Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The House That Love Built

This time of year sunshine is something to savor and it seems that mornings start out bright and clear only to  cloud over by mid-afternoon. 

When we do get sunshine, the passive solar design of our home allows us to turn the heat off completely. 

Most of the energy efficient, double pane glass faces South to capture as much warmth and sunlight as possible. With the low angle of the sun this time of year, maximum benefit is achieved. 

The framing was built with 2x6's instead of 2x4's, allowing extra insulation. Exterior 3/4 inch plywood, covered with clear cedar lap siding, and interior walls of wallboard covered by fir tongue and groove insure cozy warmth despite cold weather. Our trusty wood stove with built in fan circulates heat throughout the home. 

We have two of these - one here and one at the opposite end of the house in our bedroom. 

We only use the second stove during extreme weather or power outages, which are frequent in our windy and stormy winters. 

Electric baseboard heat supplements the wood stove when not in use. 

As an owner built home, we were able to custom design our home the way we wanted it. 

By owner built, I mean truly - 'owner' built. 

My Mr. did the majority of the work, with occasional hired help with some of the major work such as the framing and setting the roof trusses. 

It is a modern 'Salt Box' design with a tall, 2 story front, steeply sloping to a single story in back.

This allows for open ceilings with large beams and skylights for added light in our dark Northwest winters. 

When we moved onto our 5 acres of undeveloped land, we were very young, still in our 20's.

We had just lost our first home in Oregon due to the same type of housing crisis experienced recently, only instead of the banks giving out faulty loans, it was the savings and loan industry giving out faulty developer loans.

In the one year (1980) that we lived in our brand new home, our interest rates skyrocketed from 9% to 19%.
We were unable to afford the payments, although we desperately tried.

We were expecting our third child and I had to go out to work on the graveyard shift.

It was not to be and we couldn't keep up.

Meanwhile my parents had moved to Washington State and bought land. When we came to visit, we fell in love with the breathtaking scenery.

The properties for sale were former logging lands in the foothills of the Cascade mountains, which hadn't been logged since the 1930's.

They were located on a steep, undeveloped logging road that had to be hiked into.

When we first hiked in, I was 6 mos. along with my 3rd child and had to climb over and under fallen trees.

My Blue Eyes had previously hiked in and knew the way. He tenderly guided me and coaxed me along as I made my way through thickets, getting scratched and bruised, and carried me over obstacles.

Just when I was ready to sit right down in the middle of the forest and go no further, he looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, 'Turn around'.

And there was Mt. Rainier rising up from the mist.

It took my breath away.

I have always had misguided angels hanging over me,

and so I decided to take the leap.

Oh the hardships we suffered - but that is a story in itself.

No electricity, no water, no money - just hope.

We sold everything we owned, bought a 32 foot vintage 1961 travel trailer with a full kitchen and bath, and an equally vintage International Scout 4 wheel drive.

We put $2000 down to secure our little piece of paradise, hired a bulldozer to push a road in,

and then we prayed.

My Dear young husband built this 16'x20' building, complete with wood stove, with only hand tools and we pulled the trailer in front and connected the two with a built in passageway/ storage room.

We set up a cistern to collect rainwater, and propane supplied fuel for appliances, a pump, and heat.

And then we started saving and dreaming.

And praying some more.

With the help of neighbors (which included my parents), we all put our funds together to improve the road and bring in electricity.

Because it was a private road, we had to pay for this ourselves.

There were 5 properties sold by then.

We  had gone a year without electricity.

Our dreams seemed so out of reach, but we kept our faith.

Next time: We break ground

Misguided Angel
-Cowboy Junkies-

I said 'mama, he's crazy and he scares me
But I want him by my side
Though he's wild and he's bad
And sometimes just plain mad
I need him to keep me satisfied'

I said 'papa, don't cry cause it's alright
And I see you in some of his ways
Though he might not give me the life that you wanted
I'll love him the rest of my days

Misguided angel hangin' over me
Heart like a gabriel, pure and white as ivory
Soul like a lucifer, black and cold like a piece of lead
Misguided angel, love you 'til I'm dead

He says 'baby, don't listen to what they say
There comes a time when you have to break away'
He says 'baby there are things we all cling to all our life
It's time to let them go and become my wife'

Misguided angel hangin' over me
Heart like a gabriel, pure and white as ivory
Soul like a lucifer, black and cold like a piece of lead
Misguided angel, love you 'til I'm dead

(my favorite song)



  1. wow! i had no idea you started there with a wish and a prayer and everything you had sitting right there in front of you - in a trailer. :) and with 2+ kids! brave, dear souls who had a dream worth dreaming.

