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We Bought A (Mini) Farm!!!! Introducing Our New/Old Oregon Home


I honestly can’t believe I’m actually writing this post. It’s been a year and a half of trying to buy this home for our family. Here’s how it all went down. Two summers ago (2019) we made the very emotional decision to move back to Oregon, to raise our kids near family and friends. For whatever reason LA has never felt like our forever home so we realized we should just stop putting it off. Why wait to start the next chapter in our life? The older your kids get the harder it is to move (we’ve heard and I moved when I was 16 and can personally attest to it being an absolute nightmare). So we started looking for properties online (well, we had looked for years, actually in both Portland and Bend) and within a few days found an unusual one that checked a lot of boxes.


  1. Space and nature – We want our kids to grow up in nature so we wanted at least an acre.
  2. Good public schools nearby – At least for elementary. After living in traffic for 12 years we really didn’t want a long commute to take our kids to second grade.
  3. Still near the action – To be honest, I could have gone deep country – an hour outside of Portland, but Brian didn’t want to for our sake as well as the kids. He’s right – eventually, we’ll want to “go out to dinner” or “see friends”. Also when theaters open up Brian will start acting at night again so being near the city is a good thing. So our ideal/fantasy property was a country home in a family-friendly neighborhood, not far from the city. OOf, that’s not easy.
  4. A compelling special property that would be a creative project for me, long-term – I know that is hard to identify with but to make us move up there we really needed something that excited us daily, to our core.


So we found a property online that checked a lot of those boxes and we flew up the next day (just Brian and I, in August 2019). We drove into the long tree-lined property and immediately knew it would be ours. It was our EXACT match. We walked the property for THREE hours and made an offer the next day. The owner, Tom, didn’t feel motivated by our offer so we quickly just came up knowing that we wanted it that badly, long-term. He then realized that he wasn’t ready to sell it and while deeply apologizing, changed his mind. We were extremely disappointed but I KNEW that it was just a timing situation. The Universe had a different plan. Maybe we needed to stay in LA for one more year? Maybe it was a test to see if we really wanted it. Brian and Tom (the owner) texted for a full year about it, checking in every couple of months to see if we were still interested and us being completely transparent that YES we sure were.


People started coming at him to buy it mostly to develop it because now more than ever people want land. You see, it is a strangely secluded THREE ACRES in the middle of an incredible old suburb 15 minutes from Downtown Portland and 5 minutes from cute SW restaurants. It’s an incredible piece of land full of old-growth trees, groves (and more) and the location is SO good, making it extra desirable when people want more space. So Tom texted and asked us if we were still serious because he probably saw that the time was right for him to sell (this was August of last year, 2020) and we freaked out. YES. Even more than ever because at this point we were 80% sure that we were permanently leaving LA, and while we had since fallen in love with living in Lake Arrowhead year-round (we thought we would be bored before, but not at all) we still knew Oregon was where we wanted to eventually raise our kids. He raised the price in order for him to not put it back on the market (anything with land was going so far over asking) and we agreed to buying it as-is, but still worth it to us (mostly because of what I do).

So it’s taken from August til mid-December to finalize the sale. We went back up in October to make sure that this was the right move, not having been on the property for over a year – were we really sure???? We had been talking about it with the kids openly and we really wanted THEM to see it for themselves. The second we got to the farm it was that instant feeling again. It was OURS. ENOUGH WITH THE BACKSTORY LETS SEE THE PROPERTY!!!!!!

driveway and pathway connecting the houses


It has two farmhouses – one from 1860 (a kit house that is dripping with charm – and totally falling down) and the main house from 1910 that hasn’t been updated too much but is in strong shape. It has a barn, multiple super cute sheds, and a massive carriage garage. It has a dilapidated sports court, a million apple and cherry trees, and even a super cute treehouse that is likely a death trap but just so cute. It has 2 paddocks and a pasture and the entire property is fully fenced – the kids and dogs can have free rein.

