(Edited to add: We are Celebrating!! The porch that took 17 years to build has finally been completed.)
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.
We finally hit our goal. The architectural design was completed. We met with our contractor, and we were ready to start building…until my husband felt that we should wait just a little. He felt a financial climate change coming and just wanted to be sure that we could weather the storm.
I didn’t really understand his reasoning, and quite frankly, I may have played a bit of the martyr. We were doing well financially, had saved cash for the porch, and I wanted to begin building. Well, it was the year of the bursting technology bubble and our dot.com business went south. We literally lived off (and eventually depleted) that porch fund (plus some( during the next two years.
But I still love to dream about our front porch with friends gathered together sipping lemonade and anticipate the day when I can save every little penny again to put towards our “front porch” fund.
It’s a “want,” not a “need” and I cherish my home right now just as it is.
(But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy living vicariously through these pictures, right?) 🙂
So what about you?
Do you have a dream for which you are saving?
I’d enjoy dreaming them with you.
The porch that took 17 years to build has finally been completed.)
(I just love this front porch…it’s epitome of a classic).
Never stop dreaming and setting goals.
I love, love, love the front porch thing, but in the house we are in now, that just ain’t gonna happen. It’s not the right style. I love our house though and it is probably our forever house. We are hot on the pursuit of paying off our mortgage right now. We decided our reward would be to redo our master bathroom. It’s a 1939 house and the bathroom is original, so it could use some sprucing up. I think I need some more dreams though to help stay focused. Like the idea of posting on the fridge. Dreams are important!! Nice post!
What a beautiful post. Isn’t that interesting how life works? And aren’t you grateful you had that porch fund?
My financial dream was for my son and I to have our own little home in a nice neighrborhood. I still pinch myself everyday that we actually have that. I humbly feel that everything is gravy at this point :).
@AnNicole@OurSuburbanCottage, It’s so fun to have a real live person to put with this avatar. I bet you pinch yourself…that is amazing, Nicole. I am so thrilled for you…and your suburban cottage….gorgeous. 🙂
Nice porches! We have just a small porch on the front of our 100-yr-old house, but pics of the original show it might have wrapped around a ways!
I think a car/van is the goal right now – unless something more immediate comes up. 🙂
Thank you for sharing that. I really needed to read that…i have a list of wants but as the bubble burst some of our plans we have to hold off and live differently. You never said how bitter or how sad you were to hold that off. I really admire that…thank you again…its ok to wait all our treasures are stored in heaven with Jesus. Keep your amazing inspiring blog going!
I have always dreamed of a front porch. A sit and stay awhile place where you can watch the childred play! We move quite often and it seems we meet all our criteria in the moves except a front porch. Still I always think, one day! I love your “epitome of a front porch” porch! That’s my very favorite. I so admire you for your frugal living and even more for trusting your wise husband. How close he must be to the Lord. I am certain that is who whispered to your husband to wait. I am just as certain that one day you will have your beautiful porch!
I enjoyed meeting you and hearing you speak at Blissdom. The idea for my website came out of this same idea — that we all are saving for someday. I love that even though you had the funds that you (and your hubby) were wise to consider the bigger picture. A porch is but a porch. Even if you don’t have one loved ones will still gather and fill you life with love and joy.
My mom always told me that I should always go to visit a friend, never their house. Many people come visit you each and every day, even though you have no porch. I say you create a virtual porch and sit with your gal pals and enjoy a nice cold lemonade.
I so would love to have a screen porch. Had one at our other house but never built one in this house even after 7 years and I so miss it. But I know NOW it will happen. Taking the Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class at our church and it has changed the way we view money. My husband lost his job in March 2008 we lived off our retirement which is all gone. We will never do that again as we have learned we need a fully funded emergency fund. My husband got his blessing job as we call it in June of 09. When you know better, you do better.
