Monday, October 25, 2010

But as for me and my house... Part 1

Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.  Psalm 127:1

The Lord began preparing to build our house in 2001, when I met my husband.  He began joining our hearts together, molding our ideas and dreams together.  He laid the foundation and framework for our house in 2002 when we were married and became one flesh.  He then started adding rooms to our house in 2004 with birth of our first child and continued to add additional rooms in 2005, 2007 and 2010.  We are excited to see what else the Lord has in store for us in the future.  It has always been our desire to honor the Lord with our home...from the words spoken in it to the child-training that comes from it to the guests who are served in it.  Though we have failed miserably at times, it is only by God's grace that we are where we are today.

I am still amazed that we have finally built all of our ideas and dreams into actual walls and doors.  Not that I am surprised by God's faithfulness or provision for us, but for so long we've been saying things like "Once we get the house finished...." or "When we're settled back in...." that it is hard to believe that we are finally at that point!  We have been using hand-me-down furntiure throughout the house our entire married life, sleeping on the bed that my husband slept on when he was a kid.  I honestly think the only two pieces of furniture that we have purchased new are the crib and bunk beds.  Of course, we were also blessed with gifts when we were married and hand-me-down furniture from both sides of our family.  We did this for two reasons:  our primary savings goal was to build a home and we did not want to detract from that; also, we did not want to risk any nice, new furniture getting damaged while it had to be moved and stored during the construction phase.  We also cut back in little things.  About 2 years ago I suggested to my husband that we get an electric griddle to cook pancakes on so that we could cook them more evenly and not take up stove-top space while trying to cook the rest of breakfast.  I even priced them and considered buying him one for Christmas (because he is the official pancake cooker in this house) when I found one for less than $20.  He kept telling me that once we got our new stove, it would have a griddle on it, so we wouldn't need an electric griddle.  I kept thinking, "Yeah, but that'll take forever."  Well, "forever" is here!


Ever since before we were married (over 8 years ago) we began talking about house plans.  I have to laugh now, looking back on some of the ideas that we had and how differently our home has turned out.  The final version of our home is nothing like the plans we originally made, but I am so thankful and happy with what we have.  The original plan was to build a new red brick house up on a hill overlooking the farm.  Of course, there was also my husband's life-long dream of living in a castle, complete with spires and a draw bridge as well as talk about a fireman's pole from the second to first floor. (Neither one of those made the final cut.)  So, for a few years, while we were building up our savings, we drew out house plans and spent our date nights in Books A Million looking at floor plan and kitchen and bath design books.  Then, about three years ago, the 50 year old farmhouse (that was my husband's grandfather's home) that we were renting from my husband's aunt, became available for purchase.  So, instead of building a new house, we decided to buy the farmhouse.  Of course, the farmhouse needed some improvements made to it (such as insulation in the exterior walls and replacing the 50 year old single pane metal windows in the bedrooms that did not seal), and we wanted to make it "our" home that we had been dreaming about for years.  So, we began adjusting our plans to accomodate adding on to and updating the farmhouse.  Also, after buying the farmhouse, we had to begin saving once again before making any major renovations, delaying us a few more years.

We spent a good bit of time during the Summer of 2009 drafting our plans on some software and then showed them to our contractor last October.  We began preparing the site in January by clearing out and tearing down the existing carport.

My hubby on the roof with a power tool....livin' the dream

After the metal siding and roof were removed

Carport is gone; Backhoe breaking up the concrete

The picture above is also the best "before" picture I could find.  I thought I had one of the entire house, but this one will have to do.

No more carport

Then, in April, exactly 1 week after this little cutie was born, we broke ground. 
If it's not too much to ask, could you build me a new house for my birthday?

Sure sweetie, whatever you want....How can you turn down that sweet little face?

There was no turning back.  Not only were we adding on a storm shelter, garage and about 2400 square feet, but we also completely gutted the kitchen, replaced all the windows and interior doors, replaced the roof, ran all the electical lines underground, replaced all the old sheetrock in the house so that we could insulate the exterior walls and re-structured part of the roof lines.  Basically, if there were any changes we wanted to make to the house, this was the time to do it.

The basement:

Pouring the basement floor

On the basement floor

Stairway going down on the left, to the storm shelter on the right

Up next:  framing up the exterior

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