!

  10. Kirstyn says:

    I love the plates behind the stove! Where did you find the print “Let’s carry on together”? I love it!

  11. I love every single bit of your home but I think the wall in the kitchen that you started painting at dinner time is my favorite! :-) So thrilled to be part of the tour with you this week!

  12. Thanks for keeping it “real”.
    And hey, your pool water is looking good! : )

    Enjoy your summer. It’s moving along fast. Take time to enjoy it.

  13. Great job Nester on getting things so far along already! It’s looking good! You move a lot faster than I do, look at your kitchen and bedroom already looking so pretty! I don’t envy all the work one bit (been there so I know exactly how you feel, bah!), but I do think it would be so fun to be out there in the country and I’m sure your home will bring you and many people a lot of joy for years to come! I love that. I’m so excited to be a part of the tours today!!!

  14. I LOVE your summer home. I can’t believe all you’ve done in such a short time! And after reading your book, it’s so neat to see this white dream/farmhouse after your family’s journey :) Excited to be touring with you!

  15. Looks like things are definitely starting to take shape. Love your bedroom, what a dream and the familyroom looks so inviting too.

  16. Thank you for being so real. I love that you were painting the wall behind the stove during dinner and that you couldn’t wait for someone to tile. I identify completely.

  17. It is encouraging for me because we’ve lived in our new house for a year and I’ve still got patchwork rooms from where I painted swatches to figure out paint colors. I’ve only gotten two rooms painted so far. I still feel like we just moved in sometimes. I feel self conscious about how it looks and it’s hard for me to have people over with everything unfinished. But we just had friends over for lunch after Church yesterday and we had the best time laughing and visiting together. It made me totally not care anymore. Also, I was surprised to see the addition of blue in your living room. I love how you keep your foundation pieces neutral and so you can change out colors with accessories when you want. I’m going for that kind of ease in our new house too. Love it!

  18. Jaw dropping gorgeous! Your style is so clean and sharp. I know your mantra well, but how do you explain that your imperfection is perfect? hahah Love it all girl! The country is being good to you! Or visa versa…

  19. I love the colors and textures you’ve chosen to decorate your home. Just gorgeous.

  20. Your home is looking so inviting and the imperfect parts just mean you’re human like the rest of us. We’ve lived in this house 11 years which is more than twice as long as anywhere else we’ve lived and there are still lots of imperfect spaces, but that’s okay ;)

  21. Julie W says:

    Your house is just beautiful and lived-in. If it were ever truly “done” you wouldn’t know what to do with yourself!

    PS – covert that bad-boy to saltwater…we did and we haven’t been green a minute since. And it’s WAY cheaper than you think!

  22. Peggy Zortman says:

    You are my inspiration! We moved home to the family farm two years ago and the projects are never ending. You give me hope, Girl. For that I thank you.

  23. Looks fantastic as always! Got the book for Mother’s Day, it’s super inspiring.

    Wondering about the lets carry on together print? Available as a printable? Our budget doesn’t allow me to join the hopeologie program yet so I’ve got my fingers crossed it’s not one of those!

  24. Paola Norman says:

    Can I just say that I love that black wall behind your stove with the white hanging plates. That immediately caught my eye, it look soooooo good :) I know you said it’s a temporary fix but wow it looks great. You are a master at this for sure. You have done so much more to your place in 10 months than I have in 6yrs to mine. I love that you have so much more to do as I know there will be so much more for you to share in the future. You consistently inspire me, I have broken down in tears by the look of my home and then I think of you and suddenly things don’t look so bad.
    Thank-you a million times over for that.

  25. I have just realized, now that I have seen the house tour in full, that I looked at this house online when it was on the market! I have been looking for a farm getaway for my family. And I loved it b/c of the acreage AND the pool. :-) It’s so awesome that I live so close to an awesome, inspiring blogger! Small world. Love the house, and the sentiment behind your work. Best Wishes!

  26. Genius move with the black wall above the range. You’re so good.

  27. I would agree that having chickens does qualify your place as a farm. Love seeing your 10 month tour and all that you have accomplished. Your home is just wonderful as is your decorating style. It’s nice to see the unfinished and imperfect things too, as it lets me know that there is hope. ; )
    Thanks for sharing,

  28. On the last few pages of the book, and it is life changing for this perfectionist! And, agree with a previous commenter…even your messy looks amazing!

  29. Hello, hello. Thanks for allowing me to walk through :) New to your blog and I am glad I came over. Will be following for sure .Luv what you have done!!
    Cheers, Gee

  30. I think what I enjoyed most as I looked at all the pictures and narrative of the process is seeing the house take on you, your vision, your inspiration, your tastes and colors and style, it really is amazing to see the transformation that I am sure at times was frustrating but it has certainly come together.

    I could never do anything like that, you have such a gift!

  31. The thing about your home that made me smile the most were the eye patches on your women bust figures! I do believe you are a pirate at heart, either that or you have a house of boys! Shiver me tiimbers!

