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.

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