We imagined ourselves on an episode of Fixer Upper. We loved their style, humor and I’m a Baylor grad. Maybe they would travel to Northwest Arkansas to redo our house. We may not be in Texas, but we’re still in the South, right? Yes, I called and asked. They were a little busy.
The year leading up to finding our property, I had been prompted by the Spirit to watch HGTV in my spare time. Weird, huh? I sensed our Promised Land was coming and I needed to be ready.
I like when God uses something I naturally enjoy to encourage me to stick it out a little longer for His best. And for Him to prepare me for the work to come.
Little did I know how that year of watching and learning from the pros would pay off.
As I’m sure you’re already guessing, the deal went through on our purchase of the Ugly Brown House and we closed about a month later. Paperwork a mile high but well worth it.
I’m a big fan of celebrating each milestone. Stopping to recognize what God has done and give thanks. So, eating Rick’s Bakery petit fours is a must after you close on the promised land. And we shopped at Euna Mae’s Heirloom Kitchen Store for gifts for each other to use in our new farmhouse kitchen.
Who knew what that kitchen would look like?! But I was sure we needed a new Le Creuset pot in turquoise and a pale pink cake pedestal. These were my rocks in the river after crossing the Jordan. God had said this place would be a land flowing with milk and honey & I wanted to have tangible reminders of the miracles He did to get us here.
We had crossed through the river with dry feet. And we were ready to possess what He had for us.
We soon met with a renovation builder our realtor recommended at the ugly brown house. Actually, Barry met with him and I got a phone call saying, “Hey, can you talk to the builder about what you have in mind for the remodel? Here he is.”
Needless to say, I was in shock since I wasn’t aware of the meeting and I just started rambling ideas. It was more about the feel of the house, the light and airiness, a big front porch and a simple floor plan. That’s all I could muster without my Pinterest boards.
The renovation builder came back to us a day later with a very rough estimate and made sure we understood the floor plan of the original house could NOT change. Ugh.
The ugly brown house was built in the 1960’s and had been added on through the years. Unfortunately, the owners or contractors didn’t know much about construction that were building on to the house. It was an odd floorpan at best. An L-shaped home with no front porch doesn’t really ooze farmhouse.
And the renovation budget was going to start at $50K over our max budget. And we all know from HGTV, that budget would have been blown within the first two weeks with issues and strange findings within the walls and foundation.
I’m sure this is how the Israelites felt after they crossed the Jordan River. Jericho was in sight. Houses and an entire city they had not planned or built would soon be there’s to live in. God had told them to take it, possess the place for Him and He would give it to them.
We prayed about what to do, had a few moments of sheer panic thinking we wouldn’t be able to make the renovation work – “WHAT have we done?!” – and talked to our realtor again.
She suggested we meet with a custom builder and see if we could start from scratch to build our dream.
“There’s no way we could afford building a brand new house!” we thought.
But with God. . .
We met with Mark of Riverwood Homes in the kitchen of the Ugly Brown House and all held our breath from the stinche. We shared our vision. We talked about ideas and style. We talked real numbers and told him how serious we were about our budget. This place was not going to be a dream house out of a magazine to be envied, ending up an albatrause around our necks for the next 30 years.
No, we desired an inviting home, enough space for our family and friends, with money left in the bank to experience the rest of the Jesus led adventure written for us.
Mark seemed undaunted. He saw the land and the potential we did. He understood budgets and their significance to our life. He liked what we were talking about and we liked him.
We decided in that stinky kitchen to build a brand new house.
But what would we do with the existing home?
Just like Jericho, the walls had to come tumbling down.