It feels like you are in the middle of the country but IT PRACTICALLY BACKS UP TO THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. You can see it from the back fence, just a public park away. Essentially the kids can walk on ONE sidewalk without having to cross the street to get to school and I can watch them from the back fence and wave – never having to leave my little farm (I’ve become QUITE the homebody). It is such a sweet neighborhood, so quiet, barely any through traffic, but not ostentatious. We walked the neighborhood multiple times when we were there a year ago and there were so many families with young kids riding bikes, and playing in the park and the general review of the neighborhood and school was AMAZING. It’s just where we want to raise our kids and live until they are grown (barring unforeseeable life changes, of course).

Ok, that’s all the good news. And there really isn’t any bad news because of what I do – document projects… but not just anyone would have been up for this project…

main house back entry


Well, listen, we knew what we were getting ourselves into – the biggest project of our lives, possibly a 5-year project. The inspector was there for 6 hours and at the end pulled us aside to give us the news. He genuinely raved about the property for 10 minutes (as a historic home enthusiast himself he couldn’t believe it still existed) using the word ‘magical’ over and over (we agreed) and then he broke it down…

Ahem. The main house would essentially need a new foundation, all new plumbing, all new electrical, sewer line, it has mold, water damage, asbestos, every window needs repair or replacing, a new chimney… and it just went on and on. But he said all those things with a ‘of course you know this’ vibe as if it wasn’t bad news. He was still so enthusiastic about the home and property. I nervously asked, ‘so what is good about it then?’ and he basically said what we knew, too – that it actually had great bones, it’s solid and since it hasn’t really been renovated in 100 years you know what you are getting. We had already agreed to buy as-is so, strangely we weren’t phased. We knew we were going to renovate and once you open the walls, we knew we wouldn’t find perfection. You have to walk across the upstairs bedrooms to turn on the only light source – the single pull chain sconce, for example. There weren’t light switches, no ceiling fixtures. We didn’t care. We loved it. It’s spacious and charming and really does feel solid and loved.


the victorian house exterior

The ‘kit house’ from 1850 is SO CUTE, so charming and yes falling apart, literally 1/2 of it only has a dirt floor that slopes down into at like a 30 degree angle. It doesn’t have plumbing tied in (has the cutest shower stall, though) and barely has electrical (these cute knob and tube wires pinned to the ceiling installed in 1920’s). But again, we already knew this. None of this bummed us out, nothing surprised us and we were still HYPED for this house. It’s SO cute and charming and once restored will be the cutest guest house/office ever. It wouldn’t be everyone’s dream property, but as a designer and someone who loves to and yes, gets to go to work every day documenting my own projects it is our dream job and, more importantly, it will be our dream home.


main house living room
main house living room fireplace view

The main farmhouse is where our family will live. It is 3500 square feet, with 3 bedrooms upstairs and a shared hall bath. They are all corner rooms so they have great light and are a good size (which is surprising for being built 110 years ago).

Downstairs includes a huge living room, kitchen and sunroom. And then in what seems to be a ’60s addition, there’s a family room, two small offices, a laundry room, and a bathroom. I’ll get into the layout more next week with lots of photos and show you floor plans galore, but essentially we want to turn that whole wing into a family room and our primary suite. The only thing we are struggling to figure out is how to add a family room and make the house flow long-term for our family. So yes, some walls will shift around. Right now it has a massive living room but no family/tv room and since this is our forever home we really want to have two separate hangout areas (having a separate living and family/tv room here has been something we’ve greatly appreciated).


YES… This hasn’t been without a decent dose of nervousness and before we hired Anne and Arciform I would wake up frequently being like, ‘wait, why are we leaving??? Am I just adding years of stress doing this highly expensive and very stressful renovation????’ We love living in Lake Arrowhead, in this beautifully DONE house, A LOT. Like a lot, a lot. It’s sunny 300 days a year and I bike around a lake most mornings. But long term, and when the world opens up, I know that we want to be closer to family, culture, neighbors that aren’t empty airbnbs and even restaurants and vintage shopping. I don’t think I would have moved up for just any house though, I want to live in the country, away from the hustle and bustle, and Brian wants to live near the city – And somehow SOMEHOW we found it.


