Not surprisingly, we’ve been spending a fair amount of time at “the new house.” (I feel like it needs a better name than this).


{Doesn’t every good house-building story begin with an expanse of red dirt and some toddlers?}

As I already mentioned, Shaun has spent every single weekend out there (minus his birthday and Easter) for the past 4 months, so the kids and I like to drop by and check out the progress or bring lunch to eat at the picnic table Shaun built especially for that purpose.


{Lunch usually consists of rotisserie chicken and other odds and ends we pick up from the grocery store only 5 minutes away!! Bless!}


{Looky there! Our very first WALL!}

The kids are OVER-THE-MOON excited about, well, all of it. Naturally. Me too! Although, I honestly haven’t had to do much yet (except make design decisions and be a construction widow/ single mom all weekend…that counts for something, right?), so it’s a little easier for me to feel like “we haven’t even started yet” than for poor Shaun who comes home the nights that he’s worked out there covered in grime and looking like he’s ready to fall asleep in his dinner plate.

Side note: I just have to take a moment to brag on my husband. He has faithfully performed his day job, managed our rentals (have I ever mentioned we do that too?), given up his days of rest every single week, and slogged through some majorly tedious building work with ZERO complaints to get us to the point where we are. He pitches right in the minute he gets home, changing diapers and helping get the kids to bed every night. And he still takes time to talk with me or snuggle on the couch and watch Fixer Upper when he gets home. I really couldn’t be more impressed with a) his work ethic and b) his good attitude, and, even though I’ve already told him this in person, since he reads this blog, I just wanted to publicly acknowledge how fully awesome he is. I know (oh, how I know) that building a house is stressful, but we honestly work well together, and I love the sense of camaraderie that comes with tackling a project this big. Sure, sometimes, we’re cranky and snappy. But for the most part, this process (so far) has helped to hone our relationship, and I am grateful for the opportunity to do that with a man of integrity. Who also happens to be my favorite human being ever. The End.


{Best Daddy Award, for sure}

As I mentioned on Monday, this house started with the discovery of a really cool piece of land for a really great price about a year ago. I still wasn’t completely sold on the idea of building again when we bought the land, but we knew that, at the price we paid, we could easily get our money back if we changed our minds, so it was a bit of a no-brainer.


{Theo feels soooo big when he’s at “the poperty” (what the twins call it). He toddles around fearlessly, inspecting things and attempting to get in trouble while one of us trails after him, taking away nails and steering him clear of windows}

The effect you get upon driving into the entrance to the land is of entering your own private park. It opens from a narrow-ish, tree-enclosed entry into a big green field surrounded by trees, and we chose to build our house backing up to a steep, tree-covered (sensing a theme?) hill that rises up one side of the property. Considering how much fun our kids are already having exploring that hill, I can only imagine the adventures they’ll have playing King of the (almost literal) Mountain in years to come!


{This is the view from the hill toward the back of the house, which is u-shaped. The area inside the u will be a covered courtyard…eventually}.

There’s a small pond, which doesn’t hold water well, currently, but I’m sure Shaun will fix that (right, babe?), and the little secluded, shady nook formed by a small grove of trees right by that pond is a little slice of heaven. I can totally see us hanging out there all summer or even hauling a homeschooling picnic out when the weather is nice.

I’ve had several people ask about the floor plans for the house. Once again, we drew them up ourselves, so they are completely custom, but I’m considering taking screen shots ofย  the layout in the house program that we use and sharing those. No promises, but maaaaaaybe. ๐Ÿ˜‰


{Cheesy Grins R Us; also, please don’t ask why I’m standing on one foot, except that I’m a dork}

I’ve had several people comment on the size. Yup. It’s big. We weren’t specifically going for BIG, but we did have a laundry list of very specific items we wanted to include, so by the time we fit them all in, the result was far from small.

In addition to the usual bedrooms/kitchen/bathrooms/living room, etc., we included: a two van garage, a yard tools garage (basically an extension of the main garage set apart for the lawn mower, etc.), a mudroom, a dedicated schoolroom, a guest suite, an office for Shaun, a craft room/office for me, a workshop for Shaun, and that family laundry/closet I mentioned on Monday. Oh! And we’re replicating the idea of the “big room” we love so much in our current house right down to the DIY big screen on the wall.


{Its current state; and yes, the grass really is that green}

It’s an ambitious project and one that will take us years to finish completely (I know because there are STILL aspects of our current house that I don’t consider “finished”), but we’re nothing if not dedicated to our DIY obsession (addiction?), and it’s kind of awesome to know that we can parlay the fruits of our previous efforts on this current house into the new one–both in profit (assuming it sells for a decent price) and skills learned.

Welp, that’s what I’ve got for now. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more soon.

Any more questions? I’ll try to answer the best I can!


  1. I would love to hear about the rentals. My husband and I have talked about it, but not sure if it is a good idea or not.

    1. Hi Stella, do you have any more specific questions? Shaun manages most of the rentals, but mainly, we just started slow–with one house–and then built from there. Most of the time, it’s very worthwhile. Pretty low maintenance and hassle-free. Every now and then, it’s VERY high maintenance and full of hassle. The scales definitely tip toward the positive, though. Feel free to ask any specific questions you have.

