Hello and Happy Friday from the old house on the hill! (She looks pretty up there, doesn’t she?) Before we kick this weekend off, I thought I’d show you a little bit of what went down last Saturday. Ladies and Gentlemen, project #1 is officially underway.


What is that weird pattern-y thing, you ask?

Oh, that?

That’s the ceiling!


Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

If you recall, there are several little sheds out behind our house. This one, the one on the far left, was the *perfect* 1950s clubhouse–or so I’ve been told. In my head, the Kerr boys were basically the Little Rascals. (I wonder if there was a Darla?)



Years before that, it was the home of Lewdy, the groundskeeper. I was told you could smell him coming a mile away. (Perhaps he’d been in to the jello shots? See yesterday’s post.) I also heard he had a thing going on with the maid.


window weights

Well, for its next incarnation, it will be… */drumroll please/* my studio! Last Saturday, as I was working upstairs in the house, Husband and our faithful apprentice, who is currently occupying the guest room, were deconstructing parts of the shed.



We are not tearing the building down, but parts are beyond repair. So we are going to save the parts we can and rebuild the others to suit our purposes. Windows were taken out (carefully) and saved for future use. While we are tearing out the ceiling, the roof was replaced recently so we shouldn’t have to touch it. I’m thrilled with how much they got done last weekend, and I’m excited to get my hands dirty tomorrow. Stay tuned!

My old studio space was one of several crafty spaces featured on Click here to see it!

Click here to get my tips for dressing up your cubicle!


Meet Nancy Kerr

Portrait of Nancy Kerr by Elizabeth Kerr-Rike at Rivermont | Hannah & Husband

Meet Nancy Kerr, the previous matriarch of Rivermont. There are so many things about this house that I love, but, without a doubt, its good spirit is the thing for which I am most thankful. And, from what I gather, we have this lady to thank for that.

A plucky war bride from England, Nancy and her husband Jim raised four boys within these walls. Nancy was an impressive being; she was a nurse during WWII and was the first hospice nurse in the state of Tennessee. I’m sure I’ll share more about the Kerrs’ tenure in this house at some point as we have so enjoyed getting to know their family. But for today, I just couldn’t resist sharing this portrait.

It was painted by Nancy’s sister-in-law Elizabeth Kerr-Rike who was the preeminent portrait painter in Knoxville in the forties and fifties. In fact, James saw some of her work hanging in a local country club recently! In the words of Nancy’s third, Christopher, “She could catch the essence of a person in her drawings.” This portrait carries such a presence that the first night she was here, Dexter walked right up to her and growled. (I’m happy to report that relations have warmed since.)

There is just something about her expression and that gleam in her eye that I can’t seem to get over–powerful, confident, and perhaps a little mischievous. Anyway, she’s staying at Rivermont until her granddaughter (who shares her striking features) has a place of her own. For now, we couldn’t be happier that she’s here for a bit longer.

Rivermont When We Bought Her

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & HusbandToday, we want to share some pictures with you of Rivermont when we bought her. The first time we walked through, I believe the only thing I photographed was a doorknob (seen here). We were both so overwhelmed by the house. She has quite the presence, and this is only a smattering of rooms. In fact, my favorite rooms aren’t included. We’ll look at those at another time!

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

We are pretty in love with the green, which is good… because it’s everywhere!

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

2 words: China Closet. I will post a detail of this wallpaper on instagram, but it is amazing! It’s yellow with gold (dare I say glitter?) and practically perfect in every way.

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

The kitchen needs some love, and I don’t really want to talk about the brown sinks. (Was that really a thing in the 80s?) As I’ve mentioned, the only room I miss from our Nobel Street home is the kitchen. But I made Husband take a picture of me hugging our old fridge before we moved out–so there’s that.

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & HusbandRivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & HusbandRivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

These are not my favorite bedrooms, but you can see the wood floors and the beautiful built-ins. So. Many. Built-ins!

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

Worth noting: There’s a bell in the top of that building on the right that guests ring when they arrive. It’s one of my new favorite things!

Isn’t she grand? I can’t wait to share the history and some of the stories we’ve learned. More to come soon!

Finding a Realtor

Finding a Realtor | Hannah & Husband

What? You didn’t make your realtor take a selfie with you at closing?

I’ve never had to date as an adult, but I’m pretty convinced that finding a realtor was a similar experience. Think about it.

There are two ways to meet your realtor. One is through the introduction of a trusted friend. The second is by noticing that you frequent all the same places. (i.e. You see a lot of their signs in your favorite neighborhood.)

Next, you vet them online. Who are they friends with? What have people said about them?

Finally, you start analyzing the details and looking for common interests. Do they specialize in a certain style of house? Have they sold several houses in the same neighborhood you want to be in? Are the pictures they’ve taken up to your standards?

When people found out we were looking for an old house, they’d say, “Oh, you must meet Jessica! That’s what she does. You’ll love her!” And they were right. We’d already picked the house we wanted, but we called Jessica because of her expertise. For instance, because she deals with old houses regularly, she hired an inspector who lived in an old house himself and would know what to look for.

Also, as a side note, her website was beautiful. I know I’m a bit partial because of what I do, but the real estate agents I’ve enjoyed working with in the past have easy to navigate, beautiful sites. They know I’m going to be searching listings at midnight in my pjs, and they’ve chosen to make the experience a good one. Plus, if they’ve taken the time to take good photos of the houses they’re listing, it says that they care that much more.

But, be prepared. Once we found the one, the dating feeling only got stronger.

4 Ways It Will Feel Like You’re Dating Your Realtor:

1. You have to find someone that “gets” your vibe.

2. You spend a lot of time talking about your ideas for the future.

3. You sometimes avoid text messages you don’t know how to answer.

4. You can spend an entire weekend with them and still not get lucky!

So hopefully this has given you some points to ponder if you’re searching yourself. The important thing is to find someone that you relate to and trust… because it’s gonna get personal.

The Summer of Yes

For us, this summer has been the season of saying, “Yes!” In the past week we closed on our new house, took a trip to the beach with my in-laws, moved into the new house, and spent an afternoon in Virginia partying with the prettiest bride I ever did see. When asked last week about our crazy schedule, I just had to reply, “Life’s short! Who wants to miss out on anything?” So, if you’ll humor me, I must share a few pictures.

Teal on Closing Day | Hannah & Husband

This is a selfie in our new living room a few hours after closing. We can’t brag enough on our real estate agent, who I’ll talk about more later this week. At closing, she brought us a bottle of champagne with a teal bow to match our new living room.

Teal Mantle | Hannah & Husband

Aqua Hat  | Hannah & Husband

The next day, we drove to the beach, and I bought a new hat. It was at that moment, that I started to sense I may have a teal/aqua addiction. Are there groups for this sort of thing?

Eastern Lake, Santa Rosa, FL  | Hannah & Husband

Seaside Cocktails  | Hannah & Husband

Beach Beard + Turban  | Hannah & Husband

While at the beach, James grew a beach beard and I wore a lot of turbans (please see The Platinum Blonde Commandments for reference). I’m posting this picture to remind you that you’re not the only one who looks a little wacky on vacation.

rainy moving day  | Hannah & Husband

Back in Tennessee on Thursday: moving day. And the rain came. At points, it came down Noah style.

clothing on the moving truck | Hannah & Husband

Wedding Selfie  | Hannah & Husband

Friday, we cleaned up and drove to Virginia for a wedding. I have to tell you, it was the most stylish wedding we’ve ever been to! I sense a summer wedding style post in the near future.

Hannah & Julie  | Hannah & Husband

Here is the beautiful MRS! Julie and I were best friends in elementary school and had summer camps every year til we graduated. It was such a special treat to be able to share her big day!

Jon & James  | Hannah & Husband

Naturally, the MRs needed a picture too!

Unpacking  | Hannah & Husband

And then we came home to unpacking. We are officially moved out of ye olde house on Nobel Street where we spent the last 9 years. But I must tell you, the family that bought it was so wonderful that saying goodbye wasn’t really that hard.

On to the next adventure!

The 10 Stages of Moving to a New Place

Moving is a cold, cruel lover. I know more about contracts now. I have a better grasp on the power of social media than ever before. And, most surprising to me, I can tell you exactly how a septic system works. (*Knowledge is power, y’all!) So for those of you that have never experienced this little tango for yourselves, today I present to you: The 10 Stages of a Moving to a New Place.

You find the perfect house.


You make the decision to rent/buy/lease the perfect space.


You put in an offer.



You play it super cool.


You wait.


And you wait.

Stages of Moving | Hannah & Husband

There are negotiations.

Your offer is accepted.


You start packing.


You move.

The 10 Stages of Moving | Hannah & Husband

Big Announcement… Big. Huge.

Big Announcement today. If you’ve noticed that things have been a little quiet here on the home front for the last week, you would be right. But there’s a really good explanation. At the moment, we are a teensy bit buried in boxes because WE’RE MOVING!

I’ve been trying to write this post for two days. Despite the fact that we’ve been in the middle of this process since late March and are currently buried under mountains of boxes, it still doesn’t quite feel real.

Dexter and the boxes | Hannah & Husband

Last year, we’d planned to move to New York City for both of our careers, but in late November James was offered a position here in Tennessee that was just too perfect to pass on. So we made the decision to stay in town and hopefully find a new project house. We looked around for about a month in an area we really dug, but just couldn’t find anything that screamed us. Then, late one Saturday night we ran across THE listing. Within the week we’d seen the house and put ours on the market. BTW, the power of social media still blows my mind.

House for Sale | Hannah & Husband

On Sunday, we had four showings and on Monday, it was sold! We will close and move in the next two weeks so posts, and we are so excited.

Rivermont | Hannah & Husband

Our “new” home, built in 1904

Needless to say, we will be sharing a lot about this move on the blog. The house has a rich history and will provide us with (seemingly endless) projects. We’ve learned so much during this process that we want to share with you!

That said, I’m currently working on a new series about buying and selling our home so I’d love to hear if you have any questions!

Are you considering buying your own house?
Is there a part of the process that really freaks you out?

Click this link to send us a message, comment below, or tweet us: @jamesaslaughter & @hb_belle.