house hunting with the Parsons

by | Sep 13, 2022 | Decorating | 464 comments

Thank you so much for all of your wonderful and encouraging comments on yesterday’s post.  We are very excited!  So, I have been waiting for weeks to spill the beans about our new house, but as with the purchasing process of our MN house, I didn’t want to share all of the details in real-time.  Job searches and house hunts are some very stressful life events full of twists, turns, steps of faith, and sometimes disappointments.  It’s just too much to bring blog and social media followers along.  We even kept things pretty general with our friends and family for a while to keep the riders in the rollercoaster to a minimum.

But, behind the scenes, we were looking at houses with a realtor, making an offer, and then going through several different inspections since we were buying an “as-is” home.  I’ve also been working on all of the paperwork for closing day.  I must’ve blocked out how much work goes into buying a house even though we just did it five years ago.  Anyway, we looked at a bunch of houses online and with the realtor until we narrowed it down to one.  Here were three that were near the top of our list.  Let’s see if you can guess which one we bought…

petersburg, VA home | miss mustard seed

(This home is in my Opa’s old neighborhood in Petersburg, VA.)

NOTE – I’m showing pictures of homes I’ve photographed in this post, not pictures from the actual listings or houses we considered.  That might cause some snooping and cheating!  So, enjoy the pictures, but don’t take them into account when you are voting.

house number one | early 1800s home

I was in love with this house from the moment I first saw the listing.  It was the old historic home I was hoping for, so we had to give it a serious look.  This early 1800s house had some amazing original features like a center staircase, large windows, a sun porch, a back staircase, hardwood floors, and trim work.  The house was a good size and the property included several outbuildings including a climate-controlled workshop and a small guest house with potential to be a great studio.  This house really got my wheels turning and I was giddy at the age of the house.  It did need some editing, love, and updating, but it had a beautifully renovated kitchen and other updates that balanced out the work left to do.

The big downside to this house was a 30-minute commute to the church (also Jeff’s place of work) and the boys’ school.  It was also smack on a pretty busy road.  I mean, there was a tall hedge of evergreens that provided some privacy, but the front porch was feet from the road.

We had to weigh if the long commute and road noise was worth the outbuildings, 200-year-old features, and more acreage.

fort snelling home | miss mustard seed

(This 1819 home is a part of the Fort Snelling compound in Minneapolis/St. Paul.)

house number two | 1970’s brick rambler with a pool

I was surprised that I even wanted to look in this house, but it had good-sized rooms, was in a beautiful neighborhood, and had a pool, which is something that was on my boys’ wishlist.  (I wouldn’t mind it too much, either!)  Even though it was built in the early 1970s, it had a traditional feel with nice trim work, a woodburning fireplace, and beams.  You could tell this home had good bones and I was actually excited about the fact that it needed cosmetic work including a kitchen renovation.  I have been itching to rip out a kitchen and start from scratch, so this appealed to me.  While it didn’t have separate outbuildings, it did have an oversized two-car garage and a large living room that could be used as a studio.  This house was also in close proximity to the church and school and was one of the least expensive homes we looked at.

The downside to this house was that it wasn’t as old as I wanted and it needed a lot of work.  It also didn’t have outbuildings I was hoping for to accommodate my business.

rochester, mn home photographed in Feels Like Home | marian parsons | miss mustard seed

(This is a 1970s home in Rochester, MN that I photographed for Feels Like Home.  You can see more of this beautiful home HERE.)

house number three | the charming 1940s four square with a workshop

This house had so much going for it because it ticked a lot of the boxes on our wishlist.  The house was charming with a central staircase and a traditional foursquare floorplan.  It was in a historic neighborhood close to church and school.  It also had a large garage workshop and another workshop space above the garage.  As a bonus, there was a well-maintained pool, a poolhouse, and an amazing patio.

The downside to this house was it was small.  The extra workshops provided space for my business, but the house would be a tight fit for our family and for entertaining.  We would also have to do quite a bit of work to the outbuilding to make it work for us.  Not only would we need to do cosmetic work, but would have to take on bigger projects like running a water line and adding climate control.

charleston, sc home | miss mustard seed

(This charming brick home is in Charleston, SC.  I took the photo during a carriage tour in 2021.  You can read more about that trip HERE.)

