We Knew We Had to Build this House

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Built our dream home. We saw this picture in the Home Magazine and we knew we had to build this house. Of course it was big, almost 4000 sq ft. We bought the land for $100 down and $231 per month. It was 6 acres for a total of $27,000. When we first saw it for sale I said to myself if we can only get back to this creek that would be really neat. Boy was I surprized when there was 5 more acres behind where I wanted. The owners employee, Charles, told us that it had been sold and some others were still available. We looked at others but none to our liking. Then Charles called and said that the attorney had decided not to buy after all and we could get it.

After almost 10 years of owning the land and almost losing it 3 times because of being behind on the payments we finally thought we had the loan approved to build the house. We went ahead and borrowed money from McCoys Credit card company and started building. Our limit was $12,000 and we used that money pretty fast framing the floor system and the 1st story walls. Wrote a hot check that we thought we could cover for $500 to pour the concrete piers under the framing. The land was purchased on a contract for deed that stated we could not start construction untill the contract was paid off. The concrete supplier filed a lien on the land and here come the letters of repossession and demands to tear down the building or else the contract would be null and void. The 29th day of that 30 day default notice we closed the loan with a finance company to pay off the $27,000. Still no construction loan after getting close 4 times with 4 different brokers.

A year and a half later we foumd a lender in Waco that would do the construction and permanent loan, but we needed to have a builder. After talking to several builders that would front for me at $6,000 to $12,000 I asked my friend if he would help and he agreed and what a favor he did for me as he did not even charge a fee.

Here we are all started again and man the second story went really fast. I hierd two guys to help and the second floor and walls were up in a week. Then it happened. I was working by myself early one morning. I had been working in the same place the day before without a problem. The scaffold gave way and down I went. I was laying there screaming with my foot hanging sideways. Nobody near. I crawled across the porch and got up and hopped to my truck. My cell phone would not work, no service when I would turn off Hwy 290 here in Oak Hill. Drove to the Hwy and called 911. Up my wife drives and follows us to hospital. 10 days later i get out of hospital with a metal erector set screwed to my leg.

Hired a frame crew to start the roof framing. Complicated system with 12 *12 pitch 45 degree angle. I came out to the job daily and could tell there was not much progress. After a week of trying to cut the rafters in they told me that they gave up. Even their crew chief showed up for a day and said he could not do it either.

Found a new guy. Phil, and I knew the first day he was the one to do the job. He brought a couple guys too and I finally fired the first guys as they were not being much help to Phil. My son, Russell, quit his pizza job to help. At 19 years old he did all the wiring, plumbing, and exterior painting, as well as cut out all the Victorian Trim for around the wrap around porch. I helped and was in the garage with a plactic bag around my leg cutting out the blocks to use as dental molding around the fascia.

I had been in construction for years and I also helped Russell with the layout and design of the elec and plumbing. We hired some help to pull the main wires from the pole underground to the house.

Finally ready for sheetrock. As you know it a sheetrock shortgage. It cost an extra $2,500 just to get the supples. I hired a crew to install, tape, float and texture.

I painted the inside walls and ceilings and did most of the interior woodwork. We used fluted trim on the doors and all the windows with plynth blocks and Rosetts at the top of the trim. We also used 5 panel pine doors and 6 inch stain grade pine base boards. I did hire a helper to help finish all the doors.
We could not find or afford cabinets that we liked. Still on crutches I built the cabinets from pine beaded ceiling boards and 1/2's. I built them in place board by board with a nailgun and glue.

We got lucky with the wallpaper. HQ went out of business and we bought wallpaper there at 70% off. My wife and I hung a total of 140 rolls at night some time til 2 am.

Russell helped with the ceramic tile floors in the kitchen, dining room, all 3 bath floors and counters and shower and tubs. I built the stair hand rail system in 3 days by myself. I had never done this and boy it really turned out great.

The wood floors in the dining, office, stairs, and hallways I could not tackle. Phil and his brother-in-law came to the rescue. Working only late at night they finished the floors in a few weeks. The happiest day of the entire project was when the first coat of poly was applied to the floors. I cried it was so beautiful. I had also gotten wood molding for around the entry and cased opening in the dining room and had just hung that too that day. It was coming together.

Of course, there were many other problems but we worked them out. Always money shortages especially when the framing and electrical and plumbing all be done at once.

Move-in day was great. I was still barely able to walk, but we had plenty of help moving. We were so excited and thrilled and proud of our accomplishments and all the setbacks we had overcome. We still live here even though we almost lost the house in Bankruptcy. Thanks to this web site I have again overcome adversity and started building another real estate empire. The guys here have given me a renewed spirit and I will achieve all my new high goals because after the completion of our dream home I had lost site of a new goal. I am back on track now and well on my way to success.

We are very proud of our home with lots of antiques and invite you all to come share our joy.

Happy Holidays and Thank You.

Ted Stokely
Austin, TX

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We Knew We Had to Build this House

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