Monday, April 4, 2016

Building Our "Forever Home" - Part 1

I'm not sure if we're just stupid or crazy, but yes, we are building a home during ALL the chaos in the first year with the twins. We bought our land 3-4 years ago and we've been saving, waiting for the right time to build our "forever home". It just so happens that 'right time' was this year. We started working on our plans in late 2014, almost finished by spring 2015... and BAM (in my best Emeril impression) - we found out we were pregnant with twins the week before Easter! We scrapped the whole plan. It took us about 9 months with myself being on bed rest and the twins in the NICU to get the plans finished and like we wanted. Trust me, there was a whole lot of, "Ashley, can we please work on the plans today" and "I don't feel like it" going on. Ha!


I've always dreamed of having a plantation / antebellum-style home... A home that will look timeless and classic years to come. I like to call ours a "modern antebellum". (Search my hashtag #ourmodernantebellum on Instagram here.) Most homes from the antebellum period (pre-Civil War) were a true Greek Revival or Federal-style architecture. Those interior styles don't appeal to my taste, so we're building an antebellum style home with a farmhouse / craftsman style twist. You'll see soon. ;)

Since I went to architecture school, a lot of people ask if I designed our home. The answer is "yes", I did design it from scratch, however I didn't physically draw the plans. Had I not been pregnant I would have, but I had a lot on my plate last year! ('Cause growing two little nuggets is hard!) And God bless husbands who just go with the flow!

The plans are proprietary and I won't be sharing them out of safety for our family, but I will share lots of pictures throughout the process.

We don't know where the Lord will lead us in the future, but we've designed and built our home to accommodate our family for years and years to come. However we've also kept minor details in mind for re-sale value should we ever have to sell. I've always dreamed of having one house that our kids can grow up in and call "home" and we plan to stay here as long as the Lord allows us to!

We broke ground this past January and we started pouring the slab in February. I can't believe how far we've come in just two months! It's really mind blowing! Before we even started building, Benjie did a lot of work to the land itself. He fixed some draining issues, cleared a lot of trees, planted trees down both sides of the driveway, built a wooden fence along the road, and built a new pond and pier...


Ignore some of the photography... I'm sure you can tell which pictures I took and which Benjie took. Lol.

(Breaking ground)

(Framing the slab)
(Pouring the slab)


(We spent one afternoon with our parents just enjoying our new slab. Ha!)

(Framing! We have an amazing contractor. It took some work to get the living room windows just like I wanted.)


(LK standing in her new room. She's SO excited!)

I'm most excited about the upstairs cupola. It's going to look amazing!

(Living room)

(Dining "room") 

We will only have one large eating area instead of having a small nook and a formal dining. However, one of our offices can easily convert to a formal dining in the future if wanted.

(The kiddos, just chilling.)

 (Back porch overlooking the pond)

(Front of house)

 (View From front porch)

Benjie plans to build the kids a tree house in that old oak!

Lola has the best view in the whole house from her room! (Still have to trim up that tree... I've debated several times just cutting it down!)

(Back of house)

And below is where we're currently at! We're scheduled to install the exterior doors and window this week. Plumbing, electrical, and HVAC are also getting started.

 (The cupola keeps getting bigger and bigger as they finish framing. I have a pretty good sense of scale when designing but this one really threw me for a loop.)




Stay tuned for more progress. ;)

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