So, which house did we choose?

 One – The early1800s home with outbuildings?

Two – The 1970’s traditional brick rambler with a pool?

Three – The charming 1940s four-square with a workshop?

Leave your vote in the comments and I’ll let you know which house we bought tomorrow…

464 Comments

  1. Linda DeHart

    OMG, you chose the one with the pool! It needs a lot of work. I’m excited to see what you do with it. Definitely not your typical style. It’s going to be fabulous, I’m sure!

    Reply
    • Janet

      Hope #1!

      Reply
      • Louise Alexander

        3

        Reply
      • Patricia

        I love voting ! I’m picking number 3!

        Reply
        • Kathy Nelson

          My guess is #3

          Reply
      • Jennifer

        I’m tempted to say #3 but I’m thinking it’s the really old #1. Lots of challenges and opportunities to make it just the way you want it.

        Reply
      • Wendi Unrein

        Ugh!!! The way you described the first house seemed that it was the one but 30 minutes is 30 minutes. I’m torn. Pool is definitely cool. I can’t see you with a 70s home. And a tight home can be miserable. I know how impt it is to have that business/studio space. I’ll say 3

        Reply
      • Bambi

        #2

        Reply
      • Susan

        Hoping for 1 but think you choose 2. Either way I can’t wait. I’m so excited for your family.

        Reply
    • Terry from New Hampshire

      I think you chose #2 for the convenience and the pool. Plus, with your boundless creative skills, I know you can turn this house into a home you will love. Which ever one it is, congratulations and I wish you and your family many years of happiness there.

      Reply
    • Olivia

      Oooo this is like watching House Hunters but way better because it is YOU! My vote is that you chose Number two!

      Reply
    • Terri Day

      I would expect you to pick #3. That’s my guess. This is exciting! I love how you take us along your creative journey! 😀😀😀

      Reply
    • Terri Day

      I would expect you to pick #3. That’s my guess. This is exciting! I love how you take us along your creative journey!

      Reply
    • Hannah

      #3 – The kids would love a pool. It’s got of things for you to do! 40s vintage could be fun, and workshops!!

      Reply
  2. Lennie Albers

    3

    Reply
  3. Mary S

    #1…

    Reply
  4. Michelle

    House #2

    Reply
  5. Peggy Spencer

    Hope it looks like #1,so I am guessing house one

    Reply
  6. Carol Ivy

    No. 2. I choose the ranch because even though the first house sounds amazing it does come down to location, location, location sometimes. You also will get to redesign the whole kitchen, have a space for your studio, enough space to entertain and everyone gets the pool. So happy for you know whichever one you chose it will end up being amazing!

    Reply
    • Rhonda

      I think all those who chose #2 are probably right–so many good reasons to buy that house. But I’m really hoping it was #1. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Helen

    2

    Reply
  8. VickiCooley

    This is confusing! I thought I read somewhere you were building a house! I don’t think #1 is in the right area. I’m thinking if it’s out of these three it could be #3. I guess we will know tomorrow!

    Reply
    • Molly

      I want it be 3 but it’s probably 2.

      Reply
  9. Rebecca

    3

    Reply
  10. Tracy

    100% going with the 1970 rambler. I read decorating challenge in the description and I think you are up for it! Also, one floor living is so ideal with aging parents close by.

    Reply
    • Kim

      Number 1 – what’s a 30 min drive when you have the house that’s already a home…
      You need that feeling when you walk in the door

      Reply
  11. Becky Peterson

    2, the boys need that pool!

    Reply
    • Lottie

      #2

      Reply
  12. Sally

    I love the sound of 1 but for location I’m thinking you picked 2. Whatever you pick you’ll make it fabulous !

    Reply
    • Sally

      I’m going along with Sally and the others on #2 as well! Whatever you choose I am looking forward to you sharing your journey as you make it your own.

      Reply
  13. Alice Blackmer

    I think you picked #2

    Reply
  14. Mary

    2
    Desire to rip out a kitchen! Yes!
    And a pool for all. Close to work and school.

    Reply
  15. Teresa

    I am pretty sure I found it but won’t let the cat out the bag. You gave too many clues…lol. If I am right, the name of the road is the name of my old high school. It is very well built and has great bones. I can’t wait to see all the upgrades you do to transform it.

