Archive for the ‘Roots Ranch Renovation’ Category


More trees coming down that were beginning to die or becoming a problem.





Instead of burning them this time, we created mulch to put around the base of our trees. Right now, between the fence and other areas around our house it is a 3 hr. weed whipping job. Hoping that this cuts down on that time and looks nicer.



We were doing this the same time we were painting the fence. In case any falling trees broke the fence boards, we could fix it before we painted.



Along with the trees, we also had a line of lilacs that continued to grow and get out of hand. It blocked our street view and was yet another thing to mow around.


Can’t see the house.


The big trees on the left are gone, and the fence has been painted. Getting started on the bushes.


Hello house. 


The aftermath.



We were left with these nasty stumps. Our wonderful neighbors asked if they could remove them for us. It was so sweet of them to take care of them for us!



Newly planted grass is now in this place.

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1/2 year project: Clearing out fence line, fixing fence boards, and painting the fence.


Our fence needed painting.


There was way too much brush, poison ivy and thorns to be able to get to the back of the fence to paint it the way it should be. We spent all last spring clearing out our back fence line. We all got pricks. Tater had a black locust thorn pierce him really bad and some poison ivy all over his body, but he didn’t complain and kept at it.


There were also areas where the fence needed fixing or new boards. Tater did that too. The kids and I tried to be his assistants. 


I spy Tater.



Adding to our burn pile.


Our horse loving girl keeping us company and hanging by our side.


Here is what it looked like before.


Here is what it looked like after we cleaned it up.



On to fixing boards and painting. Just like the house, this job was more fun because you saw immediate results. I wire brushed the entire fence line beforehand to remove flaking paint. Tater sprayed the fence with paint, and I went behind him with a paintbrush to get in the cracks and small areas. The fence seemed to go on and on. We worked on painting the fence for several months (Fall 2016).


Right side – done.

Left side – not done.


Making our way around.


Another trip to Lowes for more paint.



Loving the change!


Notice all the trees past our property line behind the fence.


Shortly after we cleared our several feet beyond our fence (as we were painting the outside of our fence) our neighbors cleared their land to use to farm. This was a surprise for us and definitely changed our view.


Checking out all the trees that were down behind us.


It opened everything up a lot more.


White fence, new extended view, and blue sky. We’ll take it!

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I think it is important to note the timeline on most of these projects – especially this one. I know sometimes when I watch a remodeling show I think, Wow – how quick that seemed to take! That is so nice for them but… Why is ours taking foooorrrrevvvver?!? Just as those shows are condensed into 30 min. – 1 hr. highlights, our posts also only show the highlights. There are definitely frustrations with many of them. The thing we always say together during our projects is that it usually looks worse before it looks better. And yes… patience is the key to many of them!

Our goal was to finish our Master Bath within the first 5 years of moving in. Sharing one bathroom as a family of 6 was sure cozy.

This project took 3 years, and now it is complete. The funny thing is, the kids still love to congregate and use our bathroom now. So it sometimes feels like we are still all sharing one bathroom. 🙂

Here’s a look back –


Year 2013

Here are some before pictures. We may have posted them before. They definitely have me going down memory lane. When we first moved in the bathroom and closet were separate and both very small. Tater couldn’t stand under the shower head. Our decision was finalized about redoing this bathroom when we went down to studs at this end of the house HERE at the beginning.







This shows the area a bit better. There were 2 doors. Bath on the left. Closet on the right. We closed off the door on the left. And added a pocket door on the right. Our bath and closet will now be together providing us a bigger space.


Insulation in.


Drywall up.




Plumbing reworked.



Tater added a window. There was no window before. This has been one of my favorite things. Love the natural light!


Both of our dads helped. 💙



Shower base in.


Year 2014

Flooring going down. Tater spoiled me with heated flooring.


Matt Gentes laid our tile in most of our house and did a fantastic job.


We also added baseboards and a toilet.


Moved in – April 2014

Our makeshift closet.


Year 2015


We got our glass shower surround, and our closet moved to the basement for the time being.


Matt came back and added our shower tile on the back wall.



