CREATING A HOMESTEAD: Harrelson family renovates 1980s music studio and warehouse into farmhouse
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was featured in our October/November edition of LaGrange Living
The Harrelson family spent a whole year of their lives completely re-doing what was once a large-scale music studio and warehouse into their very own family farm.
“It was a lot of work and a really tough year,” said Pattie Harrelson. “It was just cinderblock walls, concrete flooring, no insulation, no windows, and it was just basically walls and columns.”
In the 80s, the building belonged to Hillard Hammet, who used the home as a recording studio.
“He was a pretty good musician and this setup of a recording studio, a stage and a sound booth,” said Josh Harrelson. “There were lights hanging from the ceiling, speakers all over the walls and the rounded structure in our now storage room was the sound booth.”
When the Harrelson’s moved in, they said the whole recording room was filled with 100 years’ worth of the Hammet family’s belongings, even Dr. Hammet’s medical certification.
Since moving into the home, the Harrelson’s have reconstructed the entire interior. They worked with Diverse Power to become a Touchstone Energy home, which means that the house is designed to be energy efficient and economical, as well as comfortable. They also added solar panels on the roof that the home pulls energy from.
“When we came in, the house was full of grass, weeds, glass, dirt and mold,” Pattie said. “We moved down here six years ago and bought the house a year after moving down here.”
Pattie said it was a big project to take on, but they wanted the home to be completely done in their own vision.
“We both think we are good at finishing a project,” Pattie said. “You work so hard and then the next one gets bigger and bigger. We were here every night and every weekend working.”
All the woodwork in the home including the staircase was built and designed by the Harrelsons.
“We torched all the wood for it to have its design,” Pattie said.
Josh said aside from the HVAC and drywall install, the Harrelsons did everything themselves.
“She grouted everything, and I cut all the tile,” Josh said.
The high ceilings throughout the home allows the rooms throughout look larger and brighter. The tall windows in the living room allow more sunlight to flood in, making the environment brighter and airier. The height of the ceilings also enhanced the family’s décor decisions.
Josh said that they are able to hang heavy objects from the rafters, including hammocks in the kid’s rooms.
Eventually, when the Harrelsons go to sell the home many years down the road, they said the high ceilings increase the home’s value.
“The one downfall to the height of all of this was the death-defying construction going on that we had to do,” Josh said. “I was on a ladder and a scaffold.”
He added that on the outside of the home, Pattie drove the tractor around while he sat in the tractor bucket and painted the walls.
“It was hard doing all of this, but the kids were helpful,” Josh said. “I basically had lost like six months away from the family, but once we got internet out here, the boys were able to hang out and do school work while I worked on the house.”
When it came to redoing the kitchen, the original 1980 design was set for a kitchen, so all they had to do was knock down a few walls to create an open floor plan.
“We added the countertops, which are just straight wood from Home Depot that I milled and joined together,” Josh said. “Our kitchen table came from a pecan tree outside. We did all the wood burning on the counter tops ourselves too. We wanted to be as economical as we could on the kitchen to save a couple grand. I also did all the welding in here as well.”
In the upstairs portion of the home are three of the children’s bedrooms and the master bedroom. Each bedroom has a sliding door that was custom built to save space.
The oldest son, Asher, has a large window that overlooks the entire house.
The tiniest member of the Harrelson family that has recently gained a large following in LaGrange is Tiny the miniature goat.
Pattie said Tiny will hang out in the home like a normal pet but is not allowed upstairs.
“He will try to sneak his way up here all the time,” Pattie said.
Pattie said her favorite spot throughout the home is her balcony connected to the master that overlooks the farm and property.
She spends her time doing yoga, PiYo and reading her bible on the balcony while the goats, pigs and cows graze on the farm.
“I yell out to my goats and pigs every morning with my cup of coffee in hand,” Pattie said.
Pattie’s family of goats live on the outside of the property. Several of the goats recently gave birth at the beginning of October.
“I want to grow my goat farm a lot,” Pattie said. “We have 25 chickens, four dogs, three kids, three calves, and a pig. I will mate Tiny with other goats and potentially have multiple more dwarf goats.”
On the other side of the farm are three Jersey calves that were named Bubbles, Barney and Fancy Nancy named after family friend Nancy Bradford.
The Harrelsons said that their ‘Funny Farm’ is a place now where they can come to play, relax and be in nature all at once.
Whether chasing goats or kids, Joshua and Pattie have created a space that is not only unique but a home that was built and created by them.