Have you ever wondered how to build a farmhouse? This is how we are building our own farmhouse in beautiful Southern Utah.
Have you ever wondered how to build a farmhouse? This is how we are building our own farmhouse in beautiful Southern Utah.
It’s time for a house update and spoiler alert: there’s a video to go with it!
My brother made this video for me as a surprise! I’ll be honest, it made me tear up. Sometimes it feels like we will never get moved in. Watching really put all of the work that we have done into perspective. You guys, we are building a whole house! AND IT’S COMING TOGETHER!!!
So when we left off last we were working on our fancy triple-pane window installation (they are so nice). Now we have finished our stairs, installed all the insulation, framed almost all of the walls (just deciding where the pantry goes and where the wall between the laundry room and mud room go left to do!), plumbed and wired the upstairs, completed installing the drywall upstairs, and have made lots of decisions for the downstairs. We are currently running water and fiber-optic lines to the house, plumbing and wiring the main level, making kitchen plans, and picking major appliances/finishes/cabinets/flooring/light fixtures. I dare say we are heading into what I would call, “the fun part”!
How is it April already? The goal we set when we stated building 16 months ago was a December 2017 move in, that means we have just 8 months left before moving in. We are still on track for that. Yay!
I’ve done some budget shifting and have decided that I’m going to spend the money and build my dream kitchen. I live in my kitchen! It’s where I raise my family, it’s where I work, it is truly the heart of our home. I’ve decided to not worry about buying cabinets for my mud room, laundry room, or office so that I can put those funds into the kitchen. After we get moved in, I can finish those rooms a little at a time. I cannot wait for this kitchen to come together. It’s going to make Joanna Gaines proud!
Here’s some of the pictures I’ve taken to help you see some of our work.
An update on our house build, our plans for a more “green” house, and our energy efficient windows. And lots and lots of mud!
We are closing in on our one year mark of our DIY house build, and I thought I’d share some of the progress we have made this winter. A year ago this picture would have just been of our beautiful mountains but now, 12 months later, there’s a shell of a house! We broke ground on January 23, 2016 and hope to move in sometime this year (before Christmas is the goal). Building a house is one of the hardest and most rewarding things we have done, and the last year was a true testament to my husband Thomas’ hard work and perseverance. He’s been working on this project between his engineering work and helping with the family hardware store. We’ve been laying sub-flooring in 103 degree heat and installing windows at well below freezing. This kind of project isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s going to be so wonderful when we get settled in. I can’t wait!
It’s been way too long since I updated you on the house. This project – oh, this project. We are at a really fun stage of framing and it changes every day. I still laugh every time we tell people we are building it ourselves and then they ask who the contractor is. No friends, there’s no contractor, just Thomas and I and hours and hours and hours of work. My brother moved here in May and has started working pretty often with Thomas on the house, and we’ve had a few friends help out here and there, so we aren’t totally alone, but for all intents and purposes, this is a 100% self-build DIY house.
We sold The Shanty! It was a really bittersweet decision, but the timing feels good. Building a house takes money, so selling a property right now just made sense for us. It will forever be our first love, but I’m ok with seeing it go too. We used the money from the sale the pay off this property (which we acquired just over 2 years ago). So now our house loan is only for the house itself, which is nice. Without selling the Shanty, our mortgage would have been both the property and the house building materials together, so we are excited to use our loan for just the house, if that makes sense.
When I last updated you in July, we had just poured the footing for the basement. You won’t believe how far we have come since then.
If you need to back up, here are all of the posts I have written about building our own farmhouse:
Since then, things have changed in all kinds of ways.
After we got the basement footings in, Thomas used foam blocks to make the basement walls. These blocks are super cool and stack up just like legos. They have all kinds of metal rebar inside, and then they are filled with concrete. The wall forms stay in place and are the insulation for the basement. We’ll screw Sheetrock right to them for the interior walls. We had a pumper truck come to fill up the walls. It was a pretty exciting day, though it stressed me out big time. I didn’t stay longer than to take a few pictures. People were yelling, the walls seemed like they were going to pop open, and it was too much for me. Thomas actually fell off a ladder, got his leg stuck on the way down, and the ladder came crashing down on top of him while they were pouring. We were so lucky he didn’t break his leg, but it was so sore for a long time. It was an eventful day for sure.
Next, we added floor trusses and flooring in the basement. We know that a basement with a crawl space underneath isn’t normal, but that’s the perk of doing all of this ourselves. We think this will be the best option for any water issues and for future plumbing/water needs. Laying the floor in the middle of August was so physically awful. The white insulated walls just made the sun beat down on you and kept all the heat in. It was in the upper 90s on one of the days I helped, and I’m pretty sure the heat index from the house was putting the temperature into the 100s. It was like working in a solar oven. I know when the winter comes we’ll long for some warmth, but on that day, it was so miserably hot for doing such exhausting work.
In February I shared a little update on finally starting to build our house!
