Preservation or Adaptive Reuse?

Have you ever visited an area that was rich with Historic Preservation?  Have you ever visited a cool/hip place that marries history with what is going on today?  Two different approaches to vibrant communities, and usually both fun places to visit; just that one is focused on pure preservation and involves philanthropy….  the other is focused on creative adaptive reuse that involves investors and economic revitalization.  What is the difference, and what does it mean to you and where you eat, live, and play?

A truth is that just about EVERY place has some history…. according to scientists, as much as billions of years of history.  But how much of it do we get to experience today?  In this country, not nearly as much as we’d like.  We lose buildings and historical places each and every day, usually not because people don’t care, but because there is not a viable plan to save and reuse the buildings, a plan that people are willing to support with funding.

Anderson House

Anderson House

In an ideal world Historians, historical societies or any individual with a passion for history would rather preserve the town or the structure just the way it was originally designed.  Unfortunately, that is not a viable solution in many cases.  Often, without a philanthropist willing to fully support the preservation, buildings targeted for this endeavor just sit, waiting and waiting, slipping into further disrepair and decay.

An alternative, and often a more practical approach to save historic structures is to find a new use for them, and if necessary, maybe even a new location…. Adaptive Reuse.   The needs for some buildings diminish; the needs for a great many others change. Families grow, so they add onto their historic homes, work functions change with the times, and so must the structures that support them.  Even such historic buildings as the Sistine Chapel have had to be modified to meet the number of tourists that visit every day.

Such is the dilemma with Anderson Farmstead in Midlothian.  Ashgrove Cement owns the farmstead, would like to see it saved, but needs it moved off of their future quarry site.  Ashgrove is a great corporate citizen.  They have been willing for the last 14 years to donate the buildings and some land for relocation….to save this small portion of Midlothian history.

The local historical society has been involved for the last 7 years trying to save the historic farmstead home and large barn. Unfortunately, they have not been able to secure funding, not even enough to help weatherproof the deteriorating structures.  Even today, they are still clutching onto their preservation dream.

360grassroots, a local non-profit focused on economic revitalization of communities, has a plan to save the structures.  It includes relocating them onto the Ashgrove-donated land, renovating them to serve new viable uses (see the 95 second movie above), basically saving the structures through an adaptive reuse to live again for all to enjoy.  Best of all, 360grassroots has 4 investors who are willing to support this plan….The process of saving these historic structures could begin soon!

Show your support by letting the city leaders and the local historical society know that you support 360grassroots efforts, and want these buildings saved, revitalized and reintroduced into the Midlothian community.   Please comment, share or subscribe here on this Living A Repurposed Life page and like us on 360grassroots facebook page.  Thank you for your support!

Saving history by repurposing Anderson Farms, Midlothian, Tx

IMG_0426 The Anderson farmstead located north of Midlothian, Texas was typical of many farming operations from the 20th century.  It is however atypical in the character of the historic house and barns.  These were magnificent structures, and, while no longer viable as a farmstead operation, with some help they can be saved, revitalized and repurposed to live again .  The house, built in 1896 by J. P. Anderson, was supplemented by the extraordinary barn shown above, as well as a smaller barn and other out buildings.  360grassroots, our non-profit organization, has the opportunity to spearhead this revitalization effort, creating the Farmstead at the Quarry and needs your support.  So,

…. If you want to keep our our quality of life, preserving our rural character and heritage, this message is for you.

…. If you want amenities like:  unique restaurants, walking trails, wildflower fields, artisan shops and event spaces, a rural wedding venue, etc., this message is for you.

…. If you want quality job creation in our hometown, this message is for you.

We and 360grassroots want to Build a Better Midlothian.  If you do too, please support us here, support us on Facebook at 360grassroots, or contact us.



At one time or another, we are all at crossroads in our lives.  Feeling like we need to go a different direction in our jobs, career, marriage, or family.  So, what do you do when you feel this way and things familiar to you are no longer there? How do you reinvent yourself?  Or maybe the more appropriate question is why do you want to repurpose your life?  For some, we are very blessed and fortunate to have had a choice, perhaps having chosen to intentionally retire or change jobs.  For others, like us and many others,we are forced into reevaluation after a major change in career or family…. meaning we could have lost a job, or been through a divorce, bankruptcy or even worse, faced the death of a loved one.

