The lives of John, Emily Goolsby and their three children were busy. From homework to theater and music, basketball, baseball, truck practice and meetings, there were work, church and children’s activities.

With 14 to 16 hours of on-the-go action, Spring Valley couples began looking for a place to serve as a hideout for themselves and their families and friends.

As she and her husband Robbie Hatton bought and refurbished an old New Alm bungalow, they already worked with interior designer Kathy Hatton on their own homes, including the main Houston home, and her I asked for help.

Hatton filled the house with color and charm, and Goolsby asked her to help find it. Sometimes she went with them when they toured the homes for sale, but sometimes she scrutinized her home before Goolsby drove to Washington County.

They settle on 26 acres of land on Chapel Hill and have about 9 acres of forest, primary homes, guesthouses, and a small chapel that is currently in need of love.

Blue bonnets and Indian paintbrushes pop up here and there, a picturesque place in the front yard and in the fields around the house. Along the way, there are many more in the spring-colored fields along the 290 and country roads. Both Washington and Fayette counties have acquired homeowners as Houston citizens and other city dwellers are looking for a country rest.

“It’s always a fun idea to roam the country, not the concrete jungle, because we want to give our kids a variety of experiences,” said John, who runs two Chick Philei restaurants in Houston. “We also thought it would be a good investment in putting money into the land.”

John and Emily came to Houston shortly after graduating from college for the Second Baptist Church. Originally from Georgia, Emily was a camp counselor attended by several Second Baptist students. Later, a group of counselors visited Houston and the church, where the school provided Emily with an educational job.

John came here from Oklahoma after his young minister moved here. When John went to college, he contacted the youth minister to see if there was an internship opportunity in the church. After two summers as an intern, he was almost guaranteed his job after graduating from college.

John was an accounting major, but after spending nearly four years as a youth minister at the Second Baptist, he joined Chick-fil-A’s management program where he started running two restaurants.

The main building was in good condition, but some changes were needed to bring it to the villa level. First, the closed pouch needed improvements to make it easier to use, with the addition of a pool and patio to the backyard.

In the living room, a built-in window sheet about the size of a twin bed extended into the living room. Goolsby didn’t need them — so they were removed along with some built-in cabinets that looked like a gathering place for mess.

The enclosed porch was closed from the main building and was not connected to the air conditioner, so it was too hot to use all year round. They removed the walls that separated it, added brick floors and wooden plank ceilings to maintain the “feel of the porch,” and added blue and white furniture to match the simple color palette of the house.

A small sofa once owned by Emily’s grandparents was replaced with a blue cloth, and a blue highback chair with an abstract print was also placed here.

Beige backsplash tiles in the kitchen have been replaced by blue and white printed tiles, which are ideal for rural settings.

Goolsby maintains a nice casual traditional style in the city, but their country house is actually a farmhouse without growing crops or raising livestock, so it’s a farmer’s atmosphere. There are a few. (Although there was a discussion about getting a donkey after meeting a neighbor’s animal.)

The primary bedroom suite is spacious, has vaulted ceilings and overlooks the backyard. Decorated in blue and white, the closet is so big that Emily wonders how to fill it.

The guest bedroom in the main building is usually grabbed by her 9-year-old daughter Molly. Her brothers, 14-year-old Will and 11-year-old Mack, head to the large upstairs Rec Room, which has several children’s beds. .. There’s a TV and a sofa there, but Emily says she’s rarely seen because the kids have so much to do in this country.

The guesthouse is what John calls “Grandma’s House”. The old building hasn’t been updated except to paint new paint from top to bottom. Maybe it’s the next upgrade, but we’re planning to turn the 5,000-square-foot barn into a party / event space that includes a few more bedrooms and bathrooms, and bunk beds.

Before they bought this house, John rented space for a team building event at work. Now he can use their property and barn and brought up to 40 people here at a time. John’s family visited Thanksgiving, and some of Emily came for the New Year.

Their kids love to bring friends with them, Will and Mack bring 5 or 6 friends each, but Molly also brings friends often.

During the hot summer, they can splash in the pool and in the evening watch a movie projected on the side of the barn. During the day, they grab a walkie-talkie and head to the woods for a scavenger hunt.

I like to drive the property with Polaris and Mack (the big personality of the family)-it’s known to jump on the John Deere tractor as he owns it.

“Because (Mac) is imaginative, he loves to wear jeans and a cowboy hat and ride John Deere. I don’t see him for about two hours. It’s just his cure and playground. It’s a little. He’s always on an adventure, “John said. “I don’t know about country life, but I learned about old-fashioned tractor therapy. It’s good to ride on it, chop up the little grass behind, think about life, and take a deep breath.”

In fact, Mack is a self-appointed caretaker of a small grassy chapel on the premises. On his birthday, he asked for a weed eater and a lawn mower to be able to clean it.

Now that the house is in place, the work is done and the pool is set up, the trip to the country is purely for fun, rather than checking out the latest projects.

“They were here all the time this spring break, and the kids were out and playing all day from sunset to sunset,” Emily said. “They have 9 acres of forest and children run around with walkie-talkies.”