We closed right before the holidays and hired Arciform to be our design/build team (read this post on how we are doing this project differently and why we hired this amazing company). We’ll get as-builts first – drawings of how it is right now, and then we’ll go to town with reconfiguring it to make it work long term for our family. I’ve already come up with a pretty solid design vision and elements that are a ‘non-negotiable’ – beautiful windows and doors, many fireplaces to keep it cozy all winter (yes, we are scared about leaving California for the rain), lots of locally made fixtures, tile, etc. We hope to start demo in early spring and hoping to be in a portion of it when school opens up in the fall.


Well, tackling this project will be full of one million challenges and lessons and we will share all of them with you. I’m not promising any sort of ‘I Design, You Decide’ engagement strategy. Instead, we’ll tell a story of how to do this right, once and long term – truly the most sustainable way to renovate. Of course the team, Arciform, that we’ve hired has done so many historic homes, not to mention old churches, lighthouses, and covered bridges so I’m in GREAT hands.

the main house kitchen

We are going to tackle the main house first, investing in it to work long-term for our family. I’ve learned a lot of how I like to live in my house and what I need to stay sane, so even though it’s a vintage style house full of charm it will have a more minimal approach. The older home (from 1850) that will serve eventually as our office/guest house will be way different. We’ll make it safe (foundation, electrical, plumbing, and temperature control) but then it will be far more budget, thrifted and eclectic – I have to have somewhere to put all my beautiful things!! It will be where I have fun, take more risks in styling and decorating as we’ll leave all the walls and general layout as-is, and just get weird with decor. I’m hoping that there will be something here for everyone – those of you you want inspiring new and solid design ideas for your renovations, and those who love the ‘work with what you got and thrift a lot’ way of life. I love them both so much THUS THE EXTREME EXCITEMENT.

And I haven’t even mentioned the exterior yet!!! The property feels totally rural and the kids can get totally lost (and it’s flat, fenced and full of trees and so many native edibles). We’ll likely landscape some parts of it, get some goats in to clean up so many blackberry bushes (I’m pro blackberry bushes because I grew up picking them, but Brian says there are too many). We also want to put in some garden beds, but keep it fairly unruly and rural so it doesn’t turn into a big landscaped McMansion yard. Right now because of the trees it feels endless, like you could roam for hours before you get to the perimeter and I think if we open it up too much we’ll lose that sense of wonder. We’ll likely do the hardscape areas when we renovate but tackle more of the exterior in phase 2 (or 3 or 4) as landscaping is far more expensive than I would have ever thought 5 years ago.

Again, we are doing this once, so we are going to do it RIGHT for the long term, which means a lot of planning, fixing really boring/non-sexy expensive things and requiring a lot of experts. I want to renovate this house so it literally never has to be fixed or renovated again. Sure I might switch out furniture, but let’s give her another solid 120 years of quality design and craftsmanship, with kids chasing chickens and building forts the whole time.

The real challenge is how to design a 120-year-old farmhouse to be timeless, authentic, modern yet INTERESTING. I’m certainly not the first person to design a ‘modern farmhouse’ right now, HAHAHAHA, so how do I design it (and inspire you all) to be really special without bending into a trend I’ll regret or going too far in one direction. How do you stand out without trying too hard? How do you create warmth in simplicity?? Interest without busy-ness???

Y’all. I have a vision, I do. And I’m SO excited to share that vision, and the entire process with you. 2021 will be a BIG YEAR and while I’m nervous to go from no projects to two massive projects (and finishing the book), I’m also really ready to be creative again and dive into these projects. I’ve found myself pinning for hours on the weekend, working overtime because it feels like so much fun. I have missed that this year.

Thanks for coming along thus far in my life. The proverbial doors will always be open to you, my kind, supportive readers and for that I’ll give you all the honesty, transparency and design info, resources and lessons possible. Let’s do this together.

Fin Mark


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HAVE TO RE-READ IT …. sorry for shouting (not!).


So exciting!!! My only comment: PLEASE do not change that downstairs bathroom in the main house. The floor tile! The pedestal sink! The built in cabinets! So much of it is perfect already, how dreamy. Can’t wait to see the whole property unfolds.


