Plans Versus Elements: Battle of the Sexes

It goes a little something like this:

Tim: Hey, Nicole. Send me some examples of floor plans that you like.

Nicole: Okay. But remember, all that is important to me is just a few things: a BIG closet, a nice bathroom, a BIG kitchen, and good outdoor entertaining space.

Tim: Just send me some examples.

So I begin to go on Pinterest (for almost two months now,) and I started to pin everything that I liked. I even pinned things that were sort-of my style, but I thought were pretty. I sent him the link to my “Dream House” board and then got the following text:

Clearly, somewhere we got our wires crossed.

Here I am envisioning paint chips and butcher block counters, and all the while, my Structural Designer boyfriend is asking for ACTUAL floor plans.

Originally, we were heading down a different path. He presented me with this really cool floor plan he had been working on for years, but wanted to change-up because his ideas had shifted over the decade. I liked it. But.. it wasn’t really a dream I was a part of. So we decided to go back to the drawing board. The next plan was (again,) something he envisioned. It was more rectangular and had more of a southwest/rustic/industrial element feel to it. I liked it. I could live there. But.. it didn’t make my heart flutter, and finally, after months of discussing floor plans, I told him.

I just didn’t want to disappoint him.

That’s where the above conversation came into play.

I’m assuming, if you have ever built a house with someone, you know where I am coming from. It’s a delicate balance of what makes sense, what gets you excited, versus what is affordable.

So he took my suggestions and came back with this:

20160501_102622.jpg This would end up with all of the basic elements I wanted, as well as his two kids. The idea is to draw a house that we would grow old in, the one that would support bad knees and everything! Not too much to handle as we age. (We are trying to be smart about this.) The girls both want their own bathroom, and we want to be on the bottom floor. Another idea is to use some of that “open to below” space that is upstairs and turn that into a loft/game room. We made all of our edits (all four of us,) and have sent Tim back to the drawing board.

One of the biggest problems with trying to come up with a logical plan is having to consider the future. The girls’ eyes are bright and excited to have “custom” rooms with all of the bells and whistles, while you know as well as we know that after college, 9 times out of 10, kids move on. Then what are you left with? But you want to make sure they have someplace to bring their future families back home to. Then there is the issue of having too much house when you are in your 70s, 80s, and 90s. The other BIG one for both of us is this: We DO NOT want a spec house. You know the kind? You drive into any cookie cutter suburb and all of the houses are basically the same. That’s not our style – at all.

Then the idea is for the house to be built on the farm. We would have to invest in a very long driveway (because you would enter the property through the blueberry orchard/patch and cross over a little creek. It needs to be rustic, but still have a bit of a coastal breezy porch. Then we saw this:


And I think it is a perfect look for the area.

Again, this is just draft #1, and as you and I both know, I’m ready to jump to the interior elements part, but I have to slow my horses and remember… it is a process.

The next step is to finalize the plans, then contact a local contractor and see what we are looking at financially. Not only do we have to consider the drive way, leveling of the land and knocking down more than a few trees, we are going to have to think about the pool and patio area we want and all of the things that go with that.

Decisions. Decisions.

And did I mention I’m startng a new job in 2 weeks? LOL

But the ball is rolling and THAT is exciting.

A Tilt In The Universe

13043416_10154082526299929_5730866392493701185_nThis is sort of going in a different direction. About 2 months ago, I decided to shut down my old blog. It was my 7 year online journal, and it was very, very popular with people from all over the world. It chronicled everything. 

I needed to take a break, to shed the skin of the old life. I needed to feel inspired again, and actually have something worthwhile to write about. I had been on pause for so long – none of it earth shattering, just a simple “time out” phase. Now, it seems as if God has released the valve and the universe is tilting, and when the dust settles, I will see all of the good. Ciao Macon!Sat, May 14th6-30 - 8-30pm

And it is good. This new chapter has brought me to a new land. Literally. I’m slowly moving to a timber farm in Southwest Georgia. My boyfriend, Tim, lives in a cabin by a lake on his family’s farm. The land is so incredibly beautiful and the woods are so thick that he leases out a portion of his land as a hunting preserve. 12120014_10153635141419929_7244697027298624421_o

He and I have been dating for exactly (today!) a year and a half. In another week, he closes on his old house and will be free and clear to – BUILD! We are working on plans to build our dream home on the farm in Webster County. This is exciting news, and I am sure will be a series of interesting mishaps and tribulations! Second, I have accepted a position with the City of Americus and Sumter County to become one of their city department heads as the Director of Tourism. This is a fantastic professional opportunity! I’m looking forward to uncovering hidden jewels and discovering all of the historical significance of this community. 12108858_10153989137484929_2409286053278593768_n

The other kicker? With all of this joining of lives, Tim has two daughters, one is 13 and the other 14. They live with him 50% of the time. Plus, it seems there are at least a dozen dogs around here, a goat, and a pig. I’m sure, once my cats arrive, we will all go into culture shock.


