Building a Home Together

Why is it that some projects don't go according to our plans? I ponder this question as we plan our return to Indiana, where my husband and I have a building project in the works that has taken much longer than anticipated.

You may wonder why we need a home in two different cities...

My family moved to Las Vegas, the Entertainment Capital of the World when I was a little girl. My love of music and performing grew, taking me into the professional arena at seventeen, where my singing career began, followed by opportunities in various bands, musicals, production shows, commercials, television and film. I became Miss Nevada and the first non-classical singer ever to win a talent award in the Miss America Pageant.  Though my work took me around the world, I always returned home to my roots and my family in Las Vegas.

The youngest of six boys and the ninth child born out of twelve children, my husband was raised in Franklin, Indiana,  His parents were farmers and he dropped out of high school to help on the farm. At twenty-one he bought a gas station, started selling cars and recreational vehicles and loved drag racing. Eventually he built a thriving RV business and turned his passion for drag racing into creating a race team sponsored through his partnership with Winnebago Industries. He sold his dealership to Camping World six years ago, but he still owns commercial property and maintains his connection to racing by sponsoring a few of his friends, which keeps us traveling on the NHRA drag race circuit.

"Where thou art - that - is Home." ~Emily Dickinson

When we married we agreed 'the most important things in our life together is family and friends.' Our answer? Two  homes.

Sixteen years ago we bought our first home overlooking the 15th fairway in Canyon Gate Country Club, a golf course community in Las Vegas. The second home was down a winding road, nestled in the middle of a couple acres, surrounded by trees with a stream running through our backyard in Timber Heights, a community with gentle rolling hillsides in Greenwood, Indiana. Two totally different environments.

"Home, the spot of earth supremely blest,
 A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest." ~Robert Montgomery

It wasn't long before we were building a new home in Las Vegas. We found two lots side by side overlooking the 18th fairway in the same community. It, took two years to plan and get everything set up with the building department before we broke ground, followed by three years to build. We fired the first contractor, because there were flaws in the framing. The design of the house was my responsibility along with the architect. When we finally moved in we were happy with the results, even though it was a long process, full of changes and numerous 'negotiations' for both my husband and me.

"It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home." ~Author Unknown

I'm surprised we made it through the first time! Now, here we are building another home in Indiana. This time we are building on six acres, where farmers once grew corn and soybeans. There is a large lake in our backyard shared with our neighbors. There are only ten homes in this development of custom homes, each with it's own unique qualities. We bought the last lot. Many of the owners have known my husband for over thirty years, so we have a built=in feeling of safety.

"Every house where love abides
 And friendship is a guest,
 Is surely home, and home sweet home
 For there the heart can rest.
"~Henry Van Dyke

One of the reasons projects don't always go according to plan is because they are subject to our fluctuating desires. We started out planning a one story and discovered in the process that my husband wanted to look out over the property from a second floor, so we started all over with our design. After several designs from the architect, we decided we loved the layout of our home in Las Vegas and after a few modifications we came up with a plan that fit our needs.

Even though the process has taken a long time, our new home is almost finished and we will be moving into it soon. We can see that all our efforts, including the frustrations, have been worth it. Though this project didn't go according to our plans, it took us on a journey and strengthened our relationship. After the furniture is placed, the window dressings frame our views and the last plants are planted, we look forward to many happy reunions with family and friends, as music and laughter flows from room to room and love fills our hearts and our new home.

"Building a life together is like building a home. We start with a strong foundation. We make plans, discuss our goals and make adjustments along the way. We live each day with the understanding that time will bring more changes as we continue to learn more about each other and ourselves. We let go of the old to make room for the new, redesigning our interiors and landscapes as as we grow, discovering treasures and adding them to our decor together, as we share our lives with family and friends."~Sandy Kastel