We began planning what we wanted our closet to look like. Since it was connected to the bathroom and would be out in the open, we wanted to keep it nice. We found these 2 cabinets at Sam’s Club. They work great for storing some of our clothes. We began coming up with ideas on how to hang clothes, etc.



Our drywall was torn in a few places (around the can lights and vent fan). We wanted to add some character to this space as well. Tater began adding some wood to our ceiling that we would paint white.




Adding it up into our skylight. We also trimmed our ceiling.


Year 2016

Our vanity came!



The water line and drain pipes interfered with the bars on the back of our vanity, and the pipes were definitely not lined up correctly. We had not picked out our vanity before to know, and so here was another dilemma. As most projects go, one step forward and two steps back. We took down some of the drywall to rework pipes.


Repatching and on the path to make it nice again.


Vanity in and faucets hooked up!


Yay for running water!


Our attention then turned back to our closet. We lifted the cabinets up to the ceiling and Tater began building drawers to go underneath.


I also found a matching shower bench at Home Goods. 


Tater had never made drawers before, but they turned out fantastic. We have 4 deep drawers now providing great storage.


These were our curtains for quite awhile. You’re jealous, aren’t you? The trash bags actually worked out rather nicely for the time being.


I do have to say that I loved when we finally got blinds. Tater also made the wood valance.


He surprised me and threw in a little trinket tray while he was messing with wood.


Next up, mirror and vanity lights. Tater made the frame for our vanity mirror. We decided we wanted 3 lights. Notice that there are only 2 lights coming out of the wall. Looks like more drywall is coming down. 🙂


A vent pipe was right in the middle – in our way… reworked that a bit.


If their is one thing I’ve learn about Tater with home projects, is that he is very thorough. He does not rush through anything. He thinks it through and is precise with the work he does. He does not do anything halfheartedly. He gives it his best. The math markings on this wall were very thought out. We had to tell the glass company where we wanted our cuts, and we didn’t want to be off.


Mirror and lights were hung. We are enjoying our finished Master Bath!




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When we had to rip up part of our deck to run wiring for the pressure tank, we decided keep on going with the rest of it.

It was a nice large deck, but we had a few problems with it:

  • Some supports were broken. We knew this when we bought the place.
  • It covered our septic access.
  • It also covered a basement window. Making a nice quiet home for our raccoon that would come every year. It also just made our basement too dark.
  • Kids would get splinters on there feet as they got in and out of the pool.




We worked as a team. Tater would get the boards off and they kids and I worked on getting out the embedded nails. We saved the wood to possibly use for a future chicken coop.






Making progress!


They girls also helped us take off our broken lattice on our gazebo.


The boards are are gone!


Our broken hot tub is gone. Yay!


This is what happens when you take a little break. Weeds take over.


Bottom part of siding is showing now what was under the deck. It was not able to get painted when we painted the house since it was underneath.



It was pretty messed up from being under the deck. So Tater removed the old siding and added new to the bottom.






Now we were able to paint. Thankfully this paint dried to match the previously painted portion. We were worried for a bit that we were going to have to paint the whole back of the house again.


We were getting close to getting a patio poured, but we had a hiccup when our pool reel for the sliding cover decided to officially break. Since this was a safety concern and a more important fix, this caused us to postpone our patio plans for now and focus on that.


Helping daddy make the cover for the new pool reel. The new reel was bigger and didn’t fit in the ground. Tater had to make a box that hid and protected the part of the reel that was coming up above ground level.


Paisley playing by me while I painted the pool reel box.


Here we are getting ready to close our pool for the season. It shows at the bottom of the picture the reel box that was made and painted. We also removed our diving board that was cracked. All of this happened from fall 2015 through summer 2016.

As I post – patio is getting poured! 5-31-17 🙂

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The laundry room door was nonexistent. It just didn’t work in the small space.


We wanted something that could block out the light and noise when we were in other rooms, so Tater made us a sliding barn door. I never did take any pictures of him making it, but here are some pictures of the finished product. It was better than I could have ever imagined. We have been marking the heights of our kids on the back side of this door, so it is becoming even more special as the years go on.