I’ve always wanted an outdoor living room. Complete with a fireplace and one of those old 1950’s metal gliders. I scour craigslist for one of the gliders and I’m always about 2 people too late. One of these days though…
I love those front porches too. The dream for which we’re saving is a new kitchen. It’ll be a long wait but we’re committed to doing it debt free. Everyone else thinks we’re crazy for waiting, but that’s how we live. For now, we’ll just keep dreaming and saving. I’ll certainly appreciate it when I finally get it!
The porch you are describing would be lovely! Our current dream is to pay our van off early, which we will hopefully complete this year. Then we want to add on to the back of our house: another bedroom and bathroom with a craft/playroom below. It’ll take us years to save for it, but we want to have more children so we’ll need the extra space!
Thanks for sharing your story about how God worked in your family to provide! I can only imagine the division that would have occurred if you had insisted, against your husband’s will, that the porch be built now! What a blessing that you listened to the counsel of your husband, as he was led by God.
We’ve been married almost two years now and we’re saving all we can for our Home Sweet Home fund. We have an initial goal of 20% for a down payment on a home, but we’d love to put down even more than that. We don’t have children yet and since I’m working a good job, we’re saving quite a lot (in our opinion)! My husband is finishing seminary and we have no idea where we’re headed, but we want to be ready! He finished our taxes last night and our $2,000 refund (due to educational deductions) will be a great boost to our fund. Hooray!
@Jennifer H., Thanks so much for sharing. You are so wise to save as much as you can now before kids, and putting a good lump sum down on your Home Sweet Home is definitely a very wise move. It’s not worth it long term to live month by month to meet that mortgage payment. Good for you for wanting it to be smaller. 🙂
Thanks, Jen! We have no debt and do want that mortgage payment to be as small as possible. Putting down 50% would be amazing, but we’ll just have to see what happens!
Dreams? How many do you want?
Our long-term dream: We want a farm…him for trees, me for animals. Doesn’t have to be huge. 25 acres would be wonderful. We want to build our own home ourselves. Eventually we’ll get there, if we ever get out of this debt and back in control of our lives. It seems so far away but someday, it will happen. I have faith.
“Medium-term dream:” Meanwhile, I want my back porch fixed and we want to finish our basement and put a wood stove in. Those are our priorities, as cheaply as possible.
Short-term dream: But before all this, this summer we plan to rip out the carpet in our living room and put down some engineered food flooring of some kind. The dog and kids have ruined the carpet.
A wraparound porch is one of my dreams on my dream house list. I have loved them since I was a child. There’s soemthing so…southern about them isn’t there?
My dream is of new counters. I hate, loathe, despise the counters I have now. They are laminate with painted wood trim. Whoever decided painted wood was a good idea in the kitchen should be brought into my home and forced to make mine look nice.
My goal is to earn enough through freelancing and ad sales this year to install or refinish our counters.
@Heather Solos, You’ll do that in a heartbeat, Heather. I am there with you on the counters. A big thing of cleaner leaked through the store bag one evening and I woke up to a huge, warped section of our counter. That will teach me to never shop and drop….(although, there must have been something wrong with the bottle in the first place). Well, six years later – it’s still there.
What lovely pictures!! My savings goal right now is a short-term one; we want to take a family vacation to Disney World this fall and I’m putting every dollar I can scrape together into a fund to have everything paid for before we leave!
read this and can relate!!!we have seven kids and i am determined to take them to disney in september!!!if you have any good saving ideas let me know(by the way, it is usually free dining from mid august thru october, a great savings!!) good luck!
I have two dreams: 1) to take a nice vacation in about a year, and 2) to eventually own a condo/home with in unit washer dryer (got that), diswasher (got that), personal deck (right now it is communal), more closet space, and parking! For my next home, parking is a must…street parking in Chicago is not fun. So I am trying to be thrifty so I can make additional mortgage payments and make sure I have a nice safety net so I can enjoy whatever vacations I take. But I also want to enjoy life while I am saving:)
I am in full-on save mode and have been for a while now. My husband and I are opening our own restaurant. I’m a SAHM and he left his job 8 months ago (just before the birth of our 3rd child in 2 1/2 years) to work on opening full time. So we’ve been living on what we’ve been able to put aside up till now. We open soon though and then our goal is to pay off ALL our debt in the next 2 years so we can move to a larger house. We’re currently in a 1500 sq ft house, with limited storage space, that we outgrew as soon as we had our twins! No reminder needed of what I want taped to my fridge! Hah! I still feel very blessed though. Our family has a warm, safe place to live and we’re all healthy and happy.
