The Forever House


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Newest Updates – July 13, 2020

Things have certainly been busy around the forever house lately! We’re adding new things here and there, landscaping and still trying to decide what in the world we’re going to do with our second guest bedroom (this discussion has been going on since we moved in!) But, I’m excited to share some of the latest updates we’ve made and am also going to talk a little bit about how we got started with building the forever house. Hopefully that will push me on to blog more regularly about the process. The truth is – it was a bit crazy, and I feel like I’m still processing everything that happened along the way. Building this house was a labor of love 1000%. Not only for us but for our contractor and his team. This all being said – it’s been pretty wonderful to share what we’ve learned with friends and others about building a house like ours. Knowledge is power and I hope you will be able to learn a few tips or tricks for constructing your dream house from our experience!

So what exactly have we been up to?! Well, we’ve added custom built shutters to the outside of the home, put up a library ladder in the study, hung our daybed swing (courtesy of Blake Miley!) finished decorating the laundry room, master bath, and guest bath, and finally decided what kind of pergola we’d like to build in the back yard. What do we have left to do?! I have to finish redecorating guest bedroom #1 (it’s almost done so I’ll be posting soon about it!), decide what to do in our mud hallway, make a plan for guest bedroom #2, and finish the backsplash in our kitchen. Thankfully, we have a sweet friend who says he can finish going up to the ceiling with our subway tiles to give me the kind of look I was actually going for in the initial install. Lastly, is our master patio which leads off from our bedroom. I can’t wait to make this space come to life instead of just being Remi’s playroom! LOL!


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Where Did We Start?!

The beginning of the process was pretty easy! We bought our land, chose a house plan, then made an appointment with our architect.

We purchased 22 acres of land overall because we knew we wanted lots of room for us and the crew. Corey and I were pretty certain of what sort of house plan we wanted (craftsman, low country, or farmhouse) so I took to Southern Living and found 4 that went pretty well with what we’d envisioned over the years. Then, I presented those 4 designs to Corey and he chose a low country design with a big wrap around porch. It was almost exactly what we wanted in terms of square footage and overall design, however, it did not include a garage. Tip: Southern Living home designs (for the most part) don’t come with garages. They’re beautiful but just know you’ll probably need to add one to your plan if you decide to go with an SL design. We weren’t worried, though, because we knew our architect would be able to help. Tip: I can’t recommend hiring an architect enough to help you with your house plans!! Their work is literally worth every penny, friends! I’m happy to recommend ours to you should you be in search of an incredible one. Our house sold rather quickly once we listed it with a realtor which we didn’t anticipate but we were still in the process of refining the house plans with our architect so it was fine. Over the next couple of months, our architect brought our vision to life and we had a solid, beautiful set of house plans!


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The Next Steps

We had our house plans, we had our land – now we just needed a contractor and a construction loan.

We made appointments with two different contractors and after discussing our options, we made an appointment with our choice. Our contractor then came out to our then house and reviewed our plans, discussed the process of working with him, and then gave us an overall cost for building our home and a price per square foot. Once we had a price from him, we then made an appointment to speak with someone at a bank about a construction loan. Tip: Avoid The First like the plague for construction loans! Typically, you have to put down 20% of the total cost of your built home in order to acquire a construction loan. We actually ended up using the value of our land to help with this part. Tip: you have to completely pay off the land you’re using to build on in order to be able to do this so if you can do this, I recommend it. By using our land as collateral, we only had to pay a bit more out of pocket to get things rolling with our construction loan. You have 12 months, typically, to complete construction from the time you begin the loan process. We learned after the fact we could have actually gotten more time. We bought our land in July and construction on our home started in October. Tip: Take my advice and avoid building a house in the winter if you can! It was so rainy over the next couple of months that our slab wasn’t able to be poured until the Saturday before Christmas. That’s when I was really able to see the forever house coming alive!


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That’s where I’ll wrap up this entry, friends! I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of our progress and have learned a little bit from our experience. Next time, I’ll pick up with the foundation being poured and what was so important to know about that step. I’ll also be sharing a few more updates. I don’t know that I will ever be done decorating but I welcome you to join me along the way! Big hugs, Shea

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The Forever House

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© SHEA Gibson PHOTOGRAPHY 2021