Our New House

Today’s the day, I’m finally introducing you to our new home! Drumroll please….

(warning horrible blurry phone pics for this post)


A old house

Wait, are you doubting my fixer upper abilities? Possibly thinking this doesn’t seem like my style? Well, let me show you the backyard.

A lake view

You may recognize this view a little bit, our new house is just one bay over on the same lake :) about a 1/2 mile away from our current house. You still may be wondering why on earth we wanted to move over here, but let me back up a bit and tell you the full story.

My run around the lake takes me right by this house everyday (ok more like 3 times a week when I get my butt in gear) and it was for sale all last year, but I never gave it a 2nd thought. I happened to stop in front of it in June to tie my shoe and noticed what a nice view they had…then I noticed it was a walkout lot…then my brain really started racing and I realized how big of a lot it was…finally I zeroed in on the “Open House this Sunday” sign.

My curiosity was officially piqued.

The Mr. and I love living on the lake and love our house, but now that the kids are older we were really wishing we had a basement for the kids to grow into and hang out in; something that wasn’t currently possible at our home due to the water level. Our house is also on a very small 50 ft lot so our kids have no yard to run around in and we have no storage for tubes, rafts kayaks, basically our current garage is a black hole of water toys. But I’m getting ahead of myself again. I casually mentioned to the Mr. that we should be nosy neighbors and check the open house out “just for fun” (silently maniacally laughing to myself).

He was up for it, so the kids went for a boat ride with my parents and off we went to the open house. We walked in and I went straight back to the deck, the view was beautiful! We couldn’t believe how big the backyard was too, this lot is double the size of our current lot. I kept saying “wow I love the view on this bay, it’s awesome” and the Mr. was like “yeah, cool but the house”…

The house is a bit of a roller coaster inside, as in the floors slope up and down depending on what room you are in. It has a very old cinder block foundation that is in rough shape so everything is a bit wonky inside. The Mr. also pointed out that it actually didn’t have central heat, kind of important if you plan on surviving a Michigan winter…details man! Still we walked around the backyard for a long time marveling at how much space there would be for the kids to run around. We stopped inside to thank the realtor when she said “be sure to check out the property across the street” wait, what there is more land?

If you live on an inland lake in Michigan than you know this is a major bonus. There are a lot of homes on our lake that not only have a lake lot, but a lot across the street for outbuildings, garages, storage etc. Extra parking is just one of the perks of this not to mention a place to put your boat all winter.

The Mr. perked up at this, because the blackhole garage is the bane of his existence, so we headed across the street where sure enough there was a huge two stall garage with an awesome loft space above the whole thing. Ok, maybe not awesome, but full of awesome potential!

A yard with grass and trees

My mind started racing to bunk room, playroom, teenage hangout spot, craft space, OH CRAFT SPACE – seriously so many possibilities! Then we opened the fence gate to find this –

A pool next to a fence

WHAT? A pool??? It has a pool??? We were so shocked! I kept saying this is SO weird. And then the yard kept going way beyond the pool, with plenty of room to plant a big garden and add a tire swing! This is what I was thinking in my head, but didn’t dare say out loud, because I thought the Mr. would toss me in the pool if I mentioned the idea, this little tour was just for fun right?

Then the Mr. said –

“I could actually see us doing this.”

I almost fell over! I immediately rushed in with  “ME TOO! We could totally knock down that house and build a new one. The kids would have so much room to play, we could have a basement and there would be a place to put everything in this garage.” I also began spouting off all my new design ideas for the house and the pool area, not to mention the loft…

The Mr. told me to slow my roll a bit and we decided to pray about it for a few days… and then we put in a low ball offer! And we waited and waited, this felt like just the right move for our family and we were so excited. Picture me pinning away new house ideas, sketching out floor plans and imagining all the fun blog posts! 3 days later we got the call that she wouldn’t accept our offer. CUE THE DEVASTATION! We had gone in with our best and final knowing what our budget was and so that was that. I tried hard to accept that this wasn’t God’s plan and enjoy the rest of the summer with my kids. But neither of us could really let go of the idea. I continued to pray about it and run by everyday to make sure there was no sold sign ;)

A month later it still hadn’t sold, and we still felt like this was our house. So we decided to stick a for sale by owner sign in our yard on a whim. If we could get a good price for our house then we could offer a bit more maybe. We talked about it at 10pm for about 5 minutes and I drove to the hardware store for a sign in the morning. 2 days later we had a crazy bidding war above ask on our house!