Oh Jen, I hope one day you get that wrap around porch you SO deserve. I LOVE all the pics you posted…to.die.for!
We are currently saving to adopt a child from Haiti.
I am scared though, because I know we should also be saving for our retirement, and life in general. 🙂 Hope the economy turns around fast so we can put all we’ve learned to use and make wiser choices next time.
Our biggest financial dream is to pay off our home in 15 years (or less!) We’re working really hard on this already! We pay a set amount from my hubby’s paycheck to extra principal and then anything I earn, we put approximately 50% towards principal! (Lately we’ve been selling stuff on Craigslist & putting that extra money towards the house too!) It’s wonderful to watch the principal go down!
We’re completely happy doing without fancy vacations, new cars, clothes, eating out, etc. to reach this goal! And we know once it is reached we will be able to “give like no one else” — a day we’re really looking forward to!!
We have set aside m0ney so that we can go to Disneyworld in a year or two. This will literally be a once-in-a-lifetime trip! lol Our children are adopted from South Korea so in 3-4 years we plan to take them to Korea to visit their foster moms, agency, see Seoul, etc. Not sure how much more money we will need to save for the second trip once we’ve gone on the first – camping at a state park is usually a big vacation for us! But I’m glad we put the money aside already since we are now stateside missionaries and don’t have much extra right now while we’re raising our support. God always provides and we’re doing our best so I’m excited to see what this year brings!
Thanks for your blog – I really enjoy reading it. And I love big porches! 🙂
Your inspiration photos are lovely!!! I think that a gorgeous veranda like the ones pictured is a great thing to dream of. I dream of a home with a big basement and a garage…lots of extra room.
What a great post! It’s awesome that God took care of the details for you then and now. We entered into a friendly wager with some friends a while back to challenge each other to pay off debt. We ended up paying down $25K in about 18 months. We didn’t win! But we feel extremely blessed that it is helping us live on one income while I stay home with our new baby. So that is pretty much our dream. I think our other dream is to pay off the rest of that debt. Aaaand a new sectional sofa couldn’t hurt either ;0)
I LOVE porches. I love the southern charm and idea of a wrap around porch. And, I just enjoyed this post so much. I must say a wave of conviction passed over me though. Kudos to you for allowing your husband to lead at a time when you wanted something so badly. What a great lesson. Happy Monday!
I love this post, Jen. It’s so easy for people to get sucked into the idea of wanting something and wanting it RIGHT NOW. After all, isn’t that what credit cards are for?
I like the way you share that you still have the front porch dream, but you are cherishing your time right now even when you don’t have it. AND you are still dreaming. One day (soon, I hope), you’ll be able to begin saving specifically for that dream once more. Can I come sit with you on that veranda? 🙂
I love your porch dream. I also dream in porches, but our dream is to move from the mountains to the coast. I want a porch with an ocean view!
I love your porch dream and inspiration pictures. I also dream in porches, but my dream is to move from the moutains to the coast. I’m dreaming of a porch with an ocean view!
A house! A house that I really like, that I truly want, that I actually want to live in! I have a house, but I dream of the one that is the style and design and neighborhood that I want.
But… braces, a tanked economy, a son headed for college, a son that needs a car, dental work that I need, and a million teenage comings and goings have put that dream on hold barring a miracle.
Thanks for the perspective. I can still enjoy life in my little house in Redneck Woods right here and now, but I can dream… oh can I ever dream!
We are trying to honor God with our resources by blessing others, and also by getting out of debt.
6 months ago we moved to cash only.
After a couple months of having a hard time with it and feeling deprived we entered into a joyous phase of the transition. Freedom. Keeping to our budgets. Not charging up credit cards. Learning what it means to deny ourselves sometimes. And enjoying the fruit of saving for something like a set of bunk beds and paying cash for it.
