In July 2017, Ryan and I leapt feet-first into building a house. We’d been looking for a while at pre-built ones, but just couldn’t find one we liked well enough. I admit, I’m picky– I get to be after 7 moves in 6 years with the Air Force and when this is going to be our last home for a very long time. We wanted super open, airy, and bright, with a beautiful kitchen. We also wanted five bedrooms so that we can have more babies, if God gives them to us (thank goodness we planned THAT in!), but also so that we can hopefully be foster parents one day and give them the rooms they deserve as long as they’re our kids. A big backyard was important because we spend a ton of time outside. We had quite the checklist, I’ll admit, but the most important thing was having the bones we needed– an open layout, the right number of rooms, etc.– since we can always update kitchen, bathrooms, other design stuff. Second on our list was definitely the yard size. As much as we wanted to find a fairly move-in ready home and building a home was NOT my idea of a good time, when we walked into the model home for the neighborhood we were liking, we fell in love.
This home had everything we’re looking for. Literally, if I could draw a floor plan myself, this is what it would have been. The kitchen is GORGEOUS and completely open to the den so I’ll be able to make all of our favorite dinners with elbow room to spare (like my comfort food, Texas ham and beans in the Instant Pot). The dining room is its own room with one side is totally open to the kitchen so it’s casual enough to use for breakfast or family dinners, but can be dressed up for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It also doesn’t have a breakfast area, which means I don’t have to have two tables, one of which we’ll never use (therefore no wasted space in our home like most that we looked at before deciding that building a home was the way to go). The floor plan had 4 bedrooms, but we were able to add a fifth with a fourth bathroom– which was good since our eldest is now in his own room in #5. There’s an open, bright game room upstairs for the boys to play in and eventually turn into a study/hangout room. The lot we chose is on a cul de sac, so we don’t have to worry about our kids playing out front with cars speeding past AND our backyard is going to be way bigger than our front yard because of the pie-shaped lot, which is perfect since we LIVE in the backyard but have zero desire to actually spend time working on the front yard.
What brought us to this model house, though, was the neighborhood. It has a bunch of little lakes dropped down among the neighborhood, stocked with fish and with trails around them. Not only does this mean I can run on something other than a road, looking at something way prettier than the same houses again and again, but it also means Ryan can take our little boys fishing while I get dinner ready without any real planning and I can take them to feed the ducks to kill time until nap. There is a pool with a splash pad so it’ll work now, before our kiddos are big enough to really swim, and later, once they want a real pool to swim in. It’s also near one of our favorite little towns with some yummy food and cute shops, as well as having an INCREDIBLE elementary school for our kids to go to, and all of my normal shopping spots so if we HAVE to be building a house to get the home we want, this is the perfect place to do it.
The whole process was stressful and thrilling and everything in between. It was amazing to move into a home that’s exactly my taste and style, as well as being completely functional for my family now and in the future. I chose to chronicle our journey, as well as share what we’ve learned while building a home and where our good moves and bad moves have been in building a house, in a series I’m calling “Built with Love.” I’ll also include my design choices as I finish rooms to hopefully inspire you in your own home! This house is going to be a true labor of love for us after 7 moves in 6 years, where we get to grow our family and watch our boys turn into men, and I can’t wait to share it with y’all!
Built with Love– A Series About Building a Home
How to Choose a Builder for Your Dream Home
Choosing a builder for your home is probably the most important choice you’ll make when it comes to building a house. After all, they’re the ones you’re entrusting every OTHER choice you make to come out the way you imagined, as well as to ensure that every piece of your house is as safe and as comfortable as possible. This post details the things we took into consideration when choosing our builder.
Steps to Building a House
Knowing what you’re getting yourself into starts with knowing the steps that go into a house build. This post will give you a step-by-step rundown of how one builder does it (which is going to be very similar to how most will), with details about each step and the timeline.
7 Tips for How to Make Design Choices
The most overwhelming part of the whole house-building process is choosing every single detail of your home– from floor to ceiling, wall to wall. These tips will help you get the most out of your design appointments while ensuring that your dream home really is your dream home at the end of the process!
Blessing Your Home
A perk to building your home from scratch is you get to personalize it every single step of the way. For us, that also meant choosing verses for every room so we could write it on the frame before the dry wall went up. In this post, I give you 14 verses to use all over your new home to bless it before you ever see the finished product!
Surviving the Financing Process
This is hands down the most stressful part for us, simply because it’s so much out of our control. Thankfully, the approval process can be less of a headache than you think if you have all the proper documentation easily accessible. Find out how we streamlined the process and found our perfect lender in this post!
Documenting Your New Build
One thing we wanted to make sure we did was document all the steps “for posterity.” Realistically, I just thought it would be really cool to have a series of family photos in front of each stage of our new home so that I could frame a few beside each other IN the new home when it was done! These are my tips for how to do that and end up with the best set you can.