Haha! I was just going to write the same thing about the bathroom! I am SO excited to read all about this longterm, family legacy project (yay!) but hope that bathroom doesn’t get scrapped in the name of “flow”or continuity with the other changes. It is lovely and perfectly vintage. Also, the dark, varnished bead board in the kitchen has a wonderfully northwest feeling about it… slightly old ship-like. So thrilled!I hope you move in before it’s finished, five years is a long wait!

Celisha Racicot

Agreed! Please do not destroy the old home character of this gem!


Guys, it’s so old it may have old dirt that doesn’t come out. Let her do whatever she wants without feeling guilty. She’ll do well for this house, I’m 100% sure.


It’s gorgeous, but if they have to replace all the plumbing and electrical in the house they may not be able to save everything :/

I had the same thought. Hopefully at a minimum the floor tile can be saved in the bathroom and the wall of cabinetry in the kitchen. It is just beautiful.

Wooooow wowowow congratulations, so cool! As someone from Seattle and now living in London, I’ll tell you that your sunny CA selves might appreciate adding in some skylights, even though I know that’s hardly historic. But maybe there are creative ways you can pull them off. (There are tons in our London tall and narrow townhouse and they help a lot.)

Also, my biggest question has nothing to do with architecture/renovation/design. Did you say PADDOCKS!? Are there perhaps some hooved animals in your future, beyond the rented goats? KEEP US POSTED!!!

Seriously, congrats, this is huge. I cannot even fathom being on board with that level of renovation work, but I also do not have anything like your job, haha, and I find the prospect of moving a single wall utterly terrifying. This will be an amazing read and will maybe embolden me in whatever house we live in next to make more significant changes. WHO KNOWS!? Yay Hendersons!


They’re interested in Alpacas! (They natch the scruffy dawgs, ha!)


Congratulations! So exicitng!!

What an amazing project–house, carraige garage, guest house, and treehouse! Plus that covered walkway feels like it could be sooo special (not sure you plan on keeping it, but the more I look at it the more I’m into it!). Congratulations. 🙂


I can see how that walkway would be very useful in a rainy Portland. To walk between the office and the main house without umbrella or getting soaked is a great bonus.


Yep. We live in Portland and have a covered walkway from out house to the garage we converted into our office. It’s key.


THIS.IS.AMAZING!!!!!! I can’t WAIT to follow along!! Old homes with land are my fave(I grew up in Franklin, TN) and this looks like my dream home! I know you will make it incredible. CONGRATS!!!!!!!


Congratulations! It sounds like the second house will be your creativity lab. Wishing you patience, strength, luck, and happiness as you undertake this huge project🙂

Lori S H

Congrats! This is going to be amazing! We just bought a farm too-having lived in the same neighborhood for 20 years, we were ready for a change. Like you, it was the property that sold us. Trees, water, and lots of open space are so good for the soul. I can’t wait to see what you make of this beautiful home.

Charlotte Nordbakken

Oh my! I am sooo excited for this!!! How lucky you are to find a property like this and also being able to really do to it what it deserves.


Congratulations. Can’t wait to follow along.

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE IT. this is my dream! too many good things to say, so i’ll just say 2.
the kitchen in the main house is gorgeous.
the scallops in the victorian house are so cute. hopefully you can save and reuse!
so excited to follow along this project!


Yay Emily! I’m a huge fan and have been reading your blog forever, and I got chills when I read this! It’s perfect for you!


Congrats! It sounds just perfect for your family. Thanks for taking us along for the journey.


Wow! My husband and I just bought a 40 acre farm with a Victorian very similar to yours (even a sketchy farm out building we call the murder club house and saaaaad tennis court) We have similar goals as you as we begin planning a gut renovation. I’m so excited for you (us?) and I will be following your process closely. Cheers to timeless and thoughtful renovation!!!!! And to a continued strong marriage after this???