Not only was the post good, but the comments gave me new perspective on want vs. needs. Lately everything has subconsciously become a “need” and I have to admit I have been spending way too much money; putting my family’s financial future at risk. Someday, I wish you would tell your story (you touched on it briefly at Blissdom) about what happened financially and how you are making it. You are a real inspiration to me. No, you are a God send to me – God definitely had something to say to me through you and this post and all the wonderful comments. Thank you!
Gorgeous photos. I dream about wrap-around porches too. But a closer dream to my heart is traveling. I lvoe to travel and wish we could so more often. We aren’t at a point where we can even save an extra penny for vacations, but one day we will be. I just keep hoping.
I just stumbled onto your blog and love the pictures of your dream. We have spent the last 11 years saving for our dream. To one day own a home. First we need to have a permanent place to live!
Oh my word! We built this house in a similar style for the exact same reason. We had a lovely front porch on our old house but I dream of the glorious porch like you describe. So we deliberately made choices with the thought that one day we will be able to add that porch to the front of our house.
It’s not happening any time soon, but I still dream. In fact, when I look at the front of our house, it looks incomplete to me. Not that don’t love our home or appreciate what we have. I just know what’s supposed to be there.
Great post! We adopted our infant son from Ethiopia in Aug. 2008 & while we were there we spent time in orphanages housing older children. My husband & I knew right then that we needed to adopt again. So our dream is to return in 3 years & adopt 2 or 3 siblings. Financially, quite a stretch since the first adoption wiped out our savings. But we feel God is leading us & we’re working hard to cut grocery & other spending. Dreams are great motivators!!
@Amy, oh Amy – that is so wonderful. Having just returned from Ecuador (bringing my adopted nephew home), I know what a financial sacrifice that is….thanks for letting me dream (and pray ) with/for you.
Ha, I am such a dork. I didn’t realize you switched your blog over to its own domain and I have been patiently waiting for a new post to show up from you on my google reader page. I thought WOW, this girl is so busy she never blogs any more! Ok. I’m back with ya now. 🙂
Wow, that house is gorgeous. Is that yours (top?) It is great that you guys built your dream home, even if you have to wait for some of the dream features!
So many dreams to save for, right now we are just saving for survival. You never know what tomorrow might bring and we (like you) are having to set some dreams on hold just to be more secure in life.
@melissa @ the inspired room, You are funny – now that would be really busy. 🙂
Yes, that top pic is our house (with all this crazy snow). You will not typically see a picture like that…ever. You know we’ve been in survival mode as well…that’s why it’s fun to look ahead and dream since there’s so much to look forward to (even IN survival mode. 🙂 )
You’re after my heart — and I think you’ll LOVE this wrap around! http://www.oakalleyplantation.com/ I actually e-mailed them for floor plans and decided that THIS is officially MY DREAM HOME! 🙂 Let me know what you think!?! 🙂 I actually saw this on an episode of Ghost Hunters. Apparently this place is somewhat haunted? Go figure…
@April Driggers, OH MY WORD- yes, that is gorgeous!!! I’ll live vicariously through you when you build it. Double decker porch…love it!
This is a post near and dear to me! We are debating as you post this, a porch or no porch! We are VERY fortunate right now and live debt free, no mortgage and own our home free and clear. We are in our mid-late 30’s so I know what a blessing this really is. We built our current house 9 years ago and have added extra after extra (as we paid cash) over the time we have been here and HOPING it pays off, even in this yuck economy.
We are building a new home (in a few months) and we do NOT want to have a mortgage. So we are saving and planning to build our “dream” house (not mansion, LOL) debt free as well. I posted the land on my blog. We have waited a LONG time for his. So we are super excited!!! Making all the decisions of what needs to be done first and what can be done after (to save money) is fun for me believe it or not! Love these kind of posts 🙂
@Kristi @ The Thrifty Gypsy, Kristi – that is amazing. Congrats on no mortgage….you are the .01 gazzillionth percent of people who do not have one. I saw the pics of your land…beautiful 🙂
@Jens, Thanks Jen, I have never talked about this before (but your blog inspires me!!) with not having a mortgage to my RL friends because I dont’ want anyone to think I’m “bragging”.
