When Austin and I were dating, separately we asked the Lord what He had for us as a unit and then came together to share. Austin went first and began telling me that the word "Refuge" came to his mind. We sat in the car and I pulled out my journal to the page where i had drawn a house with the word "refuge" underneath it. I pretty much knew He was my husband in that moment but what i also knew was that the Lord wanted to build a house of refuge with us. Both of us have a passion to host and be a safe place for people... even if that just looks like sharing a meal.
Originally, when Austin started this process He had a house draw with an architect that He was working on before we were dating. It was still a farmhouse with the focus of the house being in the living area for hosting worship nights and gatherings of friends. We spent about a year trying to perfect that design and watching the square footage of the house grow and grow and grow until we were looking at a home that we were sure we didn't need or even want. It was here that we also ran into a few hiccups with the property itself and questioned evening continuing with our project.
We thought about just buying something already built, we even looked at a few... but then one day as I was driving near where we might build, I knew in my heart that we were meant to be in this city and that we needed to keep pursuing this build... later that day as I was talking to Austin he told me of his same feelings towards the project... so that's what we did. We set our minds and our hearts to go after it.
We knew we needed to start over with a totally new design. We wanted everything to be really open and simple - like mega simple. So we spent an afternoon and tried drawing it out. We talked it through and Austin comes over to me with this design on graph paper and it was perfect. Simple- open and I started seeing it all in my head. We had a draftsman friend of ours draw it up professionally and I remember getting that email of the official designs... It was our house. The engineer even commented: People say that want simple all the time... but you guys really meant it. lol - #truth.
The Physical Foundation:
Austin and I both loved the idea of having gray concrete floors but I wasn't super into the idea of walking on cold floor all the time. That problem was solved with two words: radiant heat.
Radiant heat is one the coolest things I have ever heard of. The picture above is the radiant system installed before they poured the concrete over it. The way radiant works is there are tubes ran all across the floor that hot water gets pumped into = heated floors. The great thing about radiant heat is that it's SUPER energy efficient and since that was something that mattered a lot to Austin and I we were sold. One of my favorite features about radiant heat systems is that it heats everything so when you have it on it not only heats the floors, but it heats everything on top of the floors... meaning your furniture, your counter tops, even you! UM YES PLEASE.
We worked with Comfort Engineered System, an amazing local company. They were amazing to work with and we would certainly recommend them to anyone local looking for a great radiant heat company.
Our goal for the house is sorta a Scandinavian- minimal modern take on a classic farmhouse. Austin and I luckily have the exact same taste when it comes to house stuff so dreaming up what we would do has been such a fun process. Austin brought the idea of concrete floors to the table and I fell in love. I love the modern aesthetic the concrete would give to accomplish what we were seeing in our heads. Plus, they are heated and gray and that's like my color palette and love language.
I can't wait for Christmas time already with the cozy warmth flowing through the whole house!
There's been days we've had to pep-talk one another and push through the doubt and fear that comes along with setbacks. But, we've had each other to lean on.
This project has been far from easy, but we know without a doubt that it's the right thing and that just because the road has been rocky isn't a sign to give up. It's a sign that there's gonna be a great reward at the end. It's a lesson that when the process is long there are so many more opportunities to celebrate and that's what we will do. We continue to rejoice in blind trust despite all the things we haven't seen or understood. Trust in the God who works all setbacks-delays-unexpected-unfortunate-unpredicted-uphill-trudge things together for our good and when it's finished we will truly be able to celebrate and declare this house a Refuge. "Consider it pure joy, brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." - James 1:2-4
This is our foundation. This is what we are building our house on in reality and spiritually- this is what we have chosen to establish and build our home on. Trust in the Lord and trust in each other.