Our Home Story Revisited


We had two milestones last week, Bailey's birthday and we moved in our home 21 years ago on October 11, 1995. Today I thought it would be fun to share an old post about our home story again since I have so many new readers.
This story was first shared during my first year of blogging in 2010 since I had a tag line of "On a Budget" and folks were questioning that so I felt the need to explain.
The photo below was taken a few weeks ago from the lawn mower when I was mowing the grass that used to be green. The shutters are actually darker than they look in this shot. The sun is extremely bright on the front of our house for about half a day.


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 out 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 (2011). 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.


I hope you enjoyed that and our yard is actually very dry again due to another severe drought this year.
I wish it was green like the 2011 photo. That was the best our grass ever looked. 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.

Other posts you may enjoy:

  HOME TOUR post too that stays on my sidebar.
I need to update it again since there have been changes.

Exterior Updates


  1. Congratulations! such a great story! laura

  2. What a great story! Congratulations on getting your dream home. It is all the more special because you put yourselves into it.
    My brother has geothermal and loves it. I would have done it (and I wanted a rain cistern, too) but we have too many trees and I refuse to cut any.
    Our grass turned to dry straw months ago. We got a few rain showers, and it's just starting to come back. At least we don't have to mow it, because it's too dry to grow.

  3. I love your house and all of the changes you have made through the years. You have wonderful taste. I love how you show us how to have a beautiful home without breaking the bank.

  4. What a great insight to your beautiful home. Thanks for sharing this with all of us. It is amazing what a little bit of patience and doing some things on your own can build into a dream come true.
    You and your sweet hubby have built a dream home for sure. All the beautiful changes done on a budget too. Bravo Kim. Such a great story.

  5. Loved reading this, Kim. You are right- when people see a beautiful home they often assume you are 'loaded' and bought the best of the best because you could afford it. We did things very much the same way. Because of the house we live in people assume we were 'born rich'. We worked hard- rehabbed and flipped 14 other houses to get to this one...did much of the work ourselves over the years and reaped the rewards of that. Now, we are on the hunt to downsize and redo on a reduced budget for the next house.
    Thanks for sharing that story with everyone, Kim. It will give a lot of people a whole new prospective. I remember when you got all that flack for using the byline- "on a budget" and some of the nasty remarks that were left. People just don't know sometimes, do they?!
    Have a great Sunday and ENJOY that beautiful home that you have EARNED! xo Diana

  6. Thank you for sharing. It gives me hope that someday I may have my dream home too!

  7. Congratulations! You and your husband did a wonderful job.

  8. What a wonderful story Kim! You have created a beautiful home.

  9. I love your story and im sure it will inspire others. You have both put a lot of hard work into your home and you should be proud.

  10. Loved seeing the house and its changes through the years....You two have certainly put great labors of love into this house....Wow!...21 years...I must say that we have never lived in a home that long...came close in the one that our son grew up in for the most part....We are in this house for almost 12 years and thought we would only stay for 5...I can see this being your forever home!

  11. So fun seeing from the beginning to now. My husband and I have bought, renovated several homes over the last 38 years, so I know what hard work you both did. We are hands on for the most part too.

  12. What a great story, Kim. It sounds alot like our story of the last house. Joe was the general contractor and we did almost all of the interior work ourselves, and like you at night and on weekends. Your home is gorgeous and you have wonderful memories that you have made here.

  13. I always love hearing the story of your home Kim!

  14. Kim, what a wonderful story! I am so happy that you were able to have your beautiful dream home! Your home is gorgeous!!!

  15. Kim I love your home and loved hearing your story. It truly is a labor of love and yes, you did do it on a budget! Your home is probably now worth at least $300,000. It's absolutely gorgeous and I love seeing all the changes you do for each season.

    1. Sandy, thank you and it is worth much more than that since houses are selling well here again. Small houses around here sell for that.

  16. It sounds like building houses in your area is a lot easier. The permit process here in California requires very detailed and exact plans and take months to get through the approval process.

  17. I enjoyed reading your story, Kim. It reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite designers, Sarah Richardson :"Do you want to be a decorator or a designer?" The fact that you and your husband designed your home on a piece of notebook paper most definitely puts you in the designer category! Thanks for sharing, Cynthia

  18. What a treat to see all the work you did right from the start! I probably fall into the "new reader" category, though I've been following your blog for more than a year - maybe two and always enjoy it. Still, I don't think I went back to the very beginning, so thank you for sharing that again. You've both done a fantastic job with your home, so congratulations and I know you enjoy every day there. Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. A great story of "how a house was born!" It has grown up to be a real beauty!

  20. I loved seeing the change you made to your house over the years!