Preston has about 400 residents. I went from Macon with her 100,000 residents, and of course I lived in Birmingham with almost 1.9 million residents in the Greater area, this should make for a fascinating transition.

I’d love for you to follow along. I’m a little new to the Word Press world. My last blog was with Blogger and I had much success with it and knew all of the tricks. So far now, I have offered as many ways to follow as I can figure out.

Get ready to explore farm life, small town government life, and.. well.. family life (a new thing for me at 43!) This is definitely an interesting twist!




Go See: The Cannonball House

Go See: The Cannonball House           856 Mulberry Street, Macon, Georgia

12015252_507742796040827_1811371799810675388_oThere are three distinct things Macon, Georgia is known for: Cherry Blossoms, Legendary Music, and Antebellum Architecture.

It is the birthplace of the kazoo, Otis Redding, Little Richard, the Allman Brothers Band and…  me!

Not far off of the interstate stands one of the most beautiful examples of Antebellum architecture, and that is the Cannonball House. Our first stop on Destination Unknown happens to be the museum I am the Executive Director for. In other words, you’ve got the inside scoop!

12010550_512408588907581_4937475751303755749_oThis home was built in 1853 for Judge Asa Holt. It got its name  for damage sustained during the War Between the States. It is what you would call a planter’s townhouse. Located in Macon, Georgia, The Cannonball House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is an example of authentic Greek Revival architecture and  contains fine period furnishings.

The house is also the repository for the Founders’ parlors of the Adelphean (ΑΔΙΙ) and Philomathean (ΦΜ) societies, recreated from Wesleyan College, where they began in 1851 and 1852. In other words, Phi Mus and ADPis around the nation visit the home to see the original items belonging to their organizations.

It is also home to several collections which contain important historical pieces, including a Civil War and General Museum and the Servant’s Quarters.

At the rear of the Cannonball House stands a quaint two-story kitchen built of hand-molded brick. The upper level of this house formerly served as quarters for the house servants. Few structures of this type remain in the South today.

The first thing you will notice about the House is the beautiful wrought iron gate surrounding the property. Even the house’s logo contains the intricate details of the front gate. logo

The front porch contains four flouted Ionic columns and drawn-wire fencing. A second floor porch features the same ironwork. The style of the home is very typical of the homes that Georgia planters often built for themselves “in town” during the Antebellum period. Most visitors enjoy sitting in the rocking chairs on the front porch, or taking pictures with the cannon that stands in the front lawn.


As one walks on the porch, they can only imagine what it may have been like to attend a ball or dinner, back when hoop skirts and top hats were common attire. When you enter the front door, you notice how high the ceilings are and how broad the staircase is. You can almost envision the host or hostesses descending to the doorway to meet you.


Off to the side of the entryway you will have double parlors with pocket doors, something that was very common in the 1850s. These two rooms are showstoppers! Historically, one side would have been used by the ladies, while the other room would have been where the men retired to, to smoke cigars and chat about politics. In those rooms, you will see the ornate detail. There is the beautiful plaster cornices, ceiling medallions and hand-carved window trim. All of the furnishings, including the interior shutters, marble mantels, stained glass transoms and chandeliers were brought from Wesleyan College. Now the room is a lovely reminder of a time long since past, however, the museum uses it for special events, including Millie’s Story Time the fourth Saturday of each month. It’s a low cost event ($1) for children, and free for parents.


The Dining Room is now used quite often for events. However, when touring the home, you will notice a small corner table. It contains an inscribed silver tray presented to Varina Howell Davis, wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. In October of 1887, President Davis attended a reunion of over ten thousand veterans in Macon. His health was quickly failing and this was the last time Davis was to address the former Confederate Army. The ladies of Macon donated any items of silver they were able to give and fashioned an honorary tray for Mrs. Davis. In the 1970’s a descendant of Jefferson Davis graciously returned the tray to the city of Macon.


Of particular interest in the Dining Room are the copper and bronze gasoliers, which hung originally in the two parlors. Guests can get the chance to dine and celebrate this beautiful room on the second Saturdays most months. The Miss Elizabeth’s Tea parties takes place at 4pm, and reservations are required.

Upstairs are the gentleman’s and lady’s bedrooms, as well as sitting area and a small Civil War Museum. If you are into vintage uniforms and weaponry, then the museum upstairs is a must see! Out back, the rare, fully-intact servants quarters are a highlight of the tour. Cora Lundy served the family from 1880 until her death in December of 1921. She served as the cook for the Canning family and was paid 25 cents a week.

Now, the space is used for cooking classes and bourbon tastings, however, it can be toured during the day.

The gardens are an integral part of the architecture. In 1997, with a generous financial gift, part of the parking lot was dug up to rebuild the garden to its original hay day! A brick wall and foundation was added around the back. The back garden was covered in thick Bermuda and St. Augustine grass.

