Our Home Story

9.26.2010

When I started this blog I was just going to have the title "Savvy Southern Style", but Mr. Savvy was standing behind me and blurted out "on a budget."  At first I thought no, that won't work, but then I thought about it and it was actually perfect. I know some of you probably look at pictures of our home and think what budget? Or, I would like to have that budget. I have learned through the years to never judge a book by it's cover! Let me give you some history on our house because there was no way we could just go out and buy a house like ours that was already built by a builder and ready to sale.

We were in our first ( starter) home for twenty years. We would drive around and look at the new homes being built and tour a few and just dream. But finally one day that dream came true! Mr. Savvy started thinking that if we could find a piece of property at a reasonable price  then he could act as the general contractor plus do a lot of the work himself, that maybe we could afford our dream. So in 1995 we were on the search for the perfect place for our new home.

We found this property which was about twenty minutes from where we lived and it was two acres. The price was too good to pass up even though I wasn't sure we needed that much land. So we closed on the property and began to build.  Oh, but of course before that we needed house plans. While looking at houses we liked I took some pictures and Mr. Savvy took out a piece of notebook paper and drew our future home on it. We never did have any professional blueprints made for our house. No, he just drew it out to scale on a larger piece of paper. Then he showed it to a builder friend of his and the building began. Our friend gave us a very good deal on the framing with his crew and then gave us names of the plumber, electrician and a concrete company. My mom and step father had a geothermal unit put in their home for heating and air and loved it so we went that route, too. We were green and didn't even know it. Our house is total electric and our highest power bill has been less than $250 for four thousand feet of conditioned space. Anyone that is thinking of building, we highly recommend the geothermal system. It pays for itself.

Too make a long story short we were both working our full time day jobs. Yes, I worked for a large pediatric group and was already on my feet most of the day, but to save a ton of money I ended up doing almost all the painting. We had the outside done by the pros, thank goodness and couldn't believe how expensive that was. Mr. Savvy's nephew helped paint the tall ceilings in the house, but little ole me did the rest. I climbed up and down ladders  and got down on my knees for over three months!  All this was done at night after we came home from work and every weekend. We would work till about ten at night come home go to bed and back to work in the morning and back to the new house at night. Mr. Savvy installed all the windows and doors, did all the trim work (which is why there isn't a lot of crown molding ), put up all the wallpaper that we had at that time and did a lot of the landscaping. After six months of this we were totally wiped out. That's right only six months and we were moved in! The acreage and the house came out to less than $175,000. Now that is a budget! A couple of years later we split the property between our house and our neighbors and that gave us another acre plus the pond which started as a cow drinking puddle that we enlarged over time.

Over the years since then we have made many changes and added the sunroom and just a few years ago added the other garage for his new found car restoration hobby. A few years ago I was able to quit my job and just stay home and do what I love. Decorate and work in the yard. Since I don't work I look for bargains and sales for the things I need. Yes, I do all this on a budget. That is why I wanted to start this blog to share how you can have a beautiful home without spending a mere fortune.

 Here are some pictures of our home and how it has changed through the years. Forgive the old photo of a photo.


This is how it looked in the beginning. The shutters and front door were a black green because there is a lot of green tones in the roof shingles.


This is how it looked last summer. You can see the rock we added to the front a few years ago and the trim is a brown with a lot of gray undertones to still blend with the roof. I hope my green grass comes back this year.


This is now. We had a new roof put on due to a lot of hail damage last summer. I chose a brown colored roof to blend better with the rock on the front. I repainted the shutters and door again with a very dark brown called iron gate by Sherwin Williams.

I am not believing I am saying this, but now we need  rain again  or I will have to water.

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I hope you enjoyed that and our yard is actually very dry again due to another severe drought this year.
The exterior shutters and colors have been changed since this picture and I have yet to take good exterior shots. I should have done that when the grass was green.

