I kept telling y’all we had some big news!! Remember back in 2017 when I was Seven months pregnant and we bough 13 acres of farmland? We decided that it’s time to make the big move and build out there. I suppose we’re doing it now because there’s no time like the present, right? But actually, it’s a combination of three main reasons:
- Our perk test on our land that runs out in early 2020 and we don’t want to have to re-perk the land.
- Sawyer starts Kindergarten next fall and we are hoping to avoid too many school switches. I’m that kid who lived in one spot my whole childhood. The friends I knew in Kindergarten are the same people I graduated high school with. I loved it and want something similar for my children.
- There’s that small garden we tilled last spring, planted, and watered at the farm. The one where I drove out to that farm at least once a week during the big drought in June and lugged 5 gallon jugs of water through chest-high grass to water the newly planted berries? Yeah. Almost all of it died. Things got CRAZY in our lives with swim team, summer plans, vacation, school starting (mid-July for us) and I gave up on watering. We decided that if we want anything to grow out there, we need to be present to tend to it.
HOW WE CHOSE A BUILDER
Back in August we started talking to builders. We thought we’d go with a modular build, which contrary to our initial thoughts is actually a cost-effective way to build with less waste. Apparently you can build just about any house as a modular home, but the companies we talked with seemed to have trouble turning plans on their own website into actual homes on our land. Hmmm…
We looked at custom builders, but at close to $200 a square foot they were definitely out of our price range.
We ended up settling somewhere in the middle, with a company called America’s Home Place. They offer quite a few plans, and after you choose your plan you can then customize pretty much everything about it. Even bumping out walls, adding rooms, changing layouts. They cost less than the custom builders, and as of right now I believe our home comes in at about $124 a sq. foot.
I don’t want to think about how many hours I spent pouring over plans this summer. Too many! Ha! We finally settled on the “Ugly House,” which despite its ugly exterior had an open-ish layout with the kitchen/dining/living areas at the front of the home. The way our house is positioned on our lot, it was important to us that we maximize views out the front (west) and right side (south) to see the pastures (maybe vineyards someday) and the pond. And that we had a long southern exposure for tons of natural light and for the possibility of solar in the future.
You can head over to see the original plan HERE. We jokingly call it the ugly house because the upstairs windows are spaced much too far apart, and it’s generally off center. But no worries, we fixed those minor details by adding a garage, wrap around porch, and re-centering windows. Now it looks like a farmhouse!
There are LOTS more details to share about the new house plan itself, what we added, and what we wanted in a house, but I think they warrant a separate post so stay tuned.
When we mulled over this decision and when would be the right time, it was a no-brainer to try and time our move between school years. In order to finish the new house by late May/early June, we had to sign off on plans by November 1st. And THAT meant that the entire month of September and October I was consumed by house plans. I drew about 6 different plans on giant graph paper, changing things to meet our needs and aiming to meet our budget (I’ll post more on what we’re looking for in a functional farmhouse in a separate post).
I spent every evening after the kids were in bed drawing and re-drawing plans. Also meeting with the design consultant about twice a week (sometimes with small children hanging off my legs and spilling candy jars in the showroom) to nail down our plans.
The week of Halloween was insane. We were working on a tight deadline to nail down ALL the house details (before the designer had a baby and went on maternity leave for 10 weeks). I lived in Pinterest for a week straight. I’ve never pinned so many photos. Then I compiled them in Photoshop and printed pages for each room: kitchen, bathroom, dining room, etc. with paint colors, floors I liked, fixtures. Nothing kills my soul faster than being buried in a computer or cell phone, and my soul was dying. BUT, these are important decisions! I don’t want to move into a new home and hate the paint colors and cabinets because I punked out of doing my research.
We’ve been working on getting our loan nailed down. Having never built before, we are in completely uncharted waters. We will end up with a construction loan for about 7 months, then close again on a permanent loan in early summer. And for this to happen, they needed our first born child. Joking! Just our entire financial existence. I scanned files for days. Also, I met the builder at the farm last week to stake out where our home will sit. With two toddlers in toe. In 40 degree weather. For a two hours. STICK A FORK IN ME.
I’m exhausted. Hoping to get some rest and relaxation! The builder should be pulling permits. We closed on our construction loan before Christmas. We debate daily about whether to sell or rent our current home. And we are working daily to get it re-painted, clean, and all the tiny broken things fixed so that we can do either. And in all the hustle to start cleaning up our current home and the mess that four children have brought, we broke the all time record for annual rain. Durham, NC got more rain last year than Seattle. And our backyard is a mud pit. SO… being the crazies that we are, we decided to remedy that problem by digging a new walkway over Christmas break. Yeah…
Building. Not sure yet what will happens when, but you get the idea. Hoping to move in late June!