Murder club house!!! LOL


Congrats and I am so excited to be along for the ride! I can’t wait for a post about your general mood board/overall feelings of how you want the house to be. I can see some EEG opportunities here, but it will be so interesting to see how you put your signature style on a farmhouse. Also very excited to see the guest cottage come to life. I saw the scalloped trim and knew you were swooning over that 🙂 Again, congrats, seems like everything lined up for you guys this time!


I too am super excited to see how Emily takes on this style genre. I know she is going to do something totally unique and beautiful with it. Can’t wait to follow along!!


I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED. This property is a dream! I am honestly shocked by how nice some of it actually already is inside, but I cannot wait to see what you do with it!


Wow. So lovely. Congratulations to you! You deserve it! I just hope. Hope. You please, please don’t install artificial turf on this magical bit of land.

Emily J

omg, that kitchen is PERFECT, please don’t change it!!!!


Congrats, sounds like a dream come true!!! I also have a charming, very old kit house…let’s just say they were the IKEA houses of the day!! Economical and mass produced but killer design. I love historic renovation will be following!!


I would love to live on this property even unrenovated! Can’t wait to see what you do with it in the months/years to come.

I guess this means you sold the LA house?

Karen T.

Congratulations! Can’t wait to be along on the journey!


It’s amazing! Please, please, please restore the windows and don’t replace with new!!!!


Yes! It would be such a pity to get rid of (what appears to be) old divided light windows, especially if they can be restored!

Unless your windows are literally falling apart, replacing them doesn’t save you any money on energy bills because of what you spend to replace them.


What a dream! So glad you persevered and in the process saved this beautiful property from developers! Cant wait to see the process!


So exciting!!! What an amazing find! Can’t wait to follow the transformation. Congrats!


I AM SO EXCITED! Between this project, your brother’s house and Orlando’s home, and the rest of your team’s fun posts, it’s going to be an embarrassment of riches for your blog content this year. I cannot wait to follow along!


BTW: Orlando finished his home gym!
Go check it out!
It’s pink and has jungaliciousness and DIY and fun!


So excited for your family! Thank you for sharing the process with us!

This is so exciting! I can’t wait to see what you do with this incredible space! What a great property and beautiful houses.


the kitchen!! medium toned wood with dark countertops – here we are 🙂


I have been waiting for this post for what feels like months! I am SO EXCITED to see where this goes! I love it and it is already amazing and I can’t wait to see everything you do.



This is an amazing property! Congratulations! Its also so great that you were able to agree on the fact that you wanted to live in a more natural setting, in quieter place, etc… This has been my dream for years since I grew up in a quiet city along the St-Lawrence River in Canada… But my husband wants to stay in the big city, which is so stressful and not a great place to raise our kids… How did you come to that decision. Was it a dream you both shared, or one of you had to convince the other? Thanks so much for sharing!!

Kaitlin Servant

I can definitely relate to so much of this. During this pandemic (last April) we closed on our forever home. We also wanted to make the move before our kids would be too traumatized (eight months later and they still cry about missing our old house about once a week and we only moved fifteen mins away so I’m glad we didn’t wait longer!). We loved our old house but it didn’t feel permanent. I also needed to find something special if it was going to hold my attention for the rest of my life. That something turned out to be a 1740s colonial farmhouse on 40 acres with an original two story barn, four stall carriage house and an old dilapidated commercial sized greenhouse. Some days we feel insane. We can’t really afford to do major things or hire architects so we are doing what we can as we can. It’s exhausting and fulfilling and yes, a little magical. It will all be with it someday as I know yours will be! Congrats!


How fantastico! x

Eeeeek!! How exciting!! You’re moving right by me! As I am also in the SW and a little outside the city! I just wish I knew where! My little family also moved to Oregon from California for my kid to have the great outdoors and amazing schools. We have zero regrets! I can’t wait to see what you end up doing! I’ve been a fan of yours for nearly a decade! You’re gonna make it so beautiful!


