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It’s the final countdown. Do do do do. Do do do do do. Okay, you get the picture. But yes, indeed, we’re in the final countdown. The home stretch! Before we get into where we are now, we’ve got to back up a little. Because you know, story telling. I’ve got to set the scene. And this is a long scene, so if you want to skip, keep scrolling until you get to the second act.
Let me paint you a picture. We’re nearing the end of June. We’ve got to be out of our rental by August. The house we’re building was not livable, but close. We were feeling the pressure, tension, and stress of not knowing where we were going to go next, with the strong desire looming large in our hearts to get settled before the new school year started. We were feeling like we didn’t have another move even left in us – that would make 5 in 15 months.
So, we set our own move-in date for 6 weeks (end of July) with our builder because 1, we didn’t really have a choice and 2, if we didn’t, I’m quite sure the house would never progress. Besides, 6 weeks to finish the upstairs of a home from paint (excluding cabinets, countertops, and fancy millwork because we’re doing that later) is VERY reasonable.
In response, our builder said houses go a last faster from this point and it’s possible. Well, he said, “Why not shoot for the moon?”, but he didn’t say no!
With our plan to move in 6 weeks, we booked movers and started feeling like the end was almost near. Tears of relief pricked my eyes. It’s been a very long, very expensive, and very stressful 14+ months. As the move-in date got closer, we started getting way more involved to make sure this was actually going to happen. We needed it to happen.
This is when we discovered that our house never got a septic system put in. We were informed by several people we trust that this is something that should have been done when the foundation was poured. It just got overlooked…? Not entirely sure. But no septic system plus no running water equals a house that is almost impossible to live in.
Once we brought up the fact that we don’t have a septic to our builder and what was his plan for getting one?, he informed us that he couldn’t get ahold of anyone and that we would need to find someone to call ourselves. Um, okay.
Thankfully, through a friend’s recommendation, we found a qualified company that could start end of July. That alone is a miracle because other people we called were booked months out – which is understandable and what we feared.
And yes, we paid handsomely for this rush service – along with the extra labor it took to work around newly dug electrical wires. Oh, and the extra labor and machinery because a crane was needed to move the septic around the house because there wasn’t enough room on the land at this point in the build. But what could we do?
And though finding someone good on such short notice was a huge blessing, my dreams of moving at the end of July were crushed.
Where do we go now?
We thought and thought about the next move for us. After contemplating almost everything, we landed on the idea of still moving to the house, but in a camper on our land. Thanks to family, we could borrow a camper (no more rent, yay!) complete with a shower and toilet. More livable than our house!
With a plan in mind, we tried to make the most of our summer and enjoy the house for what it was – even if it wasn’t done. On the 4th of July, we went over to the house to hang out only to find out that our basement flooded.
Our air conditioner with a built-in dehumidifier pulls moisture from the air, as it should, but with no septic or drains hooked up, all the water was flooding the basement. We spent the 4th of July cleaning out the water of our newly framed basement.
As the end of July got closer and house progress wasn’t really progressing, I realized that living in a camper would feel like living in a trailer on a job site. Construction, chaos, and to be honest, just plain awkward for me.
And though I love my family, I really didn’t want to be confined to 100 square feet, give or take, while we try to balance our own jobs and meetings for who knows how long.
Maybe we could take the camper elsewhere, we thought. But as we drove around different campgrounds in the area, I just knew that the living in a camper lifestyle wasn’t going to work for us.
In a moment of desperation, we reached back out to our current landlord, asking if the tenants for August dropped out and could we please stay for longer even though we told you we were moving out and we don’t really know for how long?
Much to our surprise, relief, and gratefulness, staying at our current rental was now an option and one we pretty quickly decided on. I had to let go of my dream of settling into our house before school, but getting to stay at a place that’s nice to stay at (albeit very expensive), was better for all of us.
Our proposed move-in date arrived. Septic installation was about to start at the build. We didn’t want to cancel our previously booked movers last minute in fear we couldn’t get them back (plus it’s rude to waste their Saturday), so we kept our agreement and had them move over all our heavy furniture, storage boxes, and things that weren’t essential for us to live. They put in 6 hours and that saved us so much future work!
Now, here we are today. And maybe to the actual update. Are you still with me?
The Second Act
With the majority of our items gone, our furniture is sparse at the rental. We don’t have any couches, but we have all that we need.
Over at the build, all of our flooring is in! In the future, I’ll break down each room, but I love how it all came together. I really wanted timeless and European-inspired with a little bit of flair and I think that comes through. The flooring guy did a great job executing my vision!
Our septic is complete. This was quite a process! Sure, I’ll admit that I’m not very interested in septic systems and if I could choose, I’d rather have my tens of thousands of dollars go to furniture and decor (ha), but I’m so thankful for qualified people that know what they’re doing. Because we’d certainly notice if a septic wasn’t done right! We don’t have running water or plumbing fixtures hooked up, but at least the septic is complete.
We have garage doors!
The stucco/stucco trim is complete. Very, very lovely. If you’re new to following this journey, the house exterior we started off with was not the house I wanted. Thankfully, this amazing design company, Providence, used the existing footprint and layout to transform the exterior. I mean, is this not magic?! Awaiting stone, gutters, lights, and final details, but the stucco crew was amazing to work with.
Trim and doors are being worked on right now. Took a chance on the greige/taupe trim (it’s a custom mix so I’m not really sure what to call it), but I love it. It’s still a neutral color but adds a little something. It pulls the colors from the floor and matches our old-world-meets-wooded-location aesthetic!
Almost all of the light fixtures are in! This was a relief because I bought lighting over a year ago and we moved them several times. Somehow none broke in the process and that’s a miracle! Related: What I Bought for Our Home Build | Lighting
Our vanities aren’t installed yet, but they’re in place.
*Sigh of relief* We are getting there. I find it difficult to talk about this home-building process because, on one hand, I want to be honest and show the realities of what our experience has been like.
But on the other hand, it hasn’t been a great experience, and it’s hard to convey that without sounding like a complainer or dragging someone’s name through the mud.
I’ve learned that people on the internet don’t really want to hear about your problems, but they want you to be open, authentic, and transparent too. Ah, the balance!
But regardless, every day is another day closer to moving in and putting this process behind us. Getting to see the finishes go in has been the most exciting part. With trim, doors, and lights going in, it feels like a blank slate. One blank slate I can’t wait to go in and transform from house to home.
There is still lots left to do, but I see it: the light at the end of the tunnel.