  32. I just wanted to say thank you for showing the un-finished, not so great parts of your home. It gives me encouragement as my husband and I are fixing up my parents house that we just bought. It is overwhelming! I grew up in this house and it was always “being worked on”. Now it is my turn to make it into beautiful home for my boys to grow up in as it was already a wonderful home for my brothers and I to grow up in; despite many aesthetic un-pleasantries. So, again, thank you!

  33. I’m very, very happy to discover your blog through the blog tour today! I am subscribing, too. I love the pretty stuff but more importantly, I, too, often blog, about embracing the imperfection and not to copy others but to use for inspiration for your own life. You have a beautiful, friendly home. Enjoying the unique chair arrangement around your table and also the plates on the walls. So lovely!

    Great to meet/find you!

  34. I adore your home and everything you have accomplished. I have to scroll through it again and take everything in. So pretty!

  35. Everything looks great, and that tractor barn is going to be awesome!

  36. I heart your perfectly imperfect style M! Been a fan of your blog for about a year and I discover new things each time I visit. Will have to grab the book next and then carve out time to READ it :) Just want to drop by and say thank you for putting a voice to the feelings I have been feeling lately about our own perfectly imperfect 100+ year old home with one bathroom and wonky floors and old windows, but full of love and the laughter of 3 little girls who could care less that there is missing trim and a kitchen with no cupboard doors. It’s our forever home and we’re on the road to making it work for us.

  37. Holy, Moly that living room wall with the fireplace blows me away everytime I see a before and after.

  38. There is only one book that I’ve every read a second time immediately after the first reading. (John’ Eldridge’s Walking with God.) Yours is about to be the second. I have permission to make nail holes….lots of them, take risks (lots of those too), move furniture to new places (even break up bedrom suits, GASP!!), paint white walls, paint furniture (even the good-wood kind! lol)….. oh, the possibilities are endless! Now to pick up that book, re-read, and make LOTS of notes….. or should I stop and use one of the five cans of various shades of blue spray paint I just bought to try out? Thanks for following the promptings to write your heart out in a blog and a book that are oh, so inspiring!

  39. Thank you so much for sharing your home! Your home is so beautiful! I love the warmth and the colors and the fun, whimsical touches! Thanks for all of the inspiration!!

  40. love.your.home.

    love how you create beauty from the imperfect.
    God does that, too.
    i love that.

  41. I got your book in the mail yesterday and am devouring it. Can I just say thank you so, so much for writing it? My favorite parts so far are accepting the “signs of life” in my home (which is already taking the wind out of my anxiety), understanding that the imperfections are what help others relate to me, and realizing that making design mistakes is the only way I’ll learn.

    You have great style and your homes (the one in the book and on the blog!) are beautiful. But my very favorite part of the book is that you show photos of your home being lived in, complete with teenage boys! You published them in a design book! Good for you! Thank you so much for your honesty and willingness to share your own beautifully imperfect story.

  42. I too just got your book in the mail yesterday. It is the first decorating book I’ve ever gotten that I didn’t just flip through all the pages and just look at the pretty pictures- I’m actually reading it. In my work as a Primary Therapist, I’m finding many things that I can share with my clients in groups (hmm, betcha didn’t expect that one! :) ) . I will say though, I laughed out loud when I came to your website today to find you’d moved again….you’ve got a whole lotta stamina, sister. Can’t wait to be able to spend more time going through the website!

  43. Jessica M. says:

    Hi there! A friend just gave me your book, so I had to stop by the blog. Your home and your message are lovely. <3

    Where did you get the antler prints that are hanging in the living room? My boys have a deer/elk/reindeer-themed bedroom, and I think one of those prints would be awesome for them. Thanks!

  44. “It’s because we create beauty in spite of the imperfections, and sometimes we do a pretty good job.”

    Love that, loving your book (I’m on the slow reading track ;)).

  45. Rachel M. says:

    Are you done reading ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ yet? Did you love it?!

  46. Love Love Love your bedroom paint color! It is exactly what I am looking for:)

  47. Georgianna says:

    I laughed out loud at the picture of your shower. I mean that as a compliment to you for sharing it in an honest effort to show the truth of real lives (instead of only putting out photos of perfection) and it made me really happy. I could pretty much copy everything you’ve done in your house and I would feel like it was mine. I love it!

  48. This is SO EXCITING! We just bought an older home in Ft. Mill, and I am obsessed with various shades of gray walls. I love how you used cooler wall colors and are decorating with lots of fresh white! That yard sale kitchen table was a STEAL! I haven’t blogged in FOREVERRRR but am taking photos and hope to do some B&A’s. I hate perfect and matchy-matchy! Our latest piece of excitement has been a 1950’s formica and chrome dining table with two built in leaves (the table will extend to like 7.5 feet long! It had all 6 original chairs, which I am having recovered in (wait for it) vintage gray vinyl. My instagram is also @shuginboots if you’d like to check it out. I found your blog through Life in Grace. So excited to learn that you live so close by in Charlotte. Great job so far on your space. It is gorgeous!!!

  49. You have come SO FAR!! I love every room.

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