I am also in SW Portland and amused at my urge to take the clues and figure out the suburb. 🙂


I pretty much knew the location straight away based on the photos and description, but I’m also on the hunt for a property myself so I end up looking at plenty of “aspirational” listings (aka ones I will never be able to afford) for fun. I probably looked at this one when it was publicly available! 😂


Don’t worry about us, Emily! Do the right thing for the home and we will all love to watch. Go for timeless, not trendy. I have literal dreams about finding a property like this so I’m excited to see the process.

So exciting, congratulations!!! What a fun season for you and your family. 🤗


Season! Ha! Did you wrap your eyes on the sheer size of this place?? Yearrrrrrs!

Congratulations! It’s going to be super fun to watch the progress, but I have to say that I’m super disappointed that you brought up the concept of “manifesting” at such a time as this in our country. There are so many people suffering deep pains, many having done all the “manifesting steps” but have not gotten the result they would have liked. As a former Mormon like yourself, I know firsthand the dangers of spiritual elitism and would hope that we can all just let go of that hurtful way of sharing our joys with each other.


Julia, it may seem strange, but people are allowed to have different opinions than you. You are the one assuming someone who believes in manifestation must be a spiritual elitist. These are personal assumptions projected on to someone you have likely never met.
Keep on judgin’

I think I need to clarify. I’m not saying Emily is a spiritual elitist. I think she seems like a wonderful, genuine person. I’m saying that the law of attraction and the concept of “manifesting” can be elitist and feel hurtful especially to people who are suffering. I apologize if that came out wrong.


I cannot second this enough. Often “manifesting” seems to be a way people explain to themselves that they ‘deserve’ things or are ‘special’ or have ‘earned’ them. I think you’re right-on about spiritual elitism, Julia – this is just the new-agey version. What’s wrong with attributing things to hard work, or good or bad luck? I know folks like to believe that there is order to all things in the universe, that we live in an inherently just world – but this yearning so often tends toward horribly judgmental and outright cruel conclusions. For example, I saw a documentary the other day about cancer and one guy went on and on about how he’d “manifested” his remission. Sooo … does that mean people who don’t get better just haven’t wished hard enough, or haven’t done things in the ‘right way’??? Not cool, at all. Of course, of course there’s benefits to positive thinking – but sometimes, no matter how positive you are, bad things happen, you don’t get what you ‘deserve,’ etc. And don’t get me started on Oprah and all her manifestation nonsense. You’re a hard-working and talented lady, Oprah, do you really need to believe that the entire… Read more »


It’s true, Tracy…of my cancer support group, the two shining stars that everybody loved are gone, and I, the pessimistic grump, am still here, and I didn’t manifest it, that’s for sure. People like to tell stories that make them feel as if they have more control over the universe than they do without realizing how heartless the stories are at their core. Luck and/or hard work pretty much explains everything good that happens. To deny that invalidates the genuine suffering in the world.


Hard work can be focusing on the tiny, little, joys and helping them grow. Like a gratitude journal? It puts the focus on the positive and stops the dwelling on the negative.
We’re all going to die.
All of us.
Some sooner than others, some happuer, some regretful, some…not so much. But, it is the ONLY thing we ALL know IS going to happen.
The best I can do is wallow in the tiny joys, the wins, the says with purpose and gelping others.
If nit, then wot in the hell, is the point, huh?!?


Tracy, you pushed a button all the way to Australia with that judgement. I have an incurable, progressive, neurological disease. I’m never going to get better. No matter what I do. I’ve just ended a severely abusive relationship, during a flippin’ pandemic aaand, he’s stiiiiill living here til May! I can, however, use the process of manifesting positive things. Just like a negative person sees the world through (let’s say) poo-smeared glasses; positive people might see the world through (let’s say) enhanced diamond glasses. I’m still into manifesting positive things in my life. It. Is. So. Similar. To. A. Mood. Board. You create a vision of what you need/want/would like. You focus on it. Look at it. Make it part of your every day. What you dwell on you become. Bingo! I had no hope in hell (or heaven, or whatever you believe in, or not) of ever getting this house in my name. Nothing was in my name for over 30 years. Nothing. I focused on it. Big. Time. I won’t go into the details, but, the house is in MY name right now! I’ll be free from his abuse in a few months. Never thought this possible one… Read more »


