What Was - What will Be

You can not create what you can not see in your mind's eye.

I was a career business developer (salesperson), and one day I realized, I wasn't excited about the work anymore. I knew I wanted more for myself. 

I had always loved watching This Old House, and wanted to build my own home one day. However, I had never been in the building trade and had no experience.

That was all about to change.


You Are the Creator

I know you're curious about how a novice with zero construction skills built a house. The simple answer was I just knew I had to do it. Based on nothing more than an instinct, I asked my wife if she would support me in one of the most risky endeavors of my life. Her only question was, if we lose everything, are you okay living in a one-room apartment? I felt the gravity of the question, thought for a moment, and said yes, as long as it was with her and our baby girl.

I'm not sharing this story, so you think I'm a miracle worker. The mere fact that I believed in myself is the miracle. I remember being taught that you must work hard to get good grades; good grades will get you a great job, and then you will be safe. I had a good-paying job, but I was completely unsatisfied. Just selling to make money was not creating anything of value to me, and I knew something had to change. My intention was to do something I had great interest in, even though most people thought it was impossible. I knew I could build a house with my own hands that someone could live in and enjoy.

I have lived in both white and blue-collar worlds simultaneously. I know what it is like to entirely give into a situation that seems impossible to the outside world but made complete sense to me. Using my imagination to move past the slow and predictable work environment is an area in which I excel. The house I built is just a manifestation of that dream.

In closing, I want to ensure you understand that I designed, built, managed, and financed this house entirely. There were days when I framed the house in record heat, lay in the mud to hang siding, and completed the exterior during the freeze of winter. Many days, I thought I couldn't go on, but one thing was clear. I knew I wanted to finish this project. Ultimately, I sold the house for $1,000 more than I had projected. I had reached my goal, but more importantly, I trusted and believed in myself. I set a goal most could never imagine, and I achieved it.

Most importantly, I could have never seen this goal through without my wife, Lisa, and our little girl, Sophia. Their unwavering faith in me was what kept me going. I am forever grateful to have them in my life.

The kitchen

  • I wanted a custom kitchen but didn't want the expense. I designed the island myself and wanted to ensure it included several key items. I purchased all the stock cabinets from a home center but added textured glass and under cabinet lighting to create a custom look.
  • First, the island is wired for power with several outlets. Second, it has an upper bar to use as a breakfast area or conversation landing spot. Third, I added a set of bookshelves so the cook can easily retrieve recipes or just display cookware.
  • The backsplash is stone and glass and reflects light on the granite countertops. I purchased the tile from a home center for less than $10/sq. ft.  
  • Finally, I purchased crown moulding and painted it to match the cabinets. I thought it added a custom touch and drew the eye to the 9' ceilings. 

Family Room



Living spaces 

  • To convey open living, I booked ended the family room with the kitchen. You'll notice the fireplace and a sunk-in TV area big enough for a 55'' monitor. I added built-in cabinets to the left and right to balance the space and reduce furniture. Finally, I added surround sound speakers and ran all the wiring to the left bookcase to hide the wires. 
  • The Den is at the rear of the house and has sliding doors out to a 20 x 20 deck. I also created a space for a 32'' monitor in the room's upper corner, and the HDMI cable is run to an outlet at the base of the wall for convenience.
  • Basements are usually dull and drab, but not mine. In the location where the picture was taken, I have in wall 7.1 surround sound all connected to a central distribution hub at the back wall. At the picture's far end is a hallway leading to a full bath and bedroom with two large closets.

Stairs to bedrooms & loft

Bedroom 2


Sleeping spaces

  • On the way up from the first floor, you'll hit the landing, where I built an enclosed setting area with lighting and pullout drawers for storage. The idea was to give children a place to hang out and read.  
  • Both upstairs bedrooms have huge skylights have screens for open-air summer nights. The knee wall and 12/12 pitch room provide drama and style.
  • Finally, there is the kid's loft. I built it specifically for a treehouse effect. However, this tree house is fully carpeted and lit for hours of private fun.

The Master Suite

Seclusion and comfort was the idea for this bedroom. I added a sitting bench that looked out to the private backyard to enhance the vibe.

Master Bath

The design idea was light blue, to echo the presence of calm cool water.

now what?

If you've made it this far, chances are you have enjoyed looking at the pictures of the house I built. How did I build a house without any experience in the construction trade? Simple, I believed that I could do it.

My whole life is a case study in odds being stacked against you. However, life is not always what you know; it is about your beliefs. I asked my wife if she would support me and our five-year-old daughter in this journey. She simply asked me if I'd be willing to sell all our possessions and move into a one-bedroom apartment if I failed completely. It took me a day, but I answered yes. The journey was worth more to my STATE of being than all we had accumulated.

As you can see by the pictures, everything worked out precisely as I had thought. I will not lie to you and say the experience was easy, but I can tell you that I'm grateful my wife and daughter trusted in me. As a result, I have leveraged the entire experience into my professional career and have always benefited from the knowledge.

If you want to learn more, sign up for my weekly email or take the leap and book a time with me. You'll only know what you can accomplish once you try.

christopher kies

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