The story of our house began four years ago. That when Nate's parents found a beautiful piece of farmland that Had Everything. Water, woods, hills and meadows.
Two years later, Nate's dad died after a long illness. Nate's mom, Corrine, started talking about building a family house on the land. She was living alone (with 3000 square feet). We were living a bit cramped, with three of our five children still at home. We liked our house. But we didn't love the busy highway along our backyard.
(Door is Palladian Blue by Ben Moore)
We started sketching house plans. Corrine drew the plans, and Nate and I weighed in on changes. Quite a few changes. It's an unusual house. Corrine's part of it is like a loft above the garage. She has her own entrance from her garage (behind the ones seen here). Stairs off the back hallway and off the little library connect to her loft. It was tricky to get it right. Nate had lots of ideas about the whole house plan, since he would be building it. I had lots of ideas about ceiling height, windows, porches and where our bedroom would go (I wanted to be near the kids).
After a year of planning, we were ready to build. Excavation started in June 2015. My husband took an entire year to build the house, thereby keeping costs down to about $110 per square foot. Corrine moved into her adorable loft in December, we moved in with her a few weeks later (she's very patient), and on January 13, 2016, our CO was obtained and we moved into our mostly-finished house.
The house is 2400 square feet (plus a partly finished basement where our older daughter has her space). Corrine's loft is about 1000 feet. It feels like the right amount of space for our family.
Welcome to our house! When you look at these pictures, remember that there is no perfect house. It was hard for us to give up our single-family home. It was a big deal to decide to live on a family compound. (Nate's brother and his family also live on this land). You can love your family a whole ton (and we all do), these are still things to think about.
It turns out my favorite part about living here isn't the beautiful two-story that you see in these pictures. My favorite part is the land. The quiet, the wildlife, the big sky, the farming community. I used to feel sorry for people who lived in the country. Now I know it's the best place in the world.
(I'll give sources as I'm able, but a lot of the stuff came from family or thrift stores. Shopping for this house was stressful for me. I would have liked to find everything on the side of the road!)
Walking in the front door, go right to enter the living room. It's about 16'x16', same as the dining room. These square rooms lend a Craftsman feel to the house.
The walls are Light Pewter, the trim throughout the house is Chantilly Lace (both by Benjamin Moore).
I've hardly hung anything on these walls. Love the simplicity.
The curtains are drop cloths from Home Depot, on Ikea rods and rings.
I don't care for most lampshades, so I usually leave the wire frame bare.
Table from Chipping with Charm in Otsego, MN.
Grain sack from Junk Bonanza in Shakopee, MN.
Lamp from The Round Barn in Andover, MN.
Telephone from my childhood mission center in Yarinacocha, Peru.
It's the trim work (my carpenter husband's specialty) that sets this room apart. In bright sunlight it glows like a pearl. He stood around for many hours, figuring out what he wanted. I totally let him decide. And usually when it comes to design, I like to make the decisions!
The window above the fireplace holds a vintage piano window, found on Craigslist, held in place with a grid.
Fireplace brick is Nob Hill, available on Amazon.
Chandelier ("Salento") available on Amazon.
The first design change I asked for was nine foot ceilings. We've been in a house in Georgia that had 14 foot ceilings. That was actually scary. These feel just right.
The living room and dining room are the exact same size. Let's take a minute to acknowledge this ceiling trim. I would have been fine with something rustic, plain, maybe painted. But my fancy talented husband made this, and I do love it. He also made the chandelier (out of a vintage tree basket, pvc pipe, copper wire, and spray paint. Yes). Oh and he made the cabinet out of an antique card catalog. But he did not make that big mirror. No sirree. You can thank Ikea for that beauty.
I didn't have to buy too much for this space. Just the rug (Joss and Main), the drop cloth curtains, and the grain sack runner off etsy. Because this house NEEDED more grain sack.
The table is a great find from Ramshackled Treasures in Zimmerman, MN.
The chairs are mismatched, most are from my uncle Dick's sale in Robbindale, MN.
Pail from Chipping with Charm, my friend Laurel's shop. She has a booth at Antiques Downtown in Elk River, MN.
View from the dining room into the kitchen, with a glimpse of the back hallway at the left.
Bar stools are Husky work stools from Home Depot, found on clearance. I painted the seats BM #715 to match the ceiling.
