Crystal Madrilejos

Design & Creative


Hey Friends! Another legit update on the house project. I’m on a roll! We’ve been making lots of progress since my last post about the sewers. I’m going to try really hard to post regularly so as to not overwhelm you with epically long posts that are TLDR. It can be a lot, I know.



We’ve finally picked up some momentum on the barn conversion! A few weeks ago, we were finally able to tie the farmhouse and the detached garage/office space into the sewer. This was one of the main hurdles to parcelling off the property and we’ve hurdled that Matrix-style – jump and hover mid-air for what feels like eternity. That was us trying to get this thing done. The longest hurdle in history. That analogy was a stretch. It’s early. I’m still waking up. (more…)


We’re still plugging away at Project Homestead. It’s hard to know where to start with an update due to the amount of time that has passed since my last post and so much has happened since then.

So first off, we were a bit ambitious thinking that we’d be ready to start construction in July. Andrew’s Mom was being nice and didn’t say anything at the time, though she was thinking – “uh, yeah right.” :) Andrew’s parents built their home years ago, so they know from experience what it’s like. (more…)


Yesterday I posed a little sneak peek on Instagram and Facebook about our house plans. I’m super excited to share where we’ve finally landed with the homebuilding project. I didn’t want to say anything earlier because we still had some loose ends that needed tying up and even now there is one big blocker that we need to overcome, which I’ll talk about later. After much back and forth, we had to forgo the location we had originally settled on due to the fact that it just wasn’t going to work with our budget. We could have probably built in that spot if we waited another 20 years to save the additional money it would have cost, but it’s just not worth it to us. Opportunity costs, people! (more…)


Okay, so this is sort of a bummer post. After much going around and around and talking with too many people to even recall, it’s looking like we may not be able to build our homestead in the spot we had planned. Super sad face, I know. Let me break it down for you. (more…)


I don’t have any previous experience to compare this whole process to, but it seems like every step of the way we are encountering obstacles. Maybe that’s just par for the course, but it can be discouraging! More than once this week I’ve had to step back and take a breather because things were starting to feel heavy.

We have been going back and forth with the county building department and the local zoning board to find out about parceling the property and their requirements for a driveway. We always thought we would just share a driveway with Andrew’s parents since that seemed to make the most sense but there’s some confusion around whether this is actually allowed. Another super frustrating process. There seems to be no consensus on this and whenever Andrew talks to someone, they aren’t quite sure and have to “talk to someone else” to get any sort of answer. (more…)


Just because you find the perfect spot to build, does not mean it’s going to be the easiest spot to build on. For a long time, Andrew and I had been envisioning the spot we would build and anticipated some issues but you just can’t anticipate everything – including the cost. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that building a home is not cheap. So this is where we currently find ourselves. (more…)


It finally feels real. We’ve started the process of homebuilding and in the two weeks since we were pre-approved for our construction loan, we’ve been making progress – slowly, but surely.

This is a first time for us, not only to build a house but as homeowners. We’ve been renters our entire adult lives and have had no desire to invest in a starter house. It has always been all or nothing for us in terms of owning a house. Wherever we set down, that’s where we want to be. Of course, you never know what the future has in store for you, but our intention is to grow old in this house. That’s it.

We started keeping a written journal of notes and dates as we navigate this process. It’s a bit daunting, but doing things one step at a time helps keep us from feeling completely overwhelmed. After looking through the notes we’ve gathered, I thought it would be a good time to share some of the things we’ve learned so far. (more…)