Me & my horses.

- the trails of my life

Heather's Blog

Land and Temporary House update

Posted by Heather on March 4, 2012 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

I should start by saying that the home was delivered in November and it is STILL not complete. The final inspection should be happening any day now and then the home can have the stone paneling put on the outside and the final cleaning done inside. 4 months is much too long to wait for a paying customer. If this wasn't a model home for the community I would hate to see a customer treated that way. It's okay with us because our Japanese household goods aren't here yet so it's not like we're ready to move into it. I'm just irked with our crew for dragging their feet. 

On another, happier note, the Tangelwood is GORGEOUS! I'd never guess right off that  it was manufactured if I hadn't seen the assembly in progress. It is just too big and nice. I can't get over how fancy it is on the inside for a manufactured. Granted it is one of the more top of the line ones but we wanted to be able to showcase something top of the line. Whoever gets this home after us will be beyond pleased with it. 

I can't wait to finally be able to update with photos. The weather has just been gross and the front port was in progress for almost 3 weeks. Now it's finished and as soon as the stone paneling is up, I'll go take photos. The interior is still all drywall dusty and needs to be cleaned up. The fireplace was put in without a mantle & hearth, so it is going to be fun picking those out. 

I'm excited about it! I have been dreaming about gardens for the last week and imagining the landscaping. I guess I didn't realize how much I missed that stuff. Always moving means I can never get attached to things like that. Now, though, I'm having so much fun thinking of all the ways to add the final outdoor touches. Landscaping can make or break a property in my mind. If it's blended well into it's space with living green things, it looks like it belongs there rather than just being dropped down from the sky. At least, that's how I see it. 


I finally got a chance to look at the surveys for the Wixom property. (I really need to pick out a name for our future place, don't I?) The shape of the land is to die for! 

The whole red block is ours. I also found out that some of the surrounding pieces to the East and South East might be available for purchase in the future. Maybe if my barn is successful I'll need to build a second and have more paddocks. Ha! I guess I'm in the dreaming big mood. Anyway, that's it right there. We're at the end of a rather nice cul-de-sac and the property on either side of it is ours, which means we'll be able to use that area as an entrance to the place. I think it will look amazing. Next time we're out, I'll take photos. 

We visited the property when we first got back and we walked almost the whole property line, or what we were assuming was the property line. It is WILD and undeveloped. Lots of game trails and I even got to see a flock of wild turkeys, some raccoon and deer tracks and in general just explore. Trying not to get eaten by thorns was .. entertaining. I have some questions about what it takes to clear land like that. It's old trees, brush and well, imagine a hunk of land that's never been anything in the history of ever. Eesh. 

We've got our eyes peeled for architects and builders that will be able to help us realize our dream house. One is in Ann Arbor - http:/ and the other is in Bloomfield Hills - http:/ So far, I'm not set on anything but it's nice to see that someone out there wants to build in a similar style. I also have no idea how long this could all take from start to finish. I'm hoping we can get the ball rolling at least this summer, pause for the winter and then finish in 2013. Lofty goals I tell you! 

Final temp home revision

Posted by Heather on October 13, 2011 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (1)

Should be delivered and beginning the setup/installation November 7th and 8th! I'm excited to see it all come together! 

I'm tempted to post all the swatches and whatnot but I think I'll just wait and take my own photos when I see it. The main of the home is hard floors (linoleum, wood or tile) and the bedrooms are carpeted. We still need to pick out and install a mantel with a surround but not much is left to do. The home comes with drapes and appliances. 

I've even started imagining where our furniture will go. I'm a nerd. 

The Housing Situation

Posted by Heather on October 2, 2011 at 6:50 AM Comments comments (1)

Last time I blogged about it, our housing situation was up in the air, for the umpteenth time. Turns out the owner of the home that I posted about (remember the pink bathroom?) pulled it out in favor of renting it to someone else instead of just selling it to us. The renters didn't get approved to live in the community so they had no choice but to move the home if they were set on renting it. We would have gotten a great deal but the situation, as it has been resolved, has turned out to be a much better thing in the long run although it is more expensive. 

