Nearing the FINISH line!

I’ve never seen any kind of race that didn’t have an audience cheering on the participants. Have you?

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crowd-cheering My family and I have most definitely been running the race of our lives with this log home build. (Think about it…how many families not only build their own home with their own hands…but build it from fresh cut logs?)

Just as in any kind of race, ours has taken complete dedication, long hours of hard training, and eyes fixed on crossing the FINISH line.

Who’s our cheering, supportive audience? YOU. People in 62 different countries are now watching my family build our log home in South Texas (odd place for a log home, huh?).

In races, it always seems like the racers speed up towards the very end, giving it all their final gusto. They can see that finish line in the near distance, and are bound and DETERMINED to be the first to cross it.

Of course, we don’t have a competitor, but we’re seeing that finish line, and are giving it all our gusto to cross it. (Wait ’til you read and see what all we’ve gotten done in the past 2 months!)
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Back in July (2014) we sold our house, and had to officially move out the rest of our belongings. We had a garage and an attic at that house. This log house doesn’t have either one. Oops.

We also had a storage unit where we’ve been storing his (ENORMOUS SUPPLY of) tools, the girls’ bedroom things, and more, for the past 2 years.

The average person buys or builds a house, and simply transfers all of their belongings into it. In our case, we’ve had to do the actual building…including closets, bathrooms, storage areas, etc, in which to put all of our boxed things.

The “problem” with that is that you have to first make the time to build the closets and places for storage, before you can unpack anything. My previous posts, like “Light”, “Strength”, and “Water” show pictures of our journey before and after lights, storage areas, etc.

Here are just a few pictures of the utter chaos we’ve had to deal with while in construction limbo. I’ve had a serious complex for months now; I can only imagine what neighbors must think (and it was SOOOO much worse than this). I can’t wait until there’s a perfect organized place for every single object, and have a tidy yard and home, once and for all.
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Believe me…this is just a small sample of the things we’ve had laying around waiting on a barn to be built, closets to be finished, laundry room to be completed (with shelves for storage), and any other place you would naturally “put things away” in. God bless my hard working husband.

Packing up our other house, fixing things there, working on waterfowl taxidermy customers’ birds, working at the fire station, my grandmother’s funeral in a different state, schooling my girls, my mother’s 2 surgeries (back and knee replacement) in 2 months, going on vacation, and other deterrents that I can’t even remember right now, have all added up in the past several months, preventing us from finishing any faster…until now….

This last August, September, and now October (of 2014) have been packed with all kinds of projects getting started and finished, finally. (I seriously have to pinch myself to believe how fast we’re rolling now!)

I’ll start the updates with the building of our barn. Steve built and welded the whole thing (with help from our girls, our neighbor Jacob, and one of his Waterfowl Taxidermy customers).

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After we’re all done with the house, he’s going to build a loft floor in here, and we’ll better organize everything. For right now…our things are under a cover, AND out of my house and yard, and that’s all I care about.

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Next up, Steve’s Waterfowl Taxidermy studio was looking sad. The girls and I decided to surprise him while he was at work one day. Here’s before and after pictures. He returned home from work and was VERY surprised, and very very happy. (He’s loved.)

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I couldn’t cut the cedar shingles to fit along the diagonal edges of the roofline (though we all 3 tried and tried with every kind of saw we could grasp). So, Steve happily said he’d finish off the gable edges.

Next up on our COMPLETED chore list…finishing the wraparound porches! The girls rolled up their sleeves and got to work with Steve. Reiley brought the wood to them, while Reese helped nail in joist hangers, and Steve nailed down the rest of it. Done!

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(This is a picture of one porch before he trimmed the edge, and before he chinked these logs…)

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Now that the porches are complete, and connected on every corner, Reese has been riding her scooter around and around and around (and around and around…SHEESH!) the house on it. From inside the house, it sounds like a motorcycle engine or a train (joy), as her wheels drive over every seam where boards come together. Hopefully she’ll forget that she has a train whistle in her toy box.

Next up was our closet. (I’m tellin’ ya…the jobs are getting KNOCKED OUT!!) We moved into the log house in March (2014)? I just now received shelves and rods in my closet…mmm….7 months later? It certainly didn’t kill me to have my clothes on the ground, and my husband couldn’t have worked harder all this time. But, man…it sure is niiiiizzze to have organization and elevated clothes. Ahhhh.
Here was our bedroom/master bath/closet in all of its “before” stages…
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It’s been like THIS for 7 months (with me sleeping in the next room, and my clothes on that floor back there)…until just days ago (today is mid-October 2014)
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And now…

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The bathroom…though it’s not completed, yet. He still has to hang the sconces and put a shelf under our counter. I have to varnishing the counter, stain the moldings and paint the doors, buy a mirror, and fill our storage shelves. Just a couple days worth of work. But, this gives you an idea.

I LOVE rustic, but I also LOVE LOVE modern style decorating. I am not a decorator, however. So, I’ve been trying my best to combine the rustic/modern look throughout the house. Fortunately, I have the rest of my life to fill it with more modern elements after we’re done:

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When we’re done with the Master bathroom, it’ll be the same concept as the kids’ bathroom. We did a Walnut slab counter in there, too (like in our bathroom), and a shelf under it for towel storage. We’ll do the same thing in ours. I’ll stain the vertical log in our bathroom just like I did in their bathroom, as well.

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My mom drew and painting that log home picture (below) when she was a teenager. I find it ironic that she came up with such a picture, not having any kind of idea that her daughter would someday live in one. (The kids are bathing….totally perfect picture for the kids’ bathroom.)

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Of course, after he finished the closet, I was able to clean out our bedroom. It’s not done either, but it’s darn near close to it! I know there are women out there who want the giganto-enormo bedroom that could literally fit 2-3 king size beds plus dresser, sitting area, etc. We actually had that 2 houses ago. Never again. NO thank you. I much prefer small and cozy…and am only in it before going to sleep, anyway.

