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A LUXURY DESIGN + LIFESTYLE BLOG BY VERONICA SOLOMON

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A Long Overdue Update On Great Prairie Homestead And New Headquarters

My! Time has flown by! It has been a solid 5 months since I last wrote a blog post about our new Sealy office and Great Prairie Homestead! I have shared quite a bit on Instagram stories, but even that has been sorely lacking.



There's good reason. It has been a crazy few months, and the honest to goodness truth is, blogging had to be pushed to the back burner for a while. Between client projects and our participation in the Flower Magazine showhouse in Baton Rouge, we were stretched a bit thin.


Here's a liitle snippet of one of the two rooms we did for the Showhouse. The green hair on hide nightstand is from the Veronica Solomon Style Collection, and you could own one just like it - just reach out HERE if you're interested in your own custom piece.



Image Via Annmarie Meyers - Hummingbird Floral Srudio

Hair On Hide Nightstand From Veronica Solomon Style Collection





The great news is that we have made a ton of progress and so very close! But of course, we are delayed beyond what we originally projected.


The images shared in today's post are my bad iPhone shots, so please bear with me.




Let's share some progress on the office first.


We are actually moved in! Yep, we moved into our 4800sf building about 2 weeks ago. But we are not quite ready to cut that ribbon and invite clients over. Mainly because we had some major delay on some cabinetry and countertops, that we are still waiting on. But the major reason - we still have mud and gravel for a driveway.


First Glimpse At Conference Room Before Stone Table Top

A Glimpse At the Beginnings Of My Office




Due to the lack of driveway and plenty of rain, which creates a muddy mess on the property, we have delayed the big move. We just have the main things like our desks, computers, printers and only what's needed here. We did fully install the conference room in case we do have to have a client meeting here.


We couldn't really put the driveway in with the heavy construction on the house just 50 feet away. But now that we have gotten that out of the way, we are getting scheduled for our drainage system and driveway to be installed very soon. It is a big job, and will take about a month from start to finish.


It is truly an exciting thing to see all these months of hard work, ups and downs, really come to life. We can't wait to be fully moved in with no more construction workers within 100 miles of the property. Haha. I love them, but I am ready to break up with them.





I will shoot a video tour when everything is in place.


You will see all the great space we have, and even a potential for renting out offices as co-work spaces to other professionals. We are still working through whether we will do that or not.


One of the things I would love to do is bring in a drapery workroom team in-house. We have plenty of space for it and we are seriously exploring that potential. My seamstress of 20 years has finally retired - no more pulling her out of retirement, and I may be able to buy her equipment. I am actively searching for a team who would like to work under our brand, whether as employees or contractors.


Our new office is located at 7153 FM 1458 Rd Sealy TX 77474 - just about 20 minutes west of Katy. It will be by appointment only Mondays through Fridays 10:00 to 5:00. Katy, of course will aways be our main market, so we are happily commuting to all client meetings as usual.


Now for the homestead.


Where do I begin?!





We have done so much, but still so much left to be done.


The exterior is almost finished - we just got the pergola installed. This really brought the vision of an English country manor to life. I wanted a home that looked like it could have been there for decades and not look like every new construction farmhouse style house we see so often here in Houston.



East Side Of House - Pergola Installation


While I like the white painted brick or white stucco look with black accents, I think it was just too trendy for me - though I wanted the house to be white with dark accents. I kept the color tone to very warm and dark brown (almost black) instead of actual black - more of the warmer version of black.


We are making great progress inside. Wood floors are being installed, which is followed by cabinetry and countertops, then final paint/stain finish, then appliances, then the finish details like decorative lighting, plumbing, hardware.


As much as I love how the interior is shaping up, I am most excited about the things I am doing outdoors.





You may recall, if you've been following this journey in the past, that I got 50 free trees that we planted last year. One of the things I did not love about the property was the lack of trees, and I was committed to changing that as fast as I could.


Sadly the 50 trees all died due to the unusually high temperatures this past summer. We didn't have any real irrigation to speak of, and the trees just did not make it.


I have since planted about 57 fruit trees so far with my bare hands. I say that because the soil here; often called black gumbo, because it is hard clay, is not the best for planting trees, and so I had to do some learning to know how to plant these trees. I still worry that some will not make it. These are all fruit trees, as the entire goal is to create a thriving food forest with fruits, berries, root crops, legumes and vegetables. Youtube has proven to be an amazing resource as I researched how to do things. If you are not aware, there is a huge community of homesteaders and preppers on Youtube. It's absolutely fascinating.



Greenhouse Installation


I added an 8x14 greenhouse so I can keep my more tropical fruit trees in there when it gets really cold, and that's where I will start my seeds. We have been getting some really weird winters here in Houston the last few years.