We made a deal with a manufactured housing company to be a dealer for their homes and they'll be building a model home for us. We'll be staying in that home until we can get our dream house built. As a bonus, we will be able to have a model home to show and influence the direction for our future business. We want to get away from the 'trailer home' look and move into the less expensive housing market. 

Here is a photo of the style home we chose:

Here is the floorplan, ours will have a few slight differences like a fireplace where the entertainment center built in is shown:

Our  front 'family room' will probably be a more formal dining room & bedroom 3 will be a 'studio room' for me with my sewing and art stuff in it. I'm looking forward to seeing all our furnishings and things that didn't come with us. Funny how you can miss things like that.

I am really excited about it! It's even better than I had hoped for. Being patient was hard, it always is but I am 100% pleased and happy. I know that it's only temporary, and it will end up someone else's home but it's going to be a bonus for us, a good thing for the company and then someone else can love it too. Yay!!

Renting instead?

Posted by Heather on June 7, 2011 at 9:28 PM Comments comments (0)

So I guess Rose is looking at rentals instead? She says that a house close to hers has come up for rent: 

A is Rose's house and B is the rental. The acreage is a long rectangle that reaches way out of the photo. Here is a [LINK] to the actual map page to navigate and zoom out on  etc.

Bring your horses 4-6 stalls, 34 acres woods and trails. Large ranch with tile floors two fireplaces, large deck COMPLETELY FURNISHED, move in and enjoy. Great home for entertaining or relaxing in a quiet setting. Oversized heated garage, hay barn, pastures.


Link to the [listing] (screen capture, since after 7 days the site expires. The only thing missing from the image is a letterhead/logo and the address and contact information for the agent.) 

It's literally 0.3 miles away from Rose's house. I'm sort of surprised at the idea of renting rather than pursuing our original idea of building a temporary model or resale project. I guess (since I was mainly eavesdropping) that something is up with the bank and our ability to work them into the financing aspect of the project. Without getting into too much detail.

Honestly, I remember this house and what I remember isn't very nice I don't think. The fence you can see from the road is sad and I remember that they had goats and a cow I think. Rose said that she went to go see the house herself and it is nice. Older but nice. I am expecting photos from the realtor soon and she already submitted a rental bid on it. We are waiting to hear if the owner agrees to the terms. 

I have to say that I am apprehensive about living that close to her. I feel like it's just close enough for things to become a nuisance (barn chores  etc.) but it will also be nice enough that I can walk there if I'd like to see her and her boyfriend, or take advantage of her barn's facilities. It's very ironic that this house, in this location comes up for rent right now. Regardless, I am just happy to be making plans and thinking about going home. 

I am most interested in seeing photos of the barn, because I feel that I can make do with just about anything house wise after living in Japan but the barn/fences/stalls might need some work to make me feel good about them. Pretty is one thing, but safe is something I can't live without. I am really grateful to Rose for doing the legwork for us. As much as I can complain about her sometimes, there is a lot in this world we wouldn't be able to do without her help.

I'll be sure to update with photos  etc. when I get them.

The Temporary House

Posted by Heather on June 1, 2011 at 12:35 PM Comments comments (1)

The first place we live when we get back is going to be interesting, to say the least. Right now the plan is to build a manufactured (prefab) home on a lot in either CC (boy I can't wait to propose a name change!) on Haggerty there and then use it as a show home after our permanent house is built.

Using it as a show home would be a great way to promote the new direction Aaron wants to take with the business. Low cost housing that doesn't look trashy. (ha!) I don't know anybody who really, truly enjoys the way a traditional 'trailer' home looks or makes them feel.


We apparently have another lot in a subdivision called Pioneer Meadows I think? I love how properties just keep popping up out of nowhere with this family. Either way it won't be forever.

Here's the model and floor plan we picked out. I have no idea how long it takes to design and build a house, so we might be in it for a year or two? I hope not that long. I am excited to get my horses out of Rose's barn and into my own, where I can feed them the way I like and see them when I like. 

The main reason we picked something so big for just the two of us is the resale aspect. Most people buying a home have a family and I like the idea of accounting for whomever gets it next. It's 1,800 Sq. Ft and sure looks like a 'regular' stick home. The other companies that we wanted to use don't seem to want to distribute in MI? I'm disappointed to say the least. Maybe we can do some more work on that when we get back to Michigan.