Whatever the reason or situation, instead of throwing our hands up in frustration, and just saying oh well, that’s life, we need to do something!  We need to refocus our efforts in redefining what we want, need or desire …. basically redefining a portion of our lives.  This can be done easily, with focused effort, or can be most difficult if we resist change, if we don’t embrace guidance from others and especially from above.  We once heard a trusted and beloved therapist say that there are 3 ways to live life:

  • the easy way, learning from others mistakes;
  • the hard way, having to make mistakes ourselves before we learn;
  • and the tragic way, never learning at all.

As Albert Einstein said “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Our desire for all of us is that we can learn from others, that we don’t give up, that we can reevaluate our situations, pray for guidance and refocus our efforts toward the direction we are called to go.

THE TAKEAWAY:  We all have opportunities to reevaluate who we are and who we want to be; it just takes action on our part to redefine and repurpose our lives.  What is the current need in your life that you’d like to redefine?  What action will you take today to begin refocusing your path so you can achieve the repurposed life you so desire?

REnew….. A new life for an old school

An amazing reconnection!!!  A story of renovation and repurposing, of revitalization and resurrection ….. A second chance at life!!!IMG_2105Years ago we were working on a project where a Pastor purchased an abandoned school and a whole city block in Big Spring, Texas, wanting to renovate and reuse these buildings into their church sanctuary, school, and related functions.  Working with Steve and Bridgette at the time was a dear friend and valued associate Tammy.  She assisted us in planning the property and redesigning / rebuilding  the old gym, turning it into phase 1 of the project for use as the church sanctuary, reception, and classroom spaces.  Well, fast forward to this year, and lo and behold Tammy and her husband Randy recently bought an abandoned school, consisting of a high school building, gymnasium and elementary school building, plus 17 acres of property in Athens, Louisiana……Another repurposing project if there ever was one.  Their passion and mission in life is to further develop student and professional athletes in a christian atmosphere, focusing mostly on basketball, offering a unique training and development program.  They have enlisted us to help them plan and redesign their new complex.  They will use the gym for instruction and training, and part of the high school as dorm rooms for extended camps, while renovating the high school cafeteria and kitchen into their personal residence.  At this point, their intention for the elementary school is to turn it into a barn for horses, while converting the adjacent baseball field into a roping arena.  A new life for an old school……and for a great couple!!

Stay with us over the next several weeks as we work with Tammy and Randy to repurpose this 1950’s school, bringing new life to them and to these buildings, as well as a revitalization push for the surrounding community.


REnew…. Rejuvenation for an 1890 Victorian


This sketch of an 1890 Victorian home depicts the grand character of many, many homes from days gone by.  As with all of us, getting opportunities to repurpose our lives, this ol’ beauty is getting a second chance at life and needs much attention.  She has been sitting for over 17 years, patiently waiting for her time for rejuvenation…… which appears to be now!  Bridgette and Steve  have been retained to prepare the renovation / restoration documents for her rebirth, and are excited to be working on such a fun, meaningful project.  The owners, Gary and Saralyn, are wonderful people, with a passion to see this home restored and brought back to it’s original glory.  They call this home affectionately Lions Walk, and we’ll tell you why as we move forward…. so, stay tuned to upcoming posts as we follow this project to rejuvenation ….. and watch Lions Walk roar again in revitalized glory!!

IMG_0669 IMG_0665IMG_0674

REnew….lives revitalized after wedding

We’ve been silent for the last several weeks, being gone for two weeks with our daughter’s wedding.  We have needed to regroup since we’ve been back, refocusing on architectural projects and the beginnings of a book proposal we are writing on Living A Repurposed Life…but, we are back, and here re go again!  Blogging with renewed focus and revitalized effort!! STAY TUNED!