You might enjoy my  HOME TOUR post too that stays on my sidebar.
I need to update it again since it is always changing.
:)



121 comments:

  1. I love your story. Its what my hubby and I are working toward ourselves. We are looking for 10-20 acres to build our house on though. :) We are working on "must haves" for the house and how much of it we can do ourselves and how much we will need to have done for us. I'm so glad someone else understands our plan. :)

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  2. I think your home is even more special now that I know all the work you personally put into it. I wish my husband had carpentry skills!

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  3. Kim, your home is breathtaking and you should be so proud! My dad operates like you and your hubby. My parents built a house out in the country near Dallas when I was in college. Same story as yours with beautiful results. Now my dad is refurbishing a house that is 100 years old (my dad is 71). He will finish this year...after working on it almost by himself for 5 years. It is breath taking and he can proudly say he did it! Hard work and persistance pays off. :)

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  4. What wonderful landscaping developed over time. It takes a while for trees to get stately. You have a lovely home.

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  5. I absolutely love your story and your home! Thank you so much for sharing! Any chance we might see the inside??? =)

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  6. Sounds like y'all def. worked hard to get to this point, but it looks very worth it as it is just dazzlingly gorgeous!!!
    Love it!

    Suzanne

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  7. Beautiful GORG. home, and landscaping! THANKS FOR SHARING! Jenn

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  8. You have a beautiful home, thanks for sharing !

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  9. Beautiful home, and to think you have invested so much 'sweat equity'. . .You have really done yourselves proud, hope you get the rain you need soon!

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  10. You have a very lovely home! I love the landscaping - simply gorgeous!

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  11. Your home is so lovely...inside and out! I am also a firm believer that you don't have to spend a fortune to have a beautiful home. You are a great example of that philosophy.

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  12. Kim that is an awesome story! Very inspiring to for young couples today. As with this market they too can have a dream if they have the vision as you and Mr. Savvy did!~ Your home truly is the perfect story book setting, and you had the perfect story to go with:)

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  13. What a wonderful story. You and your Husband must be so pround of yourseves, you have a most beautiful home.

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  14. Lovely story! I think you have a beautiful home and you have wonderful taste!

    Mary

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  15. Kim that is amazing, I can not believe you have that gorgeous, gorgeous home and acreage for 175,000 that is amazing. Good for you sweetie, It is a well deserved home for a lovely lady. I think I need to move to N.Carolina to get one of these beauties!!! Hugs Kathysue

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  16. Kim, your home is charming! It makes it all the more special that you and your husband did most of the work. Thank you for sharing the story and the photos. Hope you have a terrific week.
    I've just added myself as a new follower. I so enjoy my visits here.

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  17. I really enjoyed hearing the story of your beautiful home! All your hard work and creativity are what have made your house a dream home for you!

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  18. Your house is lovely in the first picture!! It is gorgeous now! It was fun to learn about the transformation.

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  19. My first visit, you have a beautiful home and yard. Thanks for sharing your story. Stop by and visit sometime.
    Sandy

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  20. What an amazing transformation! Not that it wasn't beautiful before! It just has so much more character now...love the garage doors!

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  21. Love your house and your story. Seems all of our homes change over the years and your's has only become more beautiful with time and hard work... It's lovely.

    Di
    The Blue Ridge Gal

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  22. What a beautiful home! thanks for sharing it with us.

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  23. Kim,
    You home is just lovely. It's so warm and welcoming. I love what you've done to it. The stone makes such a contrast to the other textures. I love it! Thanks so much for sharing.
    Sharlotte

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  24. Your home is gorgeous, Kim and I can tell you put a lot of love into it along with all the blood sweat and tears.

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  25. Kim, As usual I have had a lovely visit and I thoroughly enjoyed you sharing the history. Your home is beautiful, pristene, yet very "homey". The "Iron Gate" color was a perfect choice...Very tastefully done! Many smiles to you and your family, Karen

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  26. Kim, This is a wonderful story! It is so awesome when all the stars align and dreams come true! The pictures of your home are just beautiful...inside and out!
    Wendy

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  27. You have a beautiful home. Valerie

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  28. Wow Kim! Fantastic! What a beautiful story and home! WOW!
    Thanks for the tip about Overstock!

