Using Photoshop to Illustrate the Depths of our Madness

Last fall when it looked like we were going to try to build a house with our bare hands in twelve weeks— Hi there Insanity!– I spent most of the minutes in my life contemplating colors and materials for the exterior of our house.

We, in fact, spent an afternoon driving around our little slice of Northwest Ohio heaven taking pictures of houses we liked. Then I got an ulcer to compliment the permanent tick in my left eye.

After regaining portions of our sanity and deciding to wait until Spring to break ground, I pushed the unpleasantness of permanent color decisions to a dusty unused corner of my brain, and moved on with more exciting projects… like hanging ceiling drywall all by myself.

But with groundbreaking just two short months away (or less) it’s time to grab the Maalox and paint chips and get back to it. We’ve almost decided on a blue or green for the fiber cement siding, with wood and/or stone accents. Then again, I’m half in love with this combo:

Picture 11

To test out some of my theories I took an elevation of the house…


And photo-shopped the living daylights out of it.

This is a down-and-dirty look at a blue version of the house with cedar shakes along the foundation and stone accents on the kitchen. (Ignore the three goofy windows for now, that is a whole other post.)


And with the stone and cedar reversed…


And then considering a shade of green (though I’ll be honest, I’m leaning towards a blue. There are too many ways to go wrong with a green.)


Ok. I totally just had to take a break to try it in red. I kind of like it, though it may be just a little too much country.


And now you have witnessed exactly half of my crazy. And for my ironic statement of the day, while I’m doing my best to make our new house look like an old barn, we’re also making good progress on turning the old gas station in to something less barn-like and more livable. Luckily I appear to be able to agonize over color choices and hang drywall at the same time, so that’s good news.

Here’s a little tour with way worse photoshopping than you saw above.

The North wall heading into the workshop looked like this last summer:

memorial house 014

There has been a slight improvement.


You’re looking at what will be the six linear feet of kitchen space we’ll be eating out of for the next year.


We have room for two 24″ base cabinets, a mini-fridge, a small bar sink, and 3 24″ wall cabinets.

A few inches to the left you’ll find the “living area”.


It’s approximately 10×10 and I think we’ll feel lucky if there is enough room for our 13″ TV. What? We’re high rollers.


Laugh at my TV with old-school antenna if you must.

If you do a one-eighty you’ll find yourself in the light and spacious “bedroom”.


Which I would make fun of, except it used to look like this…


So basically there is nothing to do but shut my mouth and be grateful that we’ll have an actual bed to sleep on.


I’ve decided to build a frame that has some drawer space at the end of the bed, since I’m not anticipating enough space to open drawers from the side. And the closet is, well…


When you account for the water heater, we’ve got enough room in there for about three pairs of underwear each, and that’s it. So if you see two mostly-naked people building a house in the country, you’ll know why.

I’ve actually got some ideas for this closet, including a rack with some dowels on it that we can loop our pants over (does putting pants on hangars drive anyone else up the wall?) Hey… it looks like we’ll have room for a shirt as well. I guess we’ll have to thumb-wrestle for it.


At the moment it looks like we’ll be spending at the very least eight months living in this 400 square feet of space. I hear people do this in New York on the time, which validates a theory I’ve had about New Yorkers for a while, which is that they’re effing insane. Luckily we have three whole acres to spread out on outside, and a bigass workshop attached to our living quarters.

And a house to build in 30 weekends or less. Proving yet again that sanity is a relative thing.

6 Responses

  1. I have to show you our inspiration ‘structure’ – I think it’s a garage… I’ll write about it next… It’s sort of along the lines of what you’re thinking for your exterior…

  2. Meredith- Share, share, share! I swear I won’t rip off your idea. Completely. Okay, if it’s really awesome, no promises.

    Just kidding. It’s SO hard to find good exterior inspiration though!

  3. New reader here – loving this blog so far, wow.
    I know you didn’t ask for our opinion but I really like the first exterior paint colors, soo nice combo with the stones and the dark blue…
    Off to read some more and find out why you’re living in a gas station…

  4. Elisa, I have a soft spot in my heart for new readers. Love having you drop by. Also… I definitely want opinions on the exterior colors. Thanks! I’m leaning toward that one myself, but it changes every minute.

    I can also clarify on the gas station thing, which basically boils down to the fact that I’m crazy. Also, we’re tearing our house apart (there will only really be one existing wall that stays the same) so we need somewhere to live in the meantime. Luckily we had this old gas station on our property. 400 square feet of pure heaven!

  5. I have to show you our inspiration ‘structure’ – I think it’s a garage… I’ll write about it next… It’s sort of along the lines of what you’re thinking for your exterior…

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I'm not interested in a mediocre life. I'm here to kick ass or die.