Our Life

Our Story: A Love for Houses

Our story all started with $10,000 dollars nearly 18 years ago. Henry and I had gotten married and were expecting our first child. He had just gotten laid off from a position as a web designer and I was teaching at a local high school. We didn’t have a penny to our name and like most young people after college, we were in debt. Henry’s uncle loaned us $10,000 dollars for a down payment on our first home. This was a “fixer-upper”, but you would have thought we were buying a million-dollar home!

While Henry was searching for another job, he was able to work on the house and make several cosmetic changes. The home was in good shape structurally but needed some TLC. With some paint, new flooring, tile, and landscaping, this beauty became the best home on the street! Well, at least in our opinion. Henry had now found a job, we had our first child, Baylie, and I was still teaching.

I had lived around construction all of my life and Henry and I had always wanted to build a house. We knew that if we waited until we had enough money, that may never happen. We then decided to sell our starter home and purchase some land and build. Because the house needed lots of work, we had gotten it for a good deal. This allowed us to have a decent down payment for the upcoming build. At this time we took out a loan for the land and build it together.

This construction process was for sure a learning experience. We were young and eager, but it was one long year! Yes, it took us almost an entire year to build. With the help of my father, we served as our own contractor for the first time. He’s played such a big role in teaching us the ins and outs of building.

We also chose to do lots of the work ourselves, so the process was much longer. Both of us working full-time jobs during the day and long hours at the house at night. I remember lots of fast food and picnics on the cold OSB floor. Those were the days!

Our first build was not our last. By this time, Henry had ventured out on his own to start his own company and I was now working for him. We were able to make our own hours and had a little more freedom.

Our second build was in a colonial-style development.

We ended up building another house and remodeling one before building our current home. It seemed as if we would forget how crazy the process was and get the itch to do it again after a few years of living there. We truly loved the process and the finished product. It was very rewarding and made us feel like we had accomplished something. All three homes were very successful in making a profit each time we sold. This enabled us to pay cash for our third build.

Construction of our current home.

We had always dreamed of owning land and having a farmhouse. When we found this 5.9 acres, we knew it was the perfect spot and decided to build our fourth home. We were so excited about this new build and continued joking that we were building our “forever home.” We had always said this about every house we had lived in. So we knew this may not be true. While we do love our beautiful home, we also love adventures and the building/remodeling process. So, this may or may not be our last build. We have already been talking about what our next house may look like. Yes, we may or may not be crazy!

Another construction shot of our current home.

While living here we have continued to do lots of DIY projects and even completed a flip house last year. These all have been great ways to fulfill our love and passion for homes. At this time, Henry still owns his own business as a web developer and I continue to help him.

Along this journey of almost 18 years, we have heard so many say we should have our own television show. We were never sure what this really meant, but we did know we have a crazy passion for homes. We have built and remodeled several, and people always seemed to love our style.  We love the feeling we get when others appreciate our homes and the work we put into them. We continue to always have a project going on because we love seeing what we can do. All of this is why we decided to bring others along for the ride. Why not share our passions with others!

Back at the end of July, my husband talked me into starting an IG account and a blog. We came up with the name Plank and Pillow. We wanted the name to be a mix of building and project-based along with decor. We love both and wanted the name to illustrate this. We had no clue where this journey would take us, but have loved every minute of it so far. It has allowed us to share our ideas, projects, and meet so many people along the way.

So, how does this story affect you? Instagram and blogging can be very rewarding, but can also be very frustrating at times. We compare ourselves to others and we may feel unequipped or not good enough. We wonder why would others want to see our pictures or our ideas. But, the truth is, we all have a unique story to tell. This is why others want to follow each of us. They want to see different ideas, projects, and personalities shining through. It is great to learn from others, but in every account, feed, blog post, or company we should each be different and unique.

Our story is about our love for homes and how we will always have a project. A home is never finished, and the truth is, for us, there may never be a “forever home” until we reach heaven. We enjoy new adventures and making new memories with our family within these adventures. To us, it’s life and what we do. It’s our story!  Our desire is to share these projects, homes, or any knowledge we may have with you and hopefully give you some inspiration along the way.

What is your journey? What is your story? What do you have to share with others? These are great questions to ask yourself. Dig deep and find your niche. Be yourself, do what you love, and let your story shine through!

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  • Reply Janice

    I so needed to read this tonight, so thank you! My husband and I (and 2 young daughters) just moved to a new home this week, and it’s a major fixer upper. I’m missing our old home we just sold a lot, and broke down in tears tonight wondering if we made a bad decision, and frankly, just feeling miserable in this house (The house is seriously ugly, no exaggeration). But it’s in an absolutely BEAUTIFUL spot….on a river with the wonderful river sounds, in a small little community. We will be doing all our renovations in the spring, and have to live in the house the way it is for the next 5 months.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you. I’m hoping to document our renovation on a blog I just started and on IG, but am feeling uninspired. I appreciate you sharing your journey of home renovations. Thanks for letting me see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    November 17, 2018 at 3:27 am
    • Reply Brooke

      Hello Janice! Even though I know the next few months will be hard, try and use it as a planning stage. Find lots of pictures of things you would like to do and maybe make some inspiration boards. Also, use this time to take lots of before pictures so you can remember these few months. These will also be great memories to look back on! I am so happy this article inspired you in some way! This really makes what we are doing worth it all! Hang in there and I can’t wait to see pictures. While you are in the planning and waiting stages, enjoy that outside and the gorgeous surroundings! Keep in mind that every great thing normally comes after a waiting period!

      November 17, 2018 at 5:16 pm
      • Reply Janice Cummings

        Thank you Brooke!
        I have a lot of photos of your home on my inspiration board already! Definitely want your front door and windows 🙂

        November 17, 2018 at 11:33 pm
  • Reply Tatiane

    I finally had a chance to read your story. It’s beautiful Brooke. You guys started so early with all the responsibilities that someone else would have later in life, and did so well. I can imagine how struggling it was but you both went through everything and today are here to say it’s possible when you dream and work for it. I love to see your passion for houses. You both form a great team and have a brilliant future ahead. Go for it. I will be here watching you grow and learn with you. Thanks for sharing ❤ P.S excuse if I interpreted/write anything the wrong way, I am still learning English.

    November 19, 2018 at 7:49 pm
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