This is who we really wanted to use: Blu Homes

Founded in 2007, Blu makes beautiful green homes suitable for a wide range of residential, commercial and institutional buyers. Blu’s breakthrough computer modeling, unique use of steel and wood and revolutionary folding technology makes beautifully designed homes more economical to ship and quicker to set up than other modern, green homes. Blu homes are healthy to live in and better for the environment because they are built with the highest green standards in mind and they are more energy efficient, quieter, better ventilated, create less waste, less destructive to the natural habitat and the open designs allow for spaces that feel larger than they are, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint.

Earth Sheltering. It's not just for hobbits!

Posted by Heather on May 11, 2011 at 6:26 AM Comments comments (1)

So. Aaron and I were discussing building a home in MI and we were super excited to start looking at floor plans and the different architectural styles. We then discovered that we have different tastes in building style. He is very Frank Lloyd Wright and I'm a little more woodsy? I don't know how to describe what I like. Guess I should work on pinning that down. I'm much better at pointing out a 'no' than telling you what a 'yes' is. 

Anyhow, we were just originally planning what's called a 'stick' house. That's the traditional wood frame house most people live in. To which we would add solar panels and some other 'green' gadgetry. Well, Aaron gets bored at work and google sucks him in especially when he's getting excited about something. 

He looked up 'earth sheltered homes' and then proceeded to tell me about them. I sat there with a raised eyebrow and let him finish. "You want to live in a what? Like a hole in the ground?"  I basically crossed my arms and humored him. However, the logic behind ES homes began to sink in. 

What is earth sheltering? (from Wiki

Earth sheltering is the architectural practice of using earth against building walls for external thermal mass, to reduce heat loss, and to easily maintain a steady indoor air temperature. Earth sheltering is popular in modern times among advocates of passive solar and sustainable architecture, but has been around for nearly as long as humans have been constructing their own shelter.

Even Bill Gate's house is earth sheltered. It can't be all that bad! 

There are a lot of notions about these types of houses and I, for one, was not ready to give up on the stereotypes associated with them. Come on...really? A hippie house? It's going to be dark and wet and WEIRD. Everyone will call us the Hobbit House. *pout*

I came to terms with the fact that all I really wanted was a comfortable house that was 'normal' and fit in. The idea of sticking out was going against my society bolstered notions of what success would be. That's when I was like 'Wow I actually wanted to be a sheep!?' I didn't even realize it! I mean, I've always hated the 'McHouses' that I see in every subdivision ... why would I want to build a house on my property that was what society told me I should? Not too different if I truly thought about it. 

I'm okay with ES homes, but for the most part, they DO tend to look stupid. I haven't found very many photos of them that aren't dorky looking. A lot of them were built in the 70's and 80's from my research and the building styles reflect that. I am sure we can figure out a way to not have the dorkiest house ever. 

Here is a list of some of the benefits: 


  • taking advantage of the earth as a thermal mass

  • offering extra protection from the natural elements

  • energy savings

  • providing substantial privacy

  • efficient use of land in urban settings

  • low maintenance requirements

  • akes advantage of passive solar building design


Here is a 'not stupid' looking ES house - 

A LOT of them end up looking more like this though, a little Hobbity. ha! 

and finally a list of 25 reasons you should consider an ES home:

Where on the map?

Posted by Heather on May 11, 2011 at 6:12 AM Comments comments (0)

Here is a google maps image of the Wixom property. The area that is ours is at the center right part of the photo. Follow that center road (Foal Blvd. [omg I know how funny is that?] ) to the middle and then where it ends I assume will be one edge of our part.

I haven't actually seen a surveyor's map but that's the general area. 12 acres, but I'm not sure of the shape? Could be a long piece or a square. It's a mystery for now.  I was also told that the back of the property shares a line with Proud Lake State Park. The border for PL is the diagonal line running from left to right across the whole picture. 

In all, I am incredibly happy with the location of this property! It is just far enough out of the way that I don't have to feel city cramped but I don't live in the boonies either. There is a lot around the area and the feed store is only about 5 miles away.