I have lived on the shores of Lake Winnebago in the town of Black Wolf (so named because of an Indian chief by that name whose tribe lived in the area) for about 20 years now. The house on the property started out as a cottage in about the year 1920. Various additions were made over the years in a hodge podge, amateurish fashion. Sometime along the way, a large detached garage was built too. Although I have loved living on the lake, and I cherish the memories of all the good times in the house, the house itself had many flaws. It lacked a good floor plan, insulation, the floors sagged, the pipes in the kitchen froze every winter, several rooms were unable to be heated, and it could best be described as quaint but certainly not beautiful.
I had thought for years about building new, but never had the impetus to do it. My husband Rory and I began discussing it more earnestly when he became ill with cancer and was having trouble climbing the steep stairs to the second floor. We began looking at some floor plans and talking with some builders. Unfortunately, he passed away before we got much further than making some preliminary discussions about a new house. I know he wanted me to have new house that would be easy to take care of too. Rory had the incredible ability to fix just about anything that goes wrong in a house, but he knew that I would need something that required less upkeep than the old house. I decided to keep going with the plans to build a new house once Rory had passed away. It gave me something to do besides mourn his loss, and gave me a reason to move to my sister's house in Neenah where I was surrounded by much love and support. I decided if I was going to build new, I was going to build green. Thus the project started.
I am in the fortunate position of being able to afford to build myself a new house (well...perhaps myself and the bank). Having been to several 3rd world countries and knowing that there are lots of people in the world who don't even have housing, I felt a few pangs of guilt about this. I had a decision to make: rehab the old or build new. The cost to rehab my old house was going to be substantial. It was October of 2009. My husband had passed away in August from liver cancer. I was in the depths of grief and sorrow. I needed a project. I decided that if I had to plunk down a lot of money anyway, it was better to build new. I also decided that if I was going to build new, I was going to build green. My new house will be both beautiful and "green". I will share the journey and the adventure with you.