When I say “we are building a house”, I don’t mean we are organizing laborers to do it for us. I mean Thomas is out there as often as he can and is putting a house together piece by piece. I have spent hours moving rocks, using a pick ax to level the ground for concrete forms, picking up trash, and a million other little things. Thomas for sure is doing the bulk of the work (I’m just on the support team), but slowly it’s moving along.
We’ve been doing lots of learning on this journey. We’ve called countless experts in their fields, we’ve been consulting lots of professionals, I have been using the help of friends and family that have skills in different areas, but at the end of the day it is our man hours that are making our dreams become a reality. The task is huge and daunting, so exciting and invigorating, and completely overwhelming and consuming lots of days.
January 23, 2016 we broke ground with our little family:
Thomas worked on digging out the basement for months. He’s been running utilities, adding a french drain around the edges of the basement, and compacting the soil. We’ve been working on getting our construction loan (STILL NOT DONE! Oh my heart it’s been months and months), we’ve gotten an appraisal of the property and our house plans (so cool to see! I think I might share part of it with you), talked to the heating and cooling guys, had to decide where we are putting things like doors and windows in the basement, got our building permit (that cost us $3,000! I almost died. I thought Thomas was kidding when he told me), and a million other things.
So after the hole was dug we started adding concrete forms to pour footings. We decided to have a crawl space under our basement. It might not be conventional but it’s going to work well for us and in the long run make things easier.
Then once the forms were in and inspected we pour concrete at the end of May.
Lucky for me my brothers were in town for a while in May and they were able to help us out!
My brother Tyler and his family MOVED TO MY TOWN! They are living right next door to us! Tyler is working at our hardware store and helping me on the blog (he’s helping with videos), and he’s also helping on our house. I’m so excited to have him and his cute family here. He’s been such a blessing to Thomas and I in the few short weeks he’s been here. His wife, Beth, graduated from culinary school and she’s an inspiration in the kitchen. I’m hoping to get her in the kitchen to share some Southern recipes with us.
So before his whole family came Tyler moved out and my other brother Adam helped him drive the moving truck out. So for a week I had both brothers here helping which was great. They removed all the concrete forms and started stacking our “legos”.
Thomas is really into building an energy efficient home (he’s an engineer, so this kind of challenge/project is actually fun for him to figure out). So these foam blocks were something he really wanted to use to make the basement walls. You stack the foam blocks together, add lots of rebar to each layer, and then you fill them up with concrete to make the walls. The foam is our basement insulation and it’s also the forms for the concrete. It took us about a month to put up all of foam blocks, get the rebar in (SO MUCH REBAR!), use spray foam to fill holes, level it all, and to support the foam structure in preparation for the concrete. The windows and doors were the hardest part of this step. They took a lot of time to prepare.
So not only will the basement be nice and insulated but we also get to screw the Sheetrock right to the foam. It’s already insulated and we don’t have to build any wood walls out from it.
That’s the pictures that I have for now. I already have another post ready for you about this process that I’m going to try to post ASAP. I actually did a video post but my audio didn’t work, boo! I’m hoping to try that again soon!
Thank you for being here and enjoying this crazy house building journey with us.
Spring is in the air and I thought I’d show you what we are up to in the farm and garden area of life.
All of our trees budded so nicely! Our property is exactly next to my in-laws and they share the same lane, so I’ve been driving past this neglected orchard for almost 10 years now. We’ve been wanting to buy it and talking to the owner for at least the last three, so while we were around we would turn on the water and water the trees once in a while but I never really went over there and I didn’t pay much attention to what was growing. Last fall was the first fruit season that we owned the property and there were tons of apples, so I knew we had apples. This spring though has made us realize that we also have a pear, peach, cherry, and two plum trees! Everything needs a heavy pruning, which we didn’t get to, but they bloomed none the less.
I love that the trees have an identity through and through. Peach blossoms are so very peach and the wood even has peach hues in it.
Feeling… Excited, guilty, and some pain. The baby went on a nursing strike last week and I lost most of my supply. I could have worked really hard to get it back but I chose not to. So we are done nursing (he’s 10 months old). I’m excited to not feel so tied down; I’m feeling guilty I didn’t try harder to make it until he was one; I’m feeling too full and hoping the last of this milk will go away. My favorite old lady in town told me that if I drink a sage tea it would finish drying things up and I just might try it. What am I looking forward to most with my new found freedom? Volunteering in Macey’s classroom. I was super pregnant or had a newborn all last year, so this year is much better for me. She asks all of the time if I can come and I’m excited to finally say yes.