  2. What a wonderful story and a beautiful home. I lived near Seattle for about 2 years in the early '80s. It is such a pretty part of the country

  3. What an amazing story this is! I loved reading it. My husband and I have had some slightly similar circumstances in building our cabin in the mountains. Takes lots of blood and guts and prayers. And you have to be so patient. Well it looks to me as if you are in a place that all of your dreams have come true. Love the tongue and groove and the colors and lighting are amazing. Thanks so much for sharing your story about the house that love built! Beautiful

  4. Oh I love that song! It gave me chills!!!!! And let me just say that I have totally lost track of everything reading your post! You swept me away to a beautiful place and an amazing love story! Your house is beautiful but goodness the journey oh the journey has reminded (on this very trying day with my beans) to soak in as much of the journey as possible. How strong you all were to do this with a third baby on the way! Such strength and such love! I can not wait to read more! Thank you for reminding me and putting a smile on my face...you are wonderful! Nicole xoxo

  5. You were regular pioneers, what a history you have. But it sure looks like all your prayers were answered 10 fold...you have a beautiful place with plenty of love!!

  6. What a beautiful story and a beautiful home your love has built! I think that view of Mt. Rainier would have done it for me too.

  7. I can't even imagine having 3 young children and no electricity - good for you! Your house really was built with love!

  8. Oh Mrs. Karen this is very touching story of your beautiful house that I always adore. Really! Each time I am thinking of my future dream house your house always come across to my mind, and today I know how it's stand up on the Love and Faith.

    I always wanted to have a house like yours someday hehe :D Can I just pin every picture here? well, I just found your Pinterest and I following :) I love the way you decorated your home. Everything looks so lovely and peaceful.
    Inspiring post for me too look up for my future.

    Thinking of you!

  9. What an incredible story of overcoming hardship and of a dream come true. I can't imagine living in the cascades without electricity! Your husband is a wonderful craftsman. I look forward to reading the next post!

  10. Great pictures you show Karen. Wishing you and your a good Wednesday :) Hugs Hanne Bente ♥

  11. Karen, thank you for sharing your heartwarming story. I think I was holding my breath as I read your words. Your misguided angels did not lead you astray.
    Your Blue Eyes was certainly a romantic and definitely a keeper!
    I want to hear 'the rest of the story'. :)

  12. Every morning, a special thought full of love enriches your life and makes you more loveabled.

    Great post!!!
    Yannis and Vania Politopoulos

  13. I love this story - because it has a happy ending! Can't wait for the rest:)

  14. That picture of the hiking path is absolutely amazing. I would love to hike that someday :)

  15. You have a beautiful home!! :)

  16. Beautiful post... amazing what you both have achieved by believing in each other....Looking forward to part 2....Hugs May x x x

  17. Wow! This is such an amazing story! I had no idea all that you have overcome. It is so inspiring! Your house really is so beautiful and I love that it was built by your hubby. How neat that you have solar power as well! I can't wait to hear the next installment!

  18. The mountain would have made up my mind too - what a view. Lovely story about the beginnings - so much goes into a house that most of us don't really think about. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Your family were true pioneers! I can't imagine how hard it must have been. And look at what you have achieved! Very, very inspiring, Karen. Thank you.

  20. What a nice post. It brings me warm feelings... :-)

    Many greetings from the Netherlands,

  21. Oh what a fantastic story- I can just imagine the hardships you endured with your kiddos and no electricity. You really were pioneers. And what a beautiful view!

  22. I remember you sheared with me some of your beginnings but 6 months PG was left out until now - wow wee -- wink! And some of your circumstances match my own...and now looking back and seeing it all now - it was I am sure --- worth it all!!...Soaking it all in -- Loving your stories...Keep-em coming...
    Lovely home sweet home..

  23. Dearest Karen,
    What a love story! A tough beginning with two little kids and one on the way and that with one year without electricity. WOW! But looking back it was so well worth it. All you created with your own bare hands and with lots of sacrifices and sweat is so rewarding. We can speak from experience. May you both be blessed for staying in your dream spot for many more years.

  24. Everything you do is full of love, Karen! xx

  25. Me gusta esta casa invita a coger una mantita un buen libro y adisfrutar de una tarde.Las fotografias trasmiten, son geniales. Felicidades por tu bloc ha sido todo un regalo el visitarlo, espero que visites el mio y si te gusta espero que te hagas seguidora.

  26. This is truly an inspirational story, Karen - the pioneer spirit incarnate. Young people today should take notice. <3

  27. this is spring here in my yards in the climber 's tangled branches two small birds are making their nest and while having morning and evening teas we both (hubby and me) watch that how much they couple is putting into make their nest dear Karen!

    if i were you i would have also choose this splendid place which looks like piece of heaven !

    everything happens for the reason and you previous problems brought what you deserved my friend!
    thank you sooooooooooooooooooo much for sharing this touching experiences of life !

    may you be blessed with more joys of life!!!

  28. Beautiful! Courage and faith! Blessings to you always Karen!


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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