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That’s not ALL!! Wanna see what Steve’s doing right now? As I type? If you go back and read the “stacking logs” posts, you’ll see our friend Jeremiah… Steve’s right hand man… helping Steve stack those logs, and peeling away. He left right after the logs were done. Now, we’re peeling logs again! Jeremiah came back! It’s time to do the PORCH ROOF.

For weeks, we’ve been trying to figure out WHAT to use for our porch posts. 6×6’s seemed too small compared to our house logs. Cedar seemed too rustic and Western for our style and the look we were trying to achieve. We were stumped. God swooped in with His perfect timing and provision, as usual (this is great)…

Steve took the girls to piano lessons one night…which is usually a job that I do. On the way there…(in SOUTH TEXAS, mind you)…he passed a man’s house who was cutting down PINE trees in his yard! (We have Oaks and Cedars here.) Steve pulled over and asked the man what he planned on doing with the Pines. The guy was going to burn them. Steve offered him $300 for all of them. DONE!

Steve took the trailer and tractor to the man’s house and loaded them all up. ALL those logs for just $300! Thank you, once again, God for providing at just the right time. (These two pictures don’t show all of them. He still had 1-2 more loads to gather up)IMG_4570
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Gee….where have I seen this activity before??
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Hmm…reminds me of 2 years ago…
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Here’s the Dynamic Duo today

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There’s going to be a separate gable roof over the front door, with attached shed roof coming off of it on both sides, wrapping around the house. All green metal like our roof. There will also be railing all the way around, and a wide front staircase.
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Of course, none of those V shaped 2×4’s will stay there. They’re only helping support the log posts until he connects them all permanently.
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IMG_5252Lastly, here are current pictures of the rest of the inside of the house. Still not quite done…but not much longer. We need to grout the rock on the fireplace, lay rock for a hearth (just 2 large flagstones we already have), stain trim boards, touch-up paint, and build a bar in the kitchen. It sounds like a lot…but is truly just a few days worth of work. Our current goal is to be DONE by mid-November. (I CAN SEE THAT FINISH LINE!!)

Here are before and after shots…

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And today (October 2014)…

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For now, we have a little further to run til our race is over and we cross that line.

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Keep coming back to see more updated pictures like the finished kitchen, finished porch, finished master bedroom and bathroom…and more!

I can’t wait to see it decorated for Christmas! Log Home Christmas. (Eek. The pressure….)

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11 thoughts on “Nearing the FINISH line!

  1. Well Mark, what an enormous blessing to read this today :). Thank you so much for taking the time to share with me. You made me get teary πŸ™‚ My family lived in a travel trailer when we built our first house. My 8 year old slept on the couch. So, I can relate to that journey too :))). Memories. When you’re in the thick of it, it’s rough and you pray to finish sooner. But once its done…you miss it and they will be some of your very fondest memories. My kids were 3 and 8 with first build. Then 14 and 9 with b&b and log build. Now in their rooms…they have 0 regret over the cramped conditions and hard labor. In fact, they can laugh about it all today and we’re all closer because of it. Persevere, Mark. It’s all worth it. WELL worth it. The Lord held our hands and guided every single day.

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  2. HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT YOUR PICS FOR A WHILE. MY WIFE LYNN AND I ARE ALSO LHBA MEMBERS AND BUILDERS AND WE ARE DRIED IN WITH OUR HOUSE AND WORKING ON THE INSIDE. WE HAVE BEEN ON OUR JOURNEY SINCE 2011 AND HAVE BEEN LIVING IN A MOBILE HOME ON SITE. WE HAVE 4 CHILDREN AND MY YOUNGEST, BETHANY HAS BEEN SLEEPING ON THE COUCH IN THE LIVING ROOM. I AM VERY MOTIVATED TO GET HER IN HER BEDROOM. YOU ALL HAVE DONE AN AMAZING JOB AND I KNOW HOW HARD THE WORK IS. I ALSO APPRECIATE HOW YOU ALL HONOR OUR LORD. IT IS NEAT TO SEE IN OUR OWN LIVES HOW BUILDING THIS HOUSE HAS PARALLELED OUR WALKS WITH GOD. MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU GUYS AND IF YOU ARE EVER IN EAST TENNESSEE PLEASE LOOK US UP. MARK AND LYNN BAILEY RUTLEDGE, TN

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  3. Rosalie, I’m so sorry….I read this back in November but wasn’t in a place to write back…abd then totally forgot to respond. Contact Steve next time your mom is in town and we’ll be happy to give y’all the tour :).

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  4. Gretchen, it is absolutely gorgeous! But, truthfully Michael and I got tired just looking at all that work you guys have done. I have to say what a worker Steve is, frankly, the work is progressing quite fast, Michael was surprised he already got the barn up.so quickly. But, it was exhausting just looking at all the work that you guys have been doing. Believe me, we both know, we built a house together way back when. My mom is coming out next week, she has been following your blog and wants to come look. I hope you will be around.
    Rosalie

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  5. Your house is beautiful!!! Gosh, I miss you so much!!! I can’t wait to see y’all again…sooner than later I hope! Love you!

    -Sarah

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  6. this reminds me of a scripture in 2 Timothy 4:7, I have fought the good fight, I haave finished the race, I have kept the faith. To God be all the glory!!!!!!

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  7. Hi Gretchen,

    Congratulations! Love your build and your optimistic and proactive attitude towards the entire process! It’s amazing how much a dedicated and coordinated team (your lovely family & friends) can achieve in a short period of time. Wish you & your loved ones all the best! God bless you!

    Sincerely yours,
    ~lhba slamasha

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