5 Things I’ve Learned While Building Our Home


From buying land, to waiting for a permit to building, this post just barely touches on all we’ve learned over the last 2 1/2 years. I hope it gives you a better picture of the process, but if you have any questions, always feel free to comment and I’ll email you. Here are a few things we’ve learned while building:

  • Location is key. It took us almost a year to get our building permit, because of some possible wetland issues (which ended up not being a problem). Waiting to get started was hard, but you know what made it worth it? Our location and our land. If you’re going to go through the stress of building, make sure you do it somewhere you LOVE. Also, be sure you aren’t living too far away from your land during the process. We are zooming back and forth from the construction site daily. I can’t imagine what that would be like if we lived more than a few minutes away!
  •  Everything ends up costing more. When we first started, I heard something like “Building takes 20% more time and 20% more money than you anticipate in the beginning”. I didn’t really get it until recently and boy is it true! This is my biggest piece of advice: WAY over-estimate the costs. Set aside money that isn’t wrapped up in your loan, for all the unexpected things towards the end. And if you think you’ve planned enough of a cushion, then take that amount and plan even more. Stuff comes up and it’s super stressful when it costs more than you expected.

    Painting trim!

  • If needed, skimp on finishes. You can’t change your location or really your house plan, but what can you update down the road, without much trouble? Finishes! If money is tight or you just want a more manageable mortgage payment, skimp on fancy finishes! You can upgrade counters and floors in a few years. There are other things you can’t upgrade, so focus on those more important things and then upgrade later if necessary.
  • Be ready for some construction-humblin’. What do I mean? Well, let  me explain. When you build, it’s a constant state of construction chaos and you normally can’t wave a wand and boom! have a gorgeous yard. It’s a process….a messy, wonderful, crazy and exciting journey that isn’t complete overnight. It takes time and there’s a lot of mess in the midst of the beauty that’s happening. While other people have gorgeous, established yards, you’ll be working for your grass and planning a new landscape. Here’s the thing though—-it’s also incredibly rewarding.

    Farmhouse on Boone- my front porch inspiration

  • Pin! I know, you’re like, what?! Well, let me tell you, when it came time to pick out finishes, it was super helpful to be able to go back and look at my Pinterest boards to quickly see what styles I’m drawn towards. At first I thought I wanted dark counter tops. But then I saw all a pattern in all the photos I’d been saving, and actually, I loved had light counters. Pinterest has never made me feel bad, less-than or inadequate. Instead it’s been a great way for me to really see what my personal style is. Here’s my farmhouse board, and my “for our home” board.

In the next week or so, I’m going to write about what it’s been like to build with kids and also, how my husband and I’ve walked through this crazy process as a couple. Not to get all sappy here, but I’ve been so incredibly proud of him. He’s worked SO hard and although the house is basically all we’ve talked about for the last 6 months, I feel like we’ve definitely grown closer.

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About Angela Strand

Angela is a wife, mama to three little ones and a lifelong Washington State resident. Besides facilitating the NW Healthy Mama website, she loves being involved in her kids’ school, hiking with her girlfriends, growing all the things, writing, reading and taking photos.

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