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  29. You have a gorgeous home! I can't believe the difference the rock work made...love it. Great story!

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  30. Are you sure you didn't use Photoshop?? Just KIDDING. Your home is beautiful. I'm with you on the brown. Everything looks beautiful.

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  31. Kim, what a wonderful story! Your home is gorgeous!

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  32. Love your story. Your home is gorgeous. I also love your little dog - so cute. Thanks for sharing. Love your blog and I am a new follower. Hope you have a chance to come say hi.

    Cheers,
    Lia

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  33. GARGEOUS home! this home would catch my eye in a second. Just beautiful curb appeal...

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  34. oh Kim, you're home is gorgeous and it just goes to show what a lot of sweat and determination will accomplish. We did the same thing about 25 years ago. Bought a couple of acres and built our own house. I had two pre-school girls and we all spent one summer painting walls and staining wood work. We don't have that house anymore, but I will never regret the love that went into it. It was our home for over 15 years.

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  35. Your home is amazing! It could certainly grace the cover of any magazine!

    m ^..^

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  36. Your home is beautiful and inspiring! Thank you for telling your story. My hubby andI have been married for 15 years and have lived in 7 houses due to relocations from his job. I get house envy alot from these blogs. I know my ship will come in one day!

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  37. Your home is stunning!! Simply beautiful.

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  38. You have a gorgeous home, Kim but even more important is all the sweat equity you & your handy hubby put into it. That & the love that shows in every room you share with us! You have every right to be proud of what you've accomplished & continue to care for & maintain. no easy task with that big yard!!

    Pretty mosaic with all your neat things!

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  39. You are right, I would have never guessed your home was done on a budget! It is beautiful and something to be very proud of. We built our old house before this one and contracted it out ourselves. I remember how rewarding that feeling is. Your property looks just perfect, and how fortunate to be able to add more property too. Please keep sharing your savvy budget saving tips as they are very inspiring! :))

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  40. You have a beautiful home and what a great journey getting there.

    Be sure to come and visit as I'm having a GIVE AWAY.

    - The Tablescaper

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  41. I truly believe that we appreciate most what we have to work for. You certainly worked for/on that house, and the love you have for it shows in every room. Thanks for sharing that story.

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  42. Beautiful!

    It looks so lovely with the new Sherwin paint.

    I am so happy your dream has come true!

    love,kelee

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  43. Your house is so pretty! I enjoyed hearing the story! Great job, all that work must have kept you very slim!

    Katherine

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  44. What a lovely home!...thanks for showing us what hard work and a dream can do.

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  45. Your hard work, dedication and the love for your home shows in every aspect. What a motivational story. I have always loved your house. It looks so grand!

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  46. Your home is amazing! Sometimes dreams come threw some sweat equity! It looks like a million bucks!

    ~Liz

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  47. Kim you have a very lovely home!!

    Love,
    Susan and Bentley
    xxoo

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  48. Kim, I loved your story, thanks for sharing it. You have built a beautiful home with a lot of sweat equity and good design sense! You must feel so proud!

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  49. You have a lovely home Kim. Thanks for sharing that story of how it all came together.

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  50. The stone on the front makes a huge difference! I love it! You have a beautiful house both inside and out and I know that you are proud of the work that you put into it! (And the $$ you saved by doing so!)
    Thanks for sharing!

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  51. That's a beautiful home Kim! I always smile when I hear someone say they hope for rain, or else they will have to "water their grass." I love grass, but living in Las Vegas with water restrictions and drought it's a different story. I've learned to live with the fake stuff. If you're interested see my post titled "Is it real or is it Memorex" Good luck with the rain and send some my way too!

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  52. You have a very lovely home. Very nice. I love the yard. I really like the stone that you added in the front too. We need rain already too!!!