    Reply
  16. Lori

    House #1

    Reply
  17. Beth Bricker

    #2 location, cost, size, renovation potential and a pool!

    Reply
  18. Michelle Abel

    #2

    Reply
  19. Trish Hatler

    My guess is #3

    Reply
  20. Cindy

    I guess number 2. I can’t wait to see what you bought.

    Reply
  21. Robin

    #2

    Reply
  22. Danae

    House #2

    Reply
  23. Vikki

    I am voting for #2. Sounds more like a challenge which I think you’ll like. And it’s close to work and school.

    Reply
  24. Kim

    #3!

    Reply
  25. Lynne

    #3! In a historical neighborhood!

    Reply
  26. Tracy

    House #2

    Reply
  27. Beverlee

    I reread this…number 3…..all the boxes.

    Reply
  28. Cindy

    I’m thinking #3 oooorrrr #2, but mostly #3. Can not wait to find out!

    Reply
  29. Beverlee

    I reread this….#3 checks all the boxes. That style will be fitting!

    Reply
  30. Krista

    I think you chose #3. It’s old and needs work (for you), has a pool and close to school (for boys), and close to church (for Jeff). Glad you all are able to settle into your own space soon.

    Reply
  31. maureen

    #2 It fits more of the boxes than any other!

    Reply
  32. Stacey Ingalls

    I’m going with house number two!

    Reply
  33. Connie

    #2!!

    Reply
  34. Kristin

    I’m guessing house #2!!

    Reply
  35. Kimberly

    #2

    Reply
  36. Barbara Y.

    house #2

    Reply
  37. Joy Frank

    Weighing the pros and cons it’s still a tough decision but I think you went with house #3. The square footage was smaller but having lived in Maryland I know you can use the outdoor space 3 seasons and the outbuildings require work but that can be done over time. Truthfully any of them sound wonderful and you will make them feel like Home!

    Reply
  38. LL

    My vote is #1

    Reply
  39. Diana Green

    #2… commuting takes away from family time.

    Reply
    • Mary D

      I think #3 historical neighborhood & outdoor entertaining area plus workshop/studio space!

      Reply
  40. Roberta

    I pick #3, wish it was #1 but I think distance and proximity to the road eliminates it.

    Reply
  41. Sandy

    House #2

    Reply
  42. Rosemary

    #3!!

    Reply
  43. Heidi Demasi

    I’m thinking house two. You aren’t one to shy away from a challenge.

    Reply
  44. donna

    I hope you picked 3 but I believe you picked 2. Your family needs are most important to you. So the first home meets your dreams, but isnt good for hubby so you didnt pick 1. Three is great for you because it has character but it was small so I think you picked 2 because it fits your family needs. Plus, you know deep down you can make anything home and you like a challenge. Cant wait to find out. Sooo excited for you!!! And also me…cause I get to see what you do with it😊

    Reply
  45. Beth

    I think house #3 is your choice.

    Reply
  46. Nathalie Corniel

    I Say 3! looks adorable…

    Reply
  47. Deanna

    #2.

    Reply
  48. Christine Irvine

    I think you picked number 2 for your family, and to make your own mark on it. Happy for you no matter what!
    God seems to answer us at just the nick of time. May you be blessed in your new home.

    Reply
  49. Tonya

    #2 – good bones, good price, good location, good size…all the things you need and want…everything else can be changed…and a kitchen reno to take us all along for! You can make anything beautiful if it has the right bones and size for family AND business! 🙂

    Reply
  50. Sue

    Two?

    Reply
  51. Tammy

    #2

    Reply
  52. Regina

    The order of my votes: 3,2,1
    Proximity to church is key. The pool, extra space for you, your business. Yeah, #3 is small, but you sold a lot….. and you’d get to make it your own.

    Reply
  53. Melody Migas

    #2 but I have to admit I love looking at real estate so I did some digging. I couldn’t help myself, lol. I could be wrong but if I’m not, WOW what a house! I dig the color of the bath fixtures in the spare bath. Lots of work but so much potential. You are so brave. Good luck. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

    Reply
  54. Carol Parks

    I’m thinking #2. The pool, the opportunities…

    Reply
  55. Mona

    #2

    Reply
  56. Kathy

    Number 3

    Reply
  57. JC

    I’m going to say #2. You can change the house, but you can’t change a location! Excited to see pictures!