But I also wanted to add a little of how we did it. YEARS ago I bought a condo for a steal (kind of like house flipping before it was popular). Lived there, fixed it up a little (mostly paint and cosmetic) and when my hubby and I got married we decided to sell it thinking it would take a long time. Took more less than 2 weeks with just an ad in the local paper and I made more than double what I paid for it. After that (since we had no where to live!!!) we moved into my parents house. We both made good money with our full time jobs, but we also had a side business cleaning new construction houses before the people move in) We put ALL Of our money away for the almost 2 yrs we lived there. So between the profit of the condo and our jobs and business we were able to pay for this house. I also must add that we are in the building business (our whole family). So we paid “cost” for everything. But still, we did without alot and added when we could.
Anyway thank you and just wanted to “explain”. I love talking about being frugal and saving money. It’s smart, but FUN too! 🙂
Ahhh dreams. I would love to have our former home sell finally after 2 years (we had to move for dh’s job)…be debt free…and adopt again. Not necessarily in that order! Dreaming is good. 🙂
I love your porch pictures! My dream house would certainly have a Southern style wrap around porch. Great thoughts on waiting for your dream. My dream is to buy a home that is big enough to have an extra freezer and has a little room to stockpile great deals in an organized, accessible manner. We currently live in a small, rented apartment and we have to find some very creative and not so attractive storage. We recently looked into buying a house but did not feel good about all the debt that would be required, so we are saving to pay cash for our first home. That does provide a lot of motivation to do without some wants.
Right now my dream is to get out of debt so we can get our own house.
We’re on our way and looking forward to start saving for it so we can have an awesome kitchen for our show. 😀
I have a dream of paying for my kid’s college. If I can give them the gift of being debt-free when leaving college I would be so proud.
I came across your post on WFMW and I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed it!
I’m only 19 right now so you are probably wondering how it applied to me. But I put every bit of spare change, baby sitting money, left-over allowance money straight into my savings account. Right now I’m not quite sure what I’m saving for. But I know in the future, if things ever take a turn for the worst that I’ll have that fund to dip into and help keep me going.
@Louisa, Louisa – that is amazing. Good for you to be different than typical teens. You will never regret it. Having the noose of debt around your neck is something to avoid and it seems like you are taking the right steps to do it. Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey? He has a book called Financial Peace and at your young age, it may be a wonderful thing for you to “google/read” just so you can think ahead at financial steps you can begin doing now. 🙂
I’m with you! The porch thing has been a loooong time dream of mine as well.
I still dream about it regularly and know….it’s a want not a need!
A goal is a good thing!
We actually have a small old house, but it has a front porch. It has been our favorite part of the house. Unfortunately with the economy like it is and a husband that works in the financial industry. . .we may be leaving this house behind and moving. The main thing I will miss is our front porch. Maybe someday we will be able to have one again. But right now I am just dreaming of our future, where we will land and where we will call home.
Oh I love all your front porch pictures!! I have a very small front porch that can seat….(in chairs…) 3. If not in chairs are you are under the age of 10 then we have sat close to 12 – all with popsicles in hand! Our dream right now is to pay off our car and home loans. So easy to type and so hard to do with a family of 5! But we are working bit by bit and even watching the numbers drop a little is encouraging!
I dreamed of having my own home and NEVER thought it would happen (especially with all of our student loans). But, by living with friends for a year and the first-time homebuyer credit, my dream came true! The difficulty is staying content. Now I dream of a porch or a deck or a garage….all lovely and beautiful things that turn ugly if I fixate on them. So, for now, my dream is two-fold: paying off student loans as quickly as possible and being content and patient along the way!
My financial goal is to be completely debt free. Once that’s accomplished, who knows what I’ll dream about, but for now that’s enough of a dream for me.
That is a HUGE dream and a wonderful one!!! In my opinion, the best one to start with. 🙂