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  53. Gorgeous home and your pictures are wonderful! Love the new title. XO ~Liz

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  54. Hi Kim, your home is beautiful! I can see all the hard work you and your husband did....Kathy

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  55. You've created a charming home, all the more so with all the work you've put into it!

    Amanda

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  56. Kim, your home is lovely. It would be great to see more in the future. Thanks for stopping by to see our villa; will show upstairs on Wed. -- Jane F.

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  57. Kim, thanks for sharing such a great story. Your efforts have certainly paid off - your home is beautiful. Attaboy to Mr. Savvy, too!

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  58. I am absolutely blown away!!! You and Mr. Savvy did a brilliant job!!!

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  59. You are a clever pair and how wonderful to live in a place that contains so much of YOU!!!!

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  60. Your house is just gorgeous, I love the transformation over the years.

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  61. Your home is stunning and I love all the land you have. The brown is a beautiful choice for the shutters and door. The yard looks amazing. You really worked hard for your dream home and it shows how much time and love you have spent on it. Hugs, Marty

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  62. wow, you guys did an amazing job...sure doesn't look like 175,000...great job with that budget! We too lived in our little 1,200 square foot starter home for 20something years, before we moved into our current home. It's nice to be able to move around and have big closets! lol :)
    I'm stopping in from BNOTP...please come visit me at my blog, I'm having a lovely giveaway! You're more than welcome to enter and even tell your friends..the more the merrier I always say! :)
    Blessings to you
    LOVE your home!
    Melissa

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  63. It's so gorgeous! Love that you all did the work over time! That's what we are doing. Since we are starting over, we are adding a little at a time until we get our dream house, but it takes time!

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  64. Love your home Kim! Ya'll created a beautiful place to live...budget or not! I am so impressed with your involvement in the process. Amazing!

    I love all the land around you! We live on a postage stamp lot in the middle of the big city...we love it...bit I would love to have the property too...oh well...you can't have it all;)!

    Love your place!

    Enjoy!
    Cathy

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  65. What a beautiful home! And to think that you did it all yourselves?! Very impressive! Thanks for sharing.

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  66. kim, you have a wonderful home. I remember visiting your blog a few months when i was still an unofficial blogger. Am glad i found your blog again through brenda @ cozy little cottage. now i would like to be your follower so i can visit you often. Take care. maryann@verbena cottage

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  67. Really lovely! It was super cute before, but I like it even better now.

    http://40daysof.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/new-art-and-guidelines-for-picture-hanging/

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  68. What a difference you've made! They should do a program on HGTV on your home!

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  69. How talented and energetic you two are! I'm in awe.

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  70. What an amazing transformation you and Mr. Savvy have made on your beautiful home. All that ya'll done has added to the charm you have today. Love your story and how it all came about. It's encouraging to hear that you can acheive your dream home if you're creative and ambitious enough to get it done.

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  71. Thank you for sharing your story... You have a beautiful home...
    dee dee

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  72. Omigosh, your house is gorgeous, and you should be so proud of all that the two of you have accomplished! thanks for sharing at MM. :)

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  73. How funny, I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now. You mentioned where you lived in your bio, but seeing your pictures of your house I realized that you live down the road from my first starter home! I used to drive down the road to my neighborhood and admire your home from afar! It's beautiful. You all have done a wonderful job!

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  74. Hi Kim, I enjoyed your photo-log journey of your home. Hmmm I have a similar style, I am now thinking about adding in that rock accent. Very lovely.

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  75. Oh Kim, your home is beautiful, and how amazing that it was done without blueprints! Love the addition of the rock on the front. laurie

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  76. Kim, your home is magnificent. I am not surprised. I did laugh at your husband saying "ON A BUDGET!" That sounds like something mine would attempt.

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  77. Lovely. Just lovely.

    Nothing more to say about it. It's wonderful.

