Sunday, March 11, 2012

Our Home - Before, During, and After


Ten years ago, we lived in a small home in a nearby town.  We were in a subdivision that had previously been pasture land.  There wasn't a tree hardly to be found.  No shade from the intense Louisiana summer heat, no sounds of birds chirping, no leaves rustling in the breeze.  It was quite depressing to me.  Then, we made the decision to sell our home and build a new one on family property.  At first, I was very skeptical because my husband wanted to build it himself.  I knew that he had the skills to but I was afraid that it would never be completed.  After the birth of our daughter, I became a stay at home mom so our budget was tight.  Then we took the plunge!  Our house sold and we moved in with my parents.  My husband worked his 40 hour a week job and I drove the kids back and forth to their schools.  And so the journey began.....

We came across this house in the paper that the owner's wanted to have moved or torn down.  It was located about 35-40 miles away so it would have been too expensive to move plus parts of the house was in bad shape.  So we tore it down!  We actually traded a Jeep Cherokee that we currently had for the house.  What a trade, huh?  The house needed to be torn down, the owner needed a vehicle, we needed materials for our house, and we had a jeep for sale.  So, it all worked out.  It took us about 2-3 months to tear it down.  We were blessed to have family members that helped us.  Our children were 5 and 7 at the time and I can still remember them helping load wood on a trailer!  It was definitely a family project. 

I believe it had been used as a sharecropper's house.  It was built in 1937 and was constructed of ship lap pine with cypress siding.  The interior had a lot of beadboard and hardwood floors.  There were solid wood 5 panel doors with crystal doorknobs.  The door knobs were the first thing I removed.  The house had been vacant for years and I was shocked that they were still there. 

We used as much of the materials as possible in the building of our new home.  The only new lumber we purchased for the framework was 2X4's for the second floor.  We used the old siding but also used vinyl siding because square footage was larger than the old one. On the inside we used tongue and groove shiplap wood in the living room.  In the kitchen, we used old beadboad.  It was strips instead of the 4X8 sheets that you can buy today.  Of course, we used all the doors and hardware.  There was a lot of sanding and striping.


The above picture was of course before we painted and added the porches.  You would not believe the amount of people that thought we should leave the siding like this.  See the section in the middle, up top?  My handy husband used a piece of plumbing pipe as a temple and cut out the detail to give a little more interest to this section.

It took us about 9 months until the upstairs was completed, not 100% but close enough to live in.  We had a makeshift kitchen downstairs. After we moved in upstairs, work on the downstairs began in earnest.  Tongue and groove went up in the living room, sheetrock in the other rooms, except for the beadboard wainscoting in the kitchen.  Since money was tight, we did reuse a lot of materials plus we purchased used materials.  For example, we purchased our french doors from someone who resells old building materials.  Our single french door in the breakfast room was from a garage sale for $10.  We lucked up on a lot of clearance sales at Lowes as well.  I even drew up our own house plans to get a small bank loan to finish construction. The only things we didn't do ourselves was building our kitchen cabinets, finishing the sheetrock, and installing the sewer treatment plant. Everything else, we did it, along with some help from a few family members.  We even had an acquaintance who ordered the central a/c and heating units but we installed them.

The porches were not added until the interior was completed.  Once they were added on, the look of the house sure changed.  At first we didn't have a railing around the porch.  I like the openness of it but once the insurance had a looksy they changed that quick! 

Of course, we have upgraded some things since it was first built.  We exchanged out laminate for granite countertops and laminate floors for pine tongue and groove floors to name a few.  After the house was completed, we started on the yard.  The entire side yard was so thick with cherokee briers and stickers that you couldn't walk through it.  At the time, we didn't have a tractor, so we used what we had.  An old '77 Ford truck with 4 wheel drive. I would back up to the big, make that huge, clumps of thicket and the hubby would wrap a choker rope of some sort around the trunk and away I would go, ripping it up.    We did this for quite a few months.

My husband has always been a handy fellow even though early on in our marriage he wasn't always so motivated.  But I have to give him credit, he did it!  I am so proud of him!  He was laid off at his job a few years after we finished our home.  After much prayer, we took another big plunge and went into the home improvement business!  This decision has affected our family and home for the better.  It was a LOT of work but well worth it. 

Now I can sit on the porch and hear those sweet sounds that I missed in our old home.  The birds,
the sound of the wind blowing through the leaves, and yes, all those trees bring down that hot summer temp by about 10 degrees.  As the weather starts to warm up, the crickets will be making their nightly music.  At first, it is startling to go from the quietness of the winter nights to the loud cricket ?.  How sweet country life is!

Linking to:

Masterpiece Monday @ Boogieboard Cottage
Met Monday  @ Between Naps on the Porch
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday with Linda @ Coastal Charm
Tuesdays Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Wow Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style
What's It Wednesday @ Ivy and Elephants
Outdoor Wednesday @ A Southern Daydreamer
The Bunny Hop @ Bunny Jeans Decor and More
Open House Party @ NoMinimalist Here
Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Creek Cottage
Thursdays are Your Days @ 52 Mantels
Thrifty Thursdays @ Tales From Bloggeritaville
Before and After Party @ Thrifty Decor Chick

34 comments:

  1. I love your story and admire your husband and you for all your hard work and perseverance. That is a great picture looking through the azaleas and seeing the flag waving on your great porch. I am glad though my door was closed a window opened for a greater opportunity. You should be very proud and we appreciate you sharing.

