Scott and I built our house three years ago on a dare and a dream. While we heard horror stories about building that was not our story. We had a good contractor, a brilliant designer, and our own thoughts and ideas. I know some people believed we were crazy, and maybe we were, but we did it anyway believing in our dream.
I often wondered if we were doing the right thing. I wondered to myself, aloud, to anyone that would listen, but I couldn’t let go of this quiet and persistent voice inside me that said, “Do this. I dare you.” No matter how much worry and caution and doubt I would put between me and this voice I couldn’t escape it. I took the dare and we began to build a home from scratch.
Dream homes usually come later in life – after financial success and during stability. Ours didn’t come that way. There was some money. That money was going towards this dream. My sister in law gave me a beautiful gift once with this inscription, “Dream your dreams with your eyes open and make them come true.” We took that message to heart.
It seems foolish to build when you aren’t sure about your financial future. It is stupid in fact. We figured there are no guarantees anyway. Nobody’s future is certain. We had lost and overcome before. We could handle a second round if there was a second round. Loss wasn’t foremost on our minds though. Living in a house that we created – that began in our imaginations – was.
So, we imagined, brainstormed, and built a house that we were already in love with. Our dream was being built three feet behind the wee house we were living in then on an acre and a half of land. I watched the foundation being laid and the walls come up. I pored over magazines. I chose my doors, the beams, my colors, and the type and stain of hardwood floor (walnut and dark). I looked at style after style of cabinet and sink and glass and hardware and I enjoyed every detail of it. I reveled in placing my paint chips beside my piece of floor and cabinet door and sample of counter top…..reveled in it. No horror stories for us. Aside from the noise of the constant sawing and hammering, while begging my then two year old to nap, building this house was one of the most significant and satisfying experiences I have ever had.
Our house isn’t just a house to us. It is the materialization of risk and double dares. It is a place for family and friends. For coffees and long chats. For belgian waffle breakfasts on Saturday mornings. For roast dinners, barbeques, and red wine shared with the people we love. This house has lent us a business we otherwise couldn’t have pursued. These walls have witnessed tears, laughter, prayer, fear, a lot of hide and seek, knock-knock jokes, and dreams realized.
Plans and dreams change. Money comes and goes. I have another dream taking shape now. A dream of downsizing and living in a charming tight-knit community and town called Fort Langley. I have been aching to live there. My kids are in school there. It holds events like May Day Parades and Cranberry Festivals. For the last few years it was all about space, the perfect ensuite bathroom (it is…well, I think it is) and bonfires in the backyard. Now I want neighbors and cul-de-sacs. While I will miss my bathroom (not to mention my closet), my space, and the bonfires in the backyard I will be gaining a life I didn’t know I wanted until recently. A life where I am within walking distance of some of the best chocolate you will ever eat, a village with history and the sweetest shops, tree lined streets, and a piano bar I could walk home from if ever I got a little tipsy after drinking their yummy martinis. My now sold dream house will give me Fort Langley.
Our home is an honor and a privilege to live in. Looking back I would do it all again. It will, I hope, now honor the new owner. In a few months I’ll be transplanting my heart from this home to my new home and I look forward to what that will bring. Home, they say, is where the heart is.
(that is not our car in the driveway by the way – no top and zippy doesn’t allow for car seats and grimy hands)