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  78. Thank you for sharing that story. Your home is picture perfect!! I'm glad you shared the story because I confess that I LOVE your blog and read it almost daily but still many times I had thought, "Pleeeeeeaaaazzzzzee, WHAT budget????" ha ha ha I see your whole blog in a new light now. Thanks !

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  79. Your house is gorgeous! That is so awesome that you were able to do so much work yourselves and save the money! I love how the house looks now with the new roof!

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  80. Kim your home is beautiful, and the story that goes with it is equally as beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing it!

    Kat :)

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  81. Kim,
    You are one THRIFTY gal! Loved reading your story...you should be soooo very proud...your home is very PRETTY...love the added stone!

    Blessings,
    Linda

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  82. I love your story. Working for your home makes it even more beautiful. Blessings, Debbie

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  83. Lovely story and a beautiful home! What a lot of great work you did!

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  84. Your home is STUNNING!

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  85. Wow - what an inspiring story! Thanks so much for sharing and for linking up to my party! Now I'm dying to peruse your blog to see more of your amazing budget style :).

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  86. Your home is a dream. Thank you for sharing.

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  87. Your house is definitely a dream house! What an amazing job you have done on it!
    -Sarah Marie aka Miss Mud
    http://MyMississippiMudPie.blogspot.com

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  88. Enjoyed your story. Thanks for sharing your beautiful home.

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  89. What a wonderful story! 175K for that beauty must have felt so satisfying :). Nicely done.

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  90. What a beautiful home! I admire you and thanks for sharing this story!

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  91. Hi Kim - just stopping by to say hello and check out your home! Its beautiful!!! I love your garage doors and the big yard you have!

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  92. Hi Kim,

    I am visiting from AnNicole's blog. You have a beautiful home. I wonder if I've ever driven past it - I live in Suwanee! :-) Small world...

    Michelle

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  93. Your home is stunning! I know you are very proud of it.
    xo bj

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  94. This is my first visit and I will definitely be back! Your home is gorgeous, and the story behind it makes it that much more special.

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  95. This is my first visit and I will definitely be back! Your home is gorgeous, and the story behind it makes it that much more special.

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  96. What an inspiration and what an absolutely beautiful home you have!
    ~Sam

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  97. Hi Kim! My first time commenting on your blog.I came across your blog via BNOTP (love her!). I have crawled through every inch of your blog this past weekend!
    (I'm not too far from you...just across the border in Anderson, SC).
    You quoted my thoughts exactly regarding your house and budget..."Yeah, I'd love to have that budget!" I would have never imagined your beautiful house and land cost you so little!! Totally amazing to me. I would love nothing more than to be able to build my dream home. Thing is, I don't have any "buddies" in the business. Oh well, I can always admire yours. I really, really enjoy your blog!!

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  98. Kim...Thanks for sharing your story. All that hard work you and Mr. Savvy put in was worth it. Your home is beautiful.

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  99. Hi Kim...

    My friend, I am sooo happy that you shared your story with us! Oh yes, I am a true believer that it can be done...making your dream home come true! With alot of hard work...it IS possible! Your story certainly proves it!!! Our story is much the same, although my home was built a few years before I came into my honey's life. He bought nice country property with a home that was built in 1920 already on it. Very small house but structurally sound. He added on to the front of the house...and the back...he added a full upstairs as well. He did all the work himself, with the exception of some of the plumbing because of licencing issues. We have a beautiful home (about 3500sq.ft.)for just a fraction of the cost! Anyway, thank you so much for sharing your awesome story with us today for Sunday Favorites! I really enjoyed reading about how your fabulous home came to be! By the way, I loved seeing the transformation of your home's exterior over the years! I love, love, LOVE the stone that you added to the front...perfect!!!

    Have a super Sunday, Kim!

    Warmest autumn wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design

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  100. Beautiful story, beautiful house, beautiful couple! Lucky lady you have it all!