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  2. That's an incredible story! I was telling my husband (and then had to show him the photos). Wow - determination and lots of hard work. You must love this house and the kids probably think it's quite special. Kudos for getting what you wanted and doing such a lovely job.

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    1. Thank you, Margaret. The Lord has truly blessed us, it's not a house, it's our home.

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  3. Wow! That was a lot of work! I absolutely love that you used so many materials from the old house. Your photos look so amazing, I love the porch and the whole scene. Beautiful place!


    ~Shanon

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    1. Thank you, Shanon. It was a lot of work but so worth it in the long run.

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  4. Your place is so beautiful and looks like it belongs there, has always been there. Home improvement seem like the right line of work for y'all. Congratulations and thanks for showing us.

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  5. Wow wow wow.....what a story, Tammy! You both are such hard, devoted workers and created such an amazingly beautiful home! I love the style! The wrap around porch truly added so much vintage character to it. Way to repurpose all of that wood and hardware. You brought alot of history into your new home that would'ave otherwise been lost. Great job!!!! :)

    xoxo laurie

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  6. Incedible and such a labor of love!!! I'll be this is so much more a home because of how it was built. It's so wonderful to hear such a story of determination and frugality (in the best sense of the word)!! You both are amazing!!

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  7. You have a beautiful story. Makes me tired to think of all the work but what a beautiful place you have now. Thanks for sharing with everyone!

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    1. I know! When I stop and think of all the physical labor we did, I'm stunned. I don't think I could do it again!

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  8. I loved reading your story. I know it took a lot of work since my sister and brother did the same thing. However the payoff is wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Oh what a wonderful story sweet lady! Your home is gorgeous and I love your open porch and I'm so glad you can hear the birds chirping in the morning...nothing better than that! Thumbs up to your DH...wow, what a talented man he is and the business of home improvement sounds perfect; he must be a fabulous asset! I'm a newest follower, hope you like to visit me too. Hugs,
    FABBY

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  10. Oh, I'd love you to share a tour of the inside of your lovely home too! Hugs,
    FABBY

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    1. Fabby, Thank you for all your lovely comment! I went over to your blog and really enjoyed your colorful dishes in your tablescape!

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  11. What an amazing journey you've been on. And what a sense of accomplishment you all must have to build such a lovely home.
    I'm a new follower and would love to have you stop by and follow back.
    Mary Alice

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    1. Thank you, Mary Alice. I went over and followed you back!

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  12. Oh my gosh I think this was one of the best stories I have EVER read on ANY blog - oh my goodness, WOW, I am stunned, look at what you have created!

    I am so truly happy for you. Congrats on a job VERY well done, what a beauty you have made!

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  13. Wow, what a great story and you have a gorgeous house to show for it. Although I know it was a lot of work it sure looks like it has paid off. Great job and give the hubby an extra pat on the back. Working full time and doing the extras is so very hard to do.

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  14. Hi Tammy!

    I just loved reading your story. You have such a beautiful home and it must be a wonder feeling to know that your family made it all possible!

    Thank you for sharing this at my party this week!

    xoxo Bunny Jean
    Wednesday's Bunny Hop Party!

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  15. What a wonderful story! Sounds like it was all meant to be. So happy for you and your family. I'm here from Sherry's party and I'm a new follower. Pop over for a visit sometime.
    xoxo,
    Kim

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  16. Visiting from Transformation Thursday. I absolutely love your home and your story.

    Wow!

    Thanks for the inspiration and have a great weekend.

    blessings,
    *thistle*

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  17. I love your home and the story of how it came to be! I found you today on Debbie Doos newbie party. I must say, you look like a blogging pro! I'm in love with your space so now I'm following along.

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  18. Stopping by from Transformation Thursday! http://queenofsavings.com

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  19. What a journey! The hard work and love and determination you put into your home is awe inspiring! Just a beautiflul story. I feel you 100% about mature landscaping. We bought our first home because of the trees, we are now in our second home, a subdivision, not a tree one. I am totally sick about it! The first thing we did was plant several 20+ foot tall trees. Sadly nine of us all closed on our houses the same month and six homeowners landscaped with ROCKS and GRAVEL alone :-( But it's just a stepping stone.
    Following along.

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  20. All of your hard work really paid off. The results are fabulous!
    xo, Sherry

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  21. Tammy, Not only is this an awesome house, your family story is awesome. I like to think you and your family is what Americia is really all about. God bless you for giving your children this upbringing. I am sure the Lord is very pleased.
    Blessings, Ginger

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  22. I love the story of your house. I have a wrap around porch and we have been taking the rail sections out to sand and paint them. I love them off and really would like to leave it that way, but I told hubby the other day that we will have to get them back up for safety reasons. And lucky you on getting all of those materials!

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  23. i grew up with a wraparound porch! i helped dad put a hard wood recycled bowling alley lane wood on that porch. it tuned out really nice. looking at your porch was a reminder of the house i lived in when i was a kid. i really like your home & hope someday to own one similar to it.

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Thank you so much for all your lovely comments! I try to return the favor and visit each one of you! ~Blessings, Tammy~