(Portrait: Joe Garcia)
Full disclosure: I’ve known Jenna Kujawski (pronounced: KEY-os-KEY) since our days at Texas A&M University, and we’ve kept up with one another as we’ve both gotten married and had our first kids.
Jenna, now pregnant with her second child, is currently celebrating with sparkling cider as her family moves into their brand new home on the range in Franklin, Texas, just outside Bryan-College Station. It’s a dream home come true for Jenna of Lazy K Designs and her family, who live on 28 acres known as the Lazy K Ranch. Jenna and her husband Brady bought the acreage soon after graduating from A&M, with the goal of one day building their dream home – a home perfect for raising a family and teaching small town values. After 7 years, that dream is now a reality.
Read more about their real estate story after the jump!
Brady and I met while attending Texas A&M, and even before we were engaged, we would always talk about our dream home. I’m sure every couple has this conversation at least once while dating, but if you know me, you know that I don’t just have dreams; I have plans and goals. Plans and goals that I intend to achieve.
So after we were married in the fall of 2006, it was time to put our plan into action. Most young married couples get their first jobs and buy a starter home, but investing in a $150,000 home in Bryan-College Station didn’t make sense for us. No, our plans required a different approach.
We knew we wanted to stay close to Aggieland; it’s our alma mater, and as a communications and marketing professional, it afforded me the opportunities to advance my career. We also knew we wanted space – I had grown up as part of a farming and ranching family in El Campo, Texas, so I was used to living in the country, taking care of animals, and having room to roam.
Land was fairly easy to come by at the time, but location was extremely important to us. Even though we were just months into our marriage, we were making long-term decisions based upon our future. We wanted to be in a small town we could envision raising a family; we wanted a reputable school district; we wanted a realistic commute; we wanted a community with which we could be a part; we wanted a place where we could see ourselves grow old.
And we found it in 28 acres outside of Franklin, Texas, a rural community known for it’s high-achieving schools, and with a relatively short 35 minute drive to Bryan-College Station. And as an added bonus, a few of my college friends had married into the Franklin community, so we would even know a few people. We closed on the Lazy K in the spring of 2007.
Since building a home wasn’t financially feasible at the time (or the right move to make), it made sense for us to try to live as cheaply as possible so that we could begin to save for our dream home. Since we knew this living arrangement would be temporary, it made sense to invest in temporary housing. So we found a used double-wide mobile home that we moved onto the property. It wasn’t anything spectacular, and we spent day and night for the first two weeks renovating it so that it was livable. Even though things seemed stressful at the time, it was one of the smartest decisions we could have made.
As a planner, I always had it in my mind that we’d be building our home within 5 years. Well, if life has taught me anything, it’s that ultimately I’m not in control. I had my first daughter in the summer of 2011 and changed careers in order to be closer to my family, which set us back some in our plans. Looking back, it was probably smart to postpone the home-building process a bit; it gave us time to continue to pay off a large portion of our land, our mobile home, and our two vehicles.
In the early spring of 2013, exactly 6 years after starting our lives on the Lazy K Ranch, the time seemed right to take that leap of faith. Keep in mind that Brady and I have always done lots of planning before beginning any process, and this was no different. In fact, Brady had drawn our house plans himself, starting completely from scratch. We had already talked to a loan officer to make sure that the house we had drawn on paper was a house we could actually afford. We had almost finalized our builder. Things were falling into place.
We broke ground in early June 2013 on what I would call a typical ranch-style home. Early on, we had decided to downsize from a two-story house since we had the room to build a large single story, and I do not regret that decision. Not when you have little children. Even though this was our dream home, we still had to be smart in how expensive a dream home we would build. So we agreed on what we would compromise on (marble, porches, ceiling height) and made certain we were on the same page about what we were not willing to compromise on (kitchen, limestone, gabled entrance, outdoor kitchen, layout).
And here I am, a little over 7 months later, enjoying my morning coffee on my new beautiful front porch, watching the sunrise over the treetops. My now 2-year-old daughter is still sleeping in her big girl bed in her new room, and my sweet husband is sitting next to me.
I want to pinch myself to make sure this is real because I feel like I’ve spent most of my life talking about “one day building our dream home,” and I’ve never dreamed what it would be like to actually live in our dream home.
And now I’m getting to live my dream. And all the sacrifices and decisions we both made years ago have been worth it. Because this home is more than a building — it’s a place where I will get to raise my growing family, throw fantastic summer birthday parties, entertain family and friends, host a Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering, and barbecue on the back porch while we watch our Aggies play … and win.
But for now, I’ll just sit next to my husband, holding hands and sipping our coffee, excitedly talking about what’s next in our future together.
To see the building process of Jenna’s Lazy K home, follow jennak04 on Instagram using the hashtag #lazykhome.