Updated: Dec 21, 2020
We purchased our Kentucky hay farm in 2015. Originally the farm was 144 acres with a 1900 square foot house. We sold the house and 30 acres of the farm in December 2019; doing this allowed use to pay off the mortgage on the other 114 acres.
Our remaining property is 114 acres of rolling hills, some flat land, and woods. We chose this farm because it's centrally located between our places of employment. We're a 45-60 minute drive from two larger cities, so it's the best of both worlds - city and country. We chose to build in our particular spot on our farm because of the view and ease of access to the roadway.
The 114 acres that we retained was being used for hay fields and horse riding trails. It was a typical hay farm for the most part. The previous owners used the property as a vacation spot away from their city home.
I researched house plans FOR YEARS (10+) knowing that someday I'd like to build a home. As our family grew my wants and needs changed. What we wanted also changed as we considered the lay of our land. Our house plan is a meld of several plans that I liked. I drew it out on graph paper and provided it to a local Amish framer/builder who brought it to life.
What are the main goals of your build?
We wanted to make sure that we didn't build more house than we'd need, while staying comfortable as a family of 5. We also wanted a home that would allow us to live in it well into old age, with the primary living areas located on one floor. Additionally, we tried not to get carried away and end up house poor. We made sure not to borrow more than we can pay off in the next 15 years.
What made you want a farmhouse, rather than another type of home?
Joanna Gaines? hahahaha. Just kidding. I grew up in a farm house on a working beef farm. It seemed only fitting that since we owned farm land in Kentucky that we build a farmhouse. I will say that our house plan is a mix of farmhouse, craftsman, and log home living. We love all 3 of those styles and tried to incorporate a mix.
What is the general budget of your build?
Our budget is $325,000. This includes the build of our 32x40 metal pole barn and 10x20 processing room for honey/maple syrup, as well as the reconstruction of a leaking pond that sits in front of our home.
How long has your build taken?
We broke ground on the house on 4/28/2020. This is officially day 180. We had a lot of wet days in the spring that slowed down our excavation and basement progress, and that ultimately put us behind. We're having similar issues now with trying to get the drywall mud to cure during the wet weather.
4 beds / 3.5 baths
The main floor has the master bath (freestanding tub, double vanity, 3x5 walk-in shower, water closet) and a 2-piece half bath. Walkout basement as 2 full bathrooms for our children.
Is your garage attached?
No. We have a 24x24 garage that is detached and connected to the house by decking. Our original plan was to have it connected via breezeway, but that became less of a priority as we considered the budget.
Size of shop/garage-
Metal pole barn is 32x40 with 10 foot overhangs on either side and a finished processing room that is 10x20.
Are there any special/unconventional rooms in the house? No, the house is pretty typical. The main floor has a mud room, half bath, laundry, pantry, kitchen, great room with the living and dining space, an office space, master bed and bath. The office was a last minute addition due to COVID19 and realizing that we may need a place to work from home at some point down the road. The basement has an open living area for the kids (projector screen tv space and a desk area for everyone's computers to reside), 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. I think the most special thing about our home are the solid 8-inch pine beams that run through the center of our home, 2 on the exterior and 3 on the interior. Also, we have 1144 square feet of porch space, wrapping around our home.
What is the total square footage of your building?
2900. The footprint is 52x28.
What heights did you choose for your ceilings?
The main floor and basement sit right at 10' ceilings, while the great room is 20' at the peak which is vaulted.
What finishes did you choose for your exterior?
Our home has metal roofing with vinyl siding. Some of the siding is traditional 5 inch horizontal Dutch lap while the other vinyl board and batten.
What colors have you chosen for your exterior?
Roof is light gray, siding is white, guttering is black, light fixtures are black, garage doors are black, and entry doors on garage and back of house will either be painted black or Magnolia 1905 green.
How much of the work are you doing yourself?
We are contracting our build ourselves. We do not have a formal GC, so we are arranging all of the subs on our own. This saved us approximately $40k.
What has been the most challenging part of building?
Having patience with SO many things: delayed deliveries, missing deliveries, weather, etc. Also our subcontractors have had a few squabbles among themselves. Everyone has an opinion on what is right/best.
What was the biggest setback to building?
No set backs so far, thankfully. We MUST be out of our rental home before the end of the year, so I am PUSHING to get in before Christmas. It has to happen!!
What do you wish you could do differently?
I wish I had planned for the garage to be attached from the get go. It would have resulted in an easier transition from the garage to the main house. I also wish I would have made the house a few feet larger, more like 55x30. Our basement is made from insulated concrete forms, and the walls are 18 inches thick. I didn't think about this when I laid out the basement rooms. Having a few more square feet would have really helped.
Are there any tips/tricks you've picked up that you'd like to share?
Get a pro account at Lowes and Home Depot. It will save you money.
Cover your open vent holes with plastic before insulation and drywall begin. It will save you clean up work.
Paint your house all one color if you're in a hurry to move in. It saves the painters labor and time, which saves you money and gets you moved in quicker.
Don't bring a lot of people around to show them your build. They will inevitably ask a million questions of why you are or are not doing something, and then offer ALL OF THE IDEAS that they think are just SO GREAT but also SO LATE. They may have good intentions, but it just poo-poos all over your fun.
Try to enjoy the process. If you only see the negative then you will never enjoy living in your new home. Don't let the frustrations steal your joy. It's just part of the journey!
Take LOTS of pictures. When you get frustrated look back on those pictures. It will help you to see how far you've come!
Thanks for reading part 1, we’ll be sure to follow up with pictures and details about how they finished out their unique new home when they become available. To get notified when we upload new content, make sure to subscribe to our email list.
You can also find our posts on