Mrs. Jefferson Builds Her Dream House


There I was, happily gallivanting through life…

I was writing full time, keeping one foot (my toes at least) in a part time role at a health system in improvement and planning.  And finally, after 10 long years, I finished remodeling my home, foolishly believing I could retire the wet saw and put away my pink tool box.

When life is going that well, you know something’s going to shake it up.

My husband was promoted to a position in a different city (closer to our families) and I received an offer to come back to full time, 9-5, suit-wearing-day-job.  I love writing, but I also love my role in healthcare, so I decided to take it.  But these career moves meant we would need to relocate.  After ten years of tearing off out-of-date wall paper and changing out white carpet (I have kids, as if that was ever going to work) until I’d created my “almost dream home,” I was sad, but excited to start over.

It was time to build!  I knew what I wanted, why not build from scratch?  I turned to history for inspiration.

Obligatory Historical Tidbits

See credit in references

During the Regency, a more classical design aesthetic was used to inspire architecture.  Think columns and arches with the interior often mirroring a similar motif.  At this time, terrace housing became popular.  Not the terrace most of us think of with a nice bistro set and some potted plants, but terrace as in row housing, with structures standing side by side, sharing a common wall.



See references for photo credit

Gothic Revival was also stylish during the Regency, maintaining  popularity well into the Victorian era (hence the term, Victorian Gothic).  You’ve probably seen examples on college campuses and  as backdrops in horror films. Lots of points, finials, and decoration.


But as much as my Romantic soul would have loved to build a Victorian masterpiece in a contrasting yellow and green, I have a husband who has his own ideas.  I thought he’d be more of a Christian Gray, opting for sleek, cold, marble, and a black and white color scheme (didn’t go where you thought I was going, did I?), but he’s surprised me by learning more about Craftsman architecture and helping design the exterior of our dream home in that style.

See references for photo credit

Craftsman architecture became popular at the turn of the century (not this one, but the one before).  Homes in this style stand in stark contrast to the overly ornate homes of the Victorian era, a backlash to the scallops and turrets. Original Craftsman homes featured handiwork of skilled workers, with more simplistic structures and clean lines. Think lots of wood and built-ins.



Of course, building a home hasn’t been all wine and roses.  I’ve been in the process since October and I still don’t even have a hole in the ground (there’s stakes though!).  My preteen doesn’t want to share a bathroom with her sister, and my sweet Craftsman loving husband wants a shower that looks like something Liberace would have come up with.  Wine and roses?  More like the  War of the Roses, but that’s another blog post.

So, tell me about your dream home.


Craftsman home photo credit – By David Sawyer (Flickr: Craftsman House) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Classical example photo credit – “<a href=””>Cumberland Terrace</a>” by ​<a title=”de:Main Page” class=”extiw” href=”//”>English Wikipedia</a> user <a title=”de:User:Viosan” class=”extiw” href=”//”>Viosan</a>. Licensed under <a title=”Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0&#10;<p></p>” href=””>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> via <a href=”//”>Wikimedia Commons</a>.

Victorian Gothic example photo credit  -“<a href=””>StPancrasMidlandHotel</a>”. Licensed under <a title=”Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0″ href=”″>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> via <a href=”//”>Wikimedia Commons</a>.-

Follow Jessica Jefferson:

Jessica Jefferson makes her home in Almost-Chicago with her husband, nine and three year old girls, guinea pigs, and English bulldog Pete. When she's not busy trying to find middle-ground between being a modern career woman and Suzy-Homemaker, she loves to watch "Real Housewives of [insert city here]" and performing unnecessary improvements to her home and property. Jessica writes Regency-era historical romance with a modern twist, infused with humor. She always tries to create endearingly flawed heroes and one of a kind heroines that you'll want to continue knowing long after you read the last page. Fall in love with romance again...

12 Responses

  1. dholcomb1

    Fieldstone farmhouse with wraparound porch or at least a full length porch on several acres. I’m content to live in tract housing because that’s what we can afford. At least I have 2.5 bathrooms!


  2. Ally Broadfield

    LOL, Jess! Good luck with the shower. 🙂 My dream house would be an English country estate. Lots of room for horses and dogs, but the house doesn’t need to be too big.

    • Jessica Jefferson

      My dogs are not happy in our apartment. They’re very lazy, but they like space to stretch out. And I’m with you on house size – more to clean!

  3. Barbara Monajem

    LOL. I don’t have a dream home. I would be ecstatic with anything that stays clean and tidy without me having to do any work. Since that has never happened, I’m mostly oblivious to my surroundings. I hope your house materializes soon, Jessica! 🙂

  4. Violetta Rand

    Love it as always, Jessica. And if anyone can get it done, you can. Dream home for me, log cabin in Alaska.

  5. ki pha

    Good gracious, I don’t think I can build my own home. But you go girl! All I know is that I want a library to hold my books and the more books to come, which then I suppose can also be my work place/office. An open kitchen would be great and lots of storage space. And definitely a walk in closet.