A Recipe for Home: Building a House from Scratch

There’s No Place Like Home

There’s no place like home.  It’s the physical embodiment of the people who live there. It is – or should be – a haven, a place of safety and security, of sustenance, where you are welcomed and nurtured and accepted. It’s the container that holds much of our lives.

ideal house cottage

Planted365 Home Build

The word “planted” can mean so many things. Planted365 has been about showing others how simple and delicious plant-based and vegan food can be. But being “planted” is so much more. It’s putting down roots with the intention of growing and, ultimately, thriving and flourishing. For us, this entails having a safe home base in a place we love. We decided the best way to get exactly what we want is to design and build it (mostly) ourselves.

Build a House from Start to Finish

Have you ever wanted to build your own house? Are you curious about what that project might entail? In this series of posts, we will be showing the process of constructing our house from start to finish, including all the costs of both materials and labor. We’ll be doing the majority of the work ourselves so there will be a lot of “sweat equity” going into the project!

Here’s some of the inspiration we’ve used in designing the house. 

home building style board with various photos brick stone wood

Building a Vegan Home

We are both vegan. This means we eat a plant-based diet but also that we do our best to eliminate animal products and exploitation from the rest of our lives as well. We’re attempting the same as we construct our home, using animal-free items as much as is practicably possible.  We’re researching and learning about this as we go. 

Located in Chelsea, Michigan

Chelsea is a small town just west of Ann Arbor, Michigan. I found it quite by accident long ago, and it was love at first sight. 

chelsea mi

I was attending the first-ever preview performance of the first-ever play performed at The Purple Rose Theater. The Purple Rose is a world-class professional theater company founded by actor Jeff Daniels, who also lives in the area. I got lost trying to find the theater and drove around and around the downtown Chelsea neighborhoods … which is the most charming small town you could ever imagine. It’s an established neighborhood of block after block of neatly kept Victorian houses, cozy Craftsman bungalows, and even a few modern Frank Lloyd Wright-ish homes. I’d been looking for an older home and wanted to live here! As life would have it, I ended up just a few miles down the road in a cute, fantastically built Prewar house I loved in another charming town. That was a long time ago. Ever since then, I’ve pined just a little for my long lost love and suspected I’d someday get a chance to revisit the opportunity to live here. 

It Begins with a Bit of Land

property chelsea mi

I woke up one morning a couple of years ago with the sudden urge to look for vacant land. Within a few weeks, we were buying our dream property in, you guessed it, Chelsea, Michigan. It’s two hilly acres with a pond, blooming milkweed, and fluttering monarchs, along with a robust and friendly population of rabbits. The land is on a private road sandwiched between the beautiful and busy downtown area and a 20,000+ acre recreation area.  So, if we go a mile in one direction we can enjoy all the shops and restaurants and music and parks of Chelsea as well as the most delightful bookstore on the entire planet, which is Serendipity Books (you can shop there online!).  Just a mile or two in the other direction and it’s miles of nearly vacant Michigan “wilderness,” with dozens of lakes and hiking/biking trails.

It’s. Absolutely. Perfect.   

Building and Budgeting During Covid19

This hasn’t been a total dealbreaker but we’ve had to adjust to working around the restrictions of Covid19 lockdowns and shortages. We met our excavating contractor on our property on a Friday in mid-March. The following Monday our Governor here in Michigan issued stay at home orders and our project was put on hold for several weeks. We hadn’t yet finalized the building permits and the township and county offices closed. We were able to get the permits fairly quickly once everything had opened back up but there are a few things that are still affected. Most notably, lumber prices have gone up by around 50% and some things are harder to get with longer waiting times for delivery. But, for the most part, building in this area is still going like gangbusters. So we’re happy to get started!

Stay tuned for the project as it unfolds! 

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Lisa Viger

Hello! I'm Lisa, an artist, photographer, author, gardener, navel-gazer, and lover of the planet and all its inhabitants. I draw and paint, cook, write, take lots of pics, eat lots of chocolate, and practice gratitude daily.