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  • Lauren Elder

New Journey: Old Hickory

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know these two things:

  1. I'm building a new home

  2. I've been promising to blog about the process

If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably also know that I'm always busy and up to something. Whether it be design projects or mini (sometimes not so mini) adventures, I can't sit still! So, sitting down to write doesn't usually make it to the top of my list. But, here I am finally committing to tell you about this new house of mine.


I really want you all to appreciate the beauty of this project, so this post is going to be (a little bit long and) dedicated to filling you in on the journey it took to get to breaking ground.


First, for those of you who don't know him, I'd like to introduce you to my wonderful husband, Nicholas Wisniewski:


Photography by the always fabulous Eloise Photography.


Nick and I met in college and we were great friends, but lost touch after graduation. We reconnected some years later when we worked on a home together for the 2015 Parade of Homes. Nick is Vice President of Landmark Homes (a residential construction company that was started by his amazing dad, Gary Wisniewski.) We worked on this home for many months and realized pretty quickly that we made a good team-- and also had so much fun together no matter what we were doing. If you do know Nick, then you know he's always bringing joy to any situation.


Now, it should be obvious that with me being an interior designer and Nick being a home builder- we had a mutual passion for homes & design. But, as we continued to get to know one another we found out our biggest connection: the only thing we love more than houses is being in or near the water. We talked about all of the places where we imagined living one day, but we knew that Middle TN was our home. We both agreed that we'd be perfectly content as long as we could live on the lake. So, not long after we started dating, we sort of found ourselves in this little routine: every Sunday, we would drive around Old Hickory Lake looking for houses and lots.




I had to include this map here, because when I say "we would drive around Old Hickory Lake," I literally mean that we would start at one end of the lake and drive all the way around. We'd start at one spot and drive through neighborhoods until the sun started setting; the next week we'd pick back up where we left off.


We had our eye set on fixer uppers, but my one condition was that I wanted to be on a relatively flat piece of land. I had this vision of lots of dogs and children running around in the yard - and so many of these homes were practically on the edge of a cliff.


The first day we drove around, we found this incredible lot. We peaked around a little, but like I said- we were focused on fixer uppers, so we didn't really dwell on it. The problem was.... I kept having dreams about this piece of land. I seriously couldn't get it out of my head. Finally, a few months later after telling Nick about all of these dreams- he took me back to this lot so we could look around.

You guys! We started looking at this lot over 4 years ago! FINALLY- after it was apparent that we weren't getting this property out of our heads... we made an offer in October 2019.


I know that now you're thinking "but, Lauren... it's February of 2021!" Yes, that's absolutely right. Right around the time we made an offer, the property owner suddenly passed away. Now if you don't know what this means.... I won't bore you with all of the details, but I'll just say that made things a little complicated.


We waited, waited, and waited a little more before finally hearing back and they accepted our offer! I was so thrilled! After years of thinking about this place, we could start building our forever home! We submitted our request for a building permit.... and then Covid happened...


So we went back to waiting. And we waited, waited, waited, waited and waited SO patiently (called at least once a week to see what was going on). We had to remind ourselves often that this was our dream and that everything would be worth it in the end. I'm a lot less patient than Nick, so he was really the one reminding me. Eventually, we ended up with a new Sunday ritual. We started driving to the site of our future home every Sunday afternoon. We spent the day sitting on a blanket eating snacks and drinking beer, looking out at the water and talking about how amazing it was going to be once we finally built our house on this perfect piece of land.



And then... in October of 2020, a full year after making an offer, we received our building permit!


I can't wait to share this building journey with you all- and I CAN'T WAIT to finally look out of my kitchen window and see the amazing view.


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