~Mr J Builds His Dream House~

We've been homeowners, before we were married and after, in one way or another, for over 40 years. The homes we owned before we were married and during our marriage, were built or renovated with sweat equity. When we began planning for this home, we decided to sit on the sidelines and watch, rather than get involved with the hands on building process. Of course, there wasn't much sitting during the construction of our present home. We became well acquainted with Lowes and other suppliers.

Our journey began several years before 2003. We saw display homes in various developments. We attended just about every St Louis Homearama presented during the late 1990's early 2000's. By the time we began construction in August of 2003, I had a scrapbook, photo album and file folder packed with photos, clippings and notes. I put together a storyboard, of sorts, with paint chips, fabric samples and yes, more photos and notes!

We looked at building lots in subdivisions and unimproved 3 acre lots. Our home in the back pasture of the farm was within a 3 acre fenced area. We knew, at our age, we didn't want a large yard to tend. We looked at the 1/2 acre lot, here in our subdivision, several times. One rainy afternoon, I drove out for another look. I sat in the car looking at the lot, the trees at the back (to the East) and the farm beyond and knew, this was it. I called J, at work, and told him I thought I'd found our lot. After work, we drove out again and walked the ground. The next day, we signed the contract and the ball started rolling!

In the beginning, we looked at raised ranch style homes, with atriums. These homes are beautiful. The single level design appealed to our idea of having everything on one level, for convenience in our golden years. However, during Spring 2003, we began looking at 1.5 story homes with mainfloor master suites. We knew we wanted a custom built home. We looked online at several different 1.5 story plans. I made sketches and printed out photos and added them to the file folder. In early June, with the family farm already on the market, we talked to the contractor. In J's line of work, he had the opportunity to see the work of many builders. He decided L would be our builder. Thirty years earlier, L's brother built a home for my first husband and me. It's a great house, too. Still owned by my former husband.

We talked to L and showed him photos and sketches and bits and pieces of notes. In a few weeks, he'd drawn up a plan. Like Jim and Muriel Blandings, we looked those plans over, took out pens and began making a change here and a change there. In the end, the three of us, L, J and I came up with the perfect plan for Mr J's Dream House.

In late July 2003, the farm sold and we moved forward on the construction of our dream home. We believe it's been worth the sixty year wait!

Below are sequential photos of the construction.

We moved into our home in December 2003. We left sodding and landscaping for Spring 2004.

Last summer a young couple, considering L for the construction of their new home, toured ours. This morning, J looked across the field and saw a foundation being excavated. L is their builder. It will be fun to watch the construction of their dream home.

Recommended reading: Norm Abram's New House is available in paperback at . The book was published in 1995. We have a copy, purchased the year it was published. It's a wonderful book detailing the construction of the Abrams' home. We've been fans of Norm since the early years of This Old House, on PBS. I believe, if you've ever constructed a home, renovated a home, painted a room, put up a light fixture or dreamed of doing those things and more, you will thoroughly enjoy Norm's book.

Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House: