The Porch That Took 17 Years to Build - an inspiring story for anyone who wants their dream home

Our son rolled his eyes at me, “Mom, you live like we are still unemployed.  Why don’t you just buy that furniture?  We finally have the money and I know you want it.”

I turned to him and gathered all the passion I could muster, “Son, You know I have a big goal! The bottom line is that we can’t have it all, even if everyone else tells us we can, we can’t.

So, get used to it because I am going to live like we did when we were unemployed and save and save until that dream becomes a reality. When that happens, I am going to laugh all the way to the bank as I withdraw my money and pay cash for that dream porch.”

He chuckled, “Yes, Mom. The elusive porch. I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Honestly, his response wasn’t one of disrespect. His response was based on historical fact. That elusive porch he mentioned had become the inside joke of family and close friends. Two times, spanning ten years, we had saved up the cash to build our dream porch, only to have devastating financial circumstances fall upon us.

During those heart wrenching times, that porch fund fed us, clothed us, and saved our home twice. Since we had committed to paying cash for it, our porch fund became an extended life line to live off of when no new income generation occurred.

The saying states that “the third times a charm,” but honestly, once we had saved up this third time, I waited, and then waited some more. We made sure our emergency fund was completely in tact. I was not taking any more chances.

Before the first hole was dug, I repeatedly joked to my husband, “So the company is fine? Pay checks are getting paid? Your job is secure? Are you SURE??”

When friends drive down our long, gravel drive, I want them to know this is SO MUCH MORE than a story about a fabulous Before and After or a great outdoor living space addition. 

This is a story of community. A story of thrifting as a lifestyle.  It’s a story that begins with a difficult journey, a commitment to a long term vision, God’s faithfulness, and hopefully, a story that encourages you.

The first chapter in my story rejects the lie that everyone’s dream home occurs over night.

As we browse pinterest perfect houses online, please understand that for each one of those, there are thousands where the owners would be thrilled to pay the next mortgage. I’ve been there. I know the pain and exhaustion of that long road, but now I’ve finally caught a glimpse of turning that corner and celebrating the journey.

It took seventeen years, and this is literally our very first home renovation since we built this house. I’ve finally received the gift of building a “want,” not a “need,” and the wait, yes, this extremely delayed gratification, is so worth  it.

It’s OK to WANT, but for me, it was even better to WAIT! The lessons I learned, they’ve multiplied in the waiting.

I’m more convinced than ever that we make our own dream homes,  right where we live, no matter what our financial circumstances.

We have that choice.

Often, it’s a difficult one, but to be content in the moment is one of life’s greatest gifts.

Choose contentment. It wins every time. With or without the porch, I’ve been living in our dream home all along, tacky floors, leaking showers and all. Some days, I just forgot that.

I shared the first part of our porch story nearly four years ago in a post entitled, Setting Financial Goals: For What Dream Are You Saving?

It begins like this, “When we built our house thirteen years ago, we purposely designed a colonial style because our dream style for our home was to have a large wrap around front porch.  Not just a typical decorative front porch, but more of a veranda.

A porch that screams, “Welcome.” A porch where memories are made.

A place where family and friends could gather and share life together. An environment where stress and worries would melt away over shared conversation.

I envisioned birthdays being celebrated, wedding rehearsal dinners taking place, and secrets confided over coffee.

After five years, we were ready to begin building.   We had set a financial goals and for years, we saved every nickel and dime to put into our “front porch fund.”  Personally convicted, we felt it was important to save up the full amount before beginning to build rather than adding onto our mortgage.

Passing by all my little “wants,”, I didn’t spend money on other non-essentials because I had a completely focused financial goal for which I was striving – a wrap around veranda that would seat sixty comfortably. I even had a picture of it taped to the side of our fridge for two years to keep me focused.

And then it all fell apart.

You’ll have to click over and read about the first time we lived off our porch fund and the irony is that when I wrote that post, we had just rebuilt that fund, never thinking we’d have to dip into it, let alone, go through it all, again. My husband’s employer had just been sold and we were entering into what would be a year long period of unemployment, but we made it, again.

And now I’m finally here, four years later (or really 17 years from start to finish), sitting on that elusive front porch. So many twists and turns occurred along the way, and even that dream porch doesn’t look quite like what it did 17 years ago, but I can’t wait to share the final pictures with you in PART 2 of my porch story.

Do you have a “Dream Porch” for which you are saving?

You can DO IT!! I have faith in you.

As our story shows, it doesn’t happen over night, and most often, the is pain along the journey, but stick with it, it’s SO WORTH IT!!

Can you share that dream you are saving for?

I’d love to dream along with you and be your #1 cheerleader.


PART TWO of our Front Porch (the AFTER) is up! Come see the process that we went through in building our porch.

There’s no time like the present to start thinking about your “dream porch,” and hopefully, it won’t take you 17 years to make it a reality!