REnew…. new life, new beginnings



REnew…. a phrase that has so many meanings.  As our daughter is getting remarried in the next week, it had us thinking about her and her daughter, and restarting life anew.  This picture captures so many of our renew thoughts, we have posted it large, letting it loudly speak for itself.  But, we have to let you know what it triggered in us, so, here are our thoughts….renew speaks to new life, bringing passion into relationships, into being.  REnew is a recommitment to life and one another, and  a celebration of God’s beauty, full of color and promise.  REnew is a feeling of peace in the present, and hope for the future.  REnew is love…. pure and simply….. Love!  What thoughts does this trigger in your spirit?  We ask that you spread a little beauty and share some love today with someone you touch.

Re_think your project … Re_engage


lotz option3As a contractor, you say to yourself, this is what I do, surely I can figure this out… I have this house plan, but where do I place it on the land. Oh so many questions ….. What is the sun exposure?  What winds do I need to block and which ones do I need to receive?  Where do I place my house to save on electric bills? What about drainage? What views do I have, to take advantage of or that I want to block? What will I see out of my windows from each room? What do my guests see as they arrive? How & where do I entertain?  Oh so many questions……

Okay ….. so you say perhaps I do need to stop and rethink why I should talk to an architect. I have been waiting so long, debating on where to put this house, and know now that I basically can’t see what I can’t see!  Perhaps I do need a professional outsiders opinion; a fresh perspective.  So I decide to get with an architect, and lo and behold Bridgette and Steve are recommended.

Okay ….. but I’m thinking I only want to spend about $700 for this help with site planning. They say it will be $1900!!!!  Wow, that’s a lot, but I wonder if it’s worth it.  And then I hear from this Cajun girl Bridgette, that “we normally save you more than we cost you. Let us walk the land, and let us get to know who you are inside and out.   Let us deliver something that shows you the possibilities throughout your property. Our expertise is to be able to get into your skin, pull out your vision and create an environment, a sanctuary that is above and beyond what you could’ve expected.”

So, we were authorized to proceed.  We studied the site, took their information, their wants, needs, and desires, we formed 3 alternative site plan concepts, and then further developed our preferred solution.  All of which was framed within a theme, a story represented by the short video clip attached below:

What doesn’t show in the video was the real payoff for us….. An instant tear in one eye, a smile on both of their faces, incredibly warm hugs and a great big gracious thank you!  Above all, it was hearing “wow, I never would have thought of that; I had no idea that this is what y’all did, that we were going to get all this” – those words expressing their excitement, the revival of their spirits, the relaunching and reengaging of their passion to move forward with their new home!  Go Donny and Amy!!

So, what’s holding you back?  What professional guidance would it take to get you moving on that project you have been wanting to do for some time??  Engage someone and reengage your excitement and passion for moving forward with your project….today!




Re_focus on Family

As we Live A Repurposed Life, we are continually refocusing on family; being with our children and grandchildren is a priority in our lives.  With the busyness of daily life, it is often difficult to see each other, as our family is spread all across the country, with children and grandchildren in Louisiana, California and Hawaii.

B & A

So, when the opportunity arose to be with our daughter and granddaughter (above) for Christmas in the mountains of North Carolina, and our son, his girlfriend and her family for New Years in Puerto Rico, we jumped at the chance!  We find that spending time with family renourishes the soul, restrengthens bonds between parents and their children, and is usually just a fun, good time!  So, very soon, if you haven’t already, we hope you will make the effort to share in some quality time with your loved ones….it will rejuvenate you… won’t regret it!!!  Will you plan a reconnection today?

Enjoy the video clip below, rejoicing with us as we view selected highlights of the trip to Puerto Rico and the celebration of family!

Rotten or Ripened?

As we age, our bodies begin to betray us…. our minds still think we can do what we used to at 20 or 30 or even 40, but our bodies don’t always respond accordingly.  We don’t think this physical decline is necessarily cool, but as we age, and our bodies are less responsive, our spirits soar! As we mature, so does our spirit….for which we are resoundingly grateful. Even if we are somewhat reluctant on decline of the body side, we find it is a refreshingly positive tradeoff. We are human; even though we’d like it all, we will gladly take renewed or revitalized spirit, a growth and maturity in spirit and growing closer to our creator every day, over and above anything else!

Please click on video below, as Bridgette reveals her spirit-filled thoughts on this subject……..without makeup!