Thinking… I should have went on vacation when I had the chance! We’ve been planning since January to go to Italy for 2 weeks in early October to visits our best friends from college who juts moved there. I’ve been squirreling away all my blogging and Farmer’s Market earnings for the trip; when it came time to purchase tickets a few weeks ago I just couldn’t do it. It felt like too long to leave the kids. The baby wouldn’t even be one yet and I thought I would still be nursing (little did I know!). A few days after we decided to wait on Italy someone from Beaches resorts in Jamaica asked if Thomas and I wanted to come for a long weekend to review the resort and then blog about it. It wouldn’t have been totally free but it was still a super discounted trip. Again, I said no thanks. Now I’m kind of kicking myself.
Watching…my babies grow. New clothes get purchased, hairs cuts take place, and traditional early morning first day pictures are taken. Something strange happens inside of schools on the first day of school because I swear that my children age leaps and bounds that day. They come home different older people. I love it as much as it pains me. Growing up is tricky like that, isn’t it?
Reading… Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Melton. Emily from One Lovely Life recommended this book early in the summer and I bought it that day. I’ve seen and read one of Glennon’s essays before – Don’t Carpe Diem being one of them. And then I read that same essay, in the book while I was sitting in the sunshine with a warm quilt under my legs at the park with the kids. They were laughing and chasing and I cried happy hopeful tears while reading that essay yesterday after school. Don’t worry, we were the only ones at the park. I’m a visual person and having the book in my hands and seeing the words on the page was a much different experience for me than reading them on the computer screen. It’s a keeper friends. The book is a compilation of essays so it’s one that I keep in my bag for when I have 5 minutes here or there to read.
This was one of my favorite quote from yesterday’s reading session.
Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it’s hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she’s not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn’t add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it’s so hard means she IS doing it right…in her own way…and she happens to be honest.
Parenting is hard and maybe, just maybe, I’m doing it right in my own way. I needed that yesterday.
Excited… to finally tell you our big news. We. Bought. A. FARM!!!!!! We’ll, it’s not quiet a farm yet, but it’s 7 acres, a pole barn, an orchard, and a dream. I owe you more details but there aren’t really more to share. Six of the seven acres are alfalfa fields, we’ll plan our forever home this winter and start building our dream house in the spring. And as much as this pains me to say, The Shanty is for sale. The Shanty will forever be our first love, but we didn’t realize we had such big farm-colored dreams when we bought it. Our seven acres is out of town and just what we need to feed animals, bellies, and souls. It’s very literally a dream coming true.
Missing… my grandma. She flew out to visit in July from Indiana and we loved every minute of her visit. Every time I say goodbye to her I worry it will be the last time I see her in this life. She’s on my list of top 5 people who have influenced me the most in life.
Wondering… if I have any natural options for birth control and my monthly visit. Did I really just write that?! Oh yes I did! I almost asked this question on facebook and then decided I’d wait and ask here. I haven’t taken The Pill since before my oldest was born and I’ll never go back to it… it’s just not for me. And tampons are pretty chemical filled. I’d love to know if you have any thoughts for me. Feel free to email me if they aren’t comment material 🙂 blessthismessplease at gmail . com
Working… on all things pumpkin. I’m planning a pumpkin week sometime soon and my kitchen smells that part.
Proud…of my family, Thomas especially. He’s been working without pay for almost 2 years to design, plan, engineer, build, stock and OPEN a hardware store with his dad and brother-in-law. It’s been a labor of love with many many many long late nights, but I’m so beyond pleased to announce that they passed their inspection and got their occupancy permit this week. After a little more cleaning they will have a “soft opening” on Friday. Soft opening means that you can come in and buy things but there’s still things to do. We have to get a checkout lane up (the store is connected to the grocery store that they already own, so people can just check out and pat in the grocery store right now), the paint mixing machines all figured out, and other details like that figured out. But by most accounts it’s ready for business! We’ll do a formal grand opening in October, but a soft opening is a bigger deal to us.
Wanting… to be magically transported back to the deli I worked at during high school in Columbus Indiana, just for lunch. I crave The Big Cheese Special always and it is sounding especially good lately.
Wishing…I knew what to do with my hair. Why is hair always something that matters? Mine has lots of gray because I don’t dye it and is at the weird middle stay between long and short. I either need to commit to growing it out or chop it all off. I’ve even thought about perming it again. And because I can’t make a decision it just goes in a pony tail every day.
Here it is in its curly days. Hello Throw Back Thursday! June of 2005 at my sister’s wedding reception.
Eating… Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls. Oh yes friends, they are even better than they sound. It’s a small batch recipe (makes 12 perfect rolls) and they are done in 1 hour. Recipe coming soon. Be excited. Very excited.
Drinking…water. I’m boring like that, but when you live in the mountains the water is really really good.
Loving… how close I am to finishing my ebook. My friend Becca is designing it right now! I can’t wait to show it to you all, it’s going to be a gorgeous resource that I know you’ll love. I’m also loving my Etsy shop! It’s so full and pretty right now. Did you see the fabric chickens and homemade lip balm?
And there you have it. A few TMI posts and exciting announcements today. Hope your day is great. Thank you so much for being here, reading, let me share parts of my life with you, and for being great. I like you.