I have put in 12 raised beds that I have not planted in yet - waiting for Spring, and some taller planters for avocado and mango trees. I also added a cedar trellis for grape vines. I will be adding more planters and arbors/trellises soon. As a designer, I cannot ignore scale as I plan my gardens and we need a lot of height here on the property.





You may have seen the chicken coop above - well, I will also be getting chickens in the Spring. Imagine! Fresh eggs everyday! I am still researching to see what breed I can handle. The plan is to start small and maybe upgrade to a larger coop and more chickens later.


I had no idea that the breed you get matters. And I am almost embarrassed to admit that it is only within the last year or two I knew that you don't need a rooster to get eggs. Haha. You only need one to fertilize the eggs to produce baby chickens. Who knew! And I grew up around farm animals. Of course, we always had roosters, so I figured that's how we were getting eggs. I don't think I am ready for a rooster, so thankfully I don't need one for eggs.



Image Via Wix Gallery

This homesteading thing is quite exciting, but quite scary at the same time. And boy, is it expensive. The Youtube channels I have been watching can often romanticize it, but the work and expenses is real, but I know that the rewards will be great.


I will have to learn to co-exist with nature. Bugs are everywhere! I mean, check out the size of this spider I found on the front porch!





I did recently unlocked a new fear - snakes in the chicken house! Thankfully I have not seen a snake yet on the homestead, but I will be on the lookout for them in the coop trying to steal eggs. Yikes!



Image Via Wix Gallery

I am seriously excited about my first harvest one of these days. And I will be sure to document and share every moment of it.





One of the things I am most proud of is my water catchment system that is being implemented soon. I just invested in two 1600 gallon water tanks. One will be linked to the office building's gutter system to catch rain water and one will be linked to the house also for rain water catchment.



Concrete Pad For 1600 Gallon Water TankFor Water Harvesting. The Fruit Orchard Is In the Background


I am also planning to harvest the water from the HVAC drains. There are 3 units for the house, so that will be a lot of water! I had no idea that AC units produce about 3-5 gallons per day in the summer months! I recently had a HVAC drain leak at my Katy house, and I just had the pipes rerouted to the exterior instead of tying into a bathroom drain. My whole side yard was flooding and I had no idea where the water was coming from. Turns out that it was the AC drain pipe. Instead of sending all that water into the septic system, why not harvest it for plant irrigation and save the well water? It shouldn't be too big of an investment to add that now.


With the new drainage system we are installing in a couple of weeks, I am also putting in a concrete underground tank and pump. That is about another 550 gallons of water we will harvest from that, which will be used to irrigate the front yard plant beds.



9 Of The Cedar Raised Beds That Will Be Filled With Soil In Spring For Planting Vegetables. Also Shown Are The Pickle Barrels For Rain Water Harvesting


I also have about six 75 gallon pickle barrels to catch water from the greenhouse roof. Those barrels also serve the purpose of helping to warm up the greenhouse if temps drop to freezing. I am learning all these new things from "Youtube University" haha. I didn't know that placing full black barrels or bottles of water in or next to a greenhouse is a good hear source. As the sun warms up the barrels of water during the day, it releases that heat at night when the temps are lower.


I planned on installing a gray water system as well for the laundry waste water, but I will hold off on that for a while. That's planned for next year along with the solar energy system I will implement.




We also finally had the septic system installed. It was such a learning experience. I have the version that is a mini water treatment plant, and the thing has taken up a large part of the back of the property. The tiny house that I was planning to build in the future may not happen because of the size of the leach field. There are three sprinkler heads and we have to keep it clear within 34' of each one. Such a bummer.



As much as I low-key like the quaint old shed and animal shelter that's on the property, I think they have to go to make way for a larger shed with two lean-tos. They are both in the wrong locations and not very useful at all. The plan was to try to salvage the shed, but I think it is beyond repair at this point.



Old Shed On the Property - Great Prairie Homestead


The Remains Of The Old Shed

As I mentioned above, I have already put in 57 fruit trees and more on the way and prepping a few beds; raised and in-ground in time for Spring. I had planned to plant some winter veggies but I will focus on planting trees for the rest of the Fall and prepping beds with sheet mulching.





I expect to be done with construction by late January and I will continue to work on building the garden with lots of food, animals and pollinators. I dream of the day when it will be a lush and thriving homestead.


If you aren't following along on Instagram, please do. I share a bit more in my stories regularly.


Please feel free to reach out anytime if you are looking for design services for the coming new year.





Wishing You beauty And Inspiration!


Veronica








2 Comments


Oh my goodness, your talents know no bounds! From spider wrassling to planting trees to continuing your beautiful designs, you are taking on more than most of us would want to do. This has got to be a daunting project, but if anyone can pull it off, it's you. Best of luck, and know that you've got your fan base rooting you on! PS--love love love the zebra chairs in your office!

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Replying to

Thank you so much! I appreciate your support. Yes! Those chairs are my favorite. Best wishes to you!

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Sealy TX 77474

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