Building Our Home

Between August 8, 2013, and November 8, 2014, we built our own house. My husband and I spent at least a year planning, drawing and re-drawing floor plans, counting the cost, and talking to as many people as we could find who would share their knowledge. Even after we passed the final inspection and moved in on November 8, 2014, there were still many projects to be completed, such as closet shelving, garage door openers, the fireplace facade and mantle, and final grade and seed.

It was a crazy time but incredibly rewarding. My husband accomplished a dream, our older children learned about building and tools, and we exercised our frugality by shopping sales and doing much of the work ourselves.

Following is a photographic chronology. I've added a few notes as they seemed necessary, such as which jobs we hired out and which we completed ourselves. But space and time constraints limit the explanations.

I pray that this blesses and encourages you wherever you are in the journey of life.

We prepared the lot and put in the silt fence.

Ground-breaking, August 8, 2013.

For the excavation and basement pouring, we hired a family-owned company. The family and many of their employees attend our sister church.

The garage slab.

We hired a local carpenter for the framing, based on a recommendation of a friend from church.

It's starting to look like a house!

Ding dong! We had drywall delivered before the windows and doors were installed.

We thought long and hard about installing the windows ourselves, but my husband ultimately decided it was worth it to hire it out because we didn't own any scaffolding. J Safety first!

My husband also thought of roofing the house himself, but with the rainy fall we were having, it needed to be done quickly. We hired a local crew to roof and side it before the weather got too bad.

Winter set in quickly, but we were thankful we had everything sheltered from the rain and snow. Work slowed considerably due to the extreme cold.

We brought materials into the house we were living in to keep them from freezing. Even the basement of the house under construction reached below freezing as actual outside temperatures plummeted to twenty below zero!

In the meantime, we spent a lot of time at Menards, purchasing materials as they went on sale.

"Bring a book," became our mantra. J

A good friend from a church we used to attend drove his crew about an hour to lay the brick. Yes, we paid him. J

We hired out the electrical work to a licensed electrician whose grandfather and brother attend our church. We hired a local company for plumbing, and a friend from church for the HVAC.

With electrical, plumbing, and HVAC roughed-in, my husband insulated the house.

One of the many benefits of building our own home was that my husband could insulate to his personal satisfaction without much increase in cost.

Our oldest, an avid reader, snuck in a few pages in between loading the hopper for her father as he insulated the attic.

My husband decided against doing the drywall and mudding himself due to the height of our ceilings and his lack of equipment.

Our oldest modeled a horse and colt out of drywall mud and tile grout. Art in the midst of chaos!

We purchased two paint sprayers {on sale! J} and painted the entire house ourselves. Notice the cotton in the ears? Those things are loud!

We all pitched in for the spots the paint sprayer couldn't handle.

Apart from the stickiness, applying polyurethane to stair parts, trim, and molding was one of the most relaxing jobs. Sitting down! J

With the help of our pastor, my husband installed 16 interior doors in one day.

The two oldest girls laid tile and grout in the three upstairs bathrooms.

We are now the proud owners of an air compressor, a necessary tool for installing trim.

All fixtures installed by my husband and then-10yo son.

My husband built the stair and balcony railing.

Keeping it all clean...another huge benefit to building it ourselves.

My husband designed and built in bunks for the children's rooms ~ one for the boys and one for the girls. That added about another month to our building time, but the finished product was worth it.

We purchased the custom cabinets during a sale, and my husband and son installed them.

The Home Depot had a sale on carpet that included free installation.

The children worked together to shove the pieces of hardwood flooring into place, then my husband hammered them home and nailed them in.

We hired another cement crew for the driveway and front steps.

My husband and son installed the bathroom countertops, cut the sink holes, and installed the sinks and faucets.

Countertops were special-ordered, but my husband and children installed them...with a little lifting help from a neighbor for the large corner pieces.

Moving Day, fifteen months after ground-breaking, to the day!

Laundry cabinets went up pretty soon after we moved in.

Of course, closet shelving is always helpful. J

Nearly six weeks after moving in, we finally installed an oven.

Once dishwashers arrived, the final sink and countertop could be installed.

It took everyone to lift the 130-pound cast iron sink into place.

Check back later! The finishing work continues as we install closet shelves and towel hooks, install the fireplace facade, and choose cabinets for a built-in family command center. Someday, we might even finish the basement.  J

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  1. Wow!!!! Meghan, this is amazing! I love how your kids helped every step of the way.

  2. Thanks for posting this. Enjoyed seeing beginning until now. Lots of hard work for sure. Good job!!!

    Charlotte Moore

  3. Megan, it is beautiful!! Thank you for sharing the "almost-finished" product. Looks fantastic!! ♥

  4. The cabinets and hard wood floor are beautiful!

  5. Wow, this was fun! But six weeks without an oven???? Oy! What did you do? I suppose you could use a crockpot and a microwave and the stove, of course. But I would miss my oven! And that picture of the guy in the stairwell (or whatever it was) who was standing on a plank? Oh no.....there's no way you'd get ME to do that, lol!

  6. This is so awesome!!! Wow! I love it - its so pretty and its neat to see the whole progression at once.

  7. Wow! I love the way the whole family pitched in from start to finish. Everything looks amazing and I especially love the children's bunks and two dishwashers!

  8. Gorgeous! How wonderful to make it a family project. My father still remembers when his parents built a home when he was 8.

  9. Meghan and Steve, LOVE THE HOUSE!!!!! I am so glad that I'm finally able to see the pictures (Thanks Steve, for the card to Meghan's site!)! :)

  10. This was so cool seeing all the pictures, do you have any of the completion?


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