12039501_512408562240917_2527284253362385080_nOne corner was sunken, and in it, planted with American Boxxwood, Wintergreen Boxwood, Apple and Pear trees, and forty other various perennials. The upper garden has a privacy hedge of Leyland Cypress running along the property line. Oleander cascades out of the trees nearest the back door and to the left of the door is a small patch of mint. The education coordinator has created a teaching herb garden for various programs.


The space is a wonderful location for a bridal tea, reception, wedding, or private party. Speaking of private parties, the Cannonball House hosts an annual event, the second Saturday of April each year, called Beards, Bourbon, and Bacon. This year is going to be incredible! If you are thinking of making a trip to see the house, this particular night would be well worth the drive and money!
Tickets are on sale now for this wildly popular event.
$25 for a Basic Ticket
$50 for a VIP Ticket

All tickets include:
– Front Parlors dedicated to the Art of Manliness. Everything from beards, to style, to concerns for distinguished gentleman.
– Formal Dining Room will host a decadent array of bacon inspired dishes. From sweet to savory, feast on an unlimited amount of scumptious delicacies.
– Enjoy live music with a saloon style sing-a-long in the foyer.
– Growing a beard? Show off your scrub in our wildly popular beard and mustache contest. Fabulous prizes for each category.
– Have a passion for good drink? Join your friends in the original 163 year old brick kitchen for a top of the line bourbon tasting sponsored by the Bourbon Bar of Macon.
– Dance the night away or simply relax under the stars in the Victorian Garden, complete with a signature cocktail and bar.
– Cigar aficionado? Bring your favorite with you and relax in the cigar grotto.
– Grab your date and take a picture in our photo booth, complete with props!
-After Party will be held at the Bourbon Bar of Macon (more on that later!) Your Beards, Bourbon & Bacon ticket will get you special goodies. Stay tuned for more!

All proceeds go to programs and preservation of the historic Cannonball House, a premier attraction for Macon.

VIP Tickets include:
1 Free signature drink
Private early Bourbon Tasting at 5:30
Specials later at the Bourbon Bar

No beards required. Women are invited also! 21 and over only.

Tickets – Space is limited.

Want to see what last year’s event looked like?

Interested in the paranormal? Like to hear a good ghost story? Then in November, make plans now to attend our Candlelight Apparitions. This past year, we highlighted the 19 deaths to take place in the home. (PS – two were suicides and one was a murder!) The house is lit only by candlelight and oil lamps, while re-enactors do their best to convey the story. It’s a wonderful treat each year.

The Cannonball House is opened Monday – Saturday from 10am until 3:30pm. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for students and free for under 4.

You can learn more at:

The Cannonball House is devoted to acquiring, conserving, interpreting, and exhibiting artifacts reflecting Georgia’s heritage from the antebellum through reconstruction eras. We strive to engage and inspire community members and visitors by presenting authentic and entertaining educational programs, exhibits, and special events through a wide range of history.

At the end of the day, the Cannonball House is quintessential old Macon. You want the real deal, and to see what life was like during the Civil War? Then this is the stop for you. And if you do come in, make sure to ask for me, Nicole. Anyone who mentions this article in this blog will receive $3 off of their admission. Just show this article.

Hope to see you real soon!


This Is Only The Beginning

12734091_10153910996389929_6987187598903349978_n (1)For years, I looked for a blog or website that would offer all of the things I enjoyed in life. I wanted detailed posts on fun, inexpensive, off-the-beaten path vacation spots, particularly, for Day Trips. I wanted someone to share some recipes that even could recreate. I didn’t just want to read about a restaurant that was fancy and exclusive, I was actually wanting someone to drive a few miles into the seedier sections of a town and consume the best food on the planet: Dive food. 12688346_10153898237994929_4824895942539947240_nI wanted to read a review on a book, play, movie, festival that was not so much a promotion, but the real deal. And if a new item came out, I wanted someone to show me what it did and why it would work best for me.

But I never found it.

After years of personal blogging, which I still do, I decided to step out and create a website that would be everything I was searching so desperately for! And here it is – Nicole’s Destination Unknown. A simple blog that will highlight the places I visit, eat at, explore, shop at, and even the items I try. I am what you would call a road warrior, I spend only four nights at home, and for the most part, each weekend I am burning up the road. 12734091_10153910996389929_6987187598903349978_n (1)

Join me on this little journey. I’m going to give you the skinny on the best life has to offer, without breaking the bank. You will get to explore the Southeast like never before! You’ll get to learn about little unknown towns and tucked away restaurants. I’ll share with you my favorite festivals and any other cultural offering that may be worthwhile. I’ll even throw in some projects to get you motivated!12705320_10153898845864929_2624015973083957238_n

For now, simple follow me by Twitter, Facebook, or subscribe by email.

I look forward to sharing with you all that I find! Where will we end up? That remains to be seen!