On to fixing our concrete counter. If it only still looked like it did when we first sealed it HERE. Now, the sealer was peeling and nasty. It got so bad that I couldn’t even lay a spoon down with any sort of liquid or it would peel more up. We did a little more research and a company in Peoria, IL helped us pick a new sealer.


We had to sand the smooth surface off of the counter before applying the new sealer. It was not our first choice (as there were other options) but in our situation we knew it would be the best. The counter lost all the shininess, but it did gain more texture and a richer color. We definitely do not have to be careful with it like last time. It is more durable and because of all the imperfections, I don’t worry as much when stains and knicks happen. What a workout it was sanding off the first sealer. We did it by hand, and it created so much dust. Thankfully I had help! 😃


You can see in this picture the difference. The bottom of the picture is the old sealer chipping. The top portion of the picture is showing the sealer sanded off.


All sanded and ready for sealer.


The sealer gave it a bit more color and sheen and has done good at protecting it. So far, so good. 🙂

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Do you guys remember Tater’s first shower experience HERE? Our well pump went out day 1 of living here.

Another problem we had the first several years of living here was poor water pressure. We couldn’t do more than one water thing at a time. If someone was taking a shower, I had to hold off on doing laundry or getting a drink of water from the sink. Here is a look at our poor water pressure. It also made a funny noise.



We needed a new water pressure tank. All we had to do what find the old one that was buried. That seemed easy, right!?! The digging began.


We probed many spots and thought we had found it several times only to find a rock after digging. It wasn’t found until after digging almost 360 degrees around the well. 😬 It made for a unique and fun playground for the kids though.





Did I say it made a really fun playground? I meant REEEEAAALLY fun. We made our own kind of swimming pool.


They slid down the sides and were throwing mud at each other. It was a terrible mess, but wonderful memories were made!


See that blue thing? We found it!!!


We wanted to bring the new pressure tank into our basement and not bury the new one. Meanwhile, we were reworking the electric to go from the barn to the house.


Trace helped us with trenching from the house to the barn. We ripped up a portion of our deck to run the wires.







All ready to switch to the new tank. We were not sure how long we were going to be without water. Good thing we were prepared. 😉

Yikes… see our peeling countertop above? 😩 It looks like another project is coming. Our sealer we put on our concrete counter top didn’t stay. More on that later…


Getting our yard back in order and filling in our muddy swimming hole.





Our new pressure tank has now a nice home in the basement. We are so thankful for running water and better water pressure!!

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We did several wood projects below:

First of all, Landon made a Farmhouse Address Sign for our house a few summers ago for 4-H. We got the idea online and wanted something similar for our place. Here are the details if you are interested in making one!




  • Old barn door wood
  • Stainless steel screws
  • Caulk
  • House #s
  • Plastic bag
  • Potting soil
  • Succulents


  • Table saw
  • Compound miter saw
  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Tape measure
  • 4-square
  • Caulk gun
  • Pliers
  • Awl
  • Rubber mallet


Here is what the old barn wood started as. We used a chisel, hammer, and pry bar to remove old hardware and nails out of the wood.





Then we were able to cut it to the size of our liking using a circular saw and table saw.




Next, he measured the reclaimed wood for the planter box.


He used a 4-square to mark the wood.


Then we used a compound miter saw to cut the wood for the planter box.


He drilled partial holes in old door supports and used screws to make the sign more sturdy as the old nails had loosened over time.



Then they attached the planter box to the sign using screws.


Then he ripped more barn wood to the thickness of the sign.


They used the compound miter saw to cut wood to make a frame.





They secured the frame with screws.


Next up were the house #s. They used an awl to mark the location of the drill holes.



We caulked the back of our numbers so that insects could not make nests and burrow in behind the numbers.


We drilled holes for the numbers slightly smaller than the stud that was on the back of the numbers. After that, we used a rubber mallet to tap the numbers in place.


Looks like a sign! Now the fun part for me.


We lined the planter box with a plastic bag to keep the soil moist after watering and not drip mud onto our house siding. We filled the bag with potting soil and planted our succulents. 


Ready to hang on the house!


It was a fun project, and he ended up getting Best of Class. I love seeing it hung on the house knowing they made it in love for me. 