  2. Yay!!! How exciting for y’all!! Sounds like it gonna be all sorts of awesome!! I have one suggestion based on our recent remodel. We added a larger laundry/mud room which I love. The kids have drawers for their clothes so they go straight from dryer to drawer with no baskets. So lovely! I actually stay caught up on the laundry more now ๐Ÿ™‚ But my suggestion is to put a washer/dryer in your master closet as well. We had some extra room & plumbing close by, so we decided to add them. And I’m soooo glad we did!!! Our clothes never leave the closet (aside from us wearing them). They go from hamper to wash to hung up all right in the closet. We added an overhead hanging bar so I can hang my delicate stuff I don’t dry. And we built in “dresser drawers” for each of us in the closet. So, just my 2 cents but these 2 additions to our home has totally changed our laundry game. I don’t dread it like I used to with our tiny laundry room which means I stay on top of it more! Can’t wait to follow along on your progress :)))

    1. You know what? I originally wanted a washer/dryer in our closet because you suggested this a while back, and it thought it was brilliant!

      But I think we’re going to with a family closet/laundry upstairs and a mudroom/laundry downstairs. Hopefully, it will have the same effect of keeping me on top of things. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Oh My Word!! So exciting for y’all!!!!!
    Our family of boys lives in WI, in a log home. (the decorating Struggle is real. The sacrifices I make daily for the loves of my life…) We live 25 minutes from our private school, so I drive them in, drive home, drive to pick them up, drive home. It’s about 2.5 hours per day (middle school gets out later than the younger ones). I TOTALLY get why you are moving even just a few minutes closer. I often dream about us moving closer to town/school/church. My husband is a master plumber/heating & a/c tech. (Truly a master of them all.) His trade also includes carpentry, electrical and engineering. And what he can’t do, he has very good buddies that do. However, I can’t seem to talk him into buying land, building and moving. He says owning his business (12+ hours per day) and raising the boys in his “free time” is all he can handle. My dream area is in a smaller town, just outside our big town, that has awesome public schools, so we’d even be saving money on tuition costs. (close to $20k per year)
    When we lived in town (Yes, closer to school) we had friends/family stop over many times during the week. Again, we now live 25 minutes from school, but 15 minutes from the edge of town, and no one will drive that far. Not even our family. I have turned into an introvert and cherish the quietness of the area and just having my boys around me. But man, I miss the days of seeing people and having intimate conversations. This struggle is also real. Daily.
    Enough about me, but I truly understand the want/need to get closer to town and the conveniences of grocery shopping on a whim when needed for big families and friendships. I look forward to watching your building process, and watching your family blossom with God’s calling. Many prayers for safe construction.
    (My husband also fell off a roof, similar to your brother’s story, in 2008. God is good and has provided great recovery and only appears to be suffering a stiff ankle joint that may need to be fused in the future, as he almost lost his foot during the accident.)
    Many Blessings~ Sarah K. in “Rural” WI

    1. Thank you for this, Sarah! I so enjoyed reading it! And bless you for enduring your house struggles for the sake of your family. Good for you!

  4. I would LOVE to hear more about your rental houses!! My husband and I are hoping to eventually get into that, but aren’t sure when or how to start. Would love to know what your experience has been like!

    1. Hi, Anna! We bought our first property about 6 years ago and have just added as the opportunity/really good deal arose. My husband manages most of our rentals, so it’s definitely doable, and most of the time, it’s not that much work. It seems to ebb and flow. Sometimes, it’s a total pain, and everything/everyone falls apart at once. But, for the most part, it’s a worthwhile venture if you’re willing to vet your renters. My husband uses an online program called Rentec Direct to manage all of the forms/background checks, etc if you want to check that out.

  5. That’s an amazing house! But I can’t help but think – she’s gonna need an intercom system! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. What a wonderful blessing! Though the “I don’t know how you do it all” phrase keeps repeating in my head. The there’s the thought of poor Sean when the east Texas summer heat kicks in!! Phew! Praying many more blessings and no injuries or major set backs to come your way!

  7. Wow Abbie! I love it! It’s so, so awesome… I would love to do the same but as far as I know in Spain it’s more difficult to do this… Who knows! ๐Ÿ™‚ looking forward to see the progress!

  8. Hi Abbie! This looks wonderful. I’d love to hear more about the program you used to design your homes. I really feel motivated to design a home for my family, but wasn’t sure where to even start. Help would be so appreciated!

  9. I am as curious as Amy. How do you live on one income and build homes cash? You guys are ceazy awesome and would love for some of it to rub off on me

  10. Looks awesome! Would love to learn more one day about how you manage rental properties — and how you managed to build two houses (or 1.5?) on one salary. I’m impressed and would love to do the same one day!!

  11. This is super super exciting! The location sounds just as wonderful as the house plans – which is huge for kiddos that need to run off energy. So fun!!

  12. Hi, Abbie! My husband and I are currently remodeling an old 30’s frame house, and I would LOVE to see your plans on the family closet. Would you mind sharing? Pretty please, with a cherry on top?

I love hearing from you guys!