    Reply
  58. Sharon

    I vote for #2.

    Reply
  59. Deborah Raney

    I’m thinking #2. The pool for the boys and for entertaining, and I am guessing that living in a newer home last time, you came to appreciate having everything work, and not too many of the less desirable quirks of a historic home. I can’t wait to see you turn another house into a home! I almost breathed a sigh of relief that your wandering can cease and you can settle in to HOME. So excited for you!

    Reply
  60. Cheryl

    I feel like #1 based off of the things you have been purchasing for the new home.

    Reply
  61. KCarson

    I’m guessing House number 3 or House number 1.

    Reply
  62. Karen Johnson

    I’m going with number 2, even though it isn’t what you dreamed of, it’s hard to deal with the location of #1 and the lack of room in #3. You can always fix up a house with good bones! And with it being the least expensive, it will leave you more budget to make it your own. Whichever one you chose, I’m sure you will turn all the lemons into lemonade and then some. So excited for you!

    Reply
  63. Donay Clawson

    I’m guessing number 3! Why go to all of the work with a 1970s house they were never made well and no old growth wood! Number 1 sounds nice but the old adage of location, location, location! The plus is that you could sell retail on a busy road and of course the age and outbuildings! It’s a hard pick between 1&3!

    Reply
  64. Becky

    I think it’s #2!

    Reply
  65. Sandy

    Ok kiddo, I’m guessing it is house number 2-although number 3 sounds pretty amazing too! Y’all will make whatever you chose very special with your creativity the Lord blessed you with.

    Reply
  66. DianeH

    #2, its so out of character for you; but you will have fun gutting the kitchen.., and you have said before character can be created !

    Reply
  67. Lindi

    I hope you chose #1 but I’m thinking you probably went with #2. Whatever house you pick will be lovely once you’re done with it!

    Reply
  68. Alyson

    Is it bad that I’m thinking AND hoping it’s number 3, because then you can post about how to make a smaller home work for you which is what I’m desperately seeking inspiration for? It’s bad isn’t it.

    Reply
  69. Victoria

    House #3

    Reply
  70. sandi m

    Found it .. looks perfectly lovely. 🙂
    Congrats!!

    Reply
  71. RNL

    House #2 – location and size are things you can’t change but the style of a home can definitely be manipulated.

    Reply
  72. Nancy Johnson

    Three

    Reply
  73. Dianne Glass

    I think ya’ll picked #3.

    Reply
  74. GeNell

    They all sound great, but going with #3.

    Reply
  75. Elizabeth Bird

    House number 1, that’s the one I would have chosen.

    Reply
  76. Ruth Newton

    House number 2

    Reply
  77. Mary Smart

    I pick number 3!

    Reply
  78. Marti

    I live in a four square house and love it, so I hope #3. In your hands though, any house will be lovely and I am looking forward to the transformation. Congratulations!

    Reply
  79. Bernie Darter

    #2

    Reply
  80. Andrea Hanulec

    I am thinking #2, and would love to see your transformation of that style home .It sounds just perfect !

    Reply
  81. Jean

    Wow – tough choices but I’m guessing number 2. Location, location, location! And everything else can be changed.

    Reply
  82. Karen B.

    I wish it could be #1 but commuting is a bear, especially when there’s weather to consider. I think #2.

    Reply
  83. Amy Garrison

    I’m voting for house #1, but all three sound like great options! Wishing you much happiness in whichever home you chose.😊

    Reply
  84. Lynn Florence

    They all sound wonderful. Each house offers great possibilities and I know you would be up for the challenge. I’m guessing you picked #3.

    Reply
  85. Colleen T

    Number 3 sounds similar to your house in Pennsylvania except with a pool . So I am going with that one. Number 1 sounds great though. Number 2 not sure.

    Reply
  86. Michele M.

    All 3 are amazing – I think you would choose #2 – the 1970s one with the pool.

    Reply
  87. Karen

    My pick is #2! I think it is the best compromise between the three!

    Reply
  88. Barbara

    #2

    Reply
  89. Barb

    I am guessing #2!

    Reply
  90. Amelda Shaw

    #3

    Reply
  91. Vicky

    House #1

    Reply

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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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