We put in a new offer on the other house, which she accepted this time, and we picked a new owner for our home. We felt so blessed and excited that God worked everything out perfectly. His timing was so much better than ours. We got to enjoy the rest of the summer in our home, found the perfect new homeowners for our place, and because we didn’t need to be out til September were able to move into my parents house while we build. Yes we are “house sitting” for my parents while they are snowbirds in Florida for the winter. This way we can save money and be nice and close to check on the new build. So we are currently all moved in here, planning away on the new house and my parents leave tomorrow for Florida.

Ok, this post is a million words long and I have babbled on enough, but next week I’ll be sharing more of our house plans and pictures. I just have to say I’m so excited to share this whole building process with you from the beginning. I get so many questions from readers about building or about specific things that I can’t answer, because I wasn’t blogging when we built. This time I’ll spill all the details and hopefully give you some “do’s” and I’m sure there will be some “don’ts” along the way as well. Thanks for all your kind words of encouragement on my last post, I haven’t had a chance to respond to them all yet with packing up and moving out this week, but I was SO touched by all of the sweet comments and blessings especially from long time readers!

PS – If you are like me, wondering how on earth a pool came to be there – I actually spoke to a neighbor who’s aunt and uncle built the house originally. Her aunt had suffered from childhood polio and had problems with her legs as a result. Swimming apparently really helped her so that’s why they put in the pool – so interesting! We will be salvaging a few parts of the original house and keeping the original garage and loft (a fun project to tackle in the future), which I’m excited about, but the house wasn’t structurally sound enough to try to remodel.

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  1. We love the house, we are planning to build a summer home in upstate New York on the St.Lawrence River. Any chance we can see the floor plan?

  2. Well Kelly! I am in love with this leap you are taking… :) Your view is incredible and your journey is going to be so very special. Can’t wait to see everything you do!! Hugs! xoxo

  3. Heart warming to see the comments from Deanne and Melissa. One thing that bulldozers can’t take away…. our heart felt memories. Happy to see that your staying put on that gorgeous lake and will have family still near by. Best wishes for Happy Home building!

  4. Wow! Crazy exciting! :) My husband and I (and our 3 boys) are planning to build in a few years on an acre lot we just purchased. I am so thankful and excited, but I’m also feeling overwhelmed by the amount of cash I think we’ll need on hand before we can break ground. You guys must be super on top of things financially to be able to decide on a whim (sort-of) to sell your house and buy a tear-down! That’s really great! I keep wanting to ask people I know who have built custom homes how much money they had in savings before they started, but it’s such a taboo topic. Anyway, I’ve been feeling like our house is never going to get built because all we’re doing right now is paying on the land loan and waiting and trying to save money. I felt a little encouraged earlier this week when I was reading my devotional. The passage was about rebuilding the temple, so I feel a little odd saying it gave me encouragement for building our dream home, but we do feel like God has worked out the details for us to be able to buy our land, so I am trying to trust that He will work out the details on how to get the house built also. Here’s the verse: Zechariah 4:10a – “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…” My take-away from that was I need to rejoice in the work we are currently doing, even though it feels like we’re not able to do very much. Anyway, I am so excited to follow along as you transform this new place!

  5. Read the post and comments. How nice to still be near your family and I’m not surprised with the strong response of the sale of your home. Perfect too, living at your mom’s during the building of the new home!
    Kathleen in Az

  6. So, so exciting! I cannot wait to hear the details of your journey! What a blessing God had for you in His time! I have been reading your blog since the early days and wish you much love in this exciting time! XOXO

  7. Wow, your story is so awesome. So happy that you got the house you wanted. God does work on his time and not ours. Good Luck with the new house. If you have never built a house before please beware that you as the owner need to check your blueprints and the building EACH DAY! When we were building our new home we found out each day we went stopped by the building site to see what work had been done that day that the guys working on our house were not always reading the blueprints correctly! I found out one day that my kitchen sink had been plumbed in wrong and was in the middle of my dining room where my table would be going. Our basement laundry room drain was plumbed in the middle of our basement family room floor. These are just a couple of Misreads we found ourselves. So it does pay to stop by the job site Everyday and don’t take any guff from the workers either. They keep telling me that I didn’t know anything about building a house and they knew their job. In our case they were wrong on both counts. So stick to your guns when you start building your house. God Bless you and the Mr. and good luck with your new house!

  8. What amazing history your new home has. I look forward to following you on this journey! So glad you’re still at the water!