P.S. Luck = preparation meeting opportunity!🤗


I’m so sorry to hear of your health troubles. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a positive attitude, and being grateful for the things you do have. There is nothing wrong with appreciating the joys and beauties in life, and doing whatever helps you to focus on them. I do this every day! What I DO have a problem with is the judgmental underside that comes with the ‘manifestation’ perspective. I have had multiple people inform me that if I just think positive and visionboard and do things ‘right’, I will not inherit a fatal genetic illness. Nice try, Secret-lovers, but there’s a 50/50 chance I will, and attitude doesn’t have anything to do with it – it’s either there or not, since the day I was born (science!). Denying reality or attributing luck to “energy in/energy out” doesn’t get you anywhere, and just makes many of us feel judged and horrible. Interestingly, my extremely religious relatives don’t have this same kind of judgment – but my ‘manifestation’ friends sure manage to do the opposite of inspire joy. There’s so much of the ‘manifestation’ literature that says this exactly – that people actually attract death and disease. I get… Read more »


Tracy, all good. I got triggered.
I understand what you mean about the downside of manifesting.
Sometimes utsmuch more important to keep an eye on the whole picture rather than (as some do) getting lost in the hype. That’s narrow minded and ignorant.
Thank you for your compassion. I’m okay with it.
I have the gene.
I truly hope you don’t.
Sending you genuine big hugz,
Rusty. x


Thank you for your understanding, Rusty! I sometimes think design blogs are the only constructive place to have these types of discussions online. People are considerate, thoughtful and kind here in a way totally lacking elsewhere in the virtual world! Real congrats on your house and best wishes.


Oh, thank you. That’s sweet.
Sending you hugz. xx


” hurtful way of sharing our joys with each other”?!?
That’s way off, Julia.
Manifesting is quite a mainstream thing, as is journaling and creating a mood board (very similar concepts in many ways).
I think you hit a wrong chord there.


Reading all of this I don’t think a lot of people really understand what manifesting truly is. It’s not saying something you want and then sitting waiting for it to happen. It’s doing the work and showing up everyday. It’s working in a conscious and awake way. It’s working with energy. Tapping into the flow. Each of us have a journey our souls go on. Some have more waves than others. Having compassion and support for one another is crucial. But there’s also the idea that we have have a right to live with light and joy. If we do that we can shine a light for others who need it. I think we need to be careful to not assume things we may not fully understand. We jump to so many conclusions just because we have platforms to speak. We are picking each other apart instead of looking within and asking why am I triggered? Where is my role in how I’m feeling? After all we’re the only one responsible for how we feel. I couldn’t be any happier for Emily and her family. We should all thank her for sharing her light. It helps remind us of what… Read more »


Frankly I think people use manifesting as a way to describe how they focused their attention. My sister says her best friend is able to manifest everything, and for all the examples she uses, I’m like “oh she was clearly focused on that goal, searching constantly around her, paying attention…” When you actively “manifest,” you also open yourself up in a way you might not if you’re not being conscious of what you’re doing. So you’re aware of everything around you related to your goal. It’s just an approach to goal achieving and thinking that for some people it feels better to wrap it in a so-called “woo-woo” package. (I do agree with how thoughtless the framing can be for those suffering. I can easily say “good for you, not for me” and not be bothered by it, but I’m also not in a bad situation with many things out of my control.)


I like what you say, Kara. I think part of the problem is that the whole idea of manifesting smacks of the supernatural, but if “manifesting” is just another word for putting in the hard work of focusing and working towards a goal, ok, as long as one recognizes that there are people who can put in all that work and still not get what they want, and it is not their fault if they don’t.


Yeah, this whole thread about the word manifestation is bizarre to me. It’s just a word. People use it regularly these days to mean it how Kara explained above. I have no idea what The Secret is or what any of this religious stuff is that you’re clearly pretty upset about. Sometimes words become separated from their original meaning, and/or mean different things to different groups of people. I think this is an example of that happening.