The kitchen is where my design dreams took off. I asked Nate for a planked, blue ceiling. He created it so beautifully, I wish I had asked for more ceilings like this. It's painted Benjamin Moore #715. The name of the color is not poetic and I don't enjoy saying it, so I give you a number.
Nate also made the wood hood with its verdigris copper trim. He sprayed salt and vinegar on the copper for about four days, till it was the color we wanted. It's still changing hue a bit. I love it because it's like art in my kitchen.
The center island is a drafting table from Nate's parents' old pole barn. All it needed was sandblasting, painting, whitewashing (we didn't care for the bluish paint treatment), and a Boos Block top. Oh and our carpenter friend made two wonderful drawers on the sink side.
The open shelves are fir, sandblasted and painted Chantilly Lace (BM).
The lights over the sink are from Menards, I spray painted them.
Cabinets are by Samuelson Cabinetmakers in Anoka, MN. They're a full-overlay Shaker style, painted Chantilly Lace by Murphy Brothers Paint shop in Blaine, MN (They painted all our enamel trim, doors and cabinets).
Standing in the back hallway, with a glimpse of the powder room on the left. This tiny powder room is my second-favorite thing about the house, after our master bath. I love that the Entire World is no longer traipsing into my bathroom. (But all you friends of Isaac and Caleb reading this - I MISS YOU!)
The cabinet is an Ikea hack. Nate spent four hours sanding it, so it could be the Bark stain that I hoped for. What a guy. I mean seriously. First he built a whole house (he says it's "just a house"), then he spent many weeks customizing furniture for it.
The floor is luxury vinyl tile from Menards, something Nate wanted. It hides all dirt, was a great price, and comes with a 50 year warranty.
I'll give you the upstairs tour now. This is where the house gets quite unusual. To be honest, I didn't understand how the stairs would look till they were done. The area at the top of the stairs is our little library and an office. The camera is in the little hallway at the top of the other flight of steps, off it are the three bedrooms and two baths.
One of my favorite features of the bedrooms are the angles in the ceilings. The kids have true dormers, but the angles in our room are just for cuteness.
This is our teen daughter's room, decorated entirely by her. The bed was her Gramma's childhood bed. The doilies were made by my Gramma.
Our daughter installed her shelves. She also installed every curtain in the house!
Curtains are Lenda from Ikea.
Wall color is Gray Owl by BM.
Our little boy's room. Bed made by Daddy, stained Bark.
The other side of our little guy's room.
All curtains from Ikea.
The closet curtains are hung on pipe. (We did this in both kid's rooms and the laundry closet).
Wall color is Gray Owl by BM.
Wall art is Little Toot pages from a vintage book.
Cart is vintage.
Pouf from Aldi.
Our room, mostly white, with a headboard wall (real shiplap) made by you-know-who.
Walls and trim both Chantilly Lace
Headboard shiplap Chelsea Gray (BM) in a thinned wash
Vintage linens on chair
Bedding from Ikea.
Euro shams from Ralph Lauren, found at Marshalls and Ebay.
Lamp from Home Depot.
Our ceilings are painted Ephemera by RL.
I like to hang curtains as high as possible, so I trimmed the hems of these panels with gray velvet from JoAnn.
The Last Picture.
My favorite room.
Because I am all about peace and quiet.
And though I adore my family, if things get too loud, you'll find me here, hiding. Reading. Maybe brushing my teeth.
I wrote this post over three days, with so many pauses. I finally got into the groove when I was alone with two of the kids, and they were napping in the basement. So adorable, because one is four, and the other is 21. I love the calm of No Possible Interruptions.
But it didn't last, and now the house is getting busy again. This is my season. I used to go a little bananas in the old house, because it was chaotic and crowded and loud. Now I sometimes long for those days. I miss my grown kids.
You never get time back. If you're in a season of wishing things were different, try to hold onto this: you are in the house, in the place, in the family, in the space where you are intended to be. Maybe it's not entirely comfortable. I get that. There are things in every season of my life that have made me uncomfortable. But someday I will long for this season again. It will seem beautiful and precious because it is gone.
Thanks for coming along on the house tour.
Carpentry: Nathan Murphy 612 239 4888
Design: Laura Murphy email@example.com
House plans: either contact above