“My dream is to have a house on the beach, even just a little shack. Somewhere I can wake up, have coffee, look at dolphins, be quiet and breathe the air.”
As an adult, I have lived in ten different houses in six states. My last three big moves were purely based on lifestyle preferences.
In his wonderful book, Die Broke: A Radical Four-Part Financial Plan, author Stephen Pollan suggests your home should be the place you want to live for the rest of your life.
He got me asking myself, “Where do my wife and I want to live for the rest of our lives?
These are our answers:
- On the water
- Close to nature
- In a good school district for our girls
- Near a major international airport
- Close to the conveniences of a city
We decided to give “lake living” a trial run. In the summer of 2011, we rented a lake house for two weeks. It was a shabby, little doublewide trailer with a lakeside bonus room added on. The property had about one hundred feet of shoreline and a private dock.
We experienced what it would be like to live in a lake house. I barbecued a lot and we ate most of our meals at home. I worked in the mornings and swam in the lake everyday for exercise.
We played on the lake, watched fireworks on the Fourth of July from “our” dock, and rented a pontoon boat for three days. Our daughters swam and played everyday with the neighbor’s cute little dog named Pebbles.
We loved every minute.
My first lifestyle move was from Texas to the mountains of Colorado. It taught me just how much living in a place I love improves the quality of my life.
Moving from Colorado to Arizona was my second lifestyle move. I had fallen in love with a redhead and I moved there to marry her.
We made my third lifestyle move together. Lake living had touched something deep within us both. The water, trees, and natural beauty had captured us. We have a feeling of peace and calm whenever we are on the water.
Our Dream Home
It took another three years to find and move to our dream home. We choose our home based on schools, its convenient location to the town and airport, and the gorgeous property.
The long driveway winds down to a private lakefront retreat. The house is nestled on a picturesque waterfront lot, just under two acres with more than two hundred trees, and 454 feet of shoreline. The lake can be seen from nearly every window in the house with a spectacular 180-degree water view. It’s almost impossible to see a road.
The house itself wasn’t our favorite, but it was a good size and shape. It was situated well on the property. It had enough to work with. All the things we didn’t love could be fixed.
Best of all, the house conveyed a warm and comfortable spirit. It seemed to say, “Come on in, join me on the back porch, have a cool drink, and enjoy the beauty of the lake.”
My wife and I agreed it was the place we could live for the rest of our lives.
We found the property of our dreams but the house didn’t quite match up, yet. We consulted design and architectural experts to create a vision for our dream home based on our budget.
With an action plan in hand, we hired remodeling experts to make it to reality. We embarked on what would become a furious seventeen-month project. It touched nearly every room in the house and the dock outside. It added four new rooms in the house and a second lakeside sitting area.
The goal was to re-shape our house to serve dual purposes. First, we wanted a comfortable home to raise our children and for us to live in for the rest of our lives. Second, we want it to be a destination where we celebrate life and love with our family and friends.
With a vision, a plan, and nearly eighteen months of non-stop construction, we have personalized our house into the home we want to live, love, play, and entertain in for the rest of our lives.
Last week, I shared how the modern world we live in gives us opportunity for lifestyle personalization. Next week, I will continue with the final post in this series with the ways I personalize my life to enjoy it more.
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