For homeowners Ben & Kate and their three young children, the seven-year journey to their forever home just outside Ithaca New York was a long and winding road filled with life lessons, dreams, and joy.
“For our entire adult life, my husband and I, we always dreamed about building a house. We just wanted to build a home that we would live in forever that would suit our own needs and come from our own ideas.” Says Kate. “Seven years ago, our dream started to become a reality when we found this plot of land and we really fell in love with it. It was all woods, and we cleared a section of the land, but we needed to save to build our dream home. So, we decided to buy a double wide trailer and live in that, in the corner of the property, while we continued to plan and dream.”
When the Kate & Ben began this process and took a leap of faith into trailer life seven years ago, their youngest son (who is now 5) hadn’t even been born yet. As the happy family grew and evolved over time, albeit in tight quarters, so did the design of their future dream home.
Nestled in the woodlands south of New York’s finger lakes region, Ben & Kate designed a home with adventure in mind. A hybrid timber frame home that is hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. The acres surrounding the home was left untouched and natural, with tree houses, swimming ponds, and trails to provide endless sources of wonder for their three young children.
Ben, a hobbyist woodworker, longed for a timber frame home; he had a vision for a timber framed great room with elements to fit the natural surroundings of the area. Together with their architect Ernie Bayles, builder Jon Hammond, and the New Energy Works team, the long-awaited family dream home began to take shape.
“We really lucked out on the people with whom we were working with. Our architect was great, our builder was great, and New Energy Works was great. There really was a flow of communication between the three. It felt seamless, like everyone really worked together to make this happen,” Kate shared.
Tailor made to bring the joys of family, growing up, and growing old together in the perfect setting a reality, the details of the home are inspired by close-knit family life. The timber framed great room provides a place to nestle in the winter with large windows to watch the snow fall on the surrounding trees. The three-season porch faces the swimming pond and allows a quick way down to the dock and a space to watch the splashes and shenanigans. A small home office off the kitchen with glassed doors allows for a separation without being removed from life. And a well-used mud room awaits Ben’s custom locker organizers, which he plans to make himself. With everything lovingly and designed to fit the family’s lifestyle, they’re taking time to get to know the space as they consciously make final choices on art and the small details for each corner of their home.
“It really is our dream home. We feel like there is not a square inch of this house that is not going to be used, not going to be loved,” Kate explained.
The couple’s three children were uniquely involved in the outcome. For the seven years they lived together in their temporary home, they dreamed together and learned a valuable lesson that good things come to those who plan and wait.
“I love that our kids can appreciate the time spent saving money, the effort and the planning that goes into building a house,” Kate told us. “That they see it doesn’t just get handed to someone. I am glad that we did this when they were old enough to appreciate the journey and the final house.”
Deciding to downgrade your lifestyle with three small children and live in a trailer to save up for your dream home is not for the faint of heart. A commitment to a common vision and belief that it will, however slowly, come to life and be everything you hoped for is not something to be taken on lightly. But homeowner Kate has some advice for fellow would be dreamers…
“If you have a dream and it is going to take a long time, be patient, it’s worth it. It will come.”