As per usual, it’s been awhile… Blogging is one of those things that gets harder to do, the longer you don’t do it. In my defense, I have also been a little busy during my absence. By a little, I mean A LOT!
Remember that beautiful, I mean BEAUTIFUL, white modern farmhouse that we built from the ground up, with custom finishes that were supposed to make us smile until the end of time? Well folks, it is no longer ours. To those of you that know me personally, this is old news as we sold it back in June of 2019. For those of you that don’t, it’s new.
When we built our “white house” as we call it, we had no intentions of moving anytime in the near future, hence why we made some decisions that aren’t necessarily wise if you are “flipping” a house. House flippers typically go with the most bang for your buck approach. Finishes that look nice, but are on the low end of the budget. Ceramic tile versus stone, traditional insulation versus spray foam, vinyl or laminate flooring versus wood and so on and so forth. Since we thought we were staying in our white house for a good while, we went all out in a lot of areas. We loved our house and the view even more, but some situations arose that brought us to discuss doing it all over.
Trent was at a work meeting about two years ago and the topic of floodplain building regulations were brought up by an architect that they were working with. This architect happened to have been at a city meeting where he found out that all of the Travis county floodplain lines were going to be redrawn sometime in the near future. This news was important to us because we owned the last buildable lot on our creekside street. It is a 1 acre lot versus the 1/2 acre lot that the white house was on. It has less of a water view since it is on a more shallow area of the creek and is further from the creek since it is twice the size but is a BEAUTY nonetheless. We first bought the lot as an investment opportunity and actually tried to sell it. Though there was TONS of interest, people are scared to develop in the floodplain, and we have some neighbors that were certain that you could not build on this lot and were spreading that false information to prospective buyers. After several months on the market, we decided to remove the listing and save this lot for our future homesite in 5-10 years. After receiving the information from the architect, we decided to jumpstart our future plans to avoid being stuck with a lot that no longer held any value.
We knew the value of our white house and did not want to settle for less than what we knew it should sell for, so we did not want to be in a situation where we HAD to sell it because we had already started construction on a new house. We decided on the CrAzY plan of living in a travel trailer while we built our new home if the sale of our white house was a success. We started prepping the house for listing in March 2019 and it went live on Good Friday! We listed our Ugly House on Good Friday exactly 2 years prior and had GREAT success so we thought we would try our luck again! Though we didn’t have multiple over asking price offers in the first 5 hours on the market like the last house, we did have 3 within a week! We couldn’t technically close on the house sale until mid June of 2019 to avoid capital gains taxes, but listed in April because we thought it would take a couple of months for the right buyer to come along. We were so thankful that things moved as smoothly as they did and still pinch ourselves from time to time!
Since I never fully revealed that house, here is a peak at the listing photos:
That house was a REAL gem, but I always felt like it wasn’t the home for us. Three stories with little kids is a real pain. Also, to get to the backyard you had to go down a flight of stairs, and our pool used up all of our easily accessible flat yard space. Since accessing the backyard and pool level was not super convenient, we didn’t use it near as much as I would have liked. We had an amazing 500 year Oak in the backyard, but it blocked nearly all of the sun in our pool area creating an always too chilly swimming spot. The front yard on the other hand, had no trees (other than two small ones that we planted during the landscaping) which made the front yard and front porch unbearable in the hot months. I hate to sound ungrateful for such a wonderful house, but these are the things that got us through trailer living! They say that to build your dream home, you have to do it twice. This is SO true, and we were lucky to have another chance to get it perfect! But before we got to build that 2nd dream home, we had to pack up our nearly 4,000 square foot home and move into a 400 square foot trailer!
We looked for several months before deciding on a 3 month used Keystone Montana High Country fifth wheel. We were almost foolish enough to buy a new trailer, until we realized that we could buy a slightly used version of what we wanted for $40,000.00 less than a brand new one. DUUUUUHHH! Since our trailer was only a few months old, I didn’t need to do a full gut job on it but did give it a facelift! We took out all of the original furniture, the AWFUL window treatments, plumbing fixtures, cabinet hardware and bedding and replaced with new. I of course had to add subway tile, rugs, wall décor, plants and curtains! These changes made ALL the difference! Along with these decorative changes, we converted the jackknife sofa in the bunk house to a true bed and added bookshelves in place of the entertainment center to make the extra room more comfortable and practical for the kids.
Here are a few pictures of the trailer when we bought it:
Since it was new it was not TERRIBLE, but still not cute. Here she is after I got my hands on her (and the hands of my handy husband)!
Pretty cute, huh?! The shocking news is that moving into it was harder than actually living in it. By that I mean, the preparation for such a downsize was more stressful than the tiny life. Sifting through all of our stuff and deciding what to store, what to sell and what to get rid of was a huge task. We could only bring a small fraction of our belongings so deciding what we needed and really wanted to take with us was hard in a world where we think we need and want EVERYTHING. Fifth wheel life really made me start thinking about every.single.thing I purchased and made me think twice before I used the word “need”. We had a great 7 months living tiny with only a few minor hiccups along the way. Word to the wise: If you ever dare to live life on wheels, read the manual in advance. Specifically the plumbing section. Don’t be fools like us and try to wing it with your Costco bulk pack of triple ply Charmin cause it AINT GONNA FLY (or shall I say FLUSH). Trust me. Aside from our plumbing fiascos, which I should mention, a trade to add to Trent’s never ending handyman list is travel trailer plumber, we had a great experience in the Montana! Lots of outside play, construction watching (did I mention our trailer was parked about 20 feet from the construction site) and nonstop TOGETHERNESS 🙂
Here are some shots of our classy setup!
Since I am so behind on documenting all of this, we have actually been living in our new home since January 2020. We never imagined that things could be stranger than our family of 4 moving into a 400 square foot trailer, but 2020 has proved that we were so wrong. We are very thankful that our construction was done and that we made it into the home before life got really difficult. I don’t think I would speak so fondly of our trailer life if we had been confined to it the way we were in our house these last 5 months. I am hoping that this blog finds you and your family in good physical and mental health – two things that are tricky to obtain these days!
Though I have LOTS of catching up to do with this blog, I have made it a goal to get photos of our new house posted before we are in need of a remodel! Staying at home and social distancing since March have made furnishing and decorating this home harder than ever, but I am ready to get it done!
Until next time – which I will try to make soon! 😉