As my children were growing up, long before we even owned land to build on, I would take them for walks in the stroller past this gorgeous, private, and spacious 7 acre lot that was near our current home. (See below!)  It was the perfect lot to build a house on.  I had photos taken on our wedding day taken near this lot.  I took pictures of my children as they were growing up here.   It was truly a beautiful setting.


 Oh yeah, and because I know someone will ask me how I like this stroller… this is the BEST jogging stroller ever! 👆


What I liked most was it was on a hillside, overlooking a huge pond, classic red barn, and a farmhouse.  This was not just any farmhouse either, might I add…. this farmhouse was where one of my best friends from high school grew up, which means I spent many days and nights there!  [insert sentimental feelings here] It was a perfect, calming and perfectly manicured view!  Think corn stalks and swans!   I thought many times that this lot would be the perfect compliment to the modern transitional French country home style (thus the #thelaydenlegacy) I dreamed about building someday.  And I’ve had this question asked already and I’ll just answer it here– with this view can you believe that I’m NOT building a modern farmhouse!? I really think a modern farmhouse would have been amazing on this lot, but I really wanted to build something complementary!

I wondered many times if this specific lot would ever be up for sale.  I live in rural America!  In my neck of the woods,  it is very difficult to find land for sale.  Family members hold onto hundreds of acres of land for future generations.  Some people from city areas buy up massive amounts of property for hunting or recreational purposes.  Often times, acquiring land actually requires seeking out the owners of the acreage at the local courthouse and actually writing them a hand written letter to see if they would like to sell some property!  (Since writing this post, I have actually found out from a friend that now you can easily find the owner of land from this website- )

Our area in which we live is not the land of the massive home developments or suburbia as some like to call it.  I live in a small town.  Our local high school graduates 80 students currently, down from the 120 when I went there and “Friday Night Lights” still pretty much holds our small town together.

Thinking this land would be mine someday was really nothing more than a pipe dream!  Then, one day on our  walk, a very surreal thing happened.  There was “FOR SALE BY OWNER” sign on the property.  It was too good to be true and it was definitely meant to be.  How could this be so?  We had just gotten married and were definitely NOT in a position to build a house financially.  But… I had to have that property!  So, what did we do?  We PRAYED a lot and we figured out a way to may it work, which required my husband and I to take a home equity loan against our current house.  Nope- this was NOT ideal – but at the time, it was the only option we felt we had!  I say this because in life things aren’t always ideal!  Sometimes you have to dig deep and hope for the best!  I’m so thankful we took that risk because here we are, 10 years later, and we are ready to finally build our house!  Yes!  We took the alternative route to get there.  We took a long and winding road, but now because we did that,  our land is now free and clear!  Can you say nice DOWN PAYMENT on a new construction loan?!?  Now, we are also in a position to actually build a much nicer home then we could have initially afforded.  Another bonus-  we had years to envision exactly what we wanted.  I say this because for ten years, as I looked out my kitchen window, I would dream of what our house would look like sitting on the piece of property.  I would try to envision my family living in a new location.  And most important I would envision the floor plan and the exterior of the house we wanted to build.  I started creating in my mind, MY MUST HAVE LIST of our future home.  In my opinion, the alternative route worked to our advantage.  And I’m not a motivator speaker (yet) but I truly believe that taking a small step is better than not taking any step at all!

So– maybe you took the alternative route like we did!  Maybe you inherited some land or you just bought a lot and are ready to build tomorrow.  Whichever route you took, the question still remains:  Where do you go from here?

How do you really turn an vacant lot into something you’ve dreamed of for years? How do you turn your dreams into a reality?  I have been saying to my husband since we started the custom home building process 10 years ago that the key element of the entire process is assembling the PERFECT team.  Ten years ago, I didn’t know exactly know who would make up that team, but over the last three years since we really dived into the project, I learned quite fast that without the PERFECT team, our vision would never turn into a reality. How could a recovering perfectionist  (yeah – that’s me!) ever assemble a perfect team?!?

Who are the four key people when building your dream home?  Follow along with my blog series to learn all about these key people and the important role each of them plays in the house building process.   These four people will truly determine the vibe and direction of the massive project that lies ahead!  The project that I like to call our biggest risk, our greatest fear, our biggest leap of faith, and our single largest investment we will probably ever make in this lifetime.  Will we make mistakes along the way?  Yes! We have already!  Will you also make mistakes?  I’m sorry to tell you this, but you DEFINITELY will too!  That’s part of the reason I decided to start this blog!   I had so many friends and family members asking me so many questions about the process, that I felt it would be beneficial to share those answers and document what I have learned along the way with you too!

As always, thanks so much for following along.  I hope you come back soon to see our home building journey unfold.



  1. Holly Bingaman
    June 27, 2018 / 1:00 pm

    The house looks Amazing so far!Your not going to want to clean that house ,haha!Congrats on your dream home and your blog is a great read!

    • Jessicalayden
      June 27, 2018 / 11:12 pm

      Thank you so much Holly! 😘

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