I wonder what you would have done with your day had Emily not used a word you were offended by. Or were you scouring blogs to find something to rail about? My solution for you is to find someone to follow you don’t find offensive. Maybe in politics? Religion? I may be mistaken, but I thought this one was about a home and fashion and design. You just come across as bitter and hateful. You should try to manifest a better demeanor.


CGinAZ, from the limited amount I know of Emily as a regular reader, she’s okay with different perspectives. Even welcomes them with discussions like why readers voted for Trump and posts about immigration, BLM, gun ownership … topics far more sensitive than ‘manifesting’ good things. As she said, she plans to do a whole thoughtful post on this, and I seriously doubt is terribly surprised there’s some kind of reaction – except maybe bothered that it’s here rather than when she’s able to explain her full perspective (which makes sense). People are allowed to respectfully disagree, and generally this has been a remarkable (and crazy rare) space on the internet where people discuss things with compassion and an open mind. Don’t think there’s any reason to tell people to leave because they have a different perspective.


This is so exciting!!!! I can’t wait to see what you do with this house. As someone who lives on 2 acres in the middle of a city, it’s the best in the world. You have your own special forest but can run to the grocery store if you need to.


I live in a 120 year old farmhouse and we are getting goats this year too! So I am thrilled with your life choices and can’t wait to follow along. 🥳



A million congrats! Reading about your search process brought a tear to my eye because we had a similar experience buying our home (also a 5-year project farmhouse, with no design/construction experience 🥴). So I am here to follow along and learn from you!!

Pat Lukes

I can’t wait to see what you do with this remarkable property. It’s going to be amazing once you put your stamp (hate that word) on it.

Pat Lukes

p.s. I lived in Seattle for 2 years and moved from LA. Never had a problem with the rain and did not miss the heat and sun. You will love it…it’s cozy, plus the Pac NWesterners don’t let a little water stop them.


Following you 100% of the way!! I am in the house hunting process in NC. Looking at Georgian homes and asking myself, how do I keep the charm but modernize while also adding in the vintage but not making things “modern farmhouse” etc. You spoke to me with this project and I’m so excited for you guys and excited to follow along!!!

I am so excited for you and your family and can’t wait to come along for the journey!! What a gorgeous property. I also love the bathroom tile and fixtures!

Alysia Carpenter

Yayyyy!! I’m trying to do the same thing! Currently praying we get a 2.5 acres property with a tiny cabin home and a barn and a shop for the husband. lol I breezed over the blog but wanted to ask, are you going to be getting any animals?! Sorry if I missed it in the post..


Goats to chomp up the excess Blackberry bushes.
There’s also been talk of Alpacas.


Excited to watch the process!


Very exciting! I’m so looking forward to seeing what you do as a designer with an architectural team – and a new type of property for the blog. We own an antique New England farm (1732), and let me just say … financially it is ROUGH. Not just the renovations (which have been a lot), but the day-to-day expenses (heating, cooling, fraking the well, setting up barn for animals, etc.). Over the last couple years we invested heavily in things like insulation, windows and heating systems, and it has been SO worth it – almost more than the new pretty kitchen! The guts of a historic home are very rough to figure out without harming the antique bones, but if anyone can do it it’s your team!


It’s all worth it for a forever home, right?


I am so happy for you and your family but a bit worried about your security and privacy. Looking forward to following your design and family journey.


This is amazing, what a beautiful property! So excited to follow along!

Katie Cameron

Oh my goodness. I have goosebumps! What an amazing project. SO excited to follow along and so happy for your family!

Dolores Talarico

Congratulations, Emily! It sounds like a dream come true, and I can’t wait to follow along on this ride!


Worth the wait! I’m so excited for you guys. Congratulations on your new home. Can’t wait to see how you transform it!


AHHHH! So wonderful! I’m so very excited for you! We live in Nashville in an old log cabin on the river, and I love that feeling of being lost in nature in my yard, but still being able to experience “city life” too. We’ll never be able to do a big renovation, but I’m certain following yours will be thoroughly inspiring.

Jennifer Anderson

Congratulations and I can not wait to see what you do with these homes and be along for the ride!!

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