  9. I just can’t wait to see what you do, what a gorgeous view and beautiful pool! It has always been my dream to live on a lake. I am from Michigan but now live in Georgia which isn’t plentiful with lakes like home. I do have a beautiful craftman style house though that I enjoy. God Bless!

  10. We, too, are building our forever earthly home in TX. Not quite the view you will have, but my backyard butts up to my younger sister’s back yard. We have lived apart far too many years. I’ve always enjoyed your blog…your taste is exquisite!! Looking forward to your new adventure…oh, and your youngest son is too precious!!

  11. This is going to be exciting for all of us following you along the next part of your journey. With your talent and taste it is going to be amazing!!! Congratulations x

  12. Congratulations Kelly! So excited for you! Thank you for sharing this journey with us. It will be great to see all the progress!! Woo hoo!!

  13. So happy to hear you’re tearing down that house! Whew! Excited to watch the new build! Yeah you!????????????

  14. We built our house on the Door Peninsula and although we love it I wish we could do it again so I could correct some of the mistakes I made. These, for what they are worth, are my suggestions for building a house in the north. Have large overhangs, put roofs or porticoes over every door (this I didn’t do and am so sorry)…when it is raining you can leave the doors open, it helps with snow and ice in the winter and you don’t get soaked opening a door. The other major thing is having the largest screened porch you can build. WI and MI are the bug capitals of the states so it is so nice to enjoy dusk without being eaten alive…also on rainy summer days the kids can play out there. The other two suggestions are, more outlets than you think you need and if at all possible heated floors. If you have never been in a house with heated floors you are missing a great experience. It is lovely even heat, quiet and you never have cold feet. If this is not possible for the entire house then, at least, do it in the bathrooms. Cold tile floors in the winter are not fun.

    Good luck and enjoy every minute of getting to build a house just the way you want it.

  15. Well it’s great to have you back! I’m like everyone else, loved your other house and couldn’t imagine why you would ever leave it. But, now I get it. Just can’t wait to see it all come together to completion. Best of luck and fun in the process. I can see I will be busy at my house too since I duplicate many of your ideas!

  16. Kelly!!! I’m so excited for you guys! Just so you know – your mom is trustworthy. She only told me you weren’t going far. That’s all I could get out of her. That was enough. So happy this all worked out so well. We’ll have to come up agai next summer and check it out! We are pouring the foundation on a new house next week. Now Jim wants me to blog about it. Ugh. ?

  17. This looks amazing. We are currently house hunting for a fixer upper and my husband wants property so I can’t wait to read all about this process! I know your new home will be even more beautiful than your last (if that’s even possible!!).

    1. My name is Melissa and the house you speak of belonged to the most kind women you would have known she was my grandmother. I’m having mixed feelings about the house being torn down I’m sure as you know I have a lot of childhood memories in this house on this lake and in that beautiful pool that she built not only for herself but for all of her grandchildren. She decided to build this pool because as much money was spent trying to make her grand kids a beach out front as it was very mucky but it seems the sand and everything she did floated down to the neighbors who have a really nice beach ? So she built us a pool…… The memories I have of this pool spending time with all my cousins, aunts uncles and grandma are forever mine we spent many of holidays and Sunday’s at grandmas swimming and of course eating all the special middleton recipes that grandma and my dad her only son taught me. I hope you realize what a special place you have gotten And I hope your children grow up loving this place as much as I did and I also hope that one day when your grandparents your grandchildren build the memories with you as I did my grandmother. I hope this was ok to write on your blog I was just having a tough time knowing the house I used to clean with grandma on those special days of spending the night is going to be torn down I do realize it probably needs a lot of TLC so I understand it’s just hard seeing the last memory of her go and say goodbye again. We all loved that wonderful women with all our hearts and miss her everyday so please cherish this beautiful piece of lake you have gotten there is a lot of wonderful history there. Thank you

      1. Hi, Melissa! I have had to let a family home go and, even knowing it was right in all ways, it was difficult knowing with the new owners it would never be the same. When an additional family home went on the market (another relative down the street) a couple decades later, I was able to take pictures of my son there, grab some hydrangea cuttings and some old wood (to craft with). My Mom had actually been born in what was the birthing house in the village I lived in and when new owners bought and tore down, I salvaged a couple bricks from the foundation. Doing these things made it easier for me to let go! I still owe the daughter of the relative’s house a sign from the wood :). Maybe you’d like a brick doorstop? Or a sign from some of the wood? Wishing you peace above all!