While working on the address sign, another wood project was going on.  Tater made me a huge planter box for our front yard. You may have spied it in our house painting post. It was not yet painted. He used my parents old siding. We have used their siding to make so many things! The girls enjoyed using it to play in for the day.




He also added a nice wood back to our dinner bell and hung it on the house. 😍

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Our house definitely needed a facelift. It’s amazing what a little bit A LOT of paint can do. We were painting for daaaaaayyysss, but to see the transformation made it all worth while. This project took all summer.

Here is the house before. Shutters are off. Ready to begin.


Here is the barn before. Doors will be painted white.


White trim also needed refreshing.


We pressure washed and removed old chipped paint.




We also found some rotten siding. We replaced it with nice and new siding.


What are these children doing on the roof!?!?  😅


I spy my boys up high ready to get started!


We painted the house first. This took several months. We did two coats.





Having way too much fun with daddy and seeing how high they could go.


We worked into the evening hours on many nights.




We had excellent help, and he added fun to the job!



My dad even painted while we enjoyed the summer day swimming right next to him. What a man!


Finishing up the back of the house.


We had to leave on vacation as a big storm arrived. NOT COOL when you’re painting and all your downspouts are off your house. We tried to collect and dump what we could before leaving. This happened another time when we had the downspouts off. It filled up our basement window well like a fish tank adding nice puddles of water on the basement floor.



On to painting the barn. This took another month. Here we are pressuring washing it first.



I did what I could during the day. When Tater got home from work, we would conquer the high places I couldn’t reach together.




I’m not a fan of heights. I prefer the lower level. One night we worked late into the night high up on a lift with stars all around us. Kinda romantic… kinda. 😉


My parents came to help again. My dad sacrificed his favorite new pair of jeans for us!


Thankful when we finished! Such a beautiful rose colored sunset.


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It’s a new season for us… with a lot of changes.


Numbers-02_3First off, our business name has changed 


Roots Photography & Design, LLP


Roots, LLP

Our vision down the road with our business is to not just be solely photography. We hope to have branches under our name like farm life, products to sell, photography, and so forth. We will see where it leads.


Numbers-03_3Next up, projects and house changes


This was my Mother’s Day present made by Tater and the kids this year. I was not allowed to go into the barn for an entire week. They kept it a good secret. I had to close my eyes as they walked me out to this beauty:




It’s a 20′ 1″ table with two 18′ benches… all on rollers for easy movement. It works great for our big family. The kids left me little notes that already washed off from the rain. We plan to paint it someday and set it out on the back patio.




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We have finished adding the sills and casings in our home and have spent hours getting splattered paint off our floors.

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Our son’s room































We got rid of the extra closet to make his bedroom a bit bigger.



Other closet before:















































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Numbers-04_3Many new babies were born this week


Roots Ranch has had a change of pace lately: A combination of taking care of our sickness indoors and special announcements coming from outside in the barn.




One of these things is not like the others…



Found our cat nestled in amongst the chickens with her own little one.



Snuggling together



The girls checking out all the activity going on in the barn and coming in to let us know of all the updates.



Numbers-05_3Lastly, we have decided to take a break from photography for now. This will hopefully be for just a season. Not sure how long the season will be. We will play that by ear and let you know when we decide to pick it back up. The main decision for this is to focus on our kiddos right now and really invest in them. They are at such fun and impressionable ages and the days are passing quickly. Photography is something on the side that we can put off for now. We thank all of our faithful clients and will miss each and every one of you!! These past 7 1/2 years of business have been fun. We will still try to blog and keep our skills up with random updates and post. And, we will still be honoring sessions with those who have gift certificates with us, so please don’t be shy to still contact us! We look forward to completing the sessions that we have scheduled!




Thank you to all our readers. We love you!

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No more peeping toms when trying to go to the bathroom. Our knobs are installed, and we can actually lock the doors. It’s the little things that get us all excited, but I have to admit… I did love seeing those little eyes and smiles peek through. 😉






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Hallway BEFORE (during first day demo actually).








The hallway has 2 round skylights. We love the natural light we get coming through those openings. they had a simple bulb with a frosted round bowl. We removed the bowl when renovating and later decided to add hanging lights to add some interest.



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