We own it!





John and I were like two little kids!  The negotiations got a little difficult at the end, I actually thought we lost the property.  Then Eva called me up a half hour later, all the while I was thinking we didn’t get it, and said, “Congratulations, you got the property!”  The sellers relented and accepted our offer, providing we would close quickly.  In two weeks!  We scrambled, but we did it!  And never had one second of buyer’s remorse!

So, now we had to deal with three buildings we didn’t want, and start thinking (and dreaming) of our plans.  House plans, garage plans, guest house, landscaping ideas, what to do with the pool on the property, rip rap, and life plans.  We found this place a lot sooner than we actually thought we would, so in one way, we had time to make a lot of these decisions.  We both decided (separately) to get binders and fill them up with our ideas.  John did his in “phases”, the order in which we would do our projects.  I did the different aspects of the ideas: floor plans, outside of the house, landscape ideas, inside design ideas, appliances and furniture, like that.  I think I had more binders than he did, but as we made decisions, I pared them down.

We also found this advice in a book by Susan Lang, entitled, “Designing Your Dream Home.”  I’ll review this book in a future post, but I will tell you now that her bylines are, “every question to ask, every detail to consider, and everything you need to know before you build or remodel,” and she wasn’t kidding.  She suggests twelve binders, and she tells you what each one is for.  But, I did it my way, John did it his, and it has worked for us so far.


The first thing we did was hire a builder.  We decided to interview three builders at the property, so they could see the old house and get a feel for the place. (This was at the time “Designer’s Challenge” and “Landscapers’ Challenge” was on HGTV, so like them,  we went with three.)   We met in the house  – it’s a mess, isn’t it?    All three said, although it was a shame, it would be so expensive to fix up the old house, which is exactly what we wanted to hear, if you want the truth.  We wanted to build a house, and we wanted it closer to the water, so we were happy to know the three of them felt the same way.

We met with each builder, two in one day, the third the next day, and we walked around the property with them discussing our ideas.  We showed them our plans for the first building we decided to build, the stand-along garage and asked them each to submit a proposal.  As it turned out, we did go with the builder with the best price, but that wasn’t our only consideration.  We actually liked this builder the best, we felt we had a rapport with him, and that he “got” what we were going for.  He also had another point in his favor, which is something we didn’t realize at the time would be so helpful…. he was local to the town we were building in!  So in fact, we had somewhat made up our minds even before we got his proposal.  If he was way too expensive, we might have reconsidered, but as it turned out, he was the least expensive.  And his knowing everyone in town, especially in the building department at town hall, was a very good thing.  So, now we had our team!  Next time….. getting rid of two of the buildings!


  1. I like your little interview room. :-) Binders are so good for organizing, but then you end up with a roomful of binders! (And I don’t know what happens after that, because I haven’t found a place for all of my binders yet.)

    • Thanks for writing! You’re right about the binders. They’re a great organizing tool but I wound up with so many! I had to sit down and clean them out when aspects of the job were completed, so now they are more manageable.

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