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  101. What a beautiful job, now you have to show us the inside :) We have rnovated several times, its like a drug since now we have two homes on the market and are ready to start again :)

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  102. What a beautiful job, now you have to show us the inside :) We have rnovated several times, its like a drug since now we have two homes on the market and are ready to start again :)

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  103. Kim, I think you have one of the most beautiful homes I have seen...both inside and out! I love this post and that it shows others that you can create a dream home on a budget. You and Mr. Savvy have done such a wonderful job!
    xoxo, Sherry

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  104. Lovely home/yard. Your feelings of being blessed come through on your postings. This is one of the reasons I follow you everyday because I find it relaxful to read your posts. You always share your ideas and where you find your bargains freely.:-) I always wondered what does your husband think about all your readers?

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  105. Thanks Kathy. He is glad I have this to use for my creative outlet. He jokes and says that nothing is private anymore about our life!!

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  106. Thanks so much for sharing the story of your house. It's obvious it was a real labor of love and that's part of what makes it so beautiful.
    Susan

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  107. Kim, your home is spectacular! Am so glad to read the "back" story cause it shows that with hard work your dreams can come true. Thanks for sharing your home and your family with us.

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  108. Your story is similar to ours! I understand the sacrifices made to make the new build possible. You and Mr. Savvy are to be commended. Thanks for sharing your lovely home, your inspirational style and friends and family. I look forward to your blogs!

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  109. I love your story, Kim! So inspiring, and something I hope we are able to do someday!

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  110. Thank you so much for sharing the before of your home which was already beautiful but with the stone addition and roof and shutter change even more beautiful. I love the garage doors are they changed from your orginial or did you spruce up the old ones. Just love everything. You have such good vision for all of this stuff and that is where I get frustrated with myself, it is all about the Vision!! Have a gr8 Monday!!

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  111. Thank you so much for sharing the before of your home which was already beautiful but with the stone addition and roof and shutter change even more beautiful. I love the garage doors are they changed from your orginial or did you spruce up the old ones. Just love everything. You have such good vision for all of this stuff and that is where I get frustrated with myself, it is all about the Vision!! Have a gr8 Monday!!

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  112. Pam, thank you for your comment. We did replace the doors a few years ago with the carriage style doors. Thanks for noticing.

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  113. Don & I appear to be older than you guys. I adore your house and can see all the hard work you both have invested in it. We have a small Park Model here and another one south of Ocala, Florida that we live in over the winter so you can tell I won't be using too many of your home improvement idea's..lol...

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  114. Kim, your home is just gorgeous! How wonderful you were able to create your dream home on such a budget with lots of love (and sweat, too, I'm sure!).
    ;-D Kathleen

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  115. HI Kim, just found this post and am so glad I did!!! We did the exact same thing ....26 years ago! We actually found plans for a house and Joe made a scale model for me! Then we found land (which I have always hated because we are in the woods but....) then we found a builder but WE did ALL the inside work, well, 99% of it. We laid sub floors, set all 26 doors, stained ALL the trim, Joe built all the vanities etc. etc. But we did it too for a very low cost for the land and house too. That is the ONLY way we could have done it. I love my house just wish I could pick it up and move it out into the SUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great day! XO, Pinky

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  116. I know this is an old post, but it popped up under your post from today and I HAD to comment. I am BLOWN away that you guys spent less than $175,000. Our mortgage on our cruddy ol' 2200 sq foot house is more than that, and on wayyy less land. I am in such envy! Now I won't call my husband crazy the next time he wants to contract our house (he wanted to this time!) Once again, awesome!

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  117. Thanks for sharing about the geothermal system. We purchased a fixer-upper cabin that we are about to remodel. I enjoyed reading about your house on a budget! :)

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  118. Dear Kim,
    What a gift you have! I am so impressed with your story and your
    wonderful home....it is just lovely. Your attention to detail is
    spot on.....
    I have so enjoyed the inspiration from viewing your lovely home !
    Maire

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  119. Hi Kim,
    I'm new to your blog and loved reading this story.
    Debi

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