Two Years

Some days I wake up and feel like we’ve been here for a few days, but most days it feels like we’ve always been here. Time is very peculiar.

We’ve officially lived in this house for two years. Two years … Two sets of birthdays, two Thanksgivings, two winters cozied up by the wood stove, two summers spent outside in the sunshine, and if we’re being honest, two lackluster vegetable gardens that we will get ahold of this summer (I have plans, y’all).

The thing with building your own house is you intimately learn every nook and cranny. I see things that no one else would, like the little notch in the stairs that hugs our uneven plaster walls. I know where we had to hide something, or where something else magically worked out. I think that’s part of why this place feels like I have always lived here. I know it so well it’s almost an extension of myself. Maybe it’s strange to say it, but it feels like this house is a part of my body because I put so much energy into building it.

After two years, I’m really starting to feel an itch to finish some lingering projects. I’m trying to tick off the smaller ones, like installing shelves in our closets so we finally have a place to store linens other than a laundry basket at the end of the hall. Lots of finish work needs to be done, but I’ve decided that doesn’t mean I can’t put a mirror on top of the dresser, or clean out the bedrooms that are overflowing with boxes of things that need homes (or new homes altogether). Making this house feel more cozy and lived-in has made the finish work less daunting. It’s actually made me want to finish things because I can visualize how good it could look if only there wasn’t an extra mattress leaning up against the wall, or if I just hung some shelves already.

I’m hoping that after two years, I can get back to this writing business because I’m sure (or at least I think?) people might be wondering how we did this thing. It was a slow process, to be sure, and I learned so much about building and also about myself ... what makes me want to pull my hair out, what I can really handle, and what I am capable of. Maybe if I start writing, I’ll finally get around to all these projects I keep talking about? I certainly will have a different perspective on all of the ones we've finished along the way.

Now, if only the snow would melt so I can get all of the tools out of the shed. Word to the wise: Don’t let the tools get snowed in.


  1. I love the sunshine in your kitchen space!!!!!!

  2. I would love to hear more about you building your house. We hope to build one in a few years.

    1. Glad to hear, Mark. Hopefully I can give you some good advice on embarking on your own project.

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  4. Hello Julia! It's so great to see a home like yours being built in this region. I've been researching straw bale homes and cobs for about two years. This summer I'll be attending a workshop with a group in Vermont. I'm in Onondaga County and I'm wondering how you were able to get permits, insurance, and such in upstate NY to build your home. I'd also love to know which elements of your home you didn't do yourselves, and who you chose to contract for the work. Thanks so much for any help!


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