Crazy or not, it is true. We are building a house here in Utah. After searching for months for a home to call ours, we instead happened upon a perfect plot of land with only hay growing on it. Together with a wonderful builder, we spent the last few months planning, thinking, sketching, figuring a home to put there. We just finished the long architectural planning stage where the challenge was to somehow make his drawings look like the ones in our heads. We found a basic plan on the Internet, and then tweaked some areas. We took out walls, rearranged the master bathroom, multiple times. Our builder is very patient.
For a while the drawing he gave us was different from the one in our heads. We could not pinpoint what we disliked about the front elevation. We are not architects, and I surmised through this process that it does in fact take a special person to be able to translate what a customer wants into a home plan to fit his needs. I love our builder because he listens intently to both of us with quiet, calm, problem-solving skill. I spent time in the car looking at roof lines and arcs and stone on homes in our area. We tweaked some more and now we love the finished look. (Did you know that symmetry, in anything, is unnerving? Seriously, pay attention to photos or movies or houses. If a scene or elevation is symmetrical, it exudes a feeling of uneasiness. )
We do not want a mansion. We do not want to fund a mansion. In just five years we will be labeled ’empty nesters’. So, we must look down the road ‘a ways’…. a new endeavor for this former military family. So much could happen in five years. We may even be looking at a new journey called grandparenthood. It could happen. Seriously, we are closing in on the benchmark of living to be 50 years old! One day our builder even gently listed the advantages of ‘one level living’. In fact, we have had multiple discussions with him on the topic of stairs and steps with this house. Truly, he can see further down the road than we can.
In this part of the country, we live in a land of basements. Interestingly, with the exception of our two years in Louisiana, our entire married life has been lived in homes with basements. So our home will be just the main level and basement. Envisioning our living space ten or twenty years down the road is indeed a new adventure on its own.
Housing is expensive here, probably twice the price of Texas real estate. Sticker shock was a big hurdle initially. Now add in a view of the mountains and the bottom line increases even more. However, we learned when we lived in Germany how living in a beautiful setting soothes the soul. Gazing at creation daily and existing within its vastness became important then. We knew we did not want to look at concrete in our retirement years. So, a home with a lovely view surfaced early as our primary need.
Mountains are visible in this part of Utah in every direction while offering a full four seasons to enjoy hiking, skiing, boating. Honestly, I’ve been in awe of the beautiful, gentle spring, just as I was the autumn and winter months. We arrived at the end of last summer, so we enjoyed the vivid fall colors and snow peaked mountains. This spring packed its own surprising punch, giving lush green landscapes and cool temperatures.
We want this house to be an ‘escape to nature’ for our immediate and extended family, both now and down the road. A respite of sorts to enjoy such landscapes. I want it to be filled with noise and laughter and joy most of all. I want a long table to bless others with food and a big kitchen island to hover around. We want to build memories here. Even given all that, it seems hard to gulp down the term ‘forever house’. I guess we have a problem with permanence. We say we are ready to stop moving, but coming to grips with that fact is, frankly, difficult. Every time our builder mentions that term – the hubby and I just look at each other with wide eyes.
For twenty-five years we have been a family that embraces change. Our children are slowly discovering that most families do not thrive on mobility. Their roots are buried deep in their home ‘lands’. Our roots are spread wide in movable pots, gathering nourishment from our wide circle of other like-minded wanderers. So, maybe now we will just enjoy the changing seasons, a more gentle ‘changing’ than we know, but change nonetheless.
I joyfully anticipate living a slower, country life, documenting it all with my camera. We long to park our stuff for one last time and finally rid ourselves of boxes. Parking is a relevant descriptor here. It has a different connotation from ‘planting’. Parking must happen first. I am not sure we are ready to discard the containers that will expose our roots. Nevertheless we move forward one step at a time.