      2. Hi Melissa, thanks so much for you comment. I completely understand, not only did I spend every summer here on the lake growing up but my mom did as well. My grandparents cottage is still standing across the lake and I would have a hard time if someone was going to tear it down, so many memories! I wish we could keep more of the house but the foundation is in too rough of shape. We did look into trying to remodel but every builder we spoke with said it wouldn’t be possible. I hope it helps to know that we will be keeping a lot of the beams in the basement to incorporate into our new home and the garage and pool will stay, we will just be giving them a new life! This lake holds so much history for me and my family as well and it is such a special place. We will definitely cherish this place and enjoy having not only our kids here, but our grandkids someday as well.
        PS We have big plans to fix the beach as well so wish us luck :)

        1. Thank you Kelly for the reply and understanding makes me believe the right people have bought grandmas home I think she would approve. Thank you for salvaging what you could and including it into your new home. I wish you and your family lots of happiness there and hope you get to build lots of memories with your family as we all did with ours. Good luck with the build and you really did get one of the best spots on the lake ?

  18. I grew up in that house! That house was my grandma’s and we swam in that pool all summer every summer until we lost her. I’m glad to see it going to someone who will love and cherish it like we did! So many memories there for me seeing those pictures just brought them all back!
    Good luck!

    1. Hi Deanne! We will definitely cherish every minute here! My kids have already been in the pool and can’t wait for next summer, thanks so much for sharing your memories with me :)

  19. When I read you were moving, my first thought was, oh no, how can they be leaving that beautiful home and view after all the work they put into their home…flash foward…now I get why! How very, very exciting! We designed and built our second home…I loved, loved, loved every single aspect of the process. I’m so happy for you and your family and for me as a reader of your blog…now I can enjoy the whole designing, building and decorating process through your eyes and vision.
    Congratulations and good luck! Happy pinning!

  20. Congratulations. How very exciting for your family. I’m glad to see you are “upgrading” your view and not giving it up. I know this home will be equally as beautiful as your last and how great it is you can stay at your parents too.

  21. When I first saw the picture of the house I thought, she’s good, but whoa that will be a challenge! Glad to hear you will be starting from scratch. Looking forward to every detail!

  22. Yay so excited for you all. Love the way these things come about! I’m also loving all the hidden treasures in this house! Can’t wait to see more xo

  23. Oh, alright…I’ll jump on the bandwagon here and say that although I’ll miss your old house terribly …remember we were going to relax on your upstairs deck and just sigh….but, I will be very interested in seeing how the new one comes together! Wishing you all the best in your new adventure! ??

  24. Congratulations! I can’t wait to follow all your progress. From several of your posts over the Summer..I really thought the move might be to Traverse City.

  25. OMG that is so freakin’ exciting! I was afraid that something terrible had happened and you had to stop blogging. Now I’m totally gazzed up about following along and seeing all of the plans, etc. This is going to be amazing! Good Luck!

  26. WOW, You really had me sad and worried! You were leaving those wondrous flower boxes and your sun room! And everything else! ?Oh No!
    Fast forward: I am thrilled you are taking on such an exciting project! ? P.S. Are the buyers keeping the pup?? Just kidding!

    1. Haha somedays I would be thrilled to leave Charlie behind ;) he is actually behaving mostly like a gentleman these days so we are taking him with!

  27. How exciting!! I loved your other home so I’ll be following along and can’t wait to see your new one. Whats not to love with that view!! :)

  28. Ok I nearly fainted!! But in the back of my mind I knew you would rebuild!! How cool on how everything worked out! My sister did the same thing on her lake in Michigan. They just tore down the old garage and built a huge new one with storage up above. Unfortunately they had many problems with the one neighbor on the other side of the property. The architect, builder and city said they were fine. But the neighbor had found some old law which prohibited them to build so many feet from them. Long story short after spending a zillion dollars on this dream garage they had to get a variance and pay an attorney huge amounts of money! She is just now able to park in there. It was delayed over 6 months. Their association won’t allow them to have living space above. So check and double check with the city and county. Would hate for any of this to happen to you guys… I’m so excited for you all!! Good luck on all the planning!

    1. Hey Maggie, thanks for the tips! We won’t be tearing the garage down just putting a new roof, windows and insulation in it so we should be grandfathered in as long we don’t change the actual structural footprint. Got to love all the crazy laws and ordinances there are to jump thru!

  29. Yeah! … I was so sad at first when you mentioned you were moving… I really enjoyed your blog. And now this great project.

    Can’t wait to read you again.

  30. Great post. Can hardly wait to see how the new plans go. Having built our house I love the whole process and decisions that go into the build. What lake are you on? I am in West Michigan too.

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