Our Piece of the Mississippi Mud Pie

Warning: shallow post to follow…I struggle posting things like this realizing a large majority of the world’s population is going to bed tonight in a mud hut or without a home, but I thought it fun to share how God has provided for us. Okay, most of you wouldn’t even need that disclaimer, but I constantly live in tension. The end.


Our first home was a charming bungalow in the heart of downtown Columbia. We loved renovatingfixing it up and making it our own. Once we added two kiddos to our two bedroom and one bathroom set-up, things got a little tight. But we liked it tight. It was perfect for bonding and for helping them feeling safe with us right there.

When it was time to look for a new home I was beyond excited for a fresh start. Maybe something built more recently than the 1940’s and maybe even something with an extra potty! We began the house-hunt…and by “we” I mean my mother-in-law getting off work, driving an hour, bugging the real estate agent to look at all the houses I found that looked great online, but were not at all suitable.

Sooner than later, we loaded up the family for a weekend house-hunting blitz and found *my* idea of the perfect house. You know the one that was move-in-ready and would not require the lifting of a finger…the one with a jillion bedrooms and storage, glorious storage…the ones with granite counter tops…you know, the one at which my husband and father-in-law immediately shook their heads and walked out of. With no more than a flier, we left the house (which I’ve got a contract on in Heaven–wink wink) and headed to the next house. You know, the one with popcorn ceilings and no windows…the one that had more dog hair on the floor than the floor of the grooming room at Petsmart…the one on which my handyman husband and my disaster relief coordinator father-in-law shook hands with the real estate agent and said “we think this is the one!”

Waves of anxiety, frustration and disappointment washed over me as I realized that we were buying a house that required not just the lifting of a finger, but the lifting of a sledge-hammer to make it move-in-ready. I was a huge brat for about 2 weeks during the process of bargaining and negotiating. Like huge. I was not quiet in my whining. My sister-in-law even made me make a list of the top 10 reasons I was excited about moving to Oxford just so I could get over myself. Finally, I grabbed my journal, plopped down in a recliner at my in-laws’ house and went to the Lord with my angst.

He met me there and showed me that I had put my identity into an ideal house. This place that would represent me to my new world. New friends, coworkers, church people, etc. I didn’t realize that I was looking to this place to create my mini-kingdom of comfort and ease. This place that I had initially wanted to be spacious enough and accommodating to use for ministry, but (the Lord revealed) I had ended up tainting it with my desire to impress and show-off. Ouch.

I tearfully submitted this major issue in my heart, asked God to give me joy in receiving whatever He provided for us and closed my journal. The phone rang. It was Lee, our realtor, saying he couldn’t believe it, but the owners took our low-ball offer. I got a little choked up when I signed the contract, but otherwise, God provided peace and joy.

Things got a little hairy when it came time for closing and I was so glad for that moment of wrestling and submitting, because I could look back to that as confirmation of this being our home! On closing day we were scheduled to do a final walk-through. We drove by several times, but it seemed like the owners were still trying to vacate. So, we drove around for a while and finally saw them leave with all their stuff. Up the driveway we went, only to find an aquarium sitting beside a tree in the side yard. Joel said, “I’m sorry, but is there a snake in our yard?” I said, “No! I’m sure it’s just an old aquarium that they forgot…HOLY CRAP THAT’S A BOA CONSTRICTOR!!!” To which Joel replied, “Not the house-warming gift I had expected.” There were a several other issues with the house, but I’ll spare myself the blood-pressure problem and say that bottom line, we had to wait another 5 days to close, but could take possession that day. Well, after they came and got their snake. And 40 gallons of paint. And apparently the shower heads and the nice key pad lock on the front door. Okay, but anyway, no worries.

You would think we would start the demolition after the home was officially ours, but a Hurdle never hesitates when there is a project to be done. Demolition began. And still had not ended :)

Here are some pictures of this ever-evolving house and what we are doing to make it a home we absolutely love. Popcorn ceilings and all. Okay, I still hate the ceilings, but I love the house and love using it for ministry. The kind of ministry that has much purer motives. Thank you, Joel Hurdle for always being right. Seriously, always.

Entryway Before:


Entryway After:


The wall are actually more grey than blue (at least that’s what I tell myself because I wanted grey and not blue) it’s uber soothing!!

Cave Living Room Before:

living room

Cave Living Room During:


Let there be light…

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Let there be a whitewashed fireplace… (This was my project!! I’m not high change and I had almost talked myself into leaving the brick alone, but I’m so glad I went for it! One part water to one part paint, slosh it on with a paint brush, let sit for 2 minutes and then wipe–DON’T BLOT–off! Easy peasy but NOT the 30 minute project Pinterest suggests.)


Mad props to Hawk, Joel’s saving grace, who lived here for 6 weeks…and really to both of our families and all the other incredible people who answered my pitiful text messages for help! The new hardwood floors made a huge difference. Bye-bye years of dog hair.


Not kidding when I say family and friends kept us sane!! Look at these people!
515iphonesummer13 448



Who needs windows on move-in day? Anticipated deadlines and deliveries, you mean nothing to me. IMG_9612

Living Room “After”:

I am NOT into decorating…it totally stresses me out because I feel like there is a right answer out there…regardless…we are still brainstorming window treatments, what color to paint the coffee table, where to find chairs, what art to put on the walls and whether the Chronicles of Narnia wardrobe totally overpowers the room…but this is the current reality and it’s definitely the heart of our home!436

Office Before:


We closed off a doorway that opened up into the kitchen and then busted out a wall that connected to the living room. 260 259

iphonesummer13 330311271There was a slight miscommunication about how many walls would be knocked out…like I walked in and there were no walls. None. Minor details! :) Thankfully that all worked itself out! 386

Office Turned Dining Room After:


Kitchen Before: kitchen


Kitchen During:

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Clearly I really wanted green cabinets…but played it safe and went with the classic white. Glad for it :)

084147 A can of spray paint ain’t never hurt nobody. Saved us some crazy cash turning these bronze beauties to stainless! 141 142 249

Yes, we did live with no counter tops for about 2 months after moving in. Who knew counter tops were so crucial to the functioning of family life? Grateful for these bad boys!!!


Kitchen After:

Kitchen with Angelic Baby Girl Using It: 574

We are still trying to figure out an island option…currently we are using the kitchen table from our old house…thoughts on an affordable island? Design ideas?453

Pigtails’ Bedroom Before:

EG room

Pigtails’ Bedroom After:

457We have lots of Christmas break project for Baby Girl’s room…Hanging art, creating a headboard, etc. More to come on the Princess’s chambers.

Cowlick’s Room Before: ds room

D-Man’s Ole Miss Room After:


Eat-In Kitchen Before: dining

Eat-In During:

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Eat-in After:

Thoughts on rug? Window treatments? 449

Hall Bath Before:


It really doesn’t look half bad. In fact, this bathroom wasn’t even on the demolition list. But what you can’t see in these photos is that almost every room in the house had been wallpapered and painted over…about 4 layers-worth of paint. Meaning all the dry wall ended up needing to come down.


All Gigi and I knew was that we got a frantic phone call that said, “I have 3% battery left on my phone, but I need you to go to the discount tile place and get enough tile for the bathroom. It has to match the leftover tile from the kitchen. Make it look good and do it cheap.”


No measurements. No nothing. The.essence.of.our.entire.summer. When.is.this.dern.reality.tv.show.gonna.air?!?

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Oh and the giant fluorescent light? It was there to hide a multitude of sins in that ceiling. 512

Not half bad for a frantic phone call.444

Ladies and gentlemen, we have the extra potty I’d always dreamed of! 422 421

Our Bathroom Before:


No, I didn’t sneak into an RV and snap a shot. This was our fabulous sink area. This was also the point in the initial house tour when I said to Joel, “Surely not.” The master bath still looks about the same. That will be another project for another budget on another day. But a coat of paint and some father-in-law ingenuity (he gave us some old lighting and added bead-board to the mirror) makes this $10 re-do worth Pinning.

afterlightOur room is still in the works, as well as a garage we hope to finish out. Oh and the backyard! The glorious backyard. The selling feature of this crib. Can’t wait to show you! I look forward to sharing more of this house that is now our home. The one for which I am beyond grateful. Come visit! 


14 thoughts on “Our Piece of the Mississippi Mud Pie”

  1. Kitty, you all did a fabulous job! I would surely hire you out to come do all that to my house. I’ve wanted to whitewash our brick fireplace for a long time, but no one else has my vision. ;( Maybe I’ll direct them here. I’m loving reading your revamped blog, by the way.

  2. Kitty – and Joel – This looks amazing; thanks so much for sharing. What great lessons for all of us who think that things have to be ‘perfect’ from the beginning. I think that women, especially, think that since our homes are a reflection of ourselves, then they should be perfect – because of course we want people to think that WE are perfect!
    Who knew that Jack and Joel were genius home remodelers! They should have made a reality show from this project.
    You said that you didn’t know about art on the walls in the living room – I’m sorry Josie Ortega is not coming to Memphis for Christmas; she is a genius at ‘wall decor.’

  3. Girl, this is amazing to me! I would never have seen such potential! Joel and his dad are like magical little builders!! Seriously, this looks awesome! Also, have you checked IKEA for an island type of thingy?

  4. I LOVE everything! It all looks so fresh and current! Beautiful! I love the colors of the walls and all the updated fixtures! The mantle and fireplace area look amazing! As for the kitchen island, call me crazy – but I actually like the kitchen table that you have there! I think it adds a nice “southern” touch! :) You could add a nice vase of fresh flowers or a neat vintage pitcher to it for some flare! :)

  5. Oh, I have so many happy thoughts! I’m so glad you shared. Our first house? Had wallpapered walls that were sponge painted. Over the wallpaper. Also a sponge painted countertop in the kitchen. Huzzah! But, seriously. I love all of this. I love the Narnia wardrobe in that room. I think it can handle it. I love the clean and warm grey walls. I think your home is lovely and I’m so happy for you, friend :).

  6. Thanks for sharing Kitty!!!! I have been wondering how the hour turned out after the many Instagram pictures. It looks beautiful. A job well done!

  7. Kitty, Joel obviously could be a building contractor with a team of family members! I marvel at the ability to do all this and minister so effectively. I pray you all rest well at night since life is so full of demands for energy. God bless you in this home and new ministry location. We do miss you in SC but really are glad you can be near family.

  8. The house looks awesome!! :) You guys did an amazing job! I wish we were a little more handy like that! We have had our fair share of housing drama! After being homeless for a few months and staying with friends, we finally found a house and our offer was actually accepted. We thought we were moving into a home that didn’t require much fixing up-haha…after coming in to find fleas and mice, we knew things may not be as they seem! :) I know that your house will be full of love, many memories and disciples will be made!

  9. This is amazing…truly beautiful and totally rebuilt from the ground up. It is symbolic of the beautiful transformation God made in your attitude. Just think of all the “fun” you would have missed had you been able to grab the “big house.” Your kids really saw a family that pitches in and accomplishes MUCH as a team…and I love gray!! Have it in my home. In fact, I might steal an idea or two…thanks!

  10. Love it! Thanks for sharing! (I know you felt you needed the disclaimer, but you then immediately share about your struggle and growth through the house process, which is encouraging. And even if you didn’t, I think it’s perfectly appropriate for your ministry blog—this is your life, the place God’s given you to do ministry, and your team wants to see it! :)

    I love the little table and chairs EG is using.
    I have your same vacuum cleaner.
    Would you consider re-orienting the table in your eat-in kitchen? Looks like it might fit better in that room length-ways, from what I can see in the pic. But that may not work for your traffic pattern.
    Love EG’s bedspread.

    Show more when you can!

    God is a God of peace, not chaos. You and Joel (I can’t believe he’s ALWAYS